Why An Independent Vote Puts More Cash In Your Pocket
During last Sunday’s campaign launch, Malcolm Turnbull spent most of the time discrediting independent parties rather than promoting his own party. This comes as no surprise when you consider the polls.
Nick Xenophon is tipped to take up four SA Senate seats, and Jacqui Lambie may win two in Tasmania.
What are independent parties?
Independent parties refer to individual candidates who are not tied to any fixed party bloc. Liberal and Labor have launched a scathing attack towards independent parties, promoting the myth that supporting independent candidates is a wasted vote. Malcolm Turnbull has argued that Australian politics will become “chaotic” and “wreak havoc” if too many people vote independent. This claim is unjustified and contradicts the very notion of democracy. The premise that the Australian public should be able to make a vote that aligns with their values is becoming increasingly difficult as the two major parties appear to be merging into one to uphold power and block competitors, showing that an independent vote is the only way for real change that truly meets the electorate’s needs.
How will voting for an independent party benefit you?
Independent parties are so threatening to majority parties because they provide a way for the Australian public to make a real vote with real impacts. By voting for an independent party, you are more likely to get a marginal electorate, which refers to an electorate where the winning candidate received less than 56% of the preferred vote.
Marginal electorates are seen as ‘battleground areas’, where parties fight for majority vote by giving allocating a large proportion of national funding. For example, 95 per cent of $26.7 million worth of environment grants have gone to marginal electorates since the beginning of the electoral campaign. An analysis of the government’s $50 billion infrastructure investment program also shows that funding has disproportionately been allocated to marginal electorates, such as the $2.1 billion construction of the New England Highway, which goes within or close to swing electorate seats.
The ‘Puffing Billy’ steam train has received $6.5 million as the election looms. Image via WikiCommons
These are known as ‘pork barrelling’ policies, which means that majority government give these electorates greater attention, legislative changes and immense funding in the hope of tipping the balance and gaining the populist vote. According to the ABC, some other examples of pork barrelled policies from this election include:
- Townsville, a marginal seat in Queensland, being offered $100 million towards building an NRL stadium. The Coalition then matched this promise “twenty four hours before pre-polling”.
- The Dandenong Ranges, a marginal seat in Victoria, has received $6.5 million by the Coalition towards its ‘Puffing Billy’ steam train.
- The Coalition has given the Sunshine Coast, a marginal seat in Queensland, $5 million for a community sporting hub and an extra $100,000 towards row boats.
Phil Coorey, a writer at the Financial Review, has also pointed out that $1.3 billion has been spent “under the radar” in marginal electorates, for projects such as “football club change rooms, new netball courts, fixing mobile phone black spots, fighting crime and preventing or managing illness”.
Although the Coalition and Liberal Government are propelling the myth that voting for an independent party is a wasted vote, this is definitely not the case. By voting for an independent candidate, you will have a much higher chance of becoming a marginal electorate, which will in-turn ensure greater attention, resources and funding to meet your needs.
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**The views in this article are those of the author