Although there are still votes to be counted, there is no doubt that the Animal Justice Party made a great debut at state level at the South Australian election, held on 17 March 2018.
Let’s unpack the results a little, because there are two important numbers for small (growing) parties like ours:
The first magic number is … 2 % in the Upper House (Legislative Council).
When a party in the Upper House gets two percent of the first preference vote, they get their candidate deposit back … which is $6,000 for our two candidates. Now that the vote is virtually finalised, our upper house team of Angela Martin and Wendy Davey has 2.2% of the vote. Not only do we get our deposit back; this result gives us some serious political bargaining power.
To put this upper house result into perspective, in 2014 (before the AJP was registered at the state level), Colin Thomas, running under the name of Independent Animal Justice, got just 0.85 of one percent in the Upper House, with 8787 votes. Nonetheless, Colin did a great job negotiating preference deals and was the 2nd last candidate excluded in the count.
Now, four years later as a registered party with a much stronger membership base, we have more than doubled our vote percentage!
Although changes to the voting system have made it impossible for us to win a seat in the Legislative Council with these numbers, it is still a remarkable achievement.
The second magic number is 4% in Lower House.
The same rules about deposit refunds apply to candidates in Lower House electorates, but we need four percent of the primary vote in the Lower House.
Now, as the counting is being wound up, we have one candidate on 4 percent at the moment (congratulations, Millie Hammerstein in Croydon) ), and our other three Lower House candidates sitting on numbers between 3 and 4 percent … another impressive result! Well done, Geoff Russell, Louise Pfeiffer and Nick Hancock.
For both houses, it’s not just a matter of getting the deposit back; we can also negotiate reimbursement for election advertising.
It is remarkable that we are even close to hitting these targets on our first attempt as a registered party, but even if we don’t quite get there, we have shown the powerful potential of the party in the future.
We still have plenty of work to do in analysing the results and working out what worked, and what didn’t.
But we think much of the success is down to the $6,000 we spent on facebook advertising and $3,500 we spent on radio advertising during the last week.
Over the coming months, we’ll be discussing with the new Liberal Government what they will do for animals. The initial focus will be on duck shooting, where we have a long standing commitment from Steven Marshall for an inquiry* into the cruelty issues, and also on bow hunting, where an inquiry was offered prior to the election.
We actually have both major parties on board with this, because although the Labor government blocked any action on duck shooting in the past, they too finally committed to an inquiry in the months prior to the election.
So we can realistically expect action.
* Note: Holding an inquiry is the normal process for any Government wanting to stop an activity, because they then use that inquiry as the basis for legislation. We know that with cruelty as one of the terms of reference, the outcome of such an inquiry is a slam dunk – the scientific evidence of cruelty is so plain.
It is also interesting that our vote yesterday didn’t appear to have just come from The Greens, as some might assume.
The Green vote was certainly down in the seats we contested, but it was also down (by similar amounts) in some seats we didn’t contest. Overall the Green vote looks like being 2% lower than in 2014. The Greens are a mature party, running in all 47 lower house seats. So our vote in just four seats couldn’t account for this drop.It is clear that we won our vote because we tap into a need that isn’t being met by other parties – not the Greens, not anybody. We are the only party campaigning for animal justice, and there isn’t another party which represents animals as we do.
So it’s a huge thank you to everybody who came out and helped on polling stations yesterday, and to those who provided support in other ways. We know that people did a terrific job, and their feedback to us is that they really enjoyed it.
That’s important, because we’ll need you all out again at the Federal election, whenever it is called. And if you did enjoy it, then tell your friends!
The more votes we get the more influence we will have; it’s that simple.