All political parties have now lodged their Group Voting Tickets, also known as ‘preferences’, for the upper house in the upcoming Victorian state election. They have also begun (or in some cases, finished) printing their How To Vote cards that show their preferences in the lower house.
The Animal Justice Party is running in all eight upper house regions, along with 43 (roughly half) of the lower house seats, so both upper and lower house preferences are relevant.
Before outlining what our preferences are, it is worth pointing out that you are not bound in any way to follow them. If you vote ‘above the line’ with a ‘1’ in the AJP box for the upper house, your vote will follow our Group Voting Ticket, as explained below. If you wish to, you can vote below the line, and put as few as 5 numbers (1 to 5), or as many as you like, in order to show YOUR preference.
Similarly, for the lower house seats, we will give you a How To Vote card at the polling booth, showing how to Vote 1 for AJP, and what other parties we recommend that you vote for at 2, 3, 4, etc. The most important part of that for us is to Vote 1 AJP. You can then follow our recommendations or order the other parties as you choose.
The importance of putting us at #1 on the ballot paper is explained in this video
Our methodology for determining preferences
The Animal Justice Party represents the interests of non-human animals. Our concerns for preferencing are similarly focused on their interests.
We look at the policies of the parties, as well as their record of achievements, with respect to animals. Are they for or against duck shooting? Jumps racing? Puppy mills? Battery cages? Greyhound racing? Live Export? Have they campaigned on these issues? Has their policy improved as they have been presented with the evidence of the cruelty inflicted by these practices?
The Major Parties
The Liberal / National coalition have been pretty terrible in their approach to animal issues. Despite our continuing dialogue with them on these matters, there have been very few breakthroughs.
We hope that they continue to not win elections until they reform their attitude to animal suffering or find more compassionate candidates.
Daniel Andrews’ Labor party in government is responsible for the ‘business as usual’ suffering of animals in Victoria. They continue to support jumps racing, greyhound racing and duck shooting, despite public support for change. They have not offered any significant reform of animal farming practices, nor wildlife slaughter.
There have however been some highlights in the last term, including: Significant changes to dangerous dog legislation and an end to killing dogs based solely on their breed; the roll out of the responsible pet ownership program in schools; A ban on puppy mills (currently being phased in); A ban on the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops; Reformed tenant rights to allow pets by default; The creation of Animal Welfare Victoria to coordinate efforts of animal welfare research, standard setting, policy and compliance; an announced ban on opera house nets that kills native wildlife; and a new round of financial grants to support animal welfare services and programs provided by not for profit organisations.
We look forward to them meeting their commitments for the next term including the systematic and thorough re-drafting of high-level animal welfare laws to replace the antiquated patchwork of laws that currently apply.
The Labor Party have preferenced us well in a number of regions, which may assist us in our quest to get Animal Justice Party Candidates elected.
The Greens still stand well apart from the other major parties in their commitment to (at least some) animals. They continue to support some of our key election platforms such as ending jumps and greyhound racing, duck shooting and puppy mills. The Greens also have a policy to end factory farming (battery hens and sow stalls, for example). They fall short of mentioning the huge contribution to global warming potential of animal agriculture in their climate change policy.
The Greens have preferenced us reasonably well in a number of regions, but have preferred to work more closely with other minor parties in others.
There is a wide range of minor parties standing in this election. Too many to categorise and review here. We have simply assessed their position on animals (where they have one, and many do not) and given them an appropriate rating.
Of course, there are a number of parties that seem uniformly uninterested in animals, or positively terrible for them. A consistent feature of our preferencing across every election is that the Shooters and Fishers Party has been placed uniformly last. Similarly, we have put a number of other minor parties that seem anti-animal towards the end, and after all the major parties.
Upper House Preferences
In the upper house we have a significant chance to win representation for animals. In order to maximise this, we need to work with other minor parties that have a good or neutral position on animals, and support them in their attempts to win, and get their support in return. We have worked with minor parties including Victorian Socialists, Reason, Voluntary Euthanasia, Sustainable Australia, Aussie Battler, Health Australia, Transport Matters, Hudson for Northern Vic and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party.
We have then gone to the Greens first in all regions, followed by Labor.
We have placed the Democratic Labor Party next, followed by the Liberal / National party.
Beyond the majors are the parties that we don’t favour for various reasons, such as the Liberal Democrats, Country Party, Liberty Alliance and the Shooters.
We will always be prepared to support individual candidates from each party, whatever that party may be, if those candidates themselves are serious animal advocates. We are also prepared to withhold our preferences from those candidates who are terrible for the animals, even if they were to be in the Greens for example.
In this election, we have withheld preferences from, for example, Philip Dalidakis of the Labor Party in Southern Metro, as he is a shooter and generally poor on animal issues.
Lower House Preferences
In the lower house we are preferencing a number of minor party candidates where they have good credentials, for example, those campaigning against climate change. The really important thing is how we preference the major parties, who are most likely to actually win the lower house seats.
In 40 of 43 seats we are placing the Greens first.
In one seat (Keysborough), we are presenting an ‘open’ ticket, and not indicating who else to vote for apart from ourselves. The racing minister, Martin Pakula, currently holds this seat and we cannot support him.
In two seats we are placing the Labor Party first amongst the majors.
In Pascoe Vale we are supporting Lizzie Blandthorn, the Labor Party spokesperson for Animal Welfare. She has met with us regularly to brief us on government initiatives and given us the opportunity to provide input and feedback on these measures. We need her to remain in government to lead the next phase of animal welfare reforms.
In Richmond we are supporting Richard Wynne, the Minister for Planning who, despite this controversial portfolio, and our differences on many points, has championed a range of reforms across the planning system to ensure planning regulations enhance animal welfare and environmental protections. We particularly applaud the commitment to new parklands across Melbourne and initiatives relating to renewable (solar) energy and protection of our green wedges.
We have supported those minor parties that deserve it, given ourselves every chance of winning one or more upper house seats, largely supported the Greens to take lower house seats and supported the current government (Labor) over the opposition (Liberal/National).
If you want to stop animal cruelty, give your votes to the animals.