Anyone but the majors

(Warning: Contains political content about the upcoming Australian federal election – although not the type you might expect…)

Annabel Crabb hit a nerve with this article opening recently:

You’re one week into a federal election campaign that is going to sprawl malevolently over one sixth of this calendar year. So I imagine you may be reading this in the comfort of your own home panic room. Or maybe you’re living under the surface of a local billabong, respiring shallowly through a straw and emerging only under cover of darkness to scavenge for picnic scraps. All perfectly understandable.

So for a cheery break, I want to talk about endangered animals.

It appears I’m not the only one who is highly frustrated by the current political climate. The double disillusion meme about Shorten vs. Turnbull only scratches the surface of the problem: we have an excess of self-serving, short-sighted narcissists vying for our votes, and a distinct lack of real leadership.1

So I’d like to take this opportunity to remind Australian voters that preferential voting is a key weapon in our arsenal to bring some humility to our so-called representatives.

All you have to do is this: put everyone but the majors before the majors on both the Senate and the House of Representatives ballots. It’s that simple. Still pick the parties which better match your views, but make sure you leave the ones who actually have a chance of getting elected to the end. The new above-the-line preferential voting in the Senate makes this nice and easy.

In the Senate, this has a great chance of actually electing minor party members, as happened during the last federal elections. In the House of Reps it’s far less likely that the non-majors will be elected, but at least those electorates which have prominent independents might see some change (in the way of a swing away from the majors).

Which government would be better for Australia? A Turnbull-led LNP with complete control over the Senate, or a Turnbull-led LNP with 8 minor party senators, 5 of which have to be won over to get any legislation through? A Shorten-led ALP with a clear majority in the House of Reps, or a Shorten-led ALP who needs to get the Greens on board to change anything significant? I think the latter choice would be far preferable in each case.


  1. In our recent local elections, I got so fed up with this that I instituted a new personal voting methodology: I would vote in order of whose face I had seen least often on advertising signs. In the event of a tie, I would vote based on who had seemingly spent the least on hair, makeup, and wardrobe for their advertising photos. This method was 100% successful in predicting the exact opposite of the vote count in our electorate.