Preferential Voting – Climate Election for Australia


This Saturday, the 18th of May, Australia has a chance to throw out the wretched Coalition government that have plagued our nation for 6 years. There are endless criticisms to make of them, from their treatment of refugees to their Orwellian attacks against privacy laws. The greatest concern this election, however, is the environment – your vote must go towards saving it.

I’ve had a few people ask me who to vote for, or even how to vote in the first place. Obviously, I don’t know everyone’s candidates in every electorate, but what I can do is spread resources that do and help explain how it works. Keep in mind, this is in the context of voting on climate policy. If climate change isn’t a major concern for you, or other factors will change your vote then, firstly, you should readjust some priorities, and secondly, this piece won’t be overly useful for you.

The Coalition’s Environment Minister has been peculiarly absent since the Adani coalmine and the WA uranium mine were both approved before the election was announced – I wonder why. But while they have been running scare campaigns against Labor, some organisations have been running campaigns to save the environment. Greenpeace and the Australian Conservation Foundation have been trying to make this election’s focus climate change.

Greenpeace has been calling for a climate emergency for some time now, and the ACF has done up a scorecard for the major parties and the Greens, comparing their climate policies (the results won’t surprise anyone). So, on impulse, my first recommendation is to vote for the Greens first and put Labor second. No, unlike other countries, your vote is not wasted if the party you put first does not win. If the Greens do not win and Labor is marked as ‘2’ on your ballot, then so long as Labor is in the top two parties your vote will go to them.

But while my impulse is Greens first, and obviously many people in the House of Representatives ballot it’s a given, the Senate is a bit messier. The electorates around my area – Bowman, Bonner, Griffith, etc. – all have a dismal line up:

  • Greens
  • Labor
  • Liberal National Party
  • United Australia Party
  • One Nation
  • Conservative National Party

(if you hadn’t noticed, that’s the order I will be voting for the House of Reps)

In the Senate, however, or even in your specific electorate for the HoR, you may have a minor party or Independent that is highly supportive of good environmental policies. For that, you can go to this website HERE and see the best way for you to vote in the HoR and the Senate. The Senate works the same way as the HoR – your vote will drop down through the preferences you make.

We hear all about these preference deals with One Nation or UAP, or Greens and Labor alliances, etc. but all of it is just rhetoric. We no longer have our votes decided by the first party we vote for, and instead you must number all the relevant boxes to make your vote count. What appears on a “How to Vote” card is simply what their own candidate would prefer should they not win. You get to make the decisions though.

So please, go into this election with a mind for the environment. I’ve mentioned it many times here and elsewhere, and no doubt will do so again until the election is over.


Liked this? Read Aristotle and Climate Change

Previous piece: Election Launch Contrast

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