240 / Don't vote according to a how-to-vote card

In the Grand Scheme of Things, well, this is rather important: Don't vote according to a how-to-vote card ... it probably is not in your interest - how so?

One hears this nonsensical comment all the time: "What's the point in voting ... the parties are all the same, there's no real difference!" Oh, really? That may make sense for the two major parties. But you sell yourself (or rather your vote) short if you only consider the majors.

This is the long and short of it: For the Parliament (small, green ballot paper), vote 1 for a minor party (and 2, 3 as well) who really stand for what you believe in, even though they may not have a chance of "getting in".  UPDATE: Only now did I look up my choices where I vote (North Sydney) and the parties I would want to preference are not standing any candidates here, so my vote goes straight to 1 Greens and then 2 Labor ... If you spend 15 min with this issue, you realise it's a no-brainer. Myself, for instance, I will not vote for the Liberals, nor will I vote for Labor; my vote will go to the Greens (however, as you'll see, if it can't be helped, I want my vote to go rather to Labor than Liberals). That's for the Lower House (the House of Representatives, the Parliament, where you have the PM, the ministers and the opposition), the small, green voting card ... remember, you must put a number in each of its fields. Check out the AEC website for details and examples.

On the large, white ballot paper you vote for the Upper House, the Senate (we have a two-tiered Government system ... where laws that are drafted in the Parliament have to pass the Senate; this is why it's so important that the Government party does not also have the majority in the Senate). On this paper you can put a number 1 above the line, or you have to (unbelievably) put a number in each box below the line (that's more than 100). Here's the rub: If you choose the first, you don't necessarily know where that party sends their preferences, unless you inform yourself right here. This is another huge Government PDF ... but don't despair, it shows you the preference choices of each and every Senate candidate. For instance, scroll down to Group P - Sex Party. They have two candidates, after them, their next preference 3 and 4 are the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, 5 and 6 Stop CSG (Coal Seam Gas mining) etc. If you want to know where preferences will flow, this PDF is a very useful information source ... and the only one I know of.

But have a look at what the Sex Party stands for ... (link on the right of my BLOG AND LINKS summary page): 

Churches to pay their fair share of tax; same sex marriage; abortion: read their policy; 
regulate and tax marijuana; decriminalise personal drug use; no data retention; national anti-discrimination laws; legalise voluntary euthanasia ... all very sensible stuff, so for the Parliament they get my number 1. UPDATE: They don't stand a candidate in North Sydney, so I only can vote for them on the large White Ballot paper for the Senate, which is covered if I vote 1 Greens above the line

My number 2 goes to the Secular Party (I have a link for them too on my BLOG page): 

Imagine no religion in government; we want all Australians to enjoy freedom of and from religion in a liberal, secular democracy. UPDATE: They don't stand a candidate in North Sydney, so I only can vote for them on the large White Ballot paper for the Senate, which is covered if I vote 1 Greens above the line

For the Senate I have now decided to do it the hard way and VOTE BELOW THE LINE after all that's the only safe way; phew ... I've got to look up what for instance The Future party is all about. Anyway, that's probably a good thing. The thing is to number early on the parties where you know their agenda (and like it) and then number the party you want to end up with, i.e. Greens, Labor or Liberal ... but don't forget to then number all the others. Here's another way to go: Read the spiel by Anthony Green about how to vote smart ... he's really smart.
So ... this is it now, I'm over the election and voting. Good Night and Good Luck.

Before I hand over to Patrick Alexander, who's produced this comic, let me just say this (omg, did I really choose that phrase?) ... make sure to read the last point he makes in his comic (about why voting for minor parties is important and good). You may like this sort of comic or you may not, but bear with him, he explains the issue very effectively. 

Dennis the Election Koala gives Ken the Voting Dingo an important lesson in civics!

Any time there’s a federal election approaching, you’ll see and hear Australians saying things like, “I’d like to vote for [Minor Party/Independent] but the most important thing is to keep [Major Party A] out, so I’d better vote for [Major Party B].” But this concern doesn’t apply in Australia; we have a more elegant voting system than that. We seem to have picked up ideas about “wasting your vote” from American TV shows or something.

So here’s a comic designed to clear up this common misconception and explain how preferential voting works! I’ve tried to make it non-partisan and future-proof, but I declare my interest: I'm a Greens member.