Apologies for all of the TLAs
Group Voting Tickets (GVTs) are no more. The rules governing Senate elections are changing
to optional preferential voting, no group voting tickets and a minimum of 6 preferences above the line (minimum of 12 below the line), and we need to work out how we will deal with the new situation.
There are a number of questions we need to answer.
Will we preference every Party in order? If not, where will the cut-off be?
Will we continue to work with the Alliance for Progress (AfP)? Will we preference all of the AfP Parties above the Greens? How will we change our preference voting if so?
With the end of GVTs we need to re-think how we will approach preferencing. We will need to put at least 6 preferences on our how to votes (HTVs), but listing all Parties will eat into space to pimp our policies and values.
In the past we got members to preference all of the contesting Parties in order, then used the initial vote to strike deals with other Parties for swaps.
My thought here is to preference until we hit a major Party, I.E. the ALP (based on previous preference votes). After that the vote becomes a lot less meaningful as it is unlikely to count anywhere after. That said, there is an argument to preference just 6 to save space for more important things on the HTV. We are one of the few Parties that puts policies on the HTVs because it is an occasion to expose everyone to our ideas and values and having ‘Just vote for X’ doesn’t say anything about who we are or what we believe.
Alliance for Progress background
At the last Congress we decided to participate in the AfP, an alliance of small parties with the aim of swapping preferences and working together on common campaigns. With the abolition of GVTs the impetus for us to preference every Party has diminished.
The AfP have taken a hard line against the abolition of GVTs and many member Parties are planning to work with Glenn Drury’s (AKA the preference whisperer) Minor Parties Alliance to preference against the Greens and the Liberal Party.
Whilst we are a bit pissed off at the Greens for making things harder for small Parties, changes to the electoral system are not the biggest concerns we have compared to mass surveillance, assaults on civil liberties and government sanctioned corruption. There is no way in the world we would support the ALP above the Greens. It just isn’t going to happen.
This has caused tensions with the AfP because there have been a number of articles that have implied that we are preferencing against the Greens.
Due to articles such as the one linked, some members became concerned that we would be seen as preferencing based purely on revenge for electoral changes. This was compounded when everyone was encouraged to attend the Minor Parties Alliance meeting at the last AfP meeting. There was serious concern that we would be listed as attendees despite never indicating we were going to show up.
The National Council discussed what to do about the AfP, a statement was drafted and we seriously discussed withdrawing. Rather than the NC deciding this unilaterally we decided it was better to discuss our entire preferencing approach this election, hence this topic.
Unfortunately the statement proved necessary because when Triple J Hack posted an article on Monday where we were listed as attending. There was a photo listing our attendance, which due to a small twitter storm, got taken down.
Alliance for Progress Future
With preferences becoming optional what we do with preferences becomes a lot more open question (as discussed above). It should be noted that due to our democratic process for preferencing, some AfP Parties have raised concerns that dealing with us is difficult because we can’t promise what our members will decide. Ironically, other Parties just outright lie, see various examples in our preference statements.
As shown in the preference statements, we put the Greens second in previous Senate preference votes. Do we want to preference all of the AfP above the Greens? If this is what everyone wants we could just put a vote asking something like ‘Should AfP members be listed as our second preference as a bloc?’
I have issues with preferencing the Animal Justice Party because they reneged on a deal in the Canning By-Election just last year. I also think Sustainable Australia are a bit racist and wouldn’t like them to be above the Greens either, but these are my personal views.
If we aren’t going to vote for the AfP as a bloc, do we withdraw and make deals with member Parties where there is common ground? Or do we stay involved and see if they are cool with us not preferencing all the AfP Parties above the Greens? I believe there will be space for us if we stay involved, but we will have to see how that plays out.