WOEFUL television ratings for the debate between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have indicated that the Australian public isn’t really engaging with election campaign.
But a group of alternative politicians from a diverse range of parties want to change that and to let the public hear some voices outside of the major parties.
The Australian Equality Party, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Democratic Labour Party and the Greens.
Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, leader of the Australian Equality Party, said the public’s cry to hear from the alternative parties was loud and clear.
“With the latest polls showing Liberal and Labor at 50/50, the Australian public is desperate for a viable alternative. Voters are fed up with the lies; everything from climate change to marriage equality,” he said.
Derryn Hinch has declared the 2016 vote a Shakespearean Election.
“I’m calling it the: ‘A pox on both your houses’,” he told Star Observer.
“According to the latest polls the votes for the minor parties will be the highest ever. Doesn’t surprise me. I’ve covered 8000km around Victoria in the Justice Bus and the disaffection for the major parties is palpable.
“Prime Minister Turnbull called a double dissolution election to get rid of eight pesky crossbench senators. He may have shot himself in the foot and if re-elected could face a Senate with 10 to 12 minor party members.”
The Greens candidate who has been hotly tipped to oust high-profile MP Kelly O’Dwyer in the Victorian seat of Higgins, Jason Ball, said many voters are disillusioned by the old parties and their lack of leadership and political courage.
“Their values are no longer represented by the political establishment and they’re looking for credible alternatives. Given this election could go right down to the wire there’a a good chance the balance of power in Parliament will be held by parties like the Greens.
“So people deserve to hear from those parties about their vision for Australia’s future before casting their vote. In my electorate of Higgins we have a unique opportunity to turn a once safe blue ribbon Liberal seat Green – we’re not here to just make up the numbers.
“The tide is really turning away from the old parties and their ‘business as usual’ brand of politics. We’re going to see more debates like this as parties [emerge] with a fresher, less cynical approach to attract voters.”
Peter Madden is running for the Family First Party on a campaign that is anti-marriage equality and anti-Safe Schools and he hopes the media will give some coverage to the event.
“Media focus is on the majors yet there is a growing trend amongst Australians to vote minor or independent,” he said.
“The Turnbull-Greens alliance, Senate Reform Law, has been designed to try to stop this trend which in my view is tyrannical.
“I believe that the Australian people want to hear what the minor parties have to say and a debate is one of the best forums for this. Minors far better represent the original purpose of the Senate in decentralising power out of the hands of the Canberra elites.”
The Great (Alternative) Debate, Thursday 16 June, The Kelvin Club, Melbourne. The event is free, but bookings are essential and can be done here.