For 2016, my chosen issue is telecommunications. Comments will be slanted in that direction. Dozens of parties are registered, so my analysis is necessarily superficial.
Shortly before the election, Richard O'Brien posted a light-hearted analysis on Facebook. It's worth a read, both to lighten the mood and for his insights.
"Sure an NBN
would be great and everyone agrees that faster broadband is
critical. One that covers a large majority of the population for a
fraction of the cost ..."
Concerned about union power, but not business corruption. Focus on reducing business' contribution to government revenue. Emphasis on cost over value implies deep Conservatism. Reading between the lines: cosmetically-altered Liberal Party.
I reckon the name is misleading.
Focus on animal rights. Not much in the way of policies outside that, except for global warming considering its impacts on wildlife.
Focus on: not quite sure. Anti-Islam; anti-immigrant. Far-Right/Libertarian. I think. :/
Focus on: I guess the name says it all. Their web site seems to consist of a single page, with links that all circle back to that page. Facebook indicates that they've managed to get into trouble by accusing without adequate evidence.
Faith-based. Rather too keen on censorship and Internet filtering.
Based in Victoria. "We believe in equality of access to education, transportation, communication and health care for all communities;". No infrastructure policies of any substance. Nothing specific to telecommunications.
Historically, active in Victoria and NSW. Single-issue party. No policies beyond that issue.
An eclectic, old-school mix of policies. Nothing on telecommunications.
Victoria-based, single-issue party. No policies beyond that issue.
Moderately Left-leaning, environmentally-conscious party. I couldn't find any published telecommunications policy, but Scott Ludlam has repeatedly demonstrated understanding of the issues. A history of compromise gives cause for caution. Contacted 28 April 2016 about their telecommunications plan. No response as at 24 May.
Centre-Right mainstream party. Though originators of the FttP NBN, current plans are far more equivocal.
Small government. Anti-Islamic. On telecommunications: "Our detailed policies in this portfolio will be released by the Policy Development Committee as we work towards the upcoming federal election."
Largely, a single-issue party. I'd place it centre-right on the political spectrum, somewhere between Liberal and Labor. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Moderately left-leaning. I'd place them slightly to the Left of the Greens on the political spectrum. No telecommunications policy, as such. Annoying bandwidth-sucking web site.
Largely single-issue party. Many of their published policies are slightly left of centre. Office-bearers dominated by business-people. Overall, I'd put them between Labor and the Liberals on the political spectrum. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Progressive, environmentally aware, slightly left of centre but with a limited range of policies. For me, whether they're left or right of the Greens is a toss-up. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Another party for which the name says it all. No policies beyond its single issue. "Our elected MPs will abstain on voting from anything that is not related to high-speed-rail and getting a Bullet Train."
Faith-based far right. No telecommunications policy, as such. "CDP candidates are in total agreement with CDP aims and principles; but in every instance, they are free to vote on legislation according to their conscience under God’s guidance." Web site infested with annoying pop-ups.
A weird mix of old-style nationalism, protectionism and far, far Right-wing attitudes. Global-warming denialist party. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Mainly concerned with tolls, but has expanded into other fields including consumer issues and animal rights. Annoying bandwidth-sucking web site. No telecommunications policy, as such. Mostly harmless.
NT-based right of centre. Heavy reliance on the private sector. On the political spectrum, I'd place them closer to the Liberals than to Labor. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Active in Queensland and NSW. Seems to aspire to be what the Country Party was. While I don't necessarily agree with all of their policies, those policies impress as well thought-through. No telecommunications policy, as such. Overall, I'd place them slightly to the left of Labor.
A spinoff of the Labor Party. In policies, it manages to be both more progressive and more Conservative than its sibling. Overall, slightly to the right of Labor, but closer to it than to the Liberals. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Active in all states. A narrow platform, focused around the legal/prison system. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Another single-issue party, active in Victoria and NSW. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Heavy on tradition and faith. Overall; far right-wing, global warming denialists. I'd place the party to the right of the Liberals. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Queensland-based and not active in other states. Former Palmer United senator. Narrow set of policies, evidently based on whatever came up. No telecommunications policy, as such. Hard to classify, so I'll put Glenn in the centre.
Not exactly what it sounds like. Presents as centrist, but manages to look pretty right-of-centre (albeit with a little counter-cultural weirdness mixed in). "Ensure that big business, big unions and paperwork burdens do not distort the benefits of free enterprise." Policies are presented in a single Microsoft Word document. Most policies seem superficial. No telecommunications policy, as such, just a vague mention of infrastructure.
Another single-issue party. Apparently active in all states and territories, with a network of local branches. No evident policies beyond its focus.
Another escapee from Palmer United, this time Tasmanian. I rather like the lady, but she has some peculiar ideas. Pro-nuclear and anti-renewables. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Victoria-based, ex-DLP Senator Madigan is an interesting character. Pro fossil fuels. Anti abortion rights. Anti renewable energy. Pro company tax cuts. No telecommunications policy, as such.
Centred around the colourful Member for Kennedy in Queensland, party activity is not limited to that state. The party's policies are interesting, to say the least. Bob's "Letter to my Fellow Australians" gives the flavour. Right-wing with a hint of Socialism, in the Country Party tradition. Somewhere between Labor and Liberal, but I'm not at all sure exactly where. Quite a bit of infrastructure policy, but nothing on telecommunications.
Extreme Libertarian party, represented in the current (2016) parliament
by Senator David
Leyonhjelm. Favours irrationally small government and
unrealistically low taxation. Senator Leyonhjelm's voting record can
be summed up as "guns good; wind farms bad". Claims to be neither Left nor
Right, but manages to be pretty far to the Right on many issues. No
telecommunications policy, as such, but generally favours unfettered free
market ideology, which would militate against government providing
infrastructure. Party does not accept science on global warming.
One of Australia's oldest parties and senior in the currently-ruling Coalition. Emerging from a period in which it was dominated by the extreme Right-wing, Libertarian Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), the party is still dominated by far-Right ideology.
The IPA still wields substantial influence on the Liberals. Current leadership is less committed to their ideals, but a significantly-large faction is. The IPA's 75- article wish-list and it 25-article follow-up give insights into the party's true intentions.
Telecommunications policy is not detailed online. Their infrastructure policy mentions it only briefly. In practice, the party has deliberately crippled a vital infrastructure project for short-term political expediency.
Of three members contacted about long-term telecommunications policy, none has responded.
The party's web-site is another irritating bandwidth-sucker.
Focused on older Australians (I can say that because I am one) historically, those over 50. Active in most, if not all, states and territories. Favours public ownership of public assets. No policy on infrastructure, let alone telecommunications.
Junior partner in the currently-ruling coalition. Nominally-focused on rural, regional and remote Australia. Policies largely mirror the Liberals. Infrastructure policy is pretty much copy-and-paste from the Liberals, with a bit stuck on about mobile black-spots.
Of two relevant
National Party ministers contacted about telecommunications, only Fiona Nash
response came, not from the minister, but from the Department.
The party's web-site is another irritating bandwidth-sucker. Given that their constituency typically lacks in bandwidth, that's an indicator of competence.
South Australia-based independent Senator, now forming his own party.
Originally focused on predatory gambling. Active in all states.
Telecommunications policy limited to mention of NBN among "essential
utilities". Favours public ownership of essential infrastructure. A
strange mix; publicly
supports renewable energy, but has a history of opposition to wind
Single-issue party, active in NSW. Focused on rights of non-custodial parents. No published policies outside that focus.
Active in NSW, Qld and NT. Focus on participatory democracy, in view of increasing corruption of representative democratic systems, well summed up as "Capitalism is eating Democracy".
"In politics many decisions are made in accordance with political pressure, doing deals or vocal minorities. Online Direct Democracy will stand candidates to give a specific voice to the majority view." The majority view to be ascertained by direct popular vote (electronically, which assumes access to and ability use the necessary equipment and systems).
No policies, apart from developing systems to inform voters and
Focus on being allowed to do pretty much as they please on public land. Originally from NSW. Registered officer: David Leyonhjelm. Policies generally far-right libertarian. No telecommunications policy.
The party of self-professed billionaire Clive Palmer. Seeking nominations, but none listed on their web site as at 5 June 2016. Policies centre on business and mining. No telecommunications policy.
Candidates in all states. Xenophobic, extreme Conservative policy base. Published policies imply a descent into conspiracy ideation. No telecommunications policy.
Disclosure: I'm a member.
Originally focused on mitigating excesses of copyright law. Now has a
fairly comprehensive platform,
"The current copper network is not sufficient to meet the requirements of a growing digital society. A fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure project that connects the majority of Australians to a fibre network, where economically feasible, is fundamental to the creation of a vibrant digital society in Australia."
Far from exhaustive, but better than most. Discussion of telecommunications policy is ongoing.
Candidates for the Senate in NSW, Qld and Vic, plus the NSW lower house seat of Bennelong.
Another single-issue party. NSW-based; active in Tasmania, NSW, Victoria, WA and Queensland. No policies outside its single issue.
Generally; far-Right, libertarian global-warming
denialists. They do, however, have a telecommunications
policy (of sorts):
"Rise Up Australia supports the NBN which replaces the copper network. This will give us the best internet service, and the speeds are far superior to fibre to the node. Fibre may initially be more costly, but it offers far greater reliability, lower operating costs, lower energy use and greater bandwidth".
Ludicrously heavy web site that wouldn't load in most of the browsers that I tried. Even Internet Explorer couldn't handle it. The only one that worked reliably was Chrome.
Policies based on a single principle: to end the influence of, and all reference to, religion in Australian public life. No telecommunications policy.
NSW-based party for the over-55s. Very few policies at all and none directly related to telecommunications.
Formerly the Future Party. Telecommunications policy supports FttP NBN, but looks like it hasn't been updated since 2013. Policies include support for high-speed rail, thorium reactor research, increased migration/greater population density and an Australian space agency.
Formerly the Shooters and Fishers Party and before that, just the Shooters Party. Originally NSW-based, but now with affiliations federally and in other states. Basically another right-wing libertarian party that objects to being told that they can't do as they please, wherever and whenever they please.
Policies are generally aimed at rolling back protections and impediments to members having their way. No telecommunications policy.
Another single-issue party. Running Senate candidates in all states except Victoria. No policies outside their issue.
Predictable left-wing policies, but none on infrastructure. No telecommunications policy.
Anti-capitalism, socially-concerned - the usual. I couldn't actually find their policy document, but the party doesn't seem too concerned about infrastructure. I assume no telecommunications policy.
Focus on population control. Favours public ownership of infrastructure, but doesn't mention telecommunications.
No published telecommunications policy. Contacted 22 May.
Focus on the Arts, but platform
extends beyond those limits. Telecommunications policy
only as it relates to the Arts:
"The Arts Party laments the reductions to the NBN plan for this country. We should be fitting fibre to the home at every opportunity. We support the fastest possible internet solution that can affordably be made available to Australians across the country".
Focus on treatment and support of those suffering mental health issues. Policies
limited to that focus. No telecommunications policy.
A self-declared moderate, progressive party, focused on care for the dying and the right to die with dignity. Only one policy field and it isn't telecommunications.
Another participatory Democracy platform, similar in principle to Online Direct Democracy. No policies, except to get their delegative democracy system (Flux) introduced.
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