Vote Smart;

Both major Australian political parties are corrupt and tired, vote for independents or minor parties and an honest government.

In August 2005 John Howard said to the first gathering of all federal Liberal parliamentarians following the 2004 election, "Your first loyalty must be to this party room". Wrong John; truth, justice, the good of the people of Australia and of the Earth as a whole should all be higher on their list of priorities.

Democracy will never work properly until more people take the trouble to think deeply about how to vote and who to vote for.

Please, please, search for candidates that you can vote for who will be honest politicians capable and willing to think for themselves and vote in parliament for what is right. Don't vote for just another party hack.

Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
This page was created 2005/08/10, last edited 2024/03/12

One way of voting smart

Consider looking up Climate 200 (information on this page) before next time you vote.


Edited 2021/07/05
In November 2007, before he was elected, Kevin Rudd promised to act decisively on greenhouse/climate change. By the time he was replaced by Julia Gillard in June 2010 Australia was not on the way toward substantially reducing its greenhouse gas production rates. Julia Gillard did act, but she did not go far enough and gave too much compensation to the polluters. Leader of the federal Liberal Opposition, later Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, subsequent undid all the Gillard government had done toward taking serious action on climate change.

Australians can have better government than this!

If you give your first preference vote to an independent or a member of a minor party, and he/she does not have enough votes to be elected, then your second preference vote will be counted. Give your first preference to someone with an environmental conscience, use your later preferences to place one of the major parties before the other.

Fully honest men and women generally don't, can't, go into Australian politics. It is very difficult to get elected as an independent member of parliament; and to go into either the Liberal or Labor parties means that you must 'toe the party line' and betray your conscience. The way the system works stops honest people from being elected.

There are exceptions. It is possible for a very few honest people to be elected as members of minor parties, and Andrew Wilkey of Tasmania, and Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshot of the New England area of NSW are exemplary independent Federal politicians who proved their worth up to the present, July 2013. Unfortunately we are to loose both Windsor and Oakshot at the next election. (Another interesting case was the election of Geoff Brock to the SA parliament lower house in a by-election in 2009; there was an unlikely combination of factors involved.)

Once an independent MP is elected he or she is often re-elected at subsequent elections, because the voters have recognised that they are better value than party hacks. It is a great pity that the majority of voters cannot see the superiority of independent politicians until they have one in office in their own electorate.

Independent members of Parliament must be loyal to their constituents or they will not be re-elected. Members of the big parties, Liberal, Labor and National, must put aside ethical considerations and be loyal to those parties or they will be kicked out at the next preselection.

The preselection and subsequent election of Celia Hammond into federal parliament in 2019 suggested that it is even advantageous to be a climate science denier if you want to run for a parliamentary seat for the Liberal Party.

Lobbying by professionals


Aboriginal Voice to Parliament

If Australia is to have an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament that will be another professional lobby group. Surely we should be working toward giving everyone, all Australians as individuals, an equal access to parliamentarians, not providing special access to professional lobbyists. This is just one reason why I think that the Voice is wrong.

Also, if special access was to be given to one disadvantaged groups then simple justice would demand that it would be there for all disadvantaged groups.

Donations to campaign funds have corrupted the two major parties. These parties belong to the big corporations and particularly the very wealthy fossil fuel lobby, who give big donations. This is why Australia has not gone as far on renewable energy development and climate change action as it might have given its outstanding resources; the big mining and fossil fuel companies have strong lobbying power - they employ professional lobbyists. Many companies donate to the big parties; they know that whichever party is elected they will be able to 'call in the favour' when they need to.

And I strongly suspect that the party hierarchy demand that their parliamentarian members provide access to the lobbyists employed by the companies who donate to them.

If in 2003 there were enough independent members in parliament to produce a vote of no confidence in John Howard, Australia probably would not have become involved in the unethical and disastrous Iraq war.

Parliamentarians in the major parties are under the thumb of lobby groups. For example the Christian lobby, through MPs of the major parties, have denied the right to voluntary euthanasia to the great majority of Australians, who believe they should have that right. Independent politicians would be more inclined to listen to what their constituents were telling them.

Voting for the major parties

Australians have long tended to vote for one or the other of whatever two major parties there are; in my lifetime (67 years) this has meant the Liberals or the Labour party (the National party, at least in federal politics, has been defacto Liberal in recent years).

Why do people vote for the major parties?

Many vote for one of the major parties because they have always done so; perhaps because their parents did so before them. Many vote for one of the major parties because they erroneously believe that is the only way to stop the other major party from getting into power (they don't understand that they can vote first for someone they can respect and use their preferences to sort out the major parties). Many vote Labor because they are wage earners and they believe Labor will do a better job looking after the workers than Liberal. Many farmers and small business people vote Liberal on similar reasons. These people don't seem to see that both major parties have betrayed them. They don't seem to see that both major parties have become corrupt.

Don't vote for someone because you believe that his/her party is marginally better than 'the alternative'. Look for an honest independent or minor party candidate instead.

Shameful ignorance in the WA Liberal Party

About 12th August 2011 the Western Australian branch of the Liberal Party passed a motion, by a large majority, calling for a royal commission into the science of climate change. The science is settled, has been settled for years. Is it any wonder that Australia's transition to renewable energy is slow with ignorance like this in one of the major political parties? Should the WA Government be stupid enough to take this up one would have to wonder where they would find a judge sufficiently dim to want to run such a royal commission.

A confederation of independent candidates


Something similar

Climate 200, a big step toward true democracy, on this page.
Political parties are, by their nature, likely to attract corruption in the form of bribes, especially given the campaign donation scheme that exists in Australia.

Independent politicians are also open to bribes, but if they become corrupt they are easier to get rid of than are large parties.

But how to become known if you are an aspiring political candidate? I suggest setting up a confederation of independent candidates that will be devoted to helping the Australian public know their potential politicians. There are honest women and men out there, but we need to change the system so that they can get into parliament without loosing their morality.

Also see Independent politicians and candidates

The need for action on climate change

The burning of fossil fuels is widely recognised as the main cause of climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise and ocean warming. The air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels kills millions of people world-wide each year.

A majority of the Australian people want to see serious action on climate change but neither of the big two parties will do enough. There is strong consensus among climate scientists that most of the climate change we are seeing is due to human activities. Climate change is now recognised as probably the major cause for the drought that is effecting the populated part of Australia, it will greatly worsen fire danger in future, and Mick Keelty, head of the Federal Police, has recognised future population movements forced by climate change as the greatest security threat to Australia.

The corruption of the major parties


Most members of the big parties are corrupt

Members of parliament are supposed to represent the interests of the people in their electorates. They generally do not; they just vote whichever way their party bosses tell them to vote.

They almost never 'cross the floor' and vote according to what they see as right, best for their constituents or best for Australia or the future of the world; they do what they see as best for their future career in politics.

This is corrupt! How can it be called anything else?

Big businesses donate large sums of money to political parties; often the same multi-national company will make donations to both of the two major opposing parties. The citizens are content to allow this on the grounds that it is better that business pays for political campaigns than those costs coming out of taxes; but is it? The managers of big businesses are not stupid; they would not make donations unless they believed that they would get favours in return.

The federal government's immoral support for the fossil fuel industries (and relative neglect of greenhouse friendly industries) must be repayment for favours received from the former; what other reasonable explanation is there?

Corporate political donations are a form of corruption and they are a means that the wealthy use to obtain more power. It is unlikely that the big political parties will put a stop to corporate political donations without being forced to, because the practice advantages big parties over small parties and independent members of parliament.

Australia has become a corporatocracy rather than a democracy. In effect we are governed by the big corporations.

Party loyalty

Party loyalty, in both politicians and voters, is one of the causes of the poor quality of government that we now have in Australia. The parties have lost their way, but the voters stay with them; the politicians stay with them because if they did not they would be out of a well paid job.

We must all take a careful look at our priorities. If your party is no longer standing up for the principals that you believe in, why does it deserve your loyalty? Members of parliament should consider whether doing the right thing, and taking the political consequences, might be better than taking the easy option and following the party line. There are more important things in life than money and a secure job; a clear conscience is one such.

Party loyalty has got Australia into the Iraq war and, due to Australia's support for US oil imperialism, has made Australians a target for terrorism. Again, party loyalty has brought about the 'anti terrorism' laws that threaten our free and democratic way of life. Party loyalty is responsible for Australia being one of the worst greenhouse polluters on the planet. Party loyalty has brought us sycophantic parliamentarians that support their parties to the detriment of their constituents. As an example Barry Wakelin, the federal member for Grey, was quite happy to support the Liberal party in keeping the mandatory renewable energy tartet (MRET) at 2%, overlook the climate change disaster, and forego development in his electorate worth $20 000 for every man, woman and child. His replacement, Rowan Ramsey, another Liberal, is equally neglecting the good of his electorate while unethically following the party line.

My impression of some minor parties

Comment in 2024: as the piece below was written in 2005 the political scene has changed since then. Minor parties tend to come and go.

I have tried to give an unbiased impression of the main Australian minor parties in this section. It is, of course, impossible to be entirely unbiased; we all have our own stance and point of view.

One of my beliefs is that it is the political party system itself that leads to corruption. Party members tend to support the party itself rather than the party's stated aims. I was a member of the Australian Democrats for many years, but left the party in about 2007 ago because of my feelings about political parties in general.

One of the triggers to my resignation was a statement that came from the party hierarchy in the lead up to one South Australian state election. The statement was something like "The Democrat's primary aim this election must be to stop the Greens from getting a member into parliament". This, I believe, is an example of the party mentality being placed above the party's ideals – the Greens and Democrats had very similar ideals.

The only way a political party can ever achieve a majority of votes from the Australian voters is to place their ideals to one side and blatantly do whatever it takes, and make whatever promises are needed, to chase votes. The Liberal and Labor parties are prime examples.

Rise of the community independents, post 2021?

While they are not a party, a very important and promising development in Australian politics in recent years was the rise of community independents. Also very importantly they were supported by Climate 200.

Australian Greens

The Greens and the Australian Democrats have very similar ideals: primarily social justice and environment. Of these two, only the Greens have sitting politicians. Their MPs, I believe, are honest and strive to support the party's ideals. Aust. Greens

Centre Alliance

This party is a Nick Xenophon spin-off, like SA Best, but in the federal sphere. For a time Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff held Senate seats for the party, but Patrick resigned the party about July 2020 to become an independent. Rebekha Sharkie obtained a seat in the lower house following a by-election.

I have been impressed with both Patrick and Sharkie.

SA Best

I will write little about this party, other than to say that it is a South Australian spin-off from the Nick Xenophon party and that one of its members of parliament, Connie Bonaros, gave a very dishonest speech in parliament about what a World Health Organisation report stated on wind turbines and health.

Citizens Electoral Council

The CEC seems to hold almost as a god Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr, economist – (they say he formulated Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI = Star Wars).

CEC denies that climate change has anything to do with human activity.

"We oppose the fraudulent Kyoto Protocol and any other simplistic greenie scare mongering. Human impact on global temperature is negligible. Any credible scientist would confirm Milankovitch Cycles (the earth's long-term orbital cycles) and variations in solar activity are the main factors affecting climate."
The above quote, from the CEC's environmental page is quite wrong. The great majority of scientists, and climatologists in particular, while recognising the importance of Milankovitch Cycles and solar activity, believe that human impact has been fundamentally important in the observed climate changes over the last hundred or so years.

Liberty and Democracy Party

Want to reduce tax, more freedom to do as we want as individuals, smaller government. LDP.

Climate 200 and the community independents, a big step toward true democracy

This organisation supports a number of responsible independent political candidates, especially those who are pushing for action on climate change. Largely due to their efforts six community independents (or teals) were elected to Australia's federal government in 2022.


The community independents

As described in Wikipedia the teal or community independents are "a loosely-aligned group of centrist, independent or minor party politicians in Australian politics."

While most, if not all, of them are financially supported to some extent by Climate 200 they are truly independent. Most, if not all, are pressing for more action on climate change.

To quote from Climate 200's Web site:

"Climate 200 is a community crowd-funded initiative that supports political candidates committed to:
  • A science-based response to the climate crisis;
  • Restoring integrity to politics; and
  • Advancing gender equity.
Climate 200 was established in the lead up to the 2019 federal election by a group of concerned Australians who realised we cannot stand on the sidelines and let climate science denial and vested interests delay meaningful action on climate change."
In my opinion this is one of the most important steps toward fixing Australia's broken democratic system in very many years.

Related pages

External sites...

Community Independents Project

Climate 200, hope for better politicians in the future

Aust. Electoral Commission

Parliament of Australia

On this site...

A community independent candidate to replace the fossil-fuel obsessed Liberal Andrew Hastie in Canning, WA

Abbott government and Morrison government; Australia's worst governments in recent years. The Turnbull government wasn't much better.

Donald Trump, the lowest of the low