A non-serious guide to the Australian Senate ballot paper

Confused by the array of minor parties on the Senate Ballot Paper for the Australian Federal Election? You're in the right place.

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An unofficial, offbeat, and irreverent guide to Australian politics
Figuring out how to vote in the Senate is a daunting task. There's all these strange parties you've never heard of, with odd names and no information about what they represent or what they stand for. To help you out, we've created a handy guide to all the strange parties on the ballot.
Disclaimer: This list makes no claim to be unbiased, even-handed, or even accurate. It is not associated with any party or political group (though the author does lean leftwards). It is definitely not endorsed by the Electoral Commission.

Choose your state:




Rise Up Australia

Racist far-right nasties with the added bonus of being completely bonkers. Led by Danny Nalliah, a young earth creationist convinced that Jesus met him personally (from 3.40am to 6.00am, Jesus apparently being a very early riser).
Political leaning: Far-right
Likes: Fundamentalism
Dislikes: Islam, gays, the song "Rise up" by Andrea Day, being banned by Facebook for hate speech
"His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb."
- Danny Nalliah, on how the Black Saturday bushfires were due to the decriminalisation of abortion
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Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party

Want legal marijuana. Registered in Nimbin because of course they are. Apparently their website lists a land line phone link to the "HEMP embassy" which manages to be both a hilarious pun and an ever so slightly offensive appropriation of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
Political leaning: Far left
Likes: Legalising Hemp, and using it for literally everything. Nimbin. The munchies.
Dislikes: Da police. Joining an existing political party that shares their values.
"HEMP has a plan to integrate the whole plant into our everyday lives for medicine, food security, the environment and social harmony."
- HEMP party website
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Health Australia Party

Misleadingly named 'natural medicine' believers. Not technically anti-vaccination but pretty close. Also wants Swiss-style national military service for some reason? Maybe being shot at is good for your karmic balance.
Political leaning: Unknown
Likes: Giving other people's kids the measles, bees
Dislikes: Fluoride, the AMA
"Do you know what they call 'alternative medicine' that's been proved to work?
- Tim Minchin
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Australia's main centre-right party in government, led by Tony Abbott.... oh, actually Malcom Turnbull, but not really - hang on, Peter Dutton? Oh, actually Scott Morrison. Sorry about that. A broad church of dominant conservatives and small l-liberals who don't get listened to any more.
Political leaning: Centre-Right
Likes: Changing leaders every 2 years after promising not to. Giving tax concessions to the wealthy. Stopping the boats.
Dislikes: Climate change science. Leadership stability. Malcolm Turnbull.
"[Menzies] talked about the importance of freedoms. Of faith. Of religion. Of speech. Of association. That's a great place to start a party, I reckon, and it's a great place to continue to run a party from.
- Scott Morrison, Albury, Sept 2018.
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The Nationals

Do you miss the agri-economics and sexism of politics from yesteryear? This is the party for you. The spleen of the Coalition - they need it to live, but nobody really knows or cares what it does. Their policy documents actually include a guide to dealing with sexual harrasment complaints within the Party. There's even a flowchart.
Political leaning: Right
Likes: Screwing the murray darling basin, screwing people who aren't their wives, coal seam gas
Dislikes: Laborlaborlaborlaborlaborlabor
"Laborlaborlaborlaborlaborlaborlabor party, the Queensland Labor government, Laborlaborlaborlabor..."
- Barnaby Joyce actually said this in an ABC radio interview
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Pirate Party

The pARRRrty that loves piracy, mainly of the internet vARRRiety. Campaigns a lot on open-access, intARRRnet freedom, pARRRivacy, digital rights, freedom of infARRRmation and pARRRticipatory democracy.
Political leaning: Left-LibertARRRian
Likes: Piracy, Open access. Boats (we presume).
Dislikes: Internet censARRRship. When people read their policy platform in a pirate voice. Or maybe they do, we don't know.
"Our movement occupies a unique place in politics, providing leadership in the issues of today which you won't find in other political parties - digital activism, human rights, economic responsibility and transparency of government."
- Pirate Party website
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Affordable Housing

Single issue party based on making housing more affordable. Against negative gearing, foreign ownership, etc etc. Also opposed to 'big Australia' but are at pains to not be racist about it. Otherwise generically 'progressive'
Political leaning: Centre
Likes: Housing that doesn't cost your firstborn
Dislikes: Money laundering by real estate agents, apparently
"It's a lesson to those guys today. They've got to look at what you can do if you work together."
- Reg Macey
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Australia's largest environmentalist party, known for caring about climate change even when there isn't an election on. The party that wants to build more affordable housing, except when it's built right next door. The party that hates factional politics, except when Lee Rhiannon and Jeremy Buckhimgham do it. The party that... well you get the idea.
Political leaning: Left
Likes: An actual credible climate change policy. A compassionate refugee policy that meets our international obligations. Factional infighting in NSW.
Dislikes: Adani. Corporate political donations. The old, big parties. Climate change turning the Earth into an apocalyptic hellscape.
"It's all about the sort of leadership that people are getting at the moment. They're fed up with this sorta day-to-day bickering, not putting the national interest ahead of these narrow partisan interests."
- Pot calling the kettle black, Richard Di Natale
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Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

Does what it says on the tin. If it moves they want to shoot it, if it doesn't they want to 4WD on it. Pretend not to support gun deregulation, but during the 2011-15 NSW parliament they argued in favour of shooting in national parks.
Political leaning: Rural Right
Likes: Cows with guns
Dislikes: The National party. Water mismanagement. Hey, you want to fish or farm, you need water.
"For the past eight years, we've seen government spending skewed heavily towards Sydney. It's time the bush got its fair share,"
- SFF Leader Robert Borsak
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Australian People's Party

Website features a big "Australia not for sale" sign on it, which is really most of what you need to know. Anti foreign ownership and tough on immigration, including returning dual citizens to their original country if they commit crimes. Seems to have a habit of putting up bankrupt candidates (literally, not morally, though considering one of them was a convicted drug trafficker probably that too).
Political leaning: Centrist, but right wing on immigration
Likes: All sorts of random stuff
Dislikes: Foreign ownership, foreign work rights... you get the drill
"Convicted drug trafficker and gangland widow Roberta Williams could appear on ballot papers at the next federal election despite being bankrupt and ineligible to run."
- SMH (She didn't end up being a formal candidate, for some reason)
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The current opposition led by Bill Shorten, the most boring, square daggy dad seen in Australia since the 2014 Toyota Camry ad. Promising to end tax loopholes, save medicare, and stop the revolving door of leadership changes (even though Bill Shorten started it).
Political leaning: Centre-left
Likes: Medicare, ending tax loopholes, climate change action (but only a little bit). Zingers. The song "hip to be square", by Huey Lewis and the News.
Dislikes: Being asked about the Adani coal mine, refugees, or carbon pricing.
- Bill Shorten
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Country Labor

Also known as the Labor party. Just a subsection of the ALP, but with rural candidates. You can't vote for them above the line anyway.
Political leaning: Centre Left
Likes: The country
Dislikes: Being an independent political party
- Bill Shorten
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Socialist Alliance

People who think Trotsky died of natural causes. Supported mainly by upper class law students from Cremorne and Toorak who got to go on free "study tours" to Havana. Which they definitely, definitely didn't put photos of on instagram later for shameless likes.
Political leaning: Far Left
Likes: Hugo Chavez. Che Guevara. Lenin. Refugee rights. Protesting at Labor party conferences. Equality.
Dislikes: Selling out.
"Must.... crush..... capitalism!""
- Zombie Lenin from that Simpsons episode.
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The Together Party

Leftie party that looks like it photocopied most of the Greens/SA platform without any of the detail. Vote for them if you secretly like Socialist Alliance but also your BMW X5.
Political leaning: Left
Likes: Looking like a socialist party, but with purple colours instead. Small target strategy.
Dislikes: A big, all encompassing vision
"Making Australia Slightly Better Than Average Again"
- The actual title of a book by candidate Mark Swivel
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Australian Conservatives

Cory Bernadi's crusade machine. Conservatives with your standard far-right-wing policies. Blah blah no renewables blah blah pull out from the refugee convention blah less foreign aid blah. Amusingly, advocate for both "children understanding the values of Western culture" and "the removal of all political indoctrination from the curriculum".
Political leaning: Far right
Likes: Western Culture, Christianity, not much else
Dislikes: Holiday eggs, abortions, same sex marriage (too late)
The party issued a policy release in April, 2017 urging party members to petition major chocolate companies to oppose Easter Eggs being renamed Holiday Eggs. The release caused confusion on the grounds that there was no evidence any major chocolate company had ever done that in Australia, or that anyone had ever asked them to.
- Wikipedia
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Great Australian

Former One Nation Senator (sorry, 'senator-in-exile') Rodney Culleton's new party. Completely unhinged. They're anti-vaccinations for a start, then try to claim that income tax is voluntary and go downhill from there. Their website used to link to a number of conspiracy theory pages - including how 9/11 and Paris 2015 were false flag operations, how Port Arthur was staged to take away our guns, how local local government is unconstitutional, and how MH17 was payback for Vladamir Putin trying to bypass the US Dollar. Check your brain at the door folks.
Political leaning: Libertarian Conspiracy nutcases
Likes: Conspiracy theories
Dislikes: Any semblance of common sense
"Just because I turn around and say that I took a key, it's no different to taking a scone off someone's plate."
- Rod Cullerton, claiming he wasn't guilty of theft in a WA court case
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Fraser Anning's Conservative Nationals

Racist, bigoted, Nazi-sympathising bastards who deserve nothing but contempt. And eggs. When Pauline Hanson calls you out for being a Nazi you know it's pretty dire.
Political leaning: Far right fascists
Likes: Fascist thuggery, white supremacy, racism, victim blaming, etc.
Dislikes: Eggs and the heroes who throw them.
"Straight from Goebbels' handbook from Nazi Germany"
- Pauline Hanson
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Christian Democratic Party

Fred Nile's party of wowsers, homophobes and other angry bigots. Fred Nile is 'president for life'.
Political leaning: Conservative Christianity
Likes: Namedropping God
Dislikes: Vices of any kind. The LGBTI Community.
""Homiage" and "lesiage" could be alternative terms available to those homosexuals who want to define their relationships."
- Fred Nile
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Independents for Climate Action Now (ICAN)

Led by Father Rod Bower of Anglican Gosford Church fame (the guy that puts left wing political slogans on his church sign). They are a variety of independent candidates of various ideologies who all want action on climate change, but felt they can't vote green due to other Greens policies (presumably on religious matters?). On issues other than climate change their candidates are free to vote how they want - Rod Bower himself is definitely left of centre. One of the more catchy acronyms going around.
Political leaning: Various, but mainly left wing
Likes: A zero emissions climate change future.
Dislikes: The far-right heckling dickheads who interrupt his church services.
"We will continue to proclaim the gospel of love no matter what #SydneyAnglicans do."
- Rod Bower on Twitter
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Liberal Democrats

David Leyonjhelm's party, but he's not running this time, because he quit to run in the NSW state upper house (where he lost). Generally run by people who hate any government intervention in the economy or society and can probably explain what bitcoin is.
Political leaning: Right wing libertarian
Likes: Declaring victory prematurely.
Dislikes: Government intervention and regulations.
"It is evident that I have been elected".
- David Leyonjhelm, prematurely declaring victory in the NSW state upper house.
Narrator: He wasn't.
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One Nation

Australia's original far-right, race baiting, anti-immigration, flat tax, redneck party. Supports voluntary euthanasia for some inexplicable reason. Got busted recently for trying to solicit donations from the US National Rifle Association and the Koch Brothers.
Political leaning: Far-right
Likes: Please explain.
Dislikes: I don't like it.
"I haven't flip flopped. I said no originally, then I said yes, then I said no, and I've stuck to it."
- Pauline Hanson
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The Women's Party

Newly formed for this election, not related to the Australian Women's Party of 1995-2003. Want parliament to have a gender quota of 50% women. Only running two candidates, which means they're outnumbered almost 15:1 by candidates named "Peter". And who says Australian politics is sexist.
Political leaning: Left
Likes: Equal wages, subsidised childcare
Dislikes: The constitution, corruption
"Working within our parliamentary political system, women are 6.6 times more likely to respond with transparency and honesty than men"
- Sounds like 50% might be aiming too low, then (The Women's Party website)
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Seniors United Party of Australia

Old people advocating for other old people. Generally left of centre on issues related to health and aged care, but opposes any changes to the superannuation and franking credits system that might affect pensioners. Has one of the more excellent acronyms of any party.
Political leaning: Centre
Likes: Franking credits, better health care. National aged care enquiry. Federal ICAC.
Dislikes: Them kids being on our lawn and taking away our franking credits.
"They fleece you while you are living and they fleece you on the way out. We see ourselves as milking cows and there is no charity at all, it's all about the quid"
- Member Leone Cordingley
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Socialist Equality Party

The fourth international, also known as people who are still angry that Leon Trotsky was assassinated 80 years on. Apparently they think that Socialism doesn't imply equality enough, hence the double barrelled name. Most of the website is currently devoted to news about their hero Julian Assange. They're also anti "identity politics" and the #metoo movement, so they're all for equality except for women and people who aren't white, apparently.
Political leaning: Far Left
Likes: Trotsky, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning
Dislikes: Ice axes. Show trials. Stalinists. US Imperialism, the Ecuadorian Embassy. Being called "brocialists".
"To a greater extent than ever before, this election will be characterised by lies and diversions"
- That's a high bar, SEP website
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Australian Workers Party

Trade union officials who have started their own microparty in protest at a "move towards neoliberalism by the ALP". Policies are basically left-faction ALP, with a focus on manufacturing industry jobs. Want a universal jobs guarantee and a 32 hour working week, a republic, and to nationalise the power grid.
Political leaning: Left
Likes: Trade unions, what the ALP used to be
Dislikes: What the ALP is now, Neoliberalism, the Queen
"It's ludicrous to think that self driving cars and voice activated mobile phones are going to?eliminate all human endeavour"
- Phew, I was worried about that (AWP Website)
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Australian Better Families

Believe there is a gender-bias against fathers in family law court cases. Founder is a men's rights activist linked to One Nation's dubious family law policy. Wants a Minister for Men, because of course they do.
Political leaning: Right
Likes: Men, mental health reform, live music
Dislikes: "Fake" domestic violence
"Don't hide away in a dark corner. Take yourself down to your state and federal members' office and let them witness your final act in person"
- Some? questionable advice from Better Families Founder Leith Erikson
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Involuntary Medication Objectors (Vaccination/Fluoride) Party

Anti-vaxxers and fluoride skeptics, together at last. People who want to go back to the glory days of smallpox and tooth decay. Their website does feature a hilarious, surprisingly well produced video featuring a mum running through green fields, a toddler getting scared by ScoMo on TV and a logo that turns into a syringe. Truly paranoid crap. Registered in a small Northern NSW town because of course they are.
Political leaning: Unknown
Likes: Bad teeth, Whooping cough epidemics.
Dislikes: Recent scientific evidence proving that autism isn't linked to vaccinations. The dental industry.
"Who do you trust with your child's health.... them, or you?
- Party advertisement
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United Australia Party

Clive Palmer's attempt to make Australia great again through sheer weight of yellow billboards and Trump-style populism. Mostly a grab bag of right wing big business tax cuts and infrastructure spending. In other words stuff that will make Clive Palmer money.
Political leaning: Right wing Trumpism
Likes: Ruining the Australian Open coverage with $50 million dollars in ads, unsolicited text messages, also dinosaur golf courses
Dislikes: Paying his nickel workers their entitlements, paying royalties to Twisted Sister for plagiarising their song
"It's not my fault that I've made a lot of money."
- Then whose fault is it, Clive Palmer?
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Democratic Labour Party

DLP Labour is all about "families" - and you can probably predict what comes next. It generally supports workers rights from a centrist position, but runs a conservative faith-based social agenda. Is anti-abortion and remains opposed to same-sex marriage. Split from the ALP in 1955 and still angry about it.
Political leaning: Centre-right
Likes: Pretending to be a workers party, "family values".
Dislikes: Abortion, LGBTIQ community.
"A basic element of our philosophy is that the interests of Australians may be best served by preserving, protecting and building on the family."
- DLP Website
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Climate Action! Immigration Action! Accountable Politicians!

The Online Direct Democracy party realised their name was too boring (ironically not ODD enough), so decided to lie instead. Their name actually has nothing to do with their party position, as they don't have a party position on anything, instead promising to allow all citizens to vote on all legislation. Obviously didn't learn from Jeb Bush's failed 2016 presidential bid that exclamation marks don't work.
Political leaning: Direct Democracy
Likes: Exclamation marks!
Dislikes: The actual democratic process!
"The intent...was to take advantage of the six words allowed by the AEC"
- Press release
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Animal Justice Party

Justice for animals! Don't like basically anything that hurts animals whether it's evidence-based or not. All candidates must be vegan to join the party.
Political leaning: Left
Likes: Cute fluffy animals
Dislikes: Factory farming, scientific experimentation, kangaroo culls
"AJP is supported by a cohort of human-hating, urban-based, largely idle-rich and well-off middle class types, that have no empathy for their fellow human beings"
- That's big talk from a gun nut, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers' spokesgun Robert Borsak.
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A party that promises to vote exactly how you tell them to, so they don't need to come up with any policies themselves. Ran a bunch of fake candidates in a WA State Election, which goes to show how much they like that whole democracy thing.
Political leaning: Direct Democracy
Likes: Issues Based Direct Democracy
Dislikes: Representative democracy, except when they try to win seats in a representative democracy without any irony whatsoever.
"Elected Flux MPs and Senators give up their autonomy and use their votes in line with the outcomes produced by the Flux ecosystem; an ecosystem comprised of ordinary Aussies like you."
- Flux Website
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Science Party

Wonkish, vagely science-esque party. Policies range from left-wing standards (renewable energy, drug decriminalisation) to the adorably bonkers (a new city called Turing between Sydney and Canberra with separate immigration rules and a minimum of 50,000 people per square km).
Political leaning: Left
Likes: Evidence-based everything, climate action, Charter Cities
Dislikes: Copyright filters, Border Force
"Not even the people who wrote the current policy platform agree 100% with one another about every detail on every issue."
- Honesty is the best policy, Science party website
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Citizens Electoral Council

Completely, utterly, hilariously bonkers. Conspiracy theorists of the highest order: They believe that the Queen controls the drug trade, that we should use DDT as a pesticide again, and that rock music was created by the British secret service. Anti-semitic. Also an actual cult.
Political leaning: Right wing conspiracy
Likes: Lyndon LaRouche, being unhinged
"LaRouche himself has long since become the walking punchline to a very strange joke. He is known for some of the most baroque conspiracy theories ever put into circulation. Members of the LYM now deny that he ever accused the Queen of England of drug trafficking - though in fact, he did exactly that throughout the 1980s."
- Book critic and columnist Scott McLemee
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#Sustainable Australia

A rare bird, an anti-immigration party with a bunch of standard left-wing policies (more public transport, reduce factory farming, less privatisation, carbon pricing). Centrist, or confused? You be the judge.
Political leaning: Center
Likes: Hashtags, people thinking they're about environmental sustainability when they aren't.
Dislikes: Immigration, people thinking that they're racist
"A sustainable population is achievable by diversifying Australia's economy away from an over-reliance on housing construction, which requires ever-more people. "
- Sustainable Australia president William Bourke
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Australian Democrats

Wait... they're not dead?

Risen from the grave after being deregistered because nobody cared about them. Otherwise fairly boring policies with a bit of a rural focus, though considering the rest of the field 'boring' is pretty high praise.
Political leaning: Centre
Likes: Punching their way out of the political grave
Dislikes: Bastards (that aren't honest)
"It's official... we're registered!"
- Australian Democrats Website
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The Small Business Party

A party based around, you guessed it, small business. Their leader was originally vying for Mayor of Sydney City Council. So I guess if you can't beat em' aim higher?
Political leaning: upwards
Likes: Small business
Dislikes: Infrastructure projects interfering with small business
"The cynic in me will say that in every election, whether local, state or federal, every party claims to have some allegiance to small business, but that is only around for that brief election cycle, but after that they forget all about the small business owner"
- Angela Vithoulkas
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