Support for animal cruelty potentially just got a whole lot worse with the changes to Senate voting arrangements

The Turnbull lead Coalition Government has an appalling record in its support for animal cruelty. In just a few months it has added further support to the live trade in farm animals, the grotesque kangaroo slaughter industry, and the overseas trade in greyhound dogs to name just three areas.

The changes to the voting system recently imposed upon us by the Liberal and Green alliance means this record on animal cruelty by the Australian Parliament may get a whole lot worse. Both of these parties believe it will increase their chances of having their own senators elected while smaller parties will be disadvantaged. The major parties already have a disproportionately greater number of Senate seats compared to their share of the overall vote, while smaller parties share of Senate seats is currently lower than their 20 percent share of the Senate vote.

The new changes mean voters have to number a minimum of six party-named boxes above the line. Alternatively, one can number at least 12 candidate-named boxes below the line. As so much confusion is expected in relation to the new system on Election Day, just one party box numbered above the line will be accepted to prevent a very high rate of informal vote.

Voting [1] for the AJP above the line will give animals a better chance in the decisions of the Australian Parliament then they have ever had before. The AJP:

  • is the only political party that has preventing animal cruelty as its central objective
  • is much larger than many of the other parties often referred to as micro parties
  • will gain enough votes to ensure major Parties will want to conclude preference deals with us to try and help their candidate gain the last Senate seat in the State. In exchange for this we will demand concessions for the animals
  • stands in lower as well upper house seats and there is no change in that voting system. By strategically targeting marginal lower house seats we will again be pressuring the major Parties to negotiate with us for the animals
  • will only highly preference other parties where we are convinced they support animal wellbeing in their policies and practices
  • was able to win a seat in NSW under a similar voting system, however it will be harder to do this federally as the percentage of votes required for a federal seat is greater than it is in NSW
  • has excellent Senate candidates and resources (esp. brilliant volunteers) to fight this election and are still in with a chance of winning seats.

AJP stands toe to toe against duck shooters in Victoria

Today, our party convenor in Victoria – Bruce Poon – is on the wetlands with many other AJP office bearers, members and supporters. If you’ve ever wondered how the Animal Justice Party is working to end this cruel slaughter, here’s a message from Bruce to explain:

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) led by the redoubtable Laurie Levy have been on the wetlands rescuing wounded waterbirds for 30 years now. Laurie and the other people at CADS are thorough professionals, and have done fantastic work in saving lives, but also demonstrating to Victorians that this annual slaughter is cruel and unnecessary.
All of this campaigning over the years has led us to this point. The overwhelming majority of Victorians support a ban on duck shooting, the number of shooters is tiny (0.4% of the population), and yet the Government will still not ban it. Why?

Leading in to the Victorian State election of 2014, AJP made Duck Shooting, a matter of state legislation, one of our key campaigns. We had a number of meetings with the major parties to try and ensure a cessation, but with no result. Even as late as a few weeks before election day, we were still negotiating on the duck’s behalf with key ministers and Labor politicians in marginal seats. Even then, we were unable to budge the Labor party as a whole.

Despite getting MORE votes than the Shooters and Fishers party, we won zero seats in the upper house and they won 2, with the preference support of a range of small and major parties. They now hold 2 seats in the Legislative Council of 40. Labor hold 14, and require 21 votes on each bill.

This is the nub of the problem. If WE had won two seats, and the Shooters nil, Duck shooting would be over. But the Labor government requires Shooters and Fishers support in the Council for a range of initiatives. The Premier is reported to have had lunch with their MPs the day before a duck season was announced this year.

If we want to end the cruelty of duck shooting, and many other animal abuses, we must win for them a measure of power. Only parliamentary power, supported by the public, will see these campaigns won.

So this year, like so many others, many AJP members will be seen out on the wetlands of Victoria with CADS and other groups, rescuing ducks and trying to prevent suffering and death. Let’s hope that it sends the strongest possible message to the Government, and public outrage grows. But also remember to support our initiatives to grow the Animal Justice Party and win political power, because it is the ultimate strategic tool to achieve justice for all animals.