Bullet train: Shutterstock
The Australian Electoral Commission is adding political parties to its official list of names that will appear on ballot papers in September.
Parties had until 13 May to register. New parties are progressively being added to the AEC’s list, although some still face a month of public scrutiny.
There’s Labor, the Coalition and the Greens, of course, but here are ten you might have missed:
1. Animal Justice Party
Registered by Kerry Hewson in May 2011, the Animal Justice Party wants to be the voice of non-human animals in parliament.
The AJP will ban the slaughter of kangaroos and wallabies, live animal exports and animal experimentation, and promote “lifestyles and diets that are more respectful towards animals and the environment”.
2. Australian Sex Party
They’ve been around for a while, but they’re always in the quirky lists. The Australian Sex Party was registered by Robert Swan in August 2009 and claims to have more than 4000 members.
It is led by former sex worker Fiona Patten and wants to regulate the supply of marijuana, enact more anti-discrimination laws, decriminalise voluntary euthanasia and abortion and develop a national sex education curriculum for children.
3. Bank Reform Party
The Brisbane-based Bank Reform Party was registered by Adrian Greig Bradley on 21 February 2013. It represents lobby group UnhappyBanking, which has about 500 members, most of whom believe Bankwest foreclosed on them prematurely in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
The BRP wants to “protect Australians from greedy and unfair banks” by forcing banks to align their interest rates more closely to Reserve Bank rates, and limiting executive pay packets.
4. Bullet Train For Australia
Bullet Train for Australia wants … well, what its name suggests.
The party was registered by advertising executive Timothy Bohm on 17 May 2013. It has yet to announce its candidates for the September election, but says it’s run by ordinary voters who want, among other things, “a faster way to get out of town for a holiday”.
5. Help End Marijuana Prohibition Party
If the HEMP Party sounds familiar, it’s because party members Michael Balderstone and Graham Askey contested the 2004 Federal Election. They didn’t have quite enough support to topple Howard’s Coalition Government at the time.
The HEMP Party was deregistered due to electoral law changes in 2006 and had trouble re-registering for several years “because a considerable number of HEMP Party members don’t have conventional Christian names and surnames, and many do not have telephones”, the party stated in May 2010. It was finally registered in September 2010 by Askey, “a Hunter River picker from the sixties”.
According to the HEMP Party’s website, its goals may be bigger than some realise:
“Some people seem to think the HEMP Party is only about industrial hemp or medical marijuana. Those people are incorrect. We are also about re-legalising recreational cannabis. We do what we can, when we can, with very limited funds. We would like to see an end to the demonisation of cannabis in every way. And for very good reasons; food, fuel, fibre, medicine and recreation.”
6. Pirate Party Australia
Pirate Party Australia campaigns for civil liberties, with a particular focus on copyright and patent law. It is part of a global movement that won 2 seats in the European Parliament in 2009, 15 seats in Berlin state in 2011, and a seat in the Czech Republic last year.
The Australian chapter is led by Rodney Serkowski and was registered with the AEC by Glen James Takkenberg on 17 January 2013. It’s shooting for a seat on the Senate.
7. Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop The Greens)
Stop The Greens has applied to contest the September election. It was proposed by David Leyonhjelm; the AEC will accept any objections from the public until 1 July.
The party was founded by 4WD enthusiasts in New South Wales. It had a member elected to the state’s Upper House in 1999 and ran candidates in the 2004 federal election.
Its website describes it as “smart green, not extreme green”:
“Extreme greens believe the environment is more important than people … We believe public land should be accessible for recreational purposes and actively managed, not locked up and neglected. We support access by aircraft, boat, vehicle, bicycle, horse and on foot.”
8. The WikiLeaks Party
The Wikileaks Party claims to have more than 1000 members. It was proposed by Gail Malone; the AEC will accept any objections to its registration until 24 June.
The party is all about transparency, accountability and freedom of information and citizens’ rights. It plans to put forward at least two Senate candidates in each of Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia, “because the Senate is the check and balance on the Executive”.
WikiLeaks site founder Julian Assange will run for a Victorian seat from his location in London.
9. The 23 Million
The 23 Million was proposed by Donald Stuart Gregor. The AEC will accept any objections to its registration until 1 July.
Oddly, the party says it “[doesn’t] even want to be a political party”: it wants to have a randomly selected group of 150 people conduct a total review of how government works to inform complete overhaul.
10. Future Party
The FP was proposed by Jordan Rastric; the AEC will accept objections to its registration by 1 July. It has 854 members who believe that technological developments will be the main driver for a better quality of life.
The party is led by a team of well-educated, self-described technophiles. Leader James Jansson is a physics and mathematics graduate from the University of Sydney who is undertaking a PhD in mathematical modelling of HIV.
Other core party members are Alexey Feigin, who is undertaking a PhD in capital markets research, Jordan Rastrick, a financial and data analyst, and software engineer James Haggerty.
It wants more funding for education, science and technology research industries, simpler welfare and taxation systems and to create a “special economic city” called Turing.
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