Another Three Years

Last election I wrote a bit about how every vote does matter, especially in an environment where there is a lot of discontent with the major parties. This time I want to extend a bit on that.

Apart from a general dislike for the fatalist "oh, it'll be {result} anyway, it doesn't matter", there is a very good reason to vote for a minor party this election. Perception, and the long game.

The reason the two party binary in Australian politics exists is, in part, because it has always1 existed. Not only is the electoral funding model friendly to incumbents, it also rewards parties who obtain a large share of the primary vote. This allows more campaign spending, more presence in the mind of voters, and more votes.

But there's another effect. People expect the coming election to follow similar trends to history. Nobody usually expects, say, The Greens to go from their typical 8-10% primary vote to winning a seat, at least outside the realms of inner-city seats like Melbourne. The flow on effect is that some people, who might naturally be aligned with Greens policies, vote for another major party instead, thinking that a Green vote is wasted.

But what if some of these imaginary people didn't give in to fatalism and voted Green? It might not be enough to win the seat (really, it wouldn't), but at the next election, the base vote might be 15 or 20% instead of 10. That might convince more people that their vote could make a difference, and so on. It's a long game, and it may take a few elections, but it has to start somewhere.

And you know the best thing? You still have to preference all the way down, so one way or the other, your vote will still ultimately count to one of the final two candidates. You have literally lost nothing2.

Look, I'm not talking with numbers or facts. I am, in fact, talking from anecdotes, snippets of conversations and a healthy dose of plain made up rubbish that "sounds good to me". But I've been in a few election campaigns, and I've heard these snippets and anecdotes quite a few times now.

There are more than two choices this election. Your first preference candidate doesn't have to win for your vote to have an impact.


  1. for a suitable definition of "always" 

  2. Thanks @timb07

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