A non-serious guide to the 2016 Australian Senate ballot paper
Confused by the array of minor parties on the Senate Ballot Paper for the 2016 Australian Election?
You're in the right place.
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. This is the first election where you can vote above the line in the senate and have your votes go to only the parties that you want them to go to, so make it count!
Don't forget: This is Australia - you can't waste your vote!
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.
NEW! Create a printable cheat-sheet for your Senate ballot on the day!

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A really confused policy base, calling for higher pensions, less wasteful spending. Some policies seem to contradict others. Talks about multiculturalism and a fair go for all, but wants to limit immigration to only people in "Australia's interests". Not for anyone using this website.
Political leaning: Right?
Likes: Assimilation, freedom of information, higher pensions
Dislikes: Government spending, the wrong kind of immigration
"The party equivalent of an angry letter to the local paper."
- Adam Strang
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The current opposition. According to their critics, they are a bunch of left wing economic job destroyers who are also so right wing that they are no different to the Liberals.
Political leaning: Centre Left
Likes: Imprisoning children, not imprisoning unions, gays, Gonski reforms
Dislikes: Liberal party members, cuts to medicare
- Bill Shorten
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These guys want to raise particular awareness of cuts to the Australia council and George Brandis redirecting money to his pet projects.
Political leaning: Left wing
Likes: Artists, cannabis, gays
Dislikes: George Brandis, imprisoning children
"Want one million votes
For the balance of power
Wear an Arts T-shirt".
- Eido Boru, Arts Party poet-in-residence
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Slightly lefter than Labor, the third party of Australian politics (just). Greens press release mad-libs: "The old big parties can never *insert policy here*. Only the Australian Greens can *insert policy here*."
Political leaning: Left wing
Likes: Trees, Carbon Pricing, The Great Barrier Reef, the seat of Grayndler, promising things they'll never have to deliver.
Dislikes: Imprisoning children, pointing out what a mess Tasmania is now
"Tony Abbott might think coal's good for humanity, of course it was an important driver in the story of the Australian nation. But when we're talking about the 21st Century and those industries that are gonna take us forward, it won't be coal."
- Richard di Natale, Greens
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Single issue party which only touches on policy areas that might affect cycling (infrastructure, legal reform, research, promotion etc). Left only in the sense that it advocates more government spending on cycling infrastructure, other than that it's fairly agnostic. Allied with their natural allies, the scientists.
Political leaning: Left-ish
Likes: Cycling, lycra, science
Dislikes: Being hit by cars, people throwing stuff at cyclists
"Do you think the Greens would be even putting this much out on cycling if we were not in the election?"
- Omar Khalifa, ACP
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Nick Xenophon, populist opportunist. Began with fuzzy anti-gambling position, now wants to roll back 40 years of tariff reform to benefit South Australia at everyone else's expense
Political leaning: Populist-centre
Likes: Votes, power, media attention, stunts at press conferences
Dislikes: Gambling, scientologists, South Australia dying a natural death
"Some people do drugs when they're young; I joined the Young Liberals."
- Nick Xenophon
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Centre-left party. Essentially every left-wing thinkpiece you've ever read on the internet coalesced into a policy platform. Alternatively, the kind of policies that The Greens or the Labor Left would draw up if uninhibited by polls and fear of the Murdoch press. Has oddly specific policies around dentistry, anti-corruption, and the ABC.
Political leaning: Centre-left
Likes: Having almost identical policies to Labor and the Greens
Dislikes: The ease and convenience of joining an existing political party
"We want to be a government with the guts to advance society through laws, services and infrastructure, rather than gambling on the off-chance that "the free market" will look after everyone and everything."
- AP website
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"Broad church" of economic conservatives and social conservatives. Currently run the country.
Political leaning: Centre-right
Likes: Jobs and growth, imprisoning children, jobs and growth, investment properties, jobs and growth, not privatising medicare, jobs and growth, secretly privatising medicare
Dislikes: Losing, gays, poor people
"Leadership and personality politics tend to be an important driver of what happens inside the Liberal Party."
- Dr Nick Economou
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Mainly just a money-fuelled vehicle for transporting Clive Palmer's gigantic ego. Clive Palmer isn't actually running for parliament himself this time. His party is basically dead.
Political leaning: Centre-Right
Likes: Dinosaur Golf Courses, the Titanic and napping in question time
Dislikes: Anyone who questions Clive Palmer, taxes in Tasmania
"I think the Greens in this coming state election, all their candidates should resign if they are being funded by an offshore political power. It is tantamount to treason. Something needs to be done about it."
- Clive Palmer, on his belief the Greens are funded by the CIA
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Single issue party, does what it says on the tin. Logo is literally Ricky Muir's face. Voting record is left-ish on workers rights, welfare, etc but the party itself doesn't have any explicit positions on these things so we can just chalk that up to Ricky Muir doing whatever he wants.
Political leaning: Centrist-ish
Likes: Cars, motorcycles, trucks, 4WDs
Dislikes: Anti-hooning laws
"If I'm going to go down, I'm going to go down fighting.''
- Ricky Muir
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Libertarian (i.e. wants less government with less power). Often supports traditionally left-associated causes (e.g. marriage equality) but in general is all about cutting government programs, government support and privatising the world. Election list almost exclusively male. Recent scandal for accepting $500,000 'donation' for someone to be on their ticket, in an unwinnable position.
Political leaning: Mid right, libertarian
Likes: Privatisation, free markets, assisted suicide, Gay marriage
Dislikes: Political correctness, the Greens, gun control, "big government".
"Private ownership of native animals will save them from extinction."
- David Leyonjhelm
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Only party with website for name. Has no policy position, intends to vote entirely based on polls of members. IMO in practice would probably vote similar to Pirate Party due to membership overlap.
Political leaning: None
Likes: Blockchain, distributed democracy
Dislikes: Actual democracy
"We are not running because we think we have the best ideas, like every other party in this election, we are running because we believe that the Australian people are the best to make these decisions and this enfranchises people to make those decisions."
- Nathan Spataro, Flux
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Fred Nile and his merry band of homophobic conservative Christians.
Political leaning: Far right
Likes: Being Holier Than Thou, Praying for Rain on Mardi Gras, watching porn on parliamentary computers for "research"
Dislikes: Gays, the Burqa, topless bathing. Yes Fred Nile Actually complained about that once.
"God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"
- Fred Nile
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Highly conservative party, links to conservative Christian groups.
Political leaning: Far right
Likes: Workplace deregulation
Dislikes: Gays, renewable energy, abortion, injecting rooms
"Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn't change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children."
- Peter Madden, Family First
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Bunch of racists.
Also economic protectionism, putting up trade walls and industry subsidisation by government. Plus, surprisingly enough, men's rights activism.
Political leaning: Far right
Likes: Racism, primary and secondary industry, bashing Asians and Muslims
Dislikes: My language has been murdered. My shopping trolley murdered, my groceries just gone. I don't like it.
"Please explain"
- Pauline Hanson
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Generally promotes equality and human rights, specifically focused around marriage equality. Claims not to be left-leaning, with 43% of members Liberals or those who usually vote Liberal.
Political leaning: Left-ish/Centrist
Likes: Gays, marriage
Dislikes: Imprisoning children
"The Australian Equality party will ensure Australia has a consistent voice for fairness, equality and LGBTIQ inclusion in parliament."
- Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, ME
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Formerly just the shooters party, has included farmers in an attempt to widen the base. Narrow range of policies, mainly around guns, fish, farming, and outdoor recreation. Wanted to allow shooting in national parks in NSW.
Political leaning: Right wing
Likes: Guns
Dislikes: Cute animals, the Greens
"I choose to hunt and gather my own meat because it is my right to do so, it's a clean, organic and sustainable way to live."
- Robert Borsak, on eating an elephant.
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Although on the left of politics they are more "libertarian". They stick up for sex workers but also take a stand against wowsers and censorship. Are actually doing a preference deal with Labor. Have teamed up with the single-issue Hemp party, who campaign for (you guessed it) legalised cannabis.
Political leaning: Left wing
Likes: Gays, cannabis
Dislikes: The Greens, who they had a random falling out with for some reason, churches not paying tax
"I can understand how some people can find the message 'screw the major parties' offensive, but taxing the church is a very legitimate and important policy that the Australian Sex Party has, for that to be censored is just ridiculous."
- Steven Bailey, Sex Party
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Fascists and bigots. Hierarchical party structure and explicitly anti-muslim positions.
Political leaning: Far Right
Likes: "Western Civilisation"
Dislikes: Muslims, gays
"We will stop the Islamisation of Australia and end divisive multiculturalism."
- Miscellaneous bigot
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Derryn Hinch thinks he can toughen up state bail laws and sentences for paedophiles by running for the wrong branch of government.
Political leaning: Right wing
Likes: Contempt of court, breaching suppression orders, "Tough on crime", public database of sex offenders
Dislikes: Paedophiles, domestic violence, animal violence
"Compulsory voting is undemocratic"
- Derryn Hinch
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Single-issue party focused on animal liberation. Doesn't like animals being used for scientific research or entertainment.
Political leaning: Left wing
Likes: Animals
Dislikes: Animal cruelty, animal experimentation
"Eventually we'd like to be involved in all the parliamentary committees because there isn't a single decision-making process in government that doesn't impact on animals somewhere along the way."
- Frankie Seymour, AJP
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Single issue party around, you guessed it, voluntary euthanasia.
Political leaning: left wing
Likes: Assisted suicide
Dislikes: Painful lingering death
"We consider that we live in a civilised and humane society, so to force a dying individual to suffer at the end of their illness, against their will, is a disgrace."
- Shayne Higson, VEP
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These guys are massive conspiracy theorists who follow the very strange views of an obscure American politician called Lyndon LaRouche. This is Grade-A, industrial strength crazy: they believe that the Queen directs every drug cartel on the planet and that there is a conspiracy around the proper tuning of pianos. They are also anti-semites.
Political leaning: Right Wing
Likes: Lyndon LaRouche
Dislikes: Jews, bankers, beast man Cheney
"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. At the time, he won admirers on the extreme right wing by denouncing Henry Kissinger as an agent of the KGB and calling for AIDS patients to be quarantined."
- Scott McLemee
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