We've managed to retain our enrollment in Federal elections from last time, so we requested postal ballots and they arrived last Monday. I was quite impressed with how quickly they arrived (the Australian Government keeps exceeding my expectations, must be because the US Government has lowered them so much). That said, they did manage to omit some envelope for returning the ballot papers internationally, so we just mailed them to the Australian Consulate in San Francisco instead.
We're still enrolled in the electorate of Fraser. Interestingly, Bob McMullan isn't seeking reelection. I have no idea if that is going to make any difference to the "safe Labor seat" status of this electorate or not. I was once told that Canberra being a public service town, tended to largely vote Labor.
Anyway, we've got some interesting minor party candidates for the House of Representatives. We've got the Secular Party of Australia, which I haven't heard of before. They have a nice looking website (if you overlook the spelling mistake in the URL) and I like their policies, so I've decided to give Quintin Phillips my first preference. He's keen on a light rail for Canberra, which I think would be great.
My second preference I've given to the Greens' Indra Esguerra. I'd have given them my first preference, except I'm told that the Greens blocked the Emissions Trading Scheme stuff recently, because it wasn't strict enough. That was a very dumb move in my opinion. Something is better than nothing, especially in this regard.
I put Labor next, because as much as I'd normally vote Liberal above Labor, I think the Liberal party doesn't deserve to return from the wilderness just yet. They got thrown out on their ear in the last election for a reason. I also don't really find the prospect of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister all that enamoring.
On to the Senate. I always vote "below the line", because it's way more fun.
I gave my first preference to Kate Lundy, because she's the greatest Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy that Australia's never had. Tangentially related: Victoria, please sack that nimrod, Stephen Conroy. If there was some way I could change my enrollment to Victoria, so I could help, I'd be all over it.
I believe I gave my second and third preferences to the Greens candidates, in no particular order, followed by the Democrats, because I believe they should live again in the Senate. I think I then went for the Independent candidate, followed by the remaining Labor candidate and the two Liberal candidates.
But the basic theme that I'm trying to convey with the way I voted is that I'm fairly disenchanted with both of the major parties. The Liberal party completely imploded when it lost the last election, and I found they way they backstabbed Malcolm Turnbull (and the ETS) quite disturbing. Until the party big wigs stop being all denialist about climate change, they're not getting my vote, I'll vote Green instead.
I also found the way the Labor party turfed out Kevin Rudd to be quite disturbing. I'm seeing this trend in Australian politics where if you stick to your guns on something necessary but politically unpopular, you can expect a good old-fashioned backstabbing. I also not a fan of Labor's factional system. I find that it tends to mean that the best man (or woman) for the job doesn't get it. People say that the Liberal party is just as bad, they're just not so open about it. That may well be the case, but I can see it for a fact with Labor, and I don't like (to quote Pauline Hanson).
So I'd mainly be voting Green, but I decided to give this Secular Party a bit of a run for its money.
Oh, and I'm also very pleased to see that the High Court threw out that despicable legislation change that the Howard Liberal Government brought in, which closed the electoral rolls to new registrations 24 hours after an election was called. That was the most underhanded thing I've ever seen in Australian politics in my voting life.