Federal Election 2016 – NSW Independent Senate Candidates


“It’s in the dictionary!” Danny Lim sticks it to the man.

I’m from Victoria and I have a confession: the Independents running in NSW this election are far more colourful than ours. I think each state has their share of both the underappreciated and the unhinged, but NSW has really brought it out this year. There are some people here who are worth checking out if you’re voting below the line this election, or if you have a dark sense of humour. I assume if you’re this far down the rabbit hole you already have a handle on who the other parties are, but if you don’t I’ve written a little explainer on them. Let’s dive right in!

Van Lieshout, Teresa
I’m not even going to make a joke about her name because there’s enough to cover here already: Ms Van Lieshout was jailed for 42 days late last year over charges resulting from her cutting off a wheelclamp on her car using an angle grinder. Did you know that you’re not excluded from running for office unless you serve a year or more in jail? Look at us, learning things. The clamp was the result of parking fines that Ms Van Lieshout refuses to pay, along with taxation, “until we get rid of Labor / Liberal politicians because they’re murderers.” The murder referenced is related to Van Lieshout’s belief that psychiatry is a corrupt scam that drives people to suicide. She is a fervent Christian of the kind normally associated with the USA, and isn’t a big fan of gay rights, muslims, or refugees in general. Teresa was recently banned from Facebook.

Bennett, Colin
All I know about Colin Bennett is that he is sharing a ticket with Teresa Van Lieshout and appears in a brief video with her, in which he encourages people to vote for them to avoid the inconsistency in leadership that the major parties have shown. I would suggest that Ms Van Lieshout is dragging him down but at least she knows how to use Facebook, even if she isn’t allowed to.

Grzic, Warren
Mr Grzic wants better public transport, a ban on coal-seam gas extraction, and a simpler tax system. I found a submission he made to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, in which he confessed to be an “election junkie” and used breakdowns of voting stats to make a case for preferential voting above the line to reduce undemocratic preference flows to minor candidates. In 2001. Nice one, Warren.

Ward, Jane
Ms Ward is campaigning on a social justice platform, particularly for Indigenous rights, LGBTQI rights, and the rights of people with disabilities. Well I assume she’s campaigning, she doesn’t have a website but I found a piece on her from when she stood for the seat of Sydney. She wants better and more public open space and pay cuts for MPs.

Munday, Liam
This candidate is a representative of the Ubuntu Party, who want us to transition to a society without money, on a contributionist model. They particularly don’t like banks.

Lambert, Bryan
An ex-police officer, Mr Lambert has an interest in cracking down on crime as well as reducing alcohol and drug abuse. His central platform is a “Fair Go” which is even more of an Australian slogan than those of the actual nationalist candidates. As part of this fair go, he wants to reduce income inequality by removing tax breaks for the rich and improving benefits for pensioners and welfare recipients. He sees self-determination and self-governance as the key to improving law enforcement and education for Indigenous Australians.

Wallace, Peter
Mr Wallace’s social media accounts name him as the leader of the Australian Conservative Party (although no such party is registered with the AEC – he’s an independent candidate). He’s a conservative in the same style as Cory Bernardi, in that his main interests are posting on Twitter about the dangers of the gays and muslims and how the Liberals have gone soft.

Wright, James
Mr Wright has a futurist bent, similar to groups like the Science Party, demanding better investment in infrastructure, science and education. His ideas aren’t simply funding-based though: he wants to do things like raise teachers’ pay to the level of medical staff, to offer tertiary education scholarships in return for service in public projects, and to institute Indigenous representation in parliament. I was nearly ready to give Wright my full backing just on the basis that he has a really nice website and I haven’t seen one of those in what seems like forever – and then, treachery: autoplay video.

Rzetelski, Joanna
Ms Rzetelski is the leader of the (unlisted) Centre Party, an appropriately centrist party that has a protectionist stance against privatisation and free trade agreements.

Lim, Danny
Danny Lim has become a bit of a Sydney icon because of his habit of walking around wearing sandwich boards emblazoned with political messages and carrying his little pomeranian, Smarty. Mr Lim was a controversial councillor for Strathfield for a couple of years, ultimately stepping down because his detractors began threatening Smarty’s life. One of his sandwich boards landed him in hot water recently, as the slogan “PEOPLE CAN CHANGE, TONY YOU C∀N’T” was deemed offensive behaviour. It won him some friends though, with a gofundme campaign paying the resultant fine and a Mardi Gras float being created in his honour. Lim’s policies are broadly in line with that of the Greens, albeit with a bit more pazazz.

Muller, Stephen
Mr Muller, or “Action Man”, as he calls himself, aims to eliminate youth unemployment through a scheme of universal basic youth income in return for working in entry-level jobs. If this sounds like work-for-the-dole, it’s because it is. I feel someone should tell him.

Muller, Peter
No relation to Action Man, Peter Muller is a dental prosthesist who is going into politics in order to try to get the federal government to take dental health seriously. He would like to make dental care affordable and have a small tax placed on junk food, cigarettes and alcohol in order to discourage people from indulging in them. I am pretty sure the major parties are already quite serious about putting prohibitive taxes on cigarettes.

Cooper, John
Mr Cooper wants greater government accountability and smarter spending when it comes to things like health and agriculture.

Spruce-Peet-Boyd, Santa
This might be the best name on the Senate ballot (Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow Meow running for Grayndler in the lower house wins overall). Santa lists their occupation as artist/prophet.

Ash, David
Mr Ash is a liberal democrat, not to be confused with the Liberals or the Liberal Democrats. That’s confusing, but it’s hardly his fault. He wants improved primary education, transparency in the judiciary, and for international corporations to act as proper corporate citizens instead of engaging in the kind of tax evasion that Uber and Google get up to.

Smith, Nigel James
Although he has a suite of rural-interest policies, Mr Smith’s focus is for tertiary education to be supplied free of charge.

Poulsen, Ron
Mr Poulsen describes himself as a member of the Communist League. As near as I can tell, the CLA was a Marxist organisation that merged into the SWP in the 1970s, which became the DWP in the early 90s, which merged into Socialist Alliance in 2001. The difference between Poulsen and other Trotskyist Marxists is out of my reach because of my limited knowledge of late-20th century Marxist theory and Poulsen’s limited interest in using the internet.

Gooley, Peter
Mr Gooley seems to mostly be standing due to his belief that the Senate should be a house of review that isn’t dominated by the two major parties, and wants an end to the partisan divisions of recent years. He also has an interest in improving aged care.

Chapman, Nick
Mr Chapman seems to be a moderate libertarian candidate, emphasising individual rights but without the extremes of most people that I’ve applied the label of libertarian to this election. His goals are a fairer economy and greater government accountability and transparency.

Brown, Leonard
Fittingly for someone claiming to represent the interest of pensioners, Mr Brown does not seem to know much about how to use the internet for his campaign. He says he is against the privatisation of Medicare, against domestic violence (controversial, I know), and “for the community.”

Girado-Tsay, Richelle
Ms Girado-Tsay once was once an extra in the 2007 Australian film, Gabriel. She also has a daughter who enters beauty pageants, who she posts about frequently. On the other hand, she made one post about her run for the Senate and all it said was that she was running. It got 2 likes. Ms Girado-Tsay uses Twitter to spam news agencies and NGOs with blank messages, which seems pretty passive-aggressive.

Federal Election 2016 – NSW Independent Senate Candidates

Federal Election 2016 -Victorian Independent Senate Candidates

If you’re in Victoria, voting below the line this election and already have a grasp on who the minor parties are, you might consider checking out the independent Senate candidates. Or you understandably might not, because the Independents have a tendency to be eccentric and very difficult to find any information about. There are a few diamonds in the rough, however, and I’ve trawled through the poorly-designed websites and confusing Facebook pages to explain the platforms of both the wheat and the chaff:

Juhasz, Stephen
Mr Juhasz wants a Royal Commission into the banks and financial sector, which might have seemed like a good enough reason to run for office before it became ALP policy.

Arasu, Karthik
Born and raised in India, Mr Arasu wants to be the voice of the under-represented migrant community. His policies include public holidays for Eid and Diwali, simplified and affordable 5-year long stay visas for parents of immigrants, and requiring food producers to list the ingredients of their products in a more detailed way to help those with cultural dietary requirements make informed decisions.

Hall, Dennis
Dennis is a conservative republican who wants us to replace the Queen as our head of state but keep the rest of the democratic system as-is. He’s against the Safe Schools program and equal marriage, free trade agreements and foreign ownership, and doesn’t believe in climate change. When asked his opinion on the UN Convention of the Refugee, he did not know what it is. Dennis is a real estate agent.

Spasojevic, Dana
Ms Spasojevic is an interstate truck driver. Beyond that, I don’t know. The only thing I can find out about her campaign is that she has voted for herself. To win a seat, she only needs 2,499 more people to get behind her campaign of complete mystery.

Karagiannidis, John
Mr Karagiannidis is a Greek-born Australian who is an accountant and is involved in disability service. He wants to improve government transparency and accountability, as well as raising funding to the disability and aged care sectors. John K is fiercely patriotic, and launched a gofundme for campaign funds that raised exactly zero dollars.

Lutz, Geoff
Like all too many of the Independents, Geoff doesn’t have a website or any social media presence. All I know about him is that he’s listed his occupation as a semi-retired orchardist. I can only assume he’s outstanding in his field.

Mull, Allan
Mr Mull claims to represent rural interests, particularly in the north-east of Victoria, and has a series of protectionist policies aimed at improving regional economies. This includes lessening regulation around small-to-medium businesses, funding transport infrastructure, and opposing the sale of public utilities – which he says is possibly treason under the Constitution (it isn’t).

Ryan, Chris
Chris Ryan is apparently a lawyer, and the email address he registered with the AEC is in someone else’s name. What does he know that we don’t? I suppose anything about him, for a start.

Dickenson, Mark
I watched Mr Dickenson’s first ever TV appearance and was tempted to make fun of his nervousness but his sincerity, conviction and social conscience make it impossible not to find him endearing. Mark wants an expansion of the social safety net to assist those affected by disadvantages such as homelessness or disability and backs a reform of the taxation system to uphold the social contract by eliminating tax avoidance by large corporations. Like all Independents, he’s disaffected with the major parties.

Vadarlis, Eric
Mr Vadarlis is a lawyer and refugee advocate who led the legal challenge to the Tampa decision in 2001. Eric’s platform is primarily one of refugee advocacy but also extends to affordable tertiary education and support for Indigenous self-determination and improved education and health in Indigenous communities.

Floyd, Glenn
Mr Floyd is mostly concerned with government corruption and the evil conspiracy that is the psychiatric industry. His belief that the psychiatric profession is the leading cause of death seems fairly unhinged but I like his policy of raising funding for community radio.

Shmuel, Immanuel
The slogan of Mr Shmuel is “stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every solution” and it is the most comprehensible policy he has. His Facebook page has several videos advocating the teachings of Christianity, Buddhism, and the Freemasons. He would like to raise that “you as Australians will be paying tax on income you will never receive or see?” The question mark is his, and the answer is no, as that is not how tax works. “The more concerning issue,” he continues, “is that an Australian company has asked for INTERPOL to intervene to collect the money they have lost?” Not only is this not a real question, but he doesn’t give any hints as to who the company might be or how they’ve lost money. It was probably tax on money they never received.

A special shout-out to the previews of Mr Shmuel’s profile photos on his Facebook page because I’ve been reading insane policy documents for several hours and the increasing zoom is incredibly funny to me for some reason:

Urie, Meredith
Ms Urie is concerned about the toxic state of politics, the environment, income inequality and extremism. She is a passionate advocate for community engagement, a relentless optimist and she recently graduated from Swinburne University as a futurist, which is a qualification that I am extremely sceptical of.

Nye, Trevor William
Trevor Nye wants to stop Australian farmland being sold to foreign interests.

Hawks, Peter
Mr Hawks has the Christian-informed social policies of the DLP and the rural investment policies of the Palmer United Party. He wants to repeal the Racial Discrimination Act, dismantle the Safe Schools program and to “bring more water from north to southern states” because there’s “too much water running into the sea.” Mr Hawks refuses to apologise for his Christian heritage, or, presumably, his understanding of topography.

Beslis, Christopher
Mr Beslis’s few policies share a similar ideology to that of the Greens, but he goes further than them in the specific areas of wanting to eliminate politicians’ perks, reduce their salaries, and enforce the mandatory installation of solar panels on all newly constructed houses. He also wants to cut the company tax rate for small businesses.

Federal Election 2016 -Victorian Independent Senate Candidates

Federal Election 2016 – Minor Parties Breakdown


I’m going to try to explain who Australia’s minor political parties are again because there’s never been a more important time to have some idea of who all of these people are. For a start, the recent Senate reforms mean that you have to vote for at least six groups even if you’re voting above the line (or at least twelve candidates below the line) so you need to know of at least a few parties you’d like to vote for. Also, as this is a double dissolution election, the percentage of the vote that a candidate needs in order to be elected to the Senate is halved, so your vote is more likely to be a deciding vote! There’s a huge amount of candidates running – which probably won’t be the case in the next election after most of these people don’t get any of their money back – so let’s get into it. I recommend using something like ClueyVoter to keep track of how you prefer each party compared to the others and then printing out the results to take with you on polling day.

I obviously have my own political beliefs but I’ve tried to stay relatively impartial out of respect for yours and just focus on the policies. I’m not covering the four largest parties (Liberal/National, Labor and Greens) because I assume everyone is already familiar with what they stand for and knows how they feel about them already. This list covers all of the parties standing in Victoria and NSW this election.

If you’re really keen, I’ve also written about the Independents running in Victoria and NSW.

Minor Parties

The Arts Party
A left wing progressive party that want the creative industries to be much better supported and funded, as well as more accessible for everyone. They propose funding these measures by legalising and taxing cannabis. There’d be a joke in this, but most of the groups on this list have the same idea. Their policies outside of the arts are similar to those of the Greens.

Australian Christians / Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
The Australian Christians are mainly the WA & Victorian branches of the CDP, who split from the party a few years ago. Despite the rebranding, their policies are almost word-for-word identical, so I’ve bundled them together. As hard-line, conservative Catholics, their party stance on social issues is an unsurprisingly reactionary: they’re against reproductive rights, equal marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, sex work, the Safe Schools program, euthanasia, divorce, pornography and IVF treatment.

Australian Country Party
The ACP was formerly known as the Australian Country Alliance, which itself was a merger between a smaller rural-interests party and the Victorian wing of the Katter’s Australian Party. Their policies are pretty representative of those rural interests: supporting live export of livestock, allowing hunting and 4WDs into national parks, axing the “backpacker tax” to keep attracting travelling workers to rural areas (actually even raising the tax-free threshold for those on working visas higher than it had been), as well a straightforward platform of supporting Australian agricultural producers in both the domestic and foreign markets. They’ve also got a surprisingly forward-thinking program of constitutional reform in favour of Indigenous recognition the elimination of any legal basis for racial discrimination (even though I suspect they haven’t got all the details right).

Australian Democrats (David Collyer & Wanda Mitchell-Cook)
The Democrats have fallen so far that they’ve lost party status with the AEC and are on the Victorian ballot as a weird blank space with two candidate names that no one’s going to recognise. They blame “stupid new electoral laws” like needing to have at least 500 party members, which they’re calling a “suppression of democracy.” The Democrats used to be the sensible centre, a moderate third option between Labor and Liberal. Now they look like an unviable version of the Nick Xenaphon Team.

Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
Might as well be called the Ricky Muir Party at this point. Under normal circumstances this should be a single-issue party but ever since they managed to somehow elect a fairly surprised bloke to the Senate, this party has had to extend its policy base from lemon laws and 4WD access to figuring out what they think about national security (they’re for it). Muir’s critics and fans both say the same thing about him: that he’s just a regular Australian who’s been elected to parliament and doesn’t have the experience of a career politician. It’s hard to judge him even by his voting record because he’s the first to admit he made mistakes and bad deals while he was finding his feet. On policies, the AMEP is similar to a rural-interests party on issues like hunting and fishing but they also want stronger support for the manufacturing sector, particularly the automotive one. They would prefer greater individual rights and a smaller government. Like most minor parties, they don’t place much trust in Labor or the Liberals and Muir has consistently voted for greater government oversight.

Australian Progressives
I was getting ready to be confused between this party and the Australian Progressive Party but thankfully they merged at the end of last year. The Australian Progressives were founded by some of the same people who were responsible for the March in March movement in 2015 and have a full set of policies which sit solidly in the progressive Left in similar areas to the Greens. For all their talk about being a radical, new progressive movement, most of their policy base seems very similar to that of the Greens and I wonder why they don’t simply join forces.

Australian Sex Party
The Sex Party are a left wing party with a libertarian bent. Their main focus is a series of progressive reforms of the sex industry including the full decriminalisation of sex work. Their other policies include the legalisation of euthanasia, the decriminalisation of all illicit drugs for personal use, and removing the special treatment of religious organisations such as tax exemption and government provisions for special religious instruction in schools.

Citizens Electoral Council
These guys are more or less actual fascists and that’s not even the craziest part. Their policies reflect a basic fascistic platform of reclaiming national control over utilities, banks, natural resources and other former state assets to further nationalist goals. This is paired with a futurist vision of things like space colonisation and maglev trains, but these are nowhere near to being their most outlandish beliefs:- they believe that overpopulation and climate change are myths, that there is a worldwide Jewish banking conspiracy, that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the US government and that the British royal family runs an international drug ring. When I used to work at a university, the CEC would constantly email barmy racist tirades about “the Jews” to scientists seemingly at random.

Democratic Labour Party (DLP)
The DLP was a conservative wing of the ALP which split off in the 1950s and faded into obscurity before being resurrected in 2006. They started off quite similar to Labor and retain a social justice approach to many issues and strong support for the Australian manufacturing sector but their ties to the Catholic Church show through in their opposition to equal marriage, euthanasia, abortion rights, women’s rights, and so on.

Family First
Family First are a staunchly conservative party with a strong Christian element and the goals of preserving what they see as traditional family values in Australian society. Their values have seen them oppose marriage equality, the Safe Schools program, access to reproductive rights and legislation to address climate change. Surprisingly okay on disability policy.

Jacqui Lambie Network
There’s quite a few parties centred around well-known personalities this election and Jacqui Lambie is certainly a recognisable name. Lambie’s main slogan has been to put the interests of her state first and JLN’s is to do the same for any electorate that votes them in. There’s a particular focus on improving conditions for working class people but also to be a non-partisan voice and to increase government oversight.

Katter’s Australian Party
Katter’s focused on rural interests, particularly protecting the agricultural industry via some protectionist reforms (that is to say, tariffs and quotas that give domestic producers an advantage in our market, as opposed to free trade) and the construction of infrastructure to help regional development. He’s also against the sale of public infrastructure for similar reasons. The KAP have a moderate stance on climate change and asylum seekers, and are actually pretty good when it comes to Indigenous rights. I’m surprised to learn this, as he’s always been very poor on LGBTQI issues and he wears a large hat.

Liberal Democrats
The LDP are generally regarded as a purist libertarian party and accordingly want small government, low taxation, deregulation, greater civil liberties, and economic measures based on the free market. These principles don’t quite fit into the traditional left-wing/right-wing views, although they share a lot of values with the right wing and the LDP are definitely far to the Right. They tend to have an “end the nanny state” approach and so have policies like the winding-back of firearm restrictions, the abolition of Medicare, privatisation of higher education and not recognising Indigenous traditional Law, but also a couple that look a bit like Left-wing policies such as the decriminalisation of cannabis or enabling equal marriage. This kind of libertarianism is usually the domain of people who believe that the protections of society only serve to hold them back. Their voter base is partially comprised of people who spend a lot of time on Reddit but mostly people who tried to vote for the Liberals but misread the form.

Mature Australia Party
MAP are a party aimed at the interests of older Australians, and seem to be moderates with a touch of conservatism. They’ve got a full range of policies though, unlike the more single-issue style Seniors United Party of Australia lower down on this list. MAP would like an easing of immigration restrictions but a stronger focus on assimilation into Australian culture and English language tests. They want nurse-run health clinics for the elderly to reduce strain on the rest of the healthcare system and to presumably make check-ups simpler for patients than a doctor’s visit. MAP want a guaranteed pension at 75% of minimum wage and to bring the pensions of politicians and public officers down to the same level, but to exempt the family home from the pension assets test. They’d like political campaign reform around election promises and advertising, as well as reform of Freedom of Information regulations.

Hopefully John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party isn’t actually on the ballot as just “MFP” but that’s what they’re down as for now. Madigan used to be a senator for the DLP (see above) but fell out with them over “political intrigue” and struck out on his own. If there’s a policy difference between Madigan’s new party and his old one, I can’t see it. Maybe it’s just free of the establishment interests of… a similar-sized minor party?

Nick Xenophon Team
The NXT are going to be quite important in this election, judging from their predicted seat count and how much the major parties are sledging them. Xenophon was originally elected on a No Pokies platform and his party retains this stance, wanting to reduce maximum losses on pokie machines and ban ATMs within pokie venues. His popularity has sky-rocketed largely thanks to his efforts trying to protect manufacturing jobs in his home state as well as other broadly protectionist economic policies, and the NXT is expected to pick up at least 3 or 4 seats in SA alone. They’re roughly a centre-left party, with policies of a harm minimisation approach to drug problems, greater transparency in government (including support for a federal anti-corruption commission), improved health care and an emissions trading scheme.

Palmer United Party
PUP are a somewhat protectionist party with more of an emphasis on business than a party like Bob Katter’s. Their main policies this election are to change company taxation to be charged annually instead of quarterly and for the first $10,000 on home loan payments each year to be tax deductible, with the assumption that this money in private pockets will boost consumer spending and improve the economy. They also want to raise the aged pension and increase funding to the health and education sectors. Palmer also wants to reform Australia’s insolvency laws to include the equivalent of America’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws, which allow companies to reorganise during bankruptcy – not surprising since he has now presided over several large companies that have gone bankrupt. Presumably he would also like for his party’s senators to stop defecting.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party
God help us. Pauline Hanson. It seems she’s forgotten all about the horde of Asian people that was coming to destroy our society and now thinks it’s the Muslims that will ruin the country. The main difference between One Nation and the hateful bigots they’ve inspired to threaten people over halal labelling is that One Nation are dumber. The only thing more depressing than the fact that Hanson is still around and running for the Senate is that she’s almost assuredly going to get voted in.

Pirate Party
The Australian wing of the Pirate Party, which is quite popular in Scandinavia. Their focus is civil liberties, particularly digital rights, copyright reform and censorship. Their main focus this election is demanding that the government roll back the data retention scheme.

Rise Up Australia Party
Last election I described this party as a continuation of Pauline Hanson’s ideas, but this time around she’s back anyway so who even knows. Rise Up champion White Australian culture and are vying with Australia First to be the most far-Right party on the ballot. Their policies come largely from hard-line Christian values, so they’re against reproductive rights, against equal marriage, want to ban the burqa and niqab, and don’t believe in climate change. In fact the party leader, Danny Nalliah, is a young-Earth Creationist, which means he believes that the planet is only roughly 6,000 years old as it says in the Bible. Just like your regular bigots at the pub, Rise Up feel the need to repeatedly clarify that they aren’t racist, pointing to Nalliah’s South Asian heritage as an example. Their anti-Islam focus and desire to wind back the clock to a time before political correctness and multiculturalism has made them a very popular party among racists, and is why people keep assuming that they are too.

Science Party
A progressive left-wing party similar to the Greens but with an emphasis on dramatically increasing research funding and a few futurist ideas such as high-speed trains, an Australian space agency, and legalising driverless cars. They want to build a charter city (a city that would have its own laws, e.g. different immigration laws) between Canberra and Sydney to act as Australia’s Silicon Valley.

Secular Party of Australia
The Secular Party want to remove religious influence from government policy and to correct legislation that religious beliefs have historically influenced. This largely means they have progressive policies in the areas of women’s rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQI rights, sex ed, stem cell research, and voluntary euthanasia. They’re libertarian but with the explicit focus of the separation of church and state.

Socialist Alliance / Socialist Equality Party
Now we come to the Trotskyist Internationalists, who both have a platform of democratic reform to ensure fairer representation for workers. They’re demanding the complete withdrawal of military and intelligence personnel from overseas, including keeping our military presence out of the South China Sea. They share a major goal of reducing economic inequality by nationalising the banks, utilities, health and retail organisations. They want to roll back national security legislation that restricts freedom of assembly and more or less dismantle the police and intelligence services entirely. They’re against detaining asylum seekers as well as the idea of borders in general. Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Equality Party both describe each other as “pseudo-left” and have irreconcilable differences which are completely imperceptible to anyone outside the movement. I’ve grouped them together and I’m sure that they would be furious about that.

Sustainable Australia
The “sustainable” thing in the name of this party is a sustainable population – they want to put policies in place to try to halt the country’s population growth at about 26 million, chiefly by reducing non-humanitarian immigration. Improving access to reproductive health advice and contraception is also a big ticket item, which makes sense if limiting population growth is their aim, and they want to increase the foreign aid budget for those programs as well. They have an interest in environmental sustainability also but the idea seems to be that if they can bring population growth can be brought into line then the central problems in health, housing, environment, transport, etc., will follow.

Single-Issue Tickets

Animal Justice Party
The AJP believe in banning live export, banning culls of animals like brumbies and kangaroos, encouraging veganism and plant-based agriculture, and the protection of native habitats. They also want to ban any and all testing on animals, including medical testing. This seems extreme to me but smarter people have told me that medical testing on animals could benefit from better oversight and regulation, at the very least.

Antipaedophile Party
I hadn’t heard of this party and prejudged them a bit because of the name, but they have a thorough program of level-headed policies aimed at tackling the problem of child abuse in Australia. The main tenets of this seem to be widespread reform of the Family Court (including a Royal Commission), the appointment of an ombudsman, and a lot of education for child services, the police and the courts so that they are able to more reliably identify cases of child abuse.

Australia First Party
With more of a nationalist bent than other anti-Islam, anti-halal parties like One Nation or Australian Liberty Alliance, Australia First come off as the most hard-line of the far-Right parties. Oddly they’re quite pro-union in a protect-our-jobs-from-these-dangerous-foreigners kind of way. They want to repeal the Racial Discrimination Act, abolish multiculturalism somehow, ban dual citizenships, reinstate the language tests we used to enforce the White Australia policy, and “end immigration” in general, though I suspect they have a specific kind of immigrant in mind. Similarly, their policy to “keep legislating and deporting until true Australian identity is assured across Australia” is not so much a dog-whistle as a blaring White Supremacist fog horn. They call Pauline Hanson a cuckservative and a race traitor, so they’re pretty much off the scale and off their heads.

Australian Cyclists Party
This group is focused entirely on improving conditions for cyclists, mainly through increased infrastructure funding and better road safety laws. They also want a national inquiry into whether the mandated wearing of bicycle helmets has been effective at improving rider safety.

Australian Liberty Alliance
While they do have a wider raft of policies as federal party should, this is largely an anti-Islam party. They’re not as rabid as some similar parties on the ballot because they don’t want to ban all Muslim immigrants like Pauline Hanson but they still have the same paranoia and misunderstandings about the supposed dangers of “Islamisation”, halal certification and sharia law. They see multiculturalism as “divisive” and want greater “free speech” protections through repealing the Racial Discrimination Act and the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.

Bullet Train for Australia
This party want high-speed rail infrastructure to be built along the country’s east coast. Their minor policies include campaign finance reform, marriage equality, legalised euthanasia, more limitation on pokie machines, and stronger action on climate change. But mostly it’s about fast trains.

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
As well as being a long-time media personality, Hinch is famous for having served multiple jail sentences for publicly naming sex offenders before their trials were completed. Unsurprisingly, his Justice Party’s main platform is a series of reforms to make sure the justice system is harder on sexual and violent offences. The main points of reform are that those who commit violent crimes receive harsher sentencing and have no right to bail, and the creation of a public sex offenders register. I’ve categorised the DHJP as a single-issue party because of the prominence of their justice policies but they do also have a number of surprisingly left-wing social policies, namely that they’re for marriage equality, legalised euthanasia, and a ban on live export.

Drug Law Reform
This party want a much more progressive approach to drugs as can be found overseas in places like Colorado or the Netherlands and want a parliamentary conscience vote to drive these changes. Their reform ideas are: a harm minimisation approach to the treatment of drug addiction, the decriminalisation of cannabis and ecstasy, and a regulatory approach to the production and sale of drugs that are currently illegal here. Actually less extreme on drug legalisation than the Sex Party.

Health Australia Party
The main platform for these guys is legislating against “big pharma” and conventional medicine in general, instead embracing alternative medicine, homeopathy and anti-vaccination. They want to take fluoride out of the water supply and some of them have issues with “chemtrails”. They’re quite progressive on their social policies, in the same way that someone who has spent a bit too much time at Maitreya festival would like to see the detention centres closed but also believes that you can cure cancer with reiki. Presumably big fans of Michael Leunig and polio making a comeback.

Marijuana (HEMP) Party
I doubt you’d be surprised that these guys want cannabis to be legalised for both medical and recreational use but it’s worth noting that they also want any people who’ve been convicted for cannabis-related offences to have their convictions overturned and removed from the record. More and more parties are advocating for the legalisation of cannabis as both a social policy and a way to raise revenue this election but as far as I can tell this is the only group that have mentioned granting clemency for those who’ve been convicted for past use or possession.

Marriage Equality
Some confusing naming here for the Australian Equality Party, who were previously recognised by the AEC as Australian Equality Party (Marriage) but now they’re listed as Marriage Equality so I’m putting them down as that as it’s how they’re likely to appear on the ballot. A straightforward enough policy goal from this party: removing discrimination against LGBTQI Australians and empowering and protecting them.

Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
This group want the Family Court reformed to grant more rights to parents who have lost custody of their children, and to reduce the obligations on them paying child support. They would like to roll back no-fault divorce and generally return divorce law to how it was several decades ago. And they really, really don’t want to pay child support.

Online Direct Democracy – (Empowering the People!) / VOTEFLUX.ORG | Upgrade Democracy!
Besides an affection for exclamation marks, these two parties also share a belief in direct democracy, whereby voters directly decide for or against legislation, instead of the current system of representative democracy which gives this responsibility to the elected MP or senator. These are parties for people who are so convinced that politicians will never represent their interests that they’re willing to put the internet in charge instead.

Renewable Energy Party
As well as moving Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2030, this party wants to put a price on greenhouse emissions and restore funding to the CSIRO for climate research.

Seniors United Party of Australia
We’ll probably see a lot more of issues affecting the elderly in politics as the baby boomer generation drifts into retirement age. This party wants to protect the rights of senior citizens and ensure they’re not exploited or disadvantaged, as well as address specific financial issues relating to care in retirement homes.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Once known as the Shooters Party and then later as the Shooters and Fishers Party, this group have added “Farmers” to their title to reflect their support for regional issues and to make sure no one confuses them with the Greens. The Shooters identify as right-wing and champion individual rights above all, particularly in regards to lessening restrictions around firearms, hunting and fishing.

Veterans Party
The main focus of the Veterans Party is to legislate for greater support of veterans when it comes to employment, healthcare (including mental health and suicide), and homelessness, and it’s worth noting that their definition of veterans includes not just former military personnel but also emergency services and healthcare workers.

Voluntary Euthanasia Party
This one really does just what it says on the tin. The VEP want the legalisation of assisted dying for those with terminal or incurable illnesses.


Feel free to comment if you think I’ve missed anything. Happy voting!

Federal Election 2016 – Minor Parties Breakdown

Victorian Election 2014 – Tips for Voting Below the Line

The last federal election shone a spotlight on the problem with preference deals, with a few senators from minor parties winning seats without winning a significant portion of the primary vote. Short of reform, the solution is pretty simple: more voters need to vote below the line so that planned preference flows are disrupted. But simple doesn’t always mean easy, and in this state election there are more parties standing than we’ve ever seen in Victoria.

There are two dangers with voting below the line. Firstly, the one I’m trying to help with on this page, is that some of the candidates and parties are quite obscure or misleadingly named and you might end up unknowingly voting for someone you disagree with (knowingly voting for someone you disagree with is just called voting).

Secondly, it’s easy to lose count and misnumber your ballot, especially in the most recent federal election with 40+ candidates. If you’d voted below the line for the Federal Senate and accidentally numbered two boxes with the number 38, your whole ballot would be declared informal and wouldn’t count. Happily, Victoria has passed a new law that helps the second problem, and now you only need to number five boxes when voting below the line for the upper house in order to cast a valid vote. You can number more than that, but as long as the first five are right then you can rest easy. I’d still recommend using a service like Cluey Voter to plan out your preferences beforehand, print out a ballot and copy from it on voting day.

I’m going to give you my take on the minor parties and I might write up the independent candidates later on. Obviously these are skewed by my political bias but it should still give you an idea of what they’re about and where they sit on the political spectrum. I’m not going to waste time writing about the main four (Liberal / National, Labor and Greens), there are enough column inches devoted to that already. Here goes.

The Minor Parties

Australian Christians
Formerly the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), the party of Fred Nile. These guys are hard-line conservative Catholics. They are against: same-sex marriage, any kind of abortion rights, euthanasia, sex work, and Christian schools not being able to hire/fire people based on their religion or sexuality. They support women staying at home with the kids and want to “restore the importance of fatherhood”, the kind of statement you’d expect from people who blame feminists for the fact it’s not 1950 anymore.

Democratic Labour Party
The DLP formed after a Catholic faction in the Victorian ALP split with the rest of the party over a fear of Communist infiltration of trade unions. Initially otherwise similar to the ALP, over time their base transformed them into a very socially conservative party. They have a familiar Catholic stance on many issues: anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-gay rights, anti-women’s rights – you get the picture. They do have good policies on disability and aged care,conservative pro-life parties tend to have. Their unusual origins seem to have left them with a few ideological contradictions, however, like how they don’t trust foreigners (particularly Indonesians) but are actually better than the ALP when it comes to asylum seekers. Their Indigenous policy flits between good ideas, well-intentioned bad ideas and outright racist ideas so quickly that I can’t imagine how they put it together. I probably should have saved all that writing and just told you how they’re still outraged that the government dared to allow an inquiry into the Church’s history of child abuse.

Family First
Right-wing conservative Christians. They give the usual spiel about family values to explain how they’re against abortion, divorce, pornography, any kind of regulation around work and hiring practices, native title, and believing in climate change. They have a good disability policy but that doesn’t make up for the rest of it.

Liberal Democrats
These guys are libertarians who get most of their vote from people having confused them with the Liberal Party. Libertarianism is the kind of politics that you hear from the right in America – against taxes, state healthcare, any laws governing personal behaviour, any money for people down on their luck, that sort of thing – and hasn’t historically had a big presence here. They seem like reasonable folk until you realise that they want speed limits removed.

Palmer United Party
PUP’s only consistent trait seems to be their inconsistency, which makes them a difficult party to describe from the basis of policies. Each candidate seems to do their own thing and none of them seem to talk much about their intentions. Their Southern Metro candidate announced some pretty good public transport policies, but nothing else. Their Southern Eastern Metro candidate has literally no policies on record. None. In the North they’re talking about education policy and builder’s insurance. See what I mean? Actually they’re also consistent in getting every single other party to hate them enough to condemn them to the bottom of their preference flows.

Rise Up Australia Party
I have no kind words for these people. They occupy the same place in our political landscape that One Nation once did. Imagine getting the kid at your high school who used to complain about “poofters and lebbos” to draft a party’s policies and you’ll have a sense of their platform. They are vehemently against foreigners, Islam, gays and lesbians, women, and so on. It’s the kind of politics that has traditionally been yelled out of a car window.

Sex Party
The Sex Party are even harder to describe than they are to Google. They’re the political wing of the EROS Association, the adult entertainment business association. Remember that revolving sign above the strip club next to Richmond station? “Alcohol doesn’t cause violence – blame and punish the individual”? That was their work. As you might guess, they’ve got a libertarian streak but also a lot of progressive policies that have won them votes from the Left in policy areas that the main parties won’t touch. The Sex Party is advocating for republicanism, better sex education in schools, optional voting for 16 – 18 year olds, and dissolving the states and territories(!). Their main focus, however, is the deregulation of the sex industry, removal of religion from politics, and the decriminalisation of sex work.

The Basics Rock’n’Roll Party
I haven’t put these guys under the single issue section because they’ve actually got a surprisingly broad policy base. Obviously their focus is on live music issues along the lines of the SLAM campaign but they have policies in most areas quite close to those of the Greens.

Voice for the West
I nearly put this party into the single issue section as well because ultimately their platform is to bring attention to the historically neglected interests of people living in the Western suburbs. Their policies focus on decentralisation of government and community involvement. They’ve got a good, extensive (West-focused, obviously) public transport policy and want transparency in the building industry as well as disincentives for empty investment properties. As an outsider party, they have a specific aim towards the reform of the major parties, especially limiting political advertising and funding.

Single Issue Tickets

Australian Country Alliance
Shooters and Fishers Party Victoria
I’m grouping these two together because they have a very similar platform: representing country Victoria, campaigning for expanded hunting and fishing rights (particularly on public land), and hating the Greens with a passion.

Animal Justice Party
The AJP centre around banning live export, encouraging veganism, the protection of native habitats and banning any and all medical testing on animals. The extremity of that last one should give you a good sense of their beliefs.

Australian Cyclists Party
This party really doesn’t have any policies other than increasing participation in cycling, improving cycling infrastructure and driver education. Oh, except that they’re against the East-West Link.

People Power Victoria / No Smart-Meters
I actually feel sorry for these guys. They’re nominally a libertarian party but their policy platform is mostly that wifi gives you cancer and mental illness and that the government doesn’t care enough. They seem very angry and very afraid. Granted, the government doesn’t care about you so they’re right on that one but someone’s lied to them using bad science and I wish they could be set straight.

Voluntary Euthanasia Party (Victoria)
This party is the only one in this list that is so single-issue that it doesn’t actually need much explanation. They want the legalisation of assisted dying for those with terminal or incurable illnesses.

Vote 1 Local Jobs
A single issue party campaigning for improved job opportunities in the Western District of the state (basically all of Victoria to the west of Melbourne) through policies of protectionism and the decentralisation of government services.

OTHER Candidates

While most of the above parties are running candidates in each of the electoral regions for the upper house, some of the regions have a couple of additional candidates who are only listed on the ballot by their names. These are hard to get information on as they don’t have a party’s policy platform behind them but I’ll do my best. You’ll need to know which district you’re voting in for this part, so have a look at the image below.

Victorian Metropolitan Electoral Districts

Western Metropolitan Region

There are no additional candidates for this region.

Northern Metropolitan Region

Darren Bain (Ungrouped)
I don’t know anything about Darren Bain and neither does anyone else as far as I can tell. Mr Bain’s entire web presence consists of a LinkedIn page. From this I have learned that Darren works in HR and is terrible at PR. Doesn’t running as a candidate cost money? What are you doing, Darren?

Tiffany Harrison (Ungrouped)
Despite being listed as ungrouped, Ms Harrison is a member of Save The Planet, a party that is well described by its name. I recently read another STP candidate describe the party’s aim as an effort to move the Greens further to the Left on their environment policy(!). They want to eliminate net emissions of greenhouse gases and immediately transition to “a safe climate economy.”

Eastern Metropolitan Region

There are no additional candidates for this region.

South-Eastern Metropolitan Region

Arif Okil (Ungrouped)
Mr Okil is campaigning for improved education and health, including separate emergency and non-emergency departments in hospitals. He’s also campaigning for a recommended retail pricing scheme for packaged groceries and medication.

Southern Metropolitan Region

Richard Grummet (Group F)
Clive Jackson (Group F)

These candidates represent the Australian Democrats. Once a major player in Australian politics, the Democrats have fallen apart over the last decade and I’m impressed that they even have candidates and policies considering the party’s still split by a factional rift. The Democrats are a centrist party with a progressive environment policy and a focus on social justice. They’re a bit to the left of the modern ALP.

Luzio Grossi (Group R)
Crystal James (Group R)
An independent ticket, Mr Grossi and Ms James have a focus on supporting the arts and live music venues. They want better treatment of refugees, disclosure of political donations and a Victorian ICAC (the NSW anti-corruption body, of which we already have an equivalent, though it’s admittedly very ineffective). They also support more public schools and more public housing for single and low-income families.

George Neophytou (Ungrouped)
Mr Neophytou has a background in law and marketing and has a lot to say about honesty and integrity. Mr Neophytou wants more reliable public transport but is also in favour of the East-West Link and is campaigning for expansion of the Chandler Hwy bridge. He also has a good policy for reforming VCAT so that council policy and guidelines aren’t so easily sidestepped by developers.

Victorian Election 2014 – Tips for Voting Below the Line

Q&A, First Aid & Fainting

Simon Sheikh collapses on the set of Q&A

Following Simon Sheikh’s frightening collapse on Q&A this week, there have been suggestions that the panelist closest to him, Opposition MP Sophie Mirabella, did not do enough to help. Certainly the footage looks galling from where we sit now – and I don’t really want to go on record defending Liberal MPs, especially Mirabella – but a lot of people placed in her situation would do the very same thing. Okay, maybe they wouldn’t look quite so disgusted by the person who has taken ill, but still, many people don’t know how to recognise signs of distress or what to do about it.

I had a work colleague who once fainted in a very serious way – it was so serious because she was standing up at the time, so she fell over an armchair and head-first into the fireplace, where she got a nasty cut on the head. Don’t ask why we had a fireplace and armchairs at work, that’s not important. Anyway, she was fine after a trip to the hospital for some stitches, thank you for asking. Now, I’m no doctor, but after that episode I sent myself on a few first aid courses, so with the benefit of having nearly paid attention to those and a basic command of Google, here’s a slightly more constructive take on this whole mess:

How do you recognise someone is about to faint and how do you help them if they do?

Fainting can be relatively harmless but losing consciousness for any amount of time should be treated seriously. It is easy for the person to injure their head or choke and their fainting may indicate something more serious, such as a seizure or a stroke. Until the symptoms are relieved and the cause is known, treat it as urgent.


Fainting is normally caused by physical or emotional stress and the warning signs are exaggerated symptoms of this – the person may experience nausea, anxiety, sweating, and paleness of the face (hard to spot under TV make-up) as the faint comes on. Dizziness and light-headedness are almost always experienced, followed by a few seconds of unconsciousness. Sheikh had been recovering from an illness and it was most likely the combination of this and the pressure of being on television that caused him to faint, but heat and a reaction to medication are also common causes.


Briefly, make them comfortable – and if they’re not swiftly back to normal, call an ambulance.

Fainting is normally very brief and, as was the case with Simon Sheikh, they’re normally starting to come round by the time that anyone else has realised that they truly have passed out. As they regain consciousness, you need to make them comfortable so that they do not faint again. The best action here is to lie them down and, preferably, to elevate their legs to help blood flow back into their brain. Sheikh’s seemingly immediate recovery was encouraging but the Q&A staff really should not have made him stand up straight away, frankly it’s surprising he didn’t faint again. On the other hand, he is probably glad that no one lay him down and moved his legs about on live television. Once the person is lying down, loosen any restrictive clothing (luckily Sheikh isn’t a politician so he was sporting that relaxed, top shirt-button undone look) and try to keep them calm. Full recovery from fainting normally takes a couple of minutes longer than regaining consciousness and the person may feel anxious or unwell during this time.

Danger signs:

Fainting can be the first sign of a serious health problem. If you detect any of the following, call an ambulance immediately.

* Trouble breathing (if still unconscious, try rolling the person onto their side and attempting to clear their airway)
* Abnormal pulse or heart palpitations
* Slurred speech
* Confusion
* Difficulty moving their arms or face
* Loss of balance or coordination
* Chest pains
* If the person is pregnant or has an existing medical problem, e.g., a heart condition

Again, in summary, make them comfortable and if they’re not swiftly back to normal, call an ambulance. Other than that, take a first aid course! I hope that Sophie Mirabella takes one. Poor Simon Sheikh goes to show that this kind of thing can happen to anyone, anywhere, and the best thing to do is to be prepared.

Q&A, First Aid & Fainting

Mountview Music Festival Set

Only six months late, here’s the mix I played at the world-famous Mountview Music Festival last New Year’s Eve – thanks for your patience.

Silence Wedge – Mountview Music Festival Set (320) [rapidshare]

Also available for weddings and birthdays.
Also available for weddings and birthdays.

It’s pretty much all of the music that was getting me excited at the end of the year – that is to say, electro. Boys Noize, Justice, Mr. Oizo, Soulwax, Sebastian all feature heavily.

Mr. Oizo – Gay Dentists (JFK Edit)
Lykke Li – Jump Up (Breaking It Up Punks Remix)
Tokyo Police Club – Your English (Shy Child Remix)
Yelle – Ce Jeu (Cool Kids Can’t Die Remix)
Grinderman – No Pussy Blues (Adam Freeland Remix)
Smashing Pumpkins – Zero Machine (Le Castle Vanie Remix)
The Kills – Cheap and Cheerful (SebastiAn Remix)
Laidback Luke – Teachers
Daft Punk – Human After All (SebastiAn Remix)
Boys Noize – Oh!
Soulwax – NY Lipps
The Klaxons – Gravity’s Rainbow (Soulwax Remix)
Justice – Phantom Pt II (Boys Noize Remix)
Mr. Oizo – Positif (nicY Remix)
MGMT – Kids (Soulwax Remix)

Mountview Music Festival Set

The Parachute Ending

I’ve been hot on Birdy Nam Nam for a while, a four-Frenchman DJ team that are apparently trying to make their electronic equipment sound more like instruments. I’m not sure about that but they’ve succeeded in making it sound like awesome. They’ve just released this fantastic new clip for The Parachute Ending, one of their best tracks off the new album, Manual for Successful Rioting. This song is produced by Xavier from Justice and it’s easy to tell when you hear it, it’s got his fingerprint all over it.

Probably the coolest clip I’ve seen in a while. If that doesn’t make you want to go into space and fight robot sarcophagi, nothing will.

Here’s the track, and my favourite remix of it:
Birdy Nam Nam – The Parachute Ending [mediafire]
Birdy Nam Nam – The Parachute Ending (Vitalic Remix) [YSI]

Most of Birdy Nam Nam’s stuff isn’t this Justice-y – that’s not to say they’re necessarily any slower, just that they have their own style – but they have two absolutely cracking and consistent albums. More than any electro group, these guys sound French. Really French. I particularly recommend the tracks Abbesses (check this clip to see them mixing it up live in all their glory) and Trans-Boulogne Express.

The Parachute Ending