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By Peter Wilkinson
Population policy and high immigration levels received a good deal of attention in the 2010 election for the first time in over a decade. Examination of the votes for the minor parties with a strong lower immigration policy shows a disappointing result. However, the underlying population problems will not go away and a way forward for the low immigration parties is suggested.
% 2010 SENATE VOTES FOR LOW IMMIGRATION PARTIES. n/s = nobody stood
AD AF APP ON SPP S&F
NSW 0.65 n/s 0.05 0.6 0.05 2.3
QLD 0.8 0.4 n/s 0.9 n/s 1.7
VIC 0.5 n/s n/s 0.4 n/s 1.3
SA 0.7 n/s n/s 0.5 n/s 1.1
WA 0.5 n/s n/s 0.6 n/s 0.5
TAS n/s n/s n/s n/s n/s 2.0
ACT 1.7 n/s n/s n/s n/s n/s
NT 0.2 n/s n/s n/s n/s 4.9
AD = Australian Democrats
AF = Australia First
APP = Australian Protectionist Party
ON = One Nation
SPP = Stable Population Party
S&F = Shooters and Fishers
How to Vote for Lower immigration (below on Home page) has a precis of the immigration policies of these and other parties.
AF, APP and ON have a range of policies, some of which are in greater or lesser degree commonly described as nationalistic. The SPP, a single issue party, completely dissociates themselves from nationalistic beliefs. The S&F supports low immigration while a national discussion tales place. Their vote is mainly about shooting and fishing rights.
There were some problems on registration with the Australian Electoral Commission for the Australian Protectionist Party and the Stable Population Party.
The APP was critical of bureaucratic wrangling which held up registration prior to the election, but stopped just short of questioning the integrity of the AEC. The SPP was more straightforward in alleging that the Government called the election one week prior to the final formality of SPP registration in order to deny them a party name ticket on the Senate ballot paper. Both ran a group of candidates in NSW, but voting for Group D or T, who do not have their party name on the ballot paper, is only for the politically cognizant.
Another problem is late nomination, which applies to both the above and to the Australia First candidates who were able to run under their party name in Qld.
The collapse of the Australian Democrats vote over the years is astounding and shows what happens when a party is divided. The same thing can be said of One Nation.
House Of Representatives
In the House of Representatives the percentage One Nation results for NSW were Banks 1.7, Bennelong 0.8, Blaxland 1.7, Chifley 1.9, Cook 1.1, Hughs 1.7, Hunter 3.3, Kingsford Smith 0.8, Macarthur 2.9, New England 0.8, Paterson 1.2, Riverina 1.6, Robertson 0.7, Shortland 2.0. The highest votes were in Hunter and Macarthur where both candidates were women.
One Nation in Qld, Bowman 1.0, Wide Bay 2.3, Fadden 1.5,
Australia First ran in Macquarie, NSW, 0.8%.
Stop Population Growth Now party was recently started in SA, although it has national ambitions. It has a single objective, to bring population growth down as soon as possible to zero. Unlike most parties, not only by reduced immigration, but also by cutting out baby bonuses. It ran a single candidate in Mayo, SA, as an independent. Cr Bill Spragg secured 2.7%, but maybe his standing as a councillor helped.
By coincidence APP also ran a independent candidate in Mayo, Andrew Phillips, who secured 1.1
A Way Forward
NSW is the state which has the greatest population problems. It faces an election in March 2011. The Upper House is elected on a whole of NSW electorate, so in order to obtain a seat only 4.22% of the formal votes is needed. First preferences of that order might seem unattainable, but, with a certain amount of horse trading of party preferences, 4.22% is within striking distance. It may mean trading with parties with strongly divergent views on some issues. It should be possible for low immigration minor parties to get registered in NSW in time and mount campaigns.
They should also be ready for by-elections. By-elections allow minor parties to concentrate their effort and they are less likely to be swamped in the dominant issue of who will be the next government. Australians Against Further Immigration secured 14 % of the votes in 1994 in the Warringah (NSW) by-election (admittedly there was no ALP candidate) and nearly 7% of the votes in the Menzies (Vic.,1991) and the Bonython (SA,1994) by-elections.