So the day has finally come. Obviously those of us who are politics wonks pretty much made our minds up even before the election was called, and there hasn’t really been anything unexpected arise domestically during the lengthy campaign to change many minds there. Even the Brexit clusterfuck probably hasn’t changed many minds amongst those of us who read and swear and point and laugh at political op-eds regularly, though I’m sure it rattled some complacency amongst the pollies themselves.
For those voter less generally engaged with politics between elections, I wonder how many are only making their mind up today, or who had mostly made their mind up months ago but not paid much attention to the specifics for today’s polls? The only change that’s happened for me is firming my intention to give my first preferences to small parties in BOTH Houses, not just the Senate, because the scare campaign against them gave me the pip, and I think the majors (and I include the Greens as nearly-majors) need to learn to manage a deliberative Parliament with competing cross-bench interests that more adequately represent the wider range of policy views amongst Australians. Point worth noting – the more first vote preferences the smaller parties receive, the more federal funding they receive going forward for future campaigning – the majors already have robust war chests.
If you need to generate a cheat sheet to take with you, below are some helpful links.
If you’re not entirely sure who is who in your federal electorate apart from Labor/LNP/Greens, Auntie ABC’s Election Guide has you covered with lists of candidates – check them out for every Lower House seat individually A-Z, per Electorates A-Z, or per Electorates by State. You can copy-paste the list of candidates and their parties into a text editor, print it off and put your numbers next to them. I found looking at who the majors put last in their own preference recommendations quite illuminating, just sayin’.
Now, the Upper House (Senate) parties – so many many names, many of them deliberately obscurantist or frankly deceptive. There’s a few irreverent guides which cut down the time needed to say a definite NOPE to some of these parties, and give you more time to concentrate on the real contenders for your 6 (maximum) Above-The-Line votes, or should you be feeling more energetic, your 12 (minimum) Below-The-Line votes. Know Your Parties is mostly polite, DonkeyVoties is snarkier and will generate a personal voting guide according to your personal preferences that you can take into the polling booth with you.
Finally, the Snagvotes and Democracy Sausage websites will let you know which of your local polling places is hosting a sausage-sizzle and/or cake-stall to raise funds for local community organisation. Many of them these days have vegetarian, gluten-free and halal options, so check ’em out.
Let’s see how it all shakes out this evening, eh?