So this link is kind of old now–it’s from the 2016 election–but I’m keeping it mostly because I find something fascinating about the proliferation of single-issue minority parties. Not to mention everyone’s favorite election day game of “Environmentalists or Racists?”,1 which in the last election was supplemented by “Scientists or Anti-vaxxers?”.
For those of you in the US, Australia uses various forms of preferential voting (instant-runoff). What that means is that, here, you really can “protest vote” for a minority party, while still being (usually) reasonably confident that doing so won’t split the vote of whichever major party you consider the least worst (as happens in the US). Because there are stats for both primary (i.e. what everyone voted as #1) and two-party-preferred (i.e. the votes once everyone’s preferences have been counted down to the top two contenders) votes available, it’s generally assumed that protesting voting does send a message to the majority parties. It also means that minority parties can survive in the system long enough to start building up actual bases; enough to maybe snag a Senate seat or two, or even land in a ruling coalition in the lower house (as happened with the LNP, and is occasionally threatened with the ALP and Greens).
On the other hand, two words: tablecloth ballot. So, yanno. There’s that.
- Seriously. I’m pretty sure the fact that every ultra-nationalist party in this country likes to hide behind some kind of save-the-trees-esque euphemistic party name has set back actual environmentalists by like a decade. ^