Published by mojo on 3 September, 2013.
They’re not registered for this year’s federal election and they have no candidates, but they still want voters’ attention. The party is on the campaign trail, and the issue is funding.
By TONI BRIENT
Campaign funding. It’s a discussion that usually comes to the forefront at election time, focusing jointly on the notion of the taxpayer dollar, and the access to funding for minor party and independent candidates.
The payment rate for electoral candidates is in proportion to their share of the vote (in 2010 it was a little more than 231 cents for each primary vote), pegged against the Consumer Price Index.
In addition, the Australian Electoral Commission requires candidates to pay a deposit with their registration: $1000 for those contesting a seat in the House of Representatives candidates, and $2000 for Senate candidates.
According to Flinders University’s Dr Rob Manwarring, who lectures in politics, the system creates a cycle that all but guarantees success for larger parties. He says allocating funding according to votes means the major parties “mop up most of that taxpayer money”.
“That in itself means that niche parties have less money so their impact tends to be at low levels, and very specific around particular issues.”
For the Lamington Party, which is not even registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, campaign and election costs prevented them from running candidates in the 2013 federal election.
“The committee had a long discussion about this,” says party founder Jason McKenzie. “We basically said, ‘Are we better off being the 57th party to run candidatess on the Senate paper, or are we better off putting all funds and effort into a social media campaign, to start a public debate on the issues?’ ”
McKenzie says the party, which stands broadly for the modernisation of Australia, will be focusing its efforts on building support for the 2016 federal election. He intends to run candidates in any state elections and federal by-elections that occur before then.
The Lamington Party’s policy platform includes increasing transparency in government and promoting creativity, innovation, and sustainability. Its approach to policy reflects the history of the lamington itself.
“They’re made with ingredients that were available, they take a problem-solving approach and create something quite likeable. It represents ingenuity. It reflects a bit of the quirkiness that we’re trying to get in here.”