Back by meagre demand!
Wondering which vaguely-named micro-parties are secretly Nazis, wizards, or God’s blessed elect? Well you’re in luck, baby. Here’s my time-honoured rogue’s gallery of Senate candidates for your electoral pleasure.
I’ve ordered these according the Victorian Senate ballot, and missed a few who are only running in other states. I wrote most of these descriptions at 3am last night, so some are gargantuan essays and others single lines.
A. Reason Australia
The raunchy rhetoric and Maccas palette of the old Australian Sex Party are long gone. Reason’s ‘sensible solutions’ and tasteful turquoise hues suggests a closer to affinity to the teal wave of small-l liberal independents gunning for blue ribbon government seats.
This broad bloc seems to represent an emerging tendency in Australian politics that catalysed in reaction to COVID: inner-city, educated, white-collar workers who just wanted the experts to manage the pandemic and are politely fed up with the major parties.
They want people with professional credentials and personal integrity to write and implement policy based on evidence and values, the most urgent of which are climate action and a Federal Independent Commission in Corruption (ICAC).
While this framework is progressive, it can be technocratic, and tends to misdiagnose the source of our woes as incompetent management rather than underlying structures of power.
These candidates are also unlikely to fight for much-needed radical economic change – especially the Climate 200 Candidates, who are backed by pro-renewables billionaire Simon Holmes à Court, whose great-granduncle was a baron.
Reason are possibly better – they’ve always had biggish donors, but have a fairly comprehensive platform.
B. (Group B)
In March 2020, Gary Canning called off his wedding because his bride had lied to him about a cult called Restoration Order. To clear his mind, he went bushwalking on an island owned by a billionaire and stumbled across two weeping girls imprisoned in a mineshaft in the scrub.
As Gary lowered a rope to pass them water, 2003 Australian Idol runner-up Robert ‘Millsy’ Mills shot him in the back with an arrow. He died in the dirt beneath pitiless gums and the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic.
Some combination of these events had a big effect on Jack Irish actor Damien Richardson, who played Gary on Neighbours and is now running for the Senate on an antivax platform.
This is the other, opposite strand of post-COVID politics: anti-lockdown, anti-vax, anti-everything. Canning’s manifesto says ‘we say no to the tyranny of experts’. Half a dozen other Senate candidates are also fighting for this vote.
The most annoying thing about conspiracy theorists is that they’re almost on the money. You shouldn’t trust governments, and murderous elite cabals do exploit us, lie to us, spy on us, poison us and shrink our legal freedoms year on year. They’re called company boards and you can see the worst ones listed on the ASX.
‘Globalist institutions,’ Richardson’s manifesto says, ‘like the UN, The WEF, The WHO, and big Pharma and big tech dominate The Nation State.’
Right on. Unfortunately, things quickly deteriorate. He thinks COVID is fake, doctors are in on it, and that sinister transgender elements are trying to corrupt our children.
Without the tools to diagnose the systemic causes of the absurdity and suffering, we start skipping connections get unmoored. The world feels fake, a fever dream, an episode of Neighbours. And in that void you’re easy prey for whatever reassuring grifter comes along: quacks, conmen, online cults and even Neo-Nazis, who Richardson marched alongside in the anti-lockdown protests last year. Before you know it, your doctor is microchipping you with the brand of Beelzebub and (((Dan Andrews))) is trafficking child slaves through the Metro Tunnel.
It’s hard to tell how far down the mineshaft Damien Richardson has fallen. Then again, he is in the media elite himself, so it all could be a psy-op. He is looking authentically twitchy, but the Logies have been cancelled for two years so it could just be adrenochrome withdrawals.
C. Australian Democrats
Once the great centrist third force of Australian politics, Deregistered in 2015, then revived in 2019 by current leader, former Senator Lyn Allison.
Kind of proto-teals, I guess. Good policies on corruption, environment and social justice, but their past incarnation’s deals with the devil (John Howard) helped pave the highway to hell.
D. Liberal/The Nationals
Effectively a front organisation for the interests of fossil-fuel oligarchs. Vote them out.
E. Legalise Cannabis Australia
I forgot they hadn’t done this yet. Rebrand of H.E.M.P.
F. Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption
An off-brand Greens with an anti-immigration twist. While they have dialled back the implicit racism of their past policies (their website insists that some of their best friends are Asian) it’s important to remember that the environment isn’t fucked because there are too many people. It’s fucked because there are too many extremely rich people fucking it, like SAP donor Dick Smith.
G. Australian Values Party
Right-wing electoral vehicle of eight-packed influencer Heston Russel, a retired Special Forces Major with a pending war crimes investigation and gay OnlyFans account who recently punched a dude at a pool party.
H. Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
More than half of the women and children in prison and youth detention in Victoria haven’t been found guilty or sentenced. They’re on remand awaiting trial, because draconian laws have made bail almost impossible to access.
There’s no evidence that bail poses a statistically significant danger to the community, unlike mass incarceration, which increases crime in the long run by hardening rather than rehabilitating offenders.
Two-thirds of kids in remand will not even go on to receive prison sentences. But that won’t undo the trauma and stigma they’ll carry for the rest of their lives, however brief they may be.
In light of this crisis, radio shock-jock Derryn Hinch is campaigning under the slogan ‘less bail, more jail’. He’s previously voiced his support for the death penalty.
I. The Animal Justice Party
I guess they must want to introduce kangaroo courts!
What you’d expect: end factory farming, stop dog racing, close the Crown Casino bearbaiting ring. A tad too sentimental about feral horses, which are demolishing ecosystems endangered species depend on.
J. Australian Progressives
Formerly called the Progressive Labour Party, they want to cut emissions to zero 2030, raise welfare above the poverty line, make uni free and a bunch of other things the Greens also want to do with a hundred times more voters behind them. To be fair, it would be more fun starting your own party than joining someone else’s.
K. Australian Labor Party
Ineffectively a front organisation for the interests of fossil fuel oligarchs. Vote them in.
L. United Australia Party
In 2019, a tax-dodging nickel tycoon spent some loose change to use almost every newspaper, TV channel, Youtube ad, radio station and billboard in the country to sway a Federal election in order to get his coal mines built. He won five per cent of the national vote.
This time, after tragically surviving COVID himself, Clive Palmer is garnering support among passionate freedom protesters who are sick of sinister forces manipulating democracy, and the brainwashing power of the mainstream media.
UAP’s main policy is to stop the Australian Government, World Economic Forum, and New World Order deliberately engineer an inflation crisis in order to steal everyone’s mum’s houses and sell them to the Chinese Communist Party.
To be fair, it is true that if the UAP get elected absolutely none of that will happen.
M. Socialist Alliance
One of three socialist groups running, they publish Green Left Weekly have a couple of local councillors. Good eggs IMHO.
N. Australian Federation Party
Despite its benign centrist packaging, the erstwhile Country Alliance’s policy platform is based on ‘Christian values’ and aims to roll back abortions, ban the ‘teaching of gender fluidity theory (or any other sexual theory) in schools’, and bring back corporal punishment.
As Jesus famously said, ‘…throw the first stone.’
The year is 2023. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has won the crucial Senate support he needs to sell Uluru to Chevron by announcing that a stocks, pillory and whipping post will be installed in every major rural centre. Opposition Leader Jim Chalmers supports the ConLasher scheme, as it will create regional jobs.
O. Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party
Cos’ I’m a shooter, I’m a fisher, I’m a farmer and I’m a sinner | You should give me back my guns
P. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
I like how she puts her name in it, like Bert’s Family Feud.
Q. Citizens Party
A boost to health spending. A public bank at the post office. A ban on house foreclosures. An end to the Queen of England’s satanic grip on the global drug trade and international finance system which she used to orchestrate the 9/11 attacks and disseminate rock and roll music to brainwash the youth and undermine the West.
The former Citizen’s Electoral Council, which boldly claims to be ‘inspired by the policies of old Labor’, is devoted to the ideas of the late Lyndon LaRouche, a Holocaust-denying cult leader who once ran for US President on a platform of sending everyone with AIDS to an island.
In LaRouche’s own words, he psychologically ‘broke down’ his closest followers in a process he called ‘ego stripping’ to make them more loyal. He was also weirdly central to Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ defensive initiative. The Dollop podcast did an episode about him.
The Citizens Party raised $2.3 million in donations in 2020-21, which bodes ill.
R. (Group R)
Morgan Jones, a former United Australia Party candidate and aspiring antivax demagogue who got Clive to pay for the start of his campaign then left the party. Sick. His partner Monica Smit is the manager of Reignite Democracy Australia, which was one of the biggest organisations in the rapidly collapsing anti-lockdown movement.
S. FUSION: Science, Pirate, Secular, Climate Emergency
A supergroup of four progressive parties. Decent polices. They want to ‘classify ageing is a disease’, which I hoped was some batshit crazy Silicon Valley elixir of life thing but is just about increasing dementia research funding.
The Science party, formally the Future Party, are centre-leftish STEM-types who want high speed rail etc.
It’s interesting that the idea of a Pirate Party already feels outdated. The optimistic hacktivist sub-culture of the late oughties and early teens (Anonymous, Wikileaks, caring that we’re all being spied on by malevolent forces) is gone, leaving bored apes swapping Bored Apes in a rapidly collapsing Ponzi scheme called ‘industrial civilisation.’ In the good old days, we worked for our TV shows by closing dozens of pop-up ads on a Croatian-hosted website called watchstream or gigamovies. Now we just get our tithes to Disney and six other media conglomerates deducted directly from our pay.
Same goes for the Secular Party. The New Atheist movement arose in response to the Bush administration’s evangelical turn, and spread across the English-speaking world. But marriage equality has passed and religiosity is declining. Morrison may be happy-clappy, but he has the rat cunning to keep the best parts quiet, and after Tony Abbott with his Opus Dei stare it all just feels a bit underwhelming.
Unfortunately, the climate emergency isn’t going anywhere.
T. (Group T)
‘Reliable! Resourceful! Real!’ Girlboss Susan Bendeyka is an independent candidate with a classic teal agenda (climate action, federal ICAC) though her branding is a charming lilac.
U. The Greens
Going a bit harder on the anti-capitalism this time round. We love to see it. Wipe HECS debts, dental and mental health into Medicare, no new coalmines, raise the pension and minimum wage, build heaps more public housing… The Greens have been stuck at pretty much exactly 10 per cent of the vote for nearly the last 20 years, but polls suggest they could pick up a point or two, which could be crucial in the Senate race.
V. The Great Australian Party
Former One Nation Senator Rod Culleton has a colourful history of refusing to give back hire cars and throwing his glasses at magistrates.
Now he’s a Sovereign Citizen and has established the Great Australia Party, which claims all Australian courts are unconstitutional. Sov Citz have a tough job down under. The US Constitution is a quasi-mystical text forged in revolution and venerated for centuries. Ours is gentleman’s agreement between colonial bureaucrats about the width of rail gauges.
They’re still have a crack though, and like the other cookers are very almost onto something before they veer off into the stratosphere. The law is a rigged construct which circularly legitimises and is and is legitimised by the state’s monopoly on violence. It is not, alas, a spell you can break with magic words you learnt from a dude in a Facebook group who types in all-caps and is posing from a fish in his profile pic.
W. Liberal Democrats
Lovers of freedom and Pinochet’s economics, this ever-running far-right pro-business outfit is yet another group trying to surf anti-lockdown angst into the Senate. They want end ‘COVID alarmism’, and possibly seatbelts.
X. Informed Medical Options Party
Previously the ‘Involuntary Medication Objectors (Vaccination/Fluoride) Party’, they were against preventing babies dying from rubella before it was cool.
In 2020 candidate Tom Barnett said ‘you can’t catch a virus; it’s impossible’, a sensible compromise between the extreme positions ‘you can catch viruses, it’s possible’ and ‘viruses don’t exist’.
The antivax movement is a broad church, and IMOP seems more crystally and less fashy than some of its brethren.
Y. (Group Y)
The Socialist Equality Party, who got deregistered by the AEC for not gathering enough signatures to prove they had a sufficient voting base. Weirdly opposed to #MeToo last time round, which makes one raise an eyebrow.
Z. Victorian Socialists
Mostly run by Socialist Alternative, Australia’s biggest Trotskyist group, they’re trying to build a voter base in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs to win a seat in the state upper house at the Victorian election in November. Tax the rich, workers rights – all the good stuff. Publish Red Flag.