All political parties have now lodged their how-to-vote ‘preferences’, for both the upper house and lower house in the upcoming South Australian. They have also begun (or in some cases, finished) printing their How To Vote cards that show their preferences to give to voters at polling booths.
The Animal Justice Party is running two candidates in the upper house (the Legislative Council), along with 10 (roughly a quarter) 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, you can continue numbering as you choose.
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 if you wish to or otherwise order the other parties as you prefer.
The importance of giving the Animal Justice Party the #1 vote 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 care about where a party or a candidate stands on animal issues more so than where they stand on a wide range of other ‘human’ issues, such as economics, social policies or other issues typically placed on a ‘Left to Right’ axis.
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 focus of the major parties (Liberal and Labor) is to win government which is achieved by winning the majority of the seats in the lower house (also known as the House of Assembly).
It is mandatory for voters to number every box in the lower house ballot paper and as such, ultimately, we have to decide which Major party we want to preference over the other. This decision is akin to declaring who we would prefer to be successful in forming a government. However, the AJP will always work with the government of the day to secure outcomes for animals no matter which Party forms government.
We have asked both major parties to commit to delivering outcomes for animals over the next term of government. We are also interested in who is prepared to work with and support us, and ask their voters to include AJP in their preferences.
Overall, the Labor Party offered more solid commitments relating to animal outcomes than the Liberal party, and as such we have decided to preference Labor for this election over the Liberals in the lower house.
We look forward to the Labor Party forming government, meeting their commitments, and then working with them towards even greater legislative reform for animals.
The Minor Parties
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.
Upper House Preferences
In the Legislative Council, 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 met all the minor parties who were willing to meet in an effort to secure their preferences. Ultimately the decision on who to preference is based on a number of factors including:
- Are their values aligned? (Are their policies positive / negative for animals?)
- What are their candidates like? (if they get elected, are they less/more likely to support animal issues when they arise)
- Are they willing to cooperate with us and do they have volunteers on the ground to hand out How To Vote cards on election day?
The Greens still stand well apart from the other parties in their commitment to 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, however, of mentioning the huge contribution to global warming potential of animal agriculture in their climate change policy.
Ultimately based on their policies and their willingness to cooperate with us, we will preference them second behind ourselves.
Whilst Real Change SA and the Legalise Cannabis parties are neutral when it comes to animal issues, some of their policies align with our position statements and values including equality and non-violence, and we are confident, that should either of their candidates get elected on the back of our preferences, they are likely to be a positive advocate for key animal issues when they arise.
Lower House Preferences
In the House of Assembly, we are preferencing Labor over Liberal as discussed above. Apart from ensuring that this occurred, our lower house candidates, who have met with most of the other candidates in their electorate, provided input into the preference flows for the remainder of the candidates in their electorate. Priority was given to those candidates which aligned mostly with the goals and values of the Animal Justice party, for example, those campaigning against climate change and environmental protection. The really important thing is how we preference the major parties, who are most likely to actually win the lower house seats.
We have supported those minor parties that deserve it, the Greens before Labor, and then Labor before Liberal. We have received some useful commitments for action on animals and other parties' commitments to suggest their voters support the AJP with their preferences.
If you want to stop animal cruelty, give your votes to the animals.