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