It’s sixteen hours before Anthony Abbott delivers his victory speech, leering like a blue-tied Caesar over the smouldering ruins of Gaul. I’m hunkered in my bunker staring at this screen, draped in a ratty grey dressing gown and struggling to think of a word to write. Maybe it would be easier if I thought that Labor had a chance, but that’s impossible outside the crumbling, ember-flecked Library of Alexandria that is Bob Ellis’ mind. Ellis, once a luminary activist, has lost the plot, vanished entirely inside himself, a bag of potatoes gone to seed – like he’s the jowly personification of the ALP itself.
Antony Green, infallible election elf and the only being in creation who fully understands the preference system, has foreseen that it’s not only over, but that Abbott will probably win control the Senate, unfettered except for the blood-stained rubber stamps of a couple of right-wing minor parties. That’s $4 billion gone from foreign aid for the hungry; refugee arrivals will be censored from the media then turned back to their potential deaths at gunpoint and all serious action on human-made Climate Change to be ravaged, while scientists across the world are talking about “Near-Term Human Extinction”. I’m currently working on a fun hemlock drinking game for tomorrow night, so far it’s pretty simple:
1. The results are announced. Skull.
But perhaps I’m being a spot morbid about the impending Helter Skelter, especially considering that the major parties are basically running on a unity ticket and there’s scarcely a skerrick of difference betwixt them. That’s a comforting thought – there’s no point crying over spilt democracy that was illusory anyway; lactated by the fat eels of self-interest who lay coiled in the dank pits of our worst nature. But at least I’m not taking any of this personally.
So, microparties, skipping like fleas on the corpse of democracy. I have to get up in a few hours to be abused by people as I try to hand them how to vote cards, so I’m not going to run through every single candidate, just some of their schticks and any dark secrets I’ve uncovered – a pithy pokédex of below the line voting.
☮ ONE MAN’S FREEDOM FIGHTER ☮
We live an in era of creeping authoritarianism and omniscient surveillance, trapped like Sims in a swimming pool once the ladder’s been deleted. Fair enough that parties of all political stripes would charge for our vote under the blue-facepainted facade of protecting our liberties.
THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, SMOKERS RIGHTS, THE AUSTRALIAN REPUBLICANS & STOP THE GREENS (OUTDOOR RECREATION PARTY)
I put these in together because they’re the same party. All controlled by the same well-funded libertarian group, these dummy parties exist to funnel preferences to one another from a broad platform of unsuspecting voters. It’s basically the equivalent of the Simpsons episode where Sideshow Bob rigs the mayoral election by getting dead pets to vote for him – by registering four parties rather than one, this cabal quadrupled the chance of having one of their fronts appearing at the top of the randomised ballot. In fact, this is exactly what happened in NSW, where the Liberal Democrats have the plum “A” position on the ballot sheet, meaning they’ll scoop up the donkey votes. The LDP are economic and social libertarians who stand for “greater freedom, smaller government and personal responsibility” – or in other words, market fundamentalists with a penchant for pulling cones. All three of the other parties were registered in July and specifically target indignant smokers, rural conservatives and anti-monarchists respectively. Their policies involve support for social freedoms like euthanasia and same-sex marriage, cutting income tax to a flat rate of 20%, and turning society into a hellish cauldron of lassaiz fair savagery where only the economically strong survive. Not that I’m anything other than completely objective.
HELP END MARIJUANA PROHIBITION PARTY
Given the success of the Cannabis reform in Colarado, Washington and New Zealand, the normally half-baked HEMP party have gone to this election all guns blazing, handing out fliers in the major cities and partaking in a couple of rallies. Though they don’t have a joint ticket with their buddies the Drug Law Reform party, they have put them high in the preferences.
DRUG LAW REFORM
With a little more mainstream respectability than the above, the Drug Law Reform Party are led by Greg Chipp, a former victim of heroin addiction and son of Democrats founder Don Chipp. They support the decriminalisation of low-harm drugs like weed and MDMA and a “new regulatory approach” to deal with addiction to harder drugs, but seem to be more interested in shifting the tone of the debate than providing concrete policy. Chipp recently had a swipe at at a HEMP, saying “We aren’t trying to appeal to the hippies from Nimbin, we want the Mums and Dads.” The pretentious red-eyed undergrad to HEMP’s couch crustacean.
THE WIKILEAKS PARTY
Ironically leaking like a sieve and falling apart in clumps of wet paper since volatile Western Australian candidate Gerry Georgatos preferenced the Nationals ahead of the steady-haired Greens senator Scott Ludlum, who was Wikileak’s biggest defender in parliament but will probably lose his seat. That caused Julian Assange’s second in command Leslie Canold to quit the party and run as an independent and the whole Wikileaks earth-hourglass to go pear shaped. They believe in supporting Snowden, Manning and freedom of information. Their cause may or may not have been helped by Julian Assange’s unfathomable Johnny Farnham lip-syncing, but after that many months locked in an embassy I’d probably lose my marbles too.
THE SEX PARTY
Funded by porn lobby group the Eros Association, the Sex Party are civil libertarians who reckon that Government should stay out of our bedrooms. They can come into mine, the only things of interest are a burgeoning empty goon bag collection and a framed photo of my Jungian spirit guide, Peter Helliar. (Long story). During the 2010 election the Sex Party raised some eyebrows in a non-sexy way when they invited a neonazi to their campaign launch. They’ve preferenced One Nation a little higher than some would be comfortable with, but the deals this year are so bizarre it’s hard to know what to think.
THE PIRATE PARTY
Part of an international movement with roots in Scandanavia, online swashbucklers who are keen on internet liberty and want to restore the balance of privacy in favour of the people. ARRRR, etc.
卍 I’M NOT RACIST, BUT… 卍
Mainstream Australia often has whiffs that suggest it’s a xenophobic swamp, but that’s nothing compared to the hateful reek of it’s ever-present political extremities.
STABLE POPULATION PARTY
Not actually racist! Weren’t expecting that, were you, cynics? Dick Smith types who want to massively reduce immigration, they have some dodgy claims about Australia running out food by next Thursday but don’t want to select migrants on ethnic grounds. They’ve taken pains to distance themselves from bigots like…
Everyone’s favourite star-dancing, race-hating jailbird is back with a vengeance. I don’t like it.
AUSTRALIA FIRST PARTY
While One Nation’s brand of racism is mostly militant boganism, the AFP are full-blown fascists. Their leader, Dr Jim Saleam, is an intensely creepy white nationalist with a who served time in prison for plotting to assassinate a member of Nelson Mendala’s political party. The “Torpedo The Boats” controversy they were embroiled in last year was a particularly charming incident.
CITIZENS ELECTORAL COUNCIL
Inspired by the ideas of insane cult leader Lyndon LaRouche, the CEC has a bizarre cocktail of paranoid policies that stretch from extremely lengthy diatribes about the “Bretton Woods monetary system” to revelations about the impending nuclear war. They have a quaint conspiracy theory about the royal family but also aren’t so keen on Jewish people. Very unpleasant.
There are other parties, but most of them are either quotidian and self-explanatory, like the Australian Motorist Enthusiasts, or completely inexplicable, like the Coke In The Bubblers Party.
Goodnight gentle readers. Thirteen hours to go now. I’m tired and it’s way too late, but there doesn’t seem to be any light coming through the window.