Minor Party Alliance

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The Minor Party Alliance (MPA) is a collaborative undertaking of small Australian political parties, created by Glenn Druery's "Independent Liaison" business, which assists in organising preference meetings and negotiating preference flows between minor parties (often referred to as micro-parties) in Australia.[1][2] The aim of the Alliance is the election of Alliance candidates to Australian upper houses based upon the accumulation of their primary votes and the registered "above-the-line" (or "group voting ticket") party preferences to reach an electoral quota. For the Australian Senate, the quota for a half-Senate election in each State is normally 14.3%. The MPA effectively aims to "game" the electoral system, an act it believes to be justified, based upon their perception that the Australian electoral system is unfair and heavily biased against minor parties.

To stop preference deals like those made for the 2013 federal election, when a number of minor party candidates with very small primary votes were elected to the Senate, changes in the group voting rules were made in time for the 2016 federal election. Under the new rules, instead of placing a "1" above the line on Senate ballot papers or numbering every box below the line, voters can number 1 to 6 above the line in order of their preferences. Due to this, minor parties were not longer able to swap preferences in the same manner.[3]

As at November 2018, the electoral laws of Victoria and Western Australia still have group ticket voting that enable similar preference deals being organised for those states' upper houses, and such a scheme was made for the Western Australian Legislative Council at the 2017 Western Australian state election and the Victorian Legislative Council at the 2018 Victorian state election;[4][5] the proliferation of minor parties is attributable to the law that by contesting an election as a party, rather than as an individual, a candidate can accept votes above as well as below the line.[6] This enables them to be a part of preference deals, which would not be possible as an independent.

1999 NSW preference deals[edit]

Druery initiated the MPA at the 1999 New South Wales state election and his then untested theories elected three people to the Legislative Council: Peter Wong from Unity, Peter Breen from Reform the Legal System and Malcolm Jones from the Outdoor Recreation Party.[7][8] Malcolm Jones was elected to the Legislative Council with a primary vote of 0.19%,[9] or 0.042 of a quota.

2013 Senate preference deals[edit]

Druery is known as the preference whisperer of Australian politics,[10][1] and his Minor Party Alliance was behind the 2013 federal election preference deal successes; these resulted in the election to the Senate of Wayne Dropulich of the Sports Party in Western Australia on a primary vote of 0.2%, Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party in Victoria on a primary vote of 0.5% and Bob Day of the Family First Party on a primary vote of 3.8% in South Australia.[11][12] However, the Western Australian result was later declared void (for unrelated reasons), necessitating a further election at which the Sports Party candidate was unsuccessful; the fifth Senators in the other States were Dio Wang in Western Australia, Glenn Lazarus in Queensland and Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania, all from the Palmer United Party, and David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party elected with a primary vote of 9.5% in New South Wales. These last four were not part of the MPA.

Muir's primary vote was 0.5% and achieved the 14.3% quota from 23 "above the line" party preferences: Bank Reform Party, Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, HEMP Party, Shooters and Fishers, Australian Stable Population Party, Senator Online, Building Australia Party, Family First Party, Bullet Train For Australia, Rise Up Australia Party, No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics, Citizens Electoral Council, Palmer United Party, Democratic Labour Party, Katter's Australian Party, Socialist Equality Party, Australian Sex Party, Australian Voice Party, Wikileaks Party, Drug Law Reform, Stop CSG, Animal Justice Party, and the Australian Independents Party.[13][14]

Day's primary vote was 3.8% (down 0.3% since the previous election),[15] and achieved the 14.3% quota from 19 "above the line" party preferences: Australian Independents Party, Australian Stable Population Party, Liberal Democratic Party, Smokers' Rights Party, No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics, Building Australia Party, Rise Up Australia Party, Katter's Australian Party, One Nation, Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, Australian Christians, Shooters and Fishers, Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, Democratic Labour Party, Animal Justice Party, Australian Greens, Palmer United Party, HEMP Party, Australian Labor Party.[16]

Druery also helped the Shooters and Fishers Party, Family First Party and the Fishing and Lifestyle Party. After the 2013 federal election Druery was hired by the newly elected Motor Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir as Chief of Staff, but later parted company with Muir.[17]

2017 Western Australian preference deals[edit]

Western Australia continues to use group voting tickets for the Western Australian Legislative Council. At the 2017 Western Australian state election, five parties participated in preference deals orchestrated by Druery; the parties were Family First, Fluoride Free WA, Liberal Democrats, Flux the System and the Daylight Saving Party. The deals were arranged so that the ticket votes for these five parties would roll up to a different party in each region.[18] At the election only the Liberal Democrat candidate, Aaron Stonehouse, with 1.77% of primary votes was elected with MPA preferences.[19]

2018 Victorian preference deals[edit]

Victoria continues to use group voting tickets for the Victorian Legislative Council. Preference deals were also organised by Druery for the Victorian Legislative Council at the 2018 Victorian state election. All but one of the 18 parties standing appear to have been involved in some way in the deals.[20] Ultimately, 10 candidates from seven micro-parties were elected.[2] In the Eastern Metropolitan Region, Rod Barton of the Transport Matters Party was elected on a primary vote of 0.62%. In the Southern Metropolitan Region, Clifford Hayes of the Sustainable Australia was elected on a primary vote of 1.32%. One candidate was elected from the Shooters and Fishers Party, the Reason Party and the Animal Justice Party, two from the Liberal Democratic Party and three from the Justice Party.[2]

Members[edit]

The parties that are or have been involved in the Minor Party Alliance:[21][2]

Party Current member of Alliance Currently registered party Candidate elected to Federal Parliament Candidate elected to State Parliament Notes
Animal Justice Party Yes Yes No NSW 2015: 1

Victoria 2018: 1

Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party No No 2013: 1 No
Australian Sex Party No Yes (re-registered as Reason Party) No Victoria 2014: 1 Opted out of the alliance due to concerns for Druery's conflict of interest as a staffer for Derryn Hinch
HEMP Party Yes Yes No No
Australian Sports Party No No No No The party had one candidate elected in the 2013 federal election,

but due to unrelated irregularities there was a recount in WA where they were not successful

The Minor Party Alliance has involved more than 30 minor parties, including:[2][21]

Former parties[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Preference whisperer goes fishin' in SA: InDaily 21 February 2014". Indaily.com.au. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bormann, Trevor (2013-09-05). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland: ABC 5 September 2013". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2018-05-13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "abc" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Senate reform: Electoral laws passed after marathon Parliament sitting". abc.net.au. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  4. ^ Millar, Royce (2018-11-07). "Preference whisperer Glenn Druery faces police probe". The Age. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  5. ^ Millar, Royce (2018-10-24). "Derryn Hinch's preference whisperer faces cash-for-votes complaint". The Age. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  6. ^ Tatura man Josh Hudson off to form own party
  7. ^ 7.30 By Dylan Welch. "Senate voting inquiry prompted by Glenn Druery's election tactics could put end to preference trading: ABC 31 March 2014". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  8. ^ Dylan Welch (2014-03-31). "Promoting people power or gaming the system? Meet 'the preference whisperer'". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  9. ^ Antony Green (2009-06-16). Antony Green's Election Blog: NSW Legislative Council and its new electoral system. Retrieved on 2009-09-12.
  10. ^ "Federal Election 2013: issues, dynamics, outcomes: APH 22 January 2014". Aph.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  11. ^ "South Australia 2013 Senate results and preference flows". ABC. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  12. ^ "Micro-manager behind independents: SMH 10 September 2013". Smh.com.au. 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  13. ^ "Victorian 2013 Senate results and preference flows". ABC. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  14. ^ Green, Antony (2013-06-19). "The Preference Deals behind the Strange Election of Ricky Muir and Wayne Dropulich: Antony Green ABC 13 September 2013". Blogs.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  15. ^ 2013 SA Senate results: AEC
  16. ^ "2013 SA Senate results and preference flows". ABC. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  17. ^ "Senator Ricky Muir sacks chief of staff Glenn Druery". Smh.com.au. 2014-08-01. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  18. ^ Gartry, Laura (15 February 2017). "WA election: Micro party preference deal could take five seats in Upper House". ABC News. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Legislative Council Results - ABC News". www.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  20. ^ Micro-parties set to win big in Victorian election after vote swap
  21. ^ a b "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". Dailytelegraph.com.au. 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2018-05-13.

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