Sep 8, 2013

A party for sport? And who are ‘motoring enthusiasts’? A wacky Senate result

The Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party? The Australian Sports Party? Preliminary Senate results throw up microparties you've probably never heard of.

Jason Whittaker — Former <em>Crikey</em> editor and publisher

Jason Whittaker

Former Crikey editor and publisher

"The Australian Sports Party is focused on helping Australians live a healthy well-balanced lifestyle through sport and recreation, which provides enjoyment and creates strong communities."
It may well bring that focus to the Senate -- the party's secretary Wayne Dropulich, a former gridiron representative player, currently sits in fifth position in counting for Western Australia's upper house representation, according to an ABC vote count (the top six get over the line in each state). On its website, the party lists its objectives as:
  • Promote a healthy well-balanced lifestyle;
  • Educate and motivate Australians to live healthy lifestyle;
  • Increase sporting participation;
  • Increase childhood health with grassroots sport participation via school curriculum;
  • Maximise free use of government-controlled facilities such as parks, reserves, public leisure centres and recreation programs;
  • Create stronger communities;
  • Support Australia's sporting culture.
What about the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party? Its candidate, Ricky Muir, is a shot at a Senate seat in Victoria. As its website states:
"The decision to form our own political party was not taken lightly, and was initiated after the unity demonstrated by the motoring community following recent moves by the governments of nearly every state in Australia to enact legislation that affects our lifestyle without consultation with our community. "With the realisation that the rights and civil liberties of every-day Australians are being eroded at an ever increasing rate, the party aims to bring focus back to the notion that the government is there for the people; not, as it increasingly appears, the other way around."
As for the Liberal Democratic Party -- its New South Wales candidate David Leyonhjelm is fifth in the count at present -- the website says simply "this account has been suspended". Picking Senate winners the day after an election is a mug's game. Only 60% of votes have been counted, and that's only above-the-line. Final results won't be known for some time; take it all with a grain of salt. But what is clear is the Coalition could well have wildcard MPs to deal with in the upper house. A complex web of preference deals and a slew of microparties is likely to deliver results nobody saw coming. The Coalition won't command a Senate majority in its own right, so will have to deal with some of these minor players to get legislation through. A big winner from last night is Clive Palmer's Palmer United Party. Not only is the man himself probably off to Parliament, winning the seat of Fairfax from the Liberals, but Queensland Senate candidate Greg Lazarus along with Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania could join him in Canberra. PUP scored 5.6% of the national vote. Family First could also return to the Senate, with Bob Day sitting at fifth position in South Australia. Liberal powerbroker Arthur Sinodinos is hanging onto his NSW seat in current counting, while the Greens' Scott Ludlam has a fight on his hands to retain his WA seat.

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16 thoughts on “A party for sport? And who are ‘motoring enthusiasts’? A wacky Senate result

  1. troy anderson

    The Liberal Democrats in NSW clearly benefited from their close name association with the better know ‘Liberal’ brand and their first position on the ballot paper. Their vote of 8% is completely disproportionate to their public profile. I worked for the AEC on polling day and two people came back to me to ask for new senate ballot papers because they had mistakingly voted for the Liberal Democrats instead of the ‘Liberal / National’ ticket. If Arthur Sinodinus misses out on re-election he can blame this dubious group. Their website was operating Saturday and they seemed to be like an Australian version of the Republican Party.

  2. Dangle Boris

    The website of the Australian Liberal Democrats can still be viewed via the Internet Archive:
    Wikipedia is also informative; they appear to be libertarians.
    Bring on electronic voting – it might put an end to these strange quirks of printed ballots and donkey votes.

  3. AR

    Surely the likelihood is that plethora of micro parties was a tory plot to harvest the votes of those so disgusted by the majors that they couldn’t bear to vote for them?
    Bet London to a brick that not a single below the line voter gave ANY of them their first preference.
    But, that’s the price of democracy, morons have a say.

  4. Jonno Downes

    Interesting that the Wikileaks GVT in WA put the Sports Party in second spot. So the whole “WLP preferences going to nats not greens” turned out to be a false alarm?!!


  5. Andybob

    True motoring enthusiasts would put more money into public transport so there were fewer people on the roads. Then they might actually enjoy driving.

  6. beachcomber

    The Senate is meant to be the States’ House to review Federal laws. Not unrepresentative swill. Sadly the swill has become far less representative since described in those terms 20 years ago. There’s something deranged about a system that elects a Senator for 6 years with 1100 votes.

  7. brodsta

    The minor parties all engaged in bizarre preference swaps. The Australian Sports Party only got ~0.22% of the primary senate vote in WA yet has a chance of securing a seat, bonkers.

  8. klewso

    Another “Sloppy” Fielding display too?

  9. Serenatopia

    @joel—I am liking the sound of Ricky Muir lol—The party’s objectives appear philosophical ie government for the people not for corporate interests! I am looking forward to what is bound to be more interesting debates at question time! Not that these elected bureaucrats will have a shred of influence on policy making! But it will further serve the illusion of democracy! Entertaining theatre!

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