Australian General Election 2019 FAQ

The Australian gneral election is this saturday May 18 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Australian_federal_election

Didn’t you just have an election?

That was the New South Wales state election. This is the Federal election.

You could have just done both at the same time.

That’s a statement not a question.

[sigh] Ok. WHY didn’t you just have both elections at the same time?

It would have been too confusing. For example state constituencies and federal constituencies are very similar but not quite the same. For example these two maps show the constituency centred on the town of Penrith in Western Sydney (a key battleground electorally) Lindsay (Federal) versus Penrith (State).

And the parties are different?

No, that’s pretty much the same but the reputation of the state v federal versions of the major political parties can be different. For example NSW Labor is still a bit shambolic after several years of corruption scandals whereas Federal Labor has a better reputation. On the other other hand NSW Liberals are more centrist than Federal Liberals.

And the Liberals are conservatives, right?

Yes and “Labor” is spelt the American way even though Australian’s spell “labour” the British way.

So what are the big issues?

Taxes, Wages, Super and Climate Change. Housing in general is an issue but it is fairly vague.

Super? The government will be cracking down on costumed vigilantes? About time too, that Spider-Man is a menace!

Superannuation. If you work you pay into money for your retirement. There are mandatory aspects to this for employers. People can manage their own superannuation, or join a for-profit superfund or join a not-for-profit industry superfund. Some self-employed people invest their super into shares and there is a special kind of tax-refund that helps that. Labor want to abolish that refund on share dividends and some people are upset by that.

Ah, yes, this would be the franking credit/dividend imputation credits policy. Can you explain for us all what a franking credit is?

No, I haven’t a clue.

That was the only proper question I had.

You could ask about climate change.

[sigh] What about climate change?

Well it is a bad thing for Australia. Australia isn’t the easiest place to farm and Australian farmers are feeling the impact of less predictable weather and long term shifts in climate. Bush fires, droughts and floods all impact rural communities.

However, right leaning parties are also beholden to powerful mining interest in Australia and the coal lobby is very powerful. Pricing carbon emissions has been an issue that has toppled a series of party leaders and Prime Ministers over the past few years.

So…

The Liberal Party officially recognises that climate change is occurring and that action needs to be taken but has a powerful climate change denialist faction within it. Labor is keen to not lose votes to The Greens by being too soft on Climate Change but is painfully aware that they will get attacked by the right wing press over any specific policy. Overall, voters are keen on action around climate change but are wary when it comes to specific policies.

You’ll be eating sausages?

You remembered!

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21 thoughts on “Australian General Election 2019 FAQ

  1. My notes for the WA Senate Ballot:

    Senate options (WA)

    * Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – Close the borders, climate change might be happening but Australia shouldn’t be doing anything about it, build more dams, create more jobs and apprenticeships for Australians, stop the rorting of government services (it must be happening, surely?), make the Muslims Go Home, come see our new firearms policy (straight from the US NRA), oh and we reserve the right to pull out of any deal where we think we’re being cheated. Far right nutbars.
    * Involuntary Medication Objectors (Vaccination/Fluoride) Party – Protecting our precious bodily fluids… and other peoples’ right to die of or be crippled by preventable diseases. Single issue nutbars
    * Liberal – Main policy platform appears to be “Beware of the ALP” – they certainly haven’t unveiled anything new.
    * The Greens (WA) – Left wing optimists – good range of policies, which I suspect are largely workable, but they’re perceived as needing government experience, which they aren’t going to get from the cross-benches in the Senate. Unfortunately their lack of government experience means people aren’t voting them into the House of Reps, so they’re not going to get it.
    * FRASER ANNING’S CONSERVATIVE NATIONAL PARTY – Far right Nazis. Main policy: “No Blacks, no Muslims”.
    * Pirate Party – Free speech (libertarian definition), personal privacy, personal liberties, bill of rights – a lot of this is very much not aimed at Australian conditions (the death penalty isn’t legal anywhere in Australia to begin with) and appears to be patching non-existent holes in the system.
    * Australian Labor Party – Good range of policies, but still trying to be centreist in order to capture votes from the Liberals, and therefore somewhat conservative in their policy choices. If they’d step a bit more toward the radical left, and actually differentiate themselves from the Libs in a substantial way, they might find a bit more electoral success, but I doubt they’re willing to risk it.
    * WESTERN AUSTRALIA PARTY – WA uber alles, very much geared toward the wants of Liberal voters in the western suburbs.
    * United Australia Party – Clive Palmer’s vanity party, lots of candidates who are ex-PHON, flirting with the far right, arranging preference deals with the Liberals.
    * Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party – Potheads for change. Generally left-ish, but still single issue nutbars.
    * Australian Christians – Far right Protestant Nazis.
    * Animal Justice Party – would be a lot more acceptable to me if they remembered h.sapiens is part of the animal kingdom too. Single issue nutbars.
    * Australian Conservatives – Corey Bernardi’s vanity party. Conservative Christian right-wing nutbars.
    * Liberal Democrats – Glibertarians by any other name are still anti-social bastards. And nutbars.
    * Citizens Electoral Council – worshippers at the shrine of Lyndon LaRouche (anti-semitic, strongly authoritarian); right wing nutbars.
    * Shooters, Fishers and Farmers – Far right nutbars trying to appeal to those rural folk who are jack of the Nationals
    * Socialist Alliance – Far left nutbars.
    * The Great Australian Party – Founded by Rod Cullerton (ex-PHON), sovereign citizen conspiracy flavoured far-right nutbars.
    * Yellow Vest Australia – formerly the “Australian Liberty Alliance” – anti-Islamic (which is pretty much code for “right-wing nutbar” these days).
    * Health Australia Party – “natural” and “integrative” medicine quacks.
    * The Nationals – Main policy position appears to be that nothing is too good for the mining industry or big Ag, provided the payouts keep coming.
    * Sustainable Australia – Population control aka keep forriners out!
    * VOTEFLUX.ORG | Upgrade Democracy! – We have no policies and are trying to outsource everything about politics (except the senators’ salaries) to the voters. (Aka the “nice work if you can get it” party).
    * The Australian Mental Health Party – Fluffy, focus largely on education and health, not much about how they’re going to do things, more on what they’d like to do.

    PEGRUM, Valentine-Clive – It’s not fair! Appears to be anti-big-parties, anti-immigrant, and thinks the whole lot could do with a shake-up. Running a federal campaign on state issues
    HUTCHINSON, Glenn – Small businesses need to be able to operate unrestricted by any kind of impediment whatsoever (ie extreme glibertarian).
    JONES, Murray Victor – It’s all terrible! Largely appears to be running a federal campaign on state issues as well.
    CAREW-HOPKINS, Brian – Have consequences for lying to get into office (well, technically we do – it’s called “the next election”).

    Australian politics is turning into a morass of far-right nutbars. About the only reassuring thing is none of them really want to work with any of the others.

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    1. “Sustainable Australia – Population control aka keep forriners out!”

      I encountered these eco-fascists leafleting in the State election. They led with leaflets against raising the level of Waragamba dam…which segued into ‘we wouldn’t need more water if it wasn’t for immigrants’. Which was…new? I guess?

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      1. “Help, the immigrants are stealing our water” is definitely new. Mostly, rightwing nutcases complain about immigrants stealing pensions and women and sometimes jewellery.

        Australia has certainly assembled a fine collection of single issue nutbar parties, but then you don’t seem to have such delights as the Natural Law Party (wants to bring about world peace through transcendental meditation – good luck to them) or the Anarchistic Pogo Party – motto: “Work is shit.”

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      1. Apparently they changed the name to the Reason Party in 2017, although it retains close connections to the adult industry lobby group the Eros Association. Currently have one sitting member in the Victoria state Legislative Council. It certainly isn’t fielding any candidates in the federal NSW senate election (I was particularly looking for it as a possible second preference), but I’m not sure about the other states.

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    1. The Natural Law Party of Canada’s brief flirtation with relevance pretty much began and ended with stage magician Doug Henning’s running for office for the party.

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    2. I’m surprised that the Natural Law Party has spread so far. I thought they were a particular bit of German political idiocy. Though the Anarchistic Pogo Party is all ours.

      We also have Die Partei (The Party) which started out as a parody project, won one seat in the last European parliament and is suddenly starting to sound like a viable alternative.

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      1. Here, that would be the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, which had as their official campaign platform a promise to keep none of their promises. They used to joke about being Marxist-Lennonists. (Groucho Marx and John Lennon.)

        They never won a seat, but actually came close a couple of times, getting up to 1% of the popular vote, and were in second place in multiple ridings in 1984, which kind of scared the party leadership. They dissolved in 1993 after a change in the electoral rules meant that they would have had to put a lot more money up front to officially count as a federal party.

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      2. I wouldn’t mind (Groucho) Maxists-Lennonists.

        At some point, most of those stunt and parody parties have to decide whether they want to be a real party or whether to give up. Die Partei seems to be opting for the former and just made waves by handing over the federally mandated campaign spot TV time to an organisation rescuing shipwrecked refugees and immigrants in the Mediterranean, whose graphic spot featuring a drowning boy the TV stations refused to broadcast. But the TV stations cannot refuse campaign spots and so the spot was broadcast after all, courtesy of Die Partei. It got them a lot of sympathy.

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      3. To corect Cora: If I remember correctly, Die Partei chanced its spot a bit and the TVStation was okay with broadcasting it then.
        As far as I know the only party which was a case for the judges to decied was that of the NPD (In this case sympathis lie with the TV or Radiostation)
        The spot of the AFD (our unfortunatly sucesful far right party) was as I was told very bad and confusing, (I haven’t caught it myself I have caught the CSU the one Cora wants to call the Edelweisparty twotimes on the radio, I am not a fan but the spot was okay)

        Respect for megpie71 I couldn’t do the same for all the germanpartys (but I don’t vote what I don’t know)

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      4. NPD campaign posters have shown up in the neighbouring town and they’re disgusting, so I totally sympathise with TV and radio stations not wanting to broadcast them.

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  2. I liked the name of Canada’s Wildrose party. I just like the thought of some Alberta cowboy politician running as the Wildrose candidate.

    The best party of all time was the Pail and Shovel party at the University of Wisconsin Madison. It was only student government, but they were pretty amazing. The name comes from their promise to cover the campus quad with pennies and then the students would be allowed to go out with pail and shovel to retrieve what they could. They used to throw money at the audience before or after any student government meeting.

    They promised to bring the Statue of Liberty to Lake Mendota and constructed a replica of the top of the statues head and arm with the torch which was put out on the frozen lake.

    They’re most famous for covering Bascom Hill with plastic pink flamingos. The act lives on in the name of the current Forward Madison FC soccer team who are called the Flamingos and whose change jersey is bright pink.

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    1. Well, the Wild Rose is the provincial flower of Alberta. This makes it an unsurprising name for what is basically an Alberta-first nativist party.

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      1. I now wish that Die Bayernpartei (The Bavarian Party) or the CSU (Christian Social Union – Bavaria only sister party of Angela Merkel’s conservative party) would rename itself the Edelweiss Party.

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      2. They’d have to come up with a new Edelweiss song as the holders of the rights to the Rodgers and Hammerstein song are very protective.

        I wish someone would expand the Wikipedia page on ideological symbols. It’s interesting to see the various designs political parties have adopted.

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      3. Since “The Sound of Music” isn’t that well known here anyway, I doubt they’d use that song.

        Of course, if they called themselves the Enzian Party (another Alpine flower), they could use “Blau, blau, blau, blüht der Enizan” (The Enzian blooms blue, blue, blue – just in case you didn’t get it was blue).

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      4. Blue, blue, my party’s blue
        Blue is my world since I always vote blue
        Gray, gray my world is gray
        Cold is my heart since election day

        (A French song with English lyrics for a German party? Sure, why not. It was an entry in Eurovision for Luxembourg with a Greek singer.)

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