It would appear that the Sports Party candidate, that received 1/3 less votes than the Australian Democrats at 1900 votes, will take a seat in the Senate for Western Australia. He will take a seat along side other micro-party candidates in NSW (Liberal Democrats), VIC (Motoring Enthusiasts) and QLD (Palmer United). Travesty? Comic Opera? Conspiracy?

Hardly. And all I can say is let’s hope our Sports Party single-issue guy from WA and the motoring enthusiasts guy from VIC bring enough of the crazy to replace Barnaby in the Senate, as NSW has moved that nut job to the House. Given that there was no website available during the campaign, and the only profile of the guy Wayne Dropulich is confined to a couple of newspaper articles in June, we are only finding out about him now slowly, and you can see him only now starting to clam up and start thinking about how to craft the rest of his policies to his party’s best advantage as he is interviewed on The 730 Report.

Now, I am certainly not saying there is anything wrong with the system we have, even if it amounts to someone basically winning the lottery on occasion, and requires us to find out what a guy like Senator-elect Dropulich thinks on matters such as macroeconomics, science, tax, equity and social issues, etc. after he takes his seat. That problem should be corrected by the fourth estate doing their fucking jobs during an election and not after. But I digress. No, the real problem that needs to be addressed is not single-issue parties, which you would hope the public could look past themselves, but rather the corruption of the existing system that is going on.

In short, I wonder if I am more scared of what I do know about Clive or the Lib Dems, or what I don’t know about Wayne?

Clive is doing exactly what I moved to Australia 22 years ago to escape, the purchasing of elected positions directly with large amounts of advertising resulting in a large amount of free media by rich individuals. I am sure I need not educate you on the average cost of winning a senate seat in the USA, and you will see directly the direct corrupting influence of too much money on public politics. Beware of the Jabba the Rinehart Party next election cycle.

The other serious corruption that is likely going on which is the generation of single-issue ‘feeder’ parties that purposely then funnel their preferences by design into the main party with a broad range of positions that may not be acceptable to the people originally casting their vote for an issue such as smoking, fishing or even fluffy bunnies. The Lib Dems have been most recently exposed for this behaviour by Crikey, which I don’t think meets the spirit of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and obviously the libertarian single-issue parties appear to tend toward less government involvement in their model to a point that risks anarchy and takeover by autocrats. But the sunlight he gets should sort out David Leyonhjelm of the Lib Dems, the same way it did Steven Fielding.

Fortunately, I suppose, we have a healthy and sound enough democracy to withstand either of these corrupting influences, or whatever Wayne brings to the senate.

The real issue, then, is that the press really aren’t doing their fucking jobs during and before an election. When a party is registered in any state, someone in the press should build a scorecard on them, and require it to be basically a full one, or stop saying their name at all in free media that they cover as news. The Australian Democrats got exactly ZERO free media in the last election cycle except (to my knowledge) one radio interview in SA. Not complaining, just a fact. However, if the press actually did its job in the lead up to an election, people would know that a party is only running on one issue, and isn’t serious (unless they decide they are) and then not cover them further. Similarly, they should cover the Australian Democrats in exactly the same way, and then not mention us again unless our message is compelling.

I understand being excluded from most coverage if our message is deemed crap and people no longer want to hear it, but I don’t accept being excluded because we won’t be part of the freak show, or spend enough money to justify coverage as news.

Now, on to a bit of analysis and a potential taste of the way forward. I have been having a look at the polling place level numbers on the primary vote here in WA to see what effect, if any, the effort expended in the campaign was effective. We did election activities (forums, distribution of materials and retail campaigning work) in Brand, Perth, Swan and Pearce electorates, and here are some graphs (c’mon you know you love graphs) below with some discussion below.

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Basically I see this:

•  Where we were able to have a person working polling places, we doubled our vote (or possibly even tripled it if you take into account the slant of the overall vote at the location.
• Where we were able to get signs and information up through the 5 week campaign we tripled out vote (basically just on name recognition.
• There are pockets of Australian Democrats support out there that we need to focus on as a critical mass to move us forward

So, all in all some encouraging findings that point to identifiable things we can do in the next three years to get us back to polling in the 3-4% range at a minimum next time round.