A while back, I noted that the Greens were actively deceiving the public about the election result. Since that post, I’ve been startled at how widespread the spin and deception about the election result has been. If a party could find some way of misrepresenting the election figures in their favour, they did. The Coalition used extremely odd interpretations of the data to claim that they should have won the election. The ALP was equally quick to claim 2PP entailed their victory long before the 2PP outcome (as irrelevant as it is) was known.
But the Greens’ claim that they ought to have gained 17 seats remains the most outrageous of the lies. The sheer audacity of the claim is boggling, as is the fact that otherwise sane people believe it completely. His comments on the outing of Grog are interesting.
What the Greens refuse to acknowledge is that they, alone, were the only party to contest all 150 seats. Proportional representation of the whole only makes sense if there’s consistency across the whole.
But there isn’t. Even the major parties didn’t contest every single seat (further making the primary vote proportions irrelevant, btw).
Imagine two fishermen. One goes out every day of the month. The other goes out one day of the month. The former catches 30 fish, the latter catches 10. It would be laughable for the first fisherman to claim that they were the better fisher on the basis of the total number of fish. Yet that’s exactly what the Greens did (and continues to do). So consider the Australian Sex Party who only contested a few seats but got a strong number of primary votes in those seats. What’s curious is that they, in their inaugural election appearance, performed better on a per-candidate basis than the Greens did when it established itself as a party. The Greens, in comparison, fared rather poorly: their per-candidate outcome was less than they should have received if the votes were distributed at random. Therefore, far from being a legitimate third voice in the parliament, the two major parties still represent the vast majority of people.
Using a basic rule that a party with a per-candidate vote should recieve twice the number of seats in the lower house, the Greens only scrapes through with eight seats. ASP got two. How refreshing that the Australian Sex Party — not wishing to lower itself to the stunt political party that the Greens is — hasn’t lowered itself to whining that it was robbed due to the system not being entirely different.
Despite what some people have said, this election result is terrible. Hung governments are impotent governments. I had a lot of sympathy for the ALP; how could anybody achieve their reform agenda when they’ve got an irrationally hostile Senate? Now they’re going to attempt their agenda with a hostile Senate and House of Representatives.
There were a few good points. I’m yet to find a seat where the informal vote was lower than the primary vote for the Secular Party. I’m an atheist and even I can’t stand them.
There were some surprising points. Check out the distribution of votes for the ALP and the Greens in Melbourne.
ALP Primary: 27,771
Greens Primary: 25,387
ALP 2PP: 31,154
Greens Primary: 39,172
Notice how little the ALP vote changed after preferences? There were 14 thousand people who voted for the Liberal Party, but the ALP vote doesn’t move nearly that much. Therefore, the bulk of Liberal voters gave their preferences to the Greens over the ALP. How extremely weird.
And then there was the just plain stupid. I feel sorry for Senator Steve Fielding. As downright silly as he is, he’s a genius in comparison to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. During the election coverage, she noted that if the rules were completely different and we had proportional voting, the Greens would have taken 17 seats. What she neglects to say is that proportional voting would have given the CDP Christian and Family First parties several seats as well. Thank Zeus, we don’t have proportional voting. She also neglects to mention the huge number of seats where the Greens primary vote was less than the number of informal votes cast. The Greens Party is just a stunt party who couldn’t even manage to draw the protest vote in places where people were literally throwing away their votes.
I propose a new system for elections. Instead of voting for a candidate, you vote against them. The candidate with the least number of negative votes wins. We’d never hear from the Greens Party again.
In other news, congratulations to the Australian Sex Party for their excellent first time showing. The question will be whether they can sustain it. I’ve been trying to work out the number of votes per candidate (parties with more candidates obviously end up with more votes) and a rough measure seems to put it up at the One Nation level of support. That makes me feel slightly better about Australia.
Back in ye olde post about the Australian Sex Party’s policies, I noted that one of the policies was to overturn restrictions on aid to overseas family planning organisations that reference abortion and remarked that I understood that they had already been overturned. Given that it was odd that a policy would exist to overturn something that had already been overturned, I decided to write an e-mail to them to ask if my understanding was incorrect.
This is a big deal, by the way, because I generally worry about people who write to political parties. They’re even worse than the people who write to the newspapers. ’You should write to the Prime Minister’ is never uttered by a reasonable and rational person.
What was even weirder was that instead of the ‘Thank you for your letter. Your letter is important to us. We have taken note of your letter. Here is a link to our website. Good day’ response I was expecting, I got some answers. It was even more awesome because I admitted in the e-mail that I couldn’t vote for them (no candidates in the ACT) and that I was probably the exact opposite of their target demographic.
I also asked if I could put the answers up, so here they are:
Me: ‘On the policy page, the Australian Sex Party says that it wants to ‘[o]verturn restrictions on aid to overseas family planning organisations that reference abortion.’ The website for the Minister for Foreign Affairs suggests that there aren’t any restrictions. Am I looking in the wrong place?’
ASP: We are currently in the process of reviewing (and fleshing out) all of our policies. This will be one of the first policies to get an overhaul.
There was a 13 year ban on any overseas development funding being used for activities that involved the termination of a pregnancy (introduced by the Howard govt in a deal with former Tas independent Senator Brian Harradine.)
This ban was lifted in march 2009. However in announcing the lifting of this ban the Foreign Minister Stephen Smith did say ‘Australian aid funding would still focus on avoiding abortions’
Australian and international NGOs continue to be able to choose what services they deliver in line with their philosophies and policies. So while a termination may be legal in a particular country the NGO providing health care in that region may refuse to provide that as an option.
Me: The policies seem particularly interested in protection of children from exploitation due to sexualisation. The Australian Sex Party puts the focus on education campaigns — which is reasonable and sensible. At the same time, it doesn’t recommend putting restrictions on the market place to restrict private companies from creating a demand for the sexualisation of children. At what point does tastelessness become unacceptable in society?
ASP: There are strong laws currently in place to protect children from exploitation and sexualisation. We believe that educating people about these laws and enforcing these laws are much more important than implementing regulations that determine what one should or should not find tasteless/ unacceptable.
For example some parents find ‘Bratz dolls’ unacceptable and charge them with sexualising young girls. Others dont. Who are we to determine who is correct? It is up to parents to make their own judgements.
Me: Do you have policies particularly to help prevent the exploitation of women in the sex industry? Is it unreasonable to believe that — if the regulatory frameworks regarding pornography and the sex industry were relaxed — an improvement of the protection frameworks for women in those industries would be required?
ASP: If the production of x-rated material and prostitution were legalised throughout Australia, I dont believe you would see a relaxation in regulation – quite the opposite. If sex work was legalised it could then be regulated and work places from which sex workers operated would be obliged to function under OH&S standards applicable to the industry.
Me: If a person happened to live in a territory without a candidate from the Australian Sex Party but thought that the ASP represented their best interests, what could that person do to help the party?
ASP: I would be happy to send you some flyers or stickers that you could pass on to other interested people. You could make a donation (big or small) which would really help. And just by blogging about us you are helping to spread the word about the Sex Party – we really appreciate that!
It’s interesting about the ‘Bratz dolls’ thing because my intuitive response is to think that they ought to be removed from the marketplace. The market doesn’t respond to social reaction; it counterfeits it. Similarly, marketing skimpy clothing to prepubescents creates a demand. At the same time, educating children about self respect and the legal frameworks which protect them from exploitation would probably do more to get those products off the shelf than banning them.
Anyway, I thought getting an answer to the questions I sent was fairly epic but it got better. The person responding to my e-mail also went and read at least part of my original post. Regarding my initial reaction to the name of the Australian Sex Party, the Party responded:
Firstly I notice on the piece you wrote about us you mention you thought that we weren’t named well. To be honest we get a lot of questions about why we decided on that name. We did think long and hard about the name ‘The Australian Sex Party’ and one of the reasons we chose it was because we didnt want to hide where we originated from. The Sex Party grew out of the Eros Association which is the national association and lobby group for the adult retail industry. We didn’t want to hide behind any euphemisms (you know… like Family First!).
We were also advised by the late Don Chipp (who was a mentor to our president, Fiona Patten) that the hardest thing a small political party had to overcome was being ignored. With our name we get a lot more media than if we were called the ‘Australian Civil Liberties Party’ or some such thing. In fact I believe that even factored into our recent debate on Sunrise with Family First – do you think we would have been invited if we weren’t called the Sex party?
Okay, now begins Operation: Convince Victorian Friends and Family…
I am the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar… and yet I checked out the policies of the Australian Sex Party
The Australian Sex Party isn’t named well. Reading it, I think of the ‘More Beer Party’ at uni, and the various other single, silly issue parties which seemed to haunt the union building. So will it have policies as silly as its name? Either way, this is bound to be interesting. Before reading their policies, The Gruen Transfer mailing list sent out the adverts for some of the political parties. This was the offering from The Australian Sex Party:
To their policies!
Bring about the establishment of a truly national classification scheme which includes a uniform non-violent erotica rating for explicit adult material for all jurisdictions and through all media including the Internet and computer games. — Source.
While I don’t consider it a particularly hot issue, I do wonder why particularly violent games are fine, but games involving any nudity aren’t. The classic example was one of the Grand Theft Auto games where people complained that you could solicit sex in the game, then bash the prostitute to get your money back. The game was censored so you could only bash the prostitute… Even on television, sex seems to be more morally outrageous than violence.
Actually, I’ve done some digging on this. Here’s the description of the MA15+ classification given on the ‘Classifications Website’:
The content is strong. — Source.
Okay, so the government website isn’t terribly useful. Wikipedia is even more useless, because it’s quoting some invisible source. When I search for those quoted sections, all I get is copies of the Wikipedia page. Wikipedia editors will no doubt consider this proof positive that the content is accurate…
Thus, the National Classifications Code:
Classification decisions are to give effect, as far as possible, to the followingprinciples:(a) adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want;(b) minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them;(c) everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material thatthey find offensive;(d) the need to take account of community concerns about:(i) depictions that condone or incite violence, particularly sexualviolence; and(ii) the portrayal of persons in a demeaning manner. – National Classifications Code 2005, 1.
Which seems rather reasonable. Even rule 4 about computer games doesn’t seem to provide a reason why The Australian Sex Party would be concerned. Rule 4, item 1, is:
Computer games that:
(a) depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; or
(b) describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not); or
(c) promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence; or
(d) are unsuitable for a minor to see or play
So, in short, I’m confused.
To overturn mandatory ISP filtering of the Internet and return Internet censorship to parents and individuals. – Source.
I’m pro-filter (as discussed here).
We oppose the mandatory retention of all Australian users’ internet browsing history and emails by ISPs for at-will inspection by law enforcement agencies, and support strong judicial oversight over the ability of law enforcement to access individuals’ internet and email data. – Ibid.
At first, I went ‘Yeah, but think of the children!’ before I had a bit more of a ponder. At the moment, in order to access your telephone calls and mail, law enforcement requires a warrant. So why shouldn’t internet communications require the same? Actually, yeah. This policy is completely correct: why are they treated differently?
To bring about the development of a national sex education curriculum as a first step in preventing the sexualisation of children. — Ibid.
I don’t even understand what this means. I would have thought the first step in preventing the sexualisation of children would be to ban the products which create a demand for the sexualisation of children. I’m probably incorrect.
To enact national anti discrimination laws which make it illegal to unfairly discriminate against people or companies on the basis of job, occupation, profession or calling. – Ibid.
Doesn’t this already exist?
To create total equal rights in all areas of the law including marriage for gay, lesbian, bi sexual, intersex, and transsexuals. – Ibid.
100% agree and it’s already far too late.
Overturn racist laws that ban adults living in and visiting aboriginal communities in the NT from possessing erotic and sexual media. – Ibid.
This exists? So I couldn’t show ‘The Piano’ at a cinema in aboriginal communities? I tried to find more information but knew that I’d regret writing ‘erotica’ into Google. No good can come of that search term.
To enact national pregnancy termination laws along the same lines as divorce law — which allow for legal, no-fault and guilt-free processes for women seeking termination. – Ibid.
It’s an outrage that this isn’t already the case.
The listing of Viagra, Cialis and other drugs used to treat sexual dysfunction, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. – Ibid.
Oh, hell no. There are medications which people desperately need which aren’t listed on PBS, particularly for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. It will be a cold day in a non-Dantean Hell before I support listing Viagra on PBS before serious medications.
Overturn restrictions on aid to overseas family planning organisations that reference abortion. – Ibid.
I’m shocked this restriction exists. After digging around, it seems that it doesn’t… Oh, you rascally Australian Sex Party and your drumming up of fake shock. Don’t play with my emotions like this.
- Convene a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in the nation’s religious institutions.
- Develop global approaches to tackling child pornography which focus on detection and apprehension of the producers of the material. – Ibid.
Both good ideas. These were listed under ‘Protection of Children’. What I find odd here is that a party which is promoting relaxed censorship — especially around material considered pornographic — doesn’t have a better fleshed out policy for women. The party’s shown that it takes children’s welfare seriously: why not women’s? The pornography and prostitution industries exploit women far more than they exploit children, but there isn’t the ramping up of protection frameworks for women in the Australian Sex Party’s policies.
Ending the tax exempt status for religions. – Ibid.
Make it so! Here’s my rant about tax exempt status.
Sanitarium is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. But don’t expect them to be upfront about it on the Sanitarium website. You certainly won’t find any mention in the ‘About Us‘ section. It’s barely a mention on the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s website. So does Sanitarium pay the same corporate taxes as other, hard working Australian companies who aren’t religious? Are those companies playing on an equal field when it comes to the taxation framework?
Weirdly, despite being owned by a cult religion, I received a piece of chain mail which was hating on Muslims because school canteens were offering halal options. The e-mail ended with, ‘What’s wrong with good old Sanitarium?’ It’s odd that the e-mail would treat Muslims with extreme suspicion and yet give a Christian cult a free pass.
Out of the three so far, the Australian Sex Party is head and shoulders above the other two.
1) At least I know for what they stand.
2) There isn’t a huge amount which is objectionable.
3) They offer concrete outcomes.
So all you Greens voters out there, why not switch to a party you can trust?