As many of you are aware, an Australian Federal election is coming up on September 7th. You may not know that a record high 1,717 candidates are standing for seats in the house or senate around Australia from 54 different parties. Rather than going by some of my previous voting methods which have included rolling dice, asking questions on the day, and going by how many of their members have appeared on Good News Week (I joined the UQ Australian Democrats club but never attended any meetings on the basis of Natasha Stott Despoja's many appearances on GNW), this time I'm making an effort to be informed.
To achieve this I'm reading up on every one of the 54 registered parties, and I'm going to give each one a bit of a write up here. I'm currently at around 30/55 so still have a bit to do, but I'm hoping to churn through the rest before the end of next week.
I'm also sending an email of questions to each party. Depending on how detailed the information they have on their websites are, the questions are usually about 1/3-1/2 questions about their policies, and the rest are some general questions I'm putting to every questions. These general questions include "Who would you try to make a deal with in the event of a hung parliament?", "How does your party decide on policies?", "Why should I vote for you?", and some other similar questions. These general questions may be cut where the policies are pretty clear where they stand on a matter (I didn't feel the need to ask the No Carbon Tax (Climate Sceptics) party what they thought of the Carbon Tax for example).
In doing the write ups I'm going to try to be fair, but I'm also going to be giving my assessment of the parties. If I think they're crazy, I'll say so, but I'll give my reasons why. I'll try and present pros as well as cons, things I agree with and disagree with.
So far I've not had much success in getting responses to my emails (1 actual response, 3 read our websites, and a few automated we've got your email and will get back to you as soon as we can). I had initially been planning on waiting for responses before doing the write ups, but since it turns out I've been wildly optimistic about the response rate I'd get, I'm going to do the write ups and if I get a response I'll do a follow up.
In terms of order of write up, I'm generally going in alphabetical order, with a few exceptions. A half dozen parties were registered after I got my initial list of parties from the AEC website (the full list of parties), so they got tacked onto the end of the list. I'm also going to save the major parties (by which I mean parties with more than 1 person in parliament already, so the ALP, the Coalition, and the Greens) for last, as they get a heck of a lot of coverage already.