I’m sharing a method of mine to help me decide my below-the-line preferences in the Victorian state election. It is written with progressive voters in mind. In presenting these clumps I have made a study of the candidates via (i) Wikipedia (ii) party or candidates webpages (iii) my own link into the Zeitgeist as a long-time activist. In assessing I have chosen to overlook preference recommendations of the groups on the grounds that these decisions are often strategic rather than ideological.
My own intention is that once I have ordered those clumps I can then order the specific groups within (or in some cases across) those clumps. Note that these are all judgement calls and in many cases clumps could have been defined differently or particular groups could have been put into different clumps.
Feel free to do your own if you find this method useful. Likewise if you live in one of the other seven regions you will need to do your own research. Finally take a look at the bottom of this note for an important difference in the voting method for Legislative Council ballot papers.
I present my clumps moreorless in reverse order of palatability for me. I have included the letter designations (A to R) for each group on the white Legislative Council ballot paper.
RELIGIOUS ULTRA-CONSERVATIVES: Australian Christians (A), Rise Up Australia Party (D), Family First (N)
For this lot everything is dictated by what they want to think God says. A wonderful excuse for prejudice towards anyone who is different from them in terms of sexuality or family values or religion. They tend to be accepting of different backgrounds and can look multicultural. But they want a society in which we have a homogenous culture defined by fundamentalist Christianity. Tend to be pro-business and anti-environmentalist. Note that I have put the DLP in another clump.
REACTIONARY RECREATION: Shooters & Fishers Party Victoria (M)
I call them this because they may well never have gotten political if particular laws did not interfere in how they like to live. Government regulations protecting Australians and the natural environment piss them off. They want to fish, hunt and hoon all over Australia. Are necessarily anti-environmentalist. Tend to be conservative or libertarian to the extent they have an ideology.
COMMUNITARIAN: Democratic Labour Party (B)
Imagine a community that both takes care of you via welfare and industry protection _and_ polices your personal behaviour 'for your own good'. The Roman Catholic DLP epitomise this and it is an unusual political tradition with a long history. I have made this separate from the mostly Protestant religious clump because the DLP are far more into interventionist economics.
LIBERTARIAN: Liberal Democrats (C)
These have an ideology wishing to minimise government involvement in all aspects of life except legal defence of person and property. So in economics it is sink or swim for both persons and corporations (we just happen to know that corporations are better swimmers who tend to swim right over the rest of us). And in personal life it is literally your decision and therefore your problem whatever the consequences. The_tone_is different from what a lot of us feel. Rather than "yay celebrate difference" it is more "do whatever see if I care".
COALITION AND SUBSTITUTES: Australian Country Alliance (O), Palmer United Party (P), Liberal (Q)
This clump is for our neo-conservative Liberal and National coalition but also for parties that would otherwise be them but have some sort of issue with those major parties. It may be personal differences with key figures. It may be problems with party culture or structures. It may be a sense that the Coalition are neglecting some deserving interest they are supposed to support or possibly some ego that they neglected to stoke.
ISSUE-FOCUSED: Australian Cyclists Party (E), People Power Victoria – No Smart Meters (H), Animal Justice Party (I)
This lot seem okay but do take a closer look online. A group named People Power existed in the past and I would have put into the small-l liberal group (see below) but I cannot be sure they have the same identity – the focus for them now seems very much on the alleged radiation concerns of modern wireless technology.
MODERATE: Group (F), Labor (L), Ungrouped (Neophytou)
It seems that Group F involves members of the latter-day Australian Democrats whose party lacks registration in Victoria. My former party is odd now - well more odd than it was. They were once a progressive party whose very moderate methodology attracted non-progressive voters. In contrast the current group seem to honestly think they can be 'centrist' in an electorate that includes Labor.
Labor are the party of the mixed economy and political compromise and wanting to be progressive but getting scared of conservative lobby groups. As centrists they can and do preference in all sorts of directions and let opportunism dictate such decisions.
From his own online presence the Ungrouped independent seems moderate to me but do take a look for yourself.
SMALL 'L' LIBERALS: Sex Party (J), Voluntary Euthanasia Party Victoria (K)
I put these together in this group because in one way or another they emphasize personal autonomy and civil liberty. They are culturally permissive. Economics is mixed (if tending to free-market).
PROGRESSIVE: Greens (G), Group (R)
Since the disintegration of the Democrats I think that the Greens are the best progressive party in Australia. And the independent candidate Luzio Grossi (a professional photographer and one-time Sex Party candidate) seems pretty progressive too.
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There is one thing that makes the Victorian Legislative Council election different from a Senate election and that is the use of non-exhaustive preferential voting. If you choose to go below the line you only need to vote for five candidates by filling in the numbers 1 to 5. This option makes advice like mine that much less useful than if you had to fill in all the boxes!