Delimiter endorses Greens based on tech policy


blog Which party should Australian technologists vote for in the upcoming Federal Election this Saturday? How should you vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate, if you are focused on technology issues such as the National Broadband Network, digital rights and the development of Australia’s technology sector? To be honest, no party holds all the cards and each has their weaknesses. However, in an article on Delimiter 2.0 today (subscriber content), I argue that the Greens are the best option, winning out over the Pirate Party by a nose. In summary:

“When it comes to technology policy in Australia’s 2013 Federal Election, there is one party with a better approach on almost every front. From supporting an all-fibre National Broadband Network to protecting Australians’ digital privacy rights, the Greens generally have their major competitors beat when it comes to technology policy, and their parliamentary experience gives them an edge on minor party rivals.”

Personally, I don’t vote based on technology policy; I vote based on refugee issues. Because of this, I have historically voted only for the Democrats and the Greens, as I’ve said many times on Delimiter and on Twitter. I’m curious to know which way other people will be voting on Saturday, and why. What aspects of the parties’ policies and performance has earned your support?

Image credit: Australian Greens


  1. And another question, if I may. To what extent does Technology contribute to people’s assessment of hwo they vote?

    • To my mind I think technology policy is not a huge issue for most of the electorate, but I think for those people who work in technology or who focus on it a lot in their personal lives, the NBN and digital rights particularly are huge issues. Certainly those two issues are the ones which I’ve seen constant and incessant discussion of over the past several years with respect to the various political parties.

      • I agree. As someone working in IT, it wouldn’t even qualify for 10% of my vote. But it contributes to it.

        As one of the areas in which the major parties differ, technology policy offers an insight into their different philosophies. Although I have strong views as to which I’d prefer, I can’t knock anyone who is for or against the NBN (for instance) on the basis of those principles.

    • the biggest problem with the Greens is that because they know they will never be more than a fringe party they never need worry about how to pay for anything…their solution to everything is to tax business and workers

      • I agree their tax policy, and their policy relating to businesses in general, needs a substantial amount of work :) As a small business owner I have always preferred the Coalition’s policies in that regard.

        • It is going to take a long time to fix things enough for small business to be profitable again, giving the Greens any oxygen is up there with giving ammunition to Al Quaida

          • Maybe in your circles, but look at retail, one of the largest employers, listen to Russell Zimmerman speak about how hard they are doing. .. walk down the street and see how many shops are closed. Home based micro business might be doing ok but that isn’t a major employer

          • There is nothing quite like a bit of reductio ad hitlerum to raise the tone of a forum. Or reduction ad al quidium perhaps?

          • “giving the Greens any oxygen is up there with giving ammunition to Al Quaida”

            … that’s one of the most stupid comments I have read here… or anywhere, in fact…

      • I’m sorry @Nathan but your statement there is rather bizarre! Have you even read their policies?

        Here’s a link:

        What you are saying was true when the party first started way back when. Now, all their policies have been fully costed independently by the Parliamentary Budget Office and the costing released to the public a while back to scrutinize. Can’t say the same about the other political parties.

        It puzzles me when people get a view and never change it with time regardless of what actually happens on the ground.

        Having said that, this is partly the Greens’ problem and they need to address it by better marketing and advertising themselves. Not everybody goes out of their way to research the parties and not just read/see what’s on the mainstream media. Though, money here talks and the Greens don’t have anywhere near as much as Labor and Liberals to use in such a way.

        Also, as a disclosure, I am in the Greens, so I naturally know more about their policies than the average Australian.

  2. But even on refugees – it is still who you preference first between Liberal and Labor that counts. Very clear choice – Labor increase refugee intake direct from overseas camps, Liberals to cut it. (Sorry didn’t pay for story – you might answer it there)

    • hey Verity,

      it counts in the House of Representatives, unless you’re in the only Green-held seat in Australia — Adam Bandt’s seat ;) And it counts everywhere in terms of how much funding the various parties get post-election.

      I’m not sure who I will preference yet (although I will be putting the various right-wing parties last) between Labor and the Coalition in the lower house. On that issue I’ll decide on election day :)


      • Exactly, don’t give up your votes.

        You get preferences for a reason. So don’t just cheap out and let someone else decide for you.

        Especially in the House of reps. The senate can be a bit daunting to fill out (Its big this year). But the House of reps has what 5 or 6 candidates on average.

        I think even the most technically illiterate should be able to manage that ;-)

        Greens will be first on my list. Mostly because I know they won’t get in, but it will give them influence over whoever does. The first of the 2 big parties for me will likely be Labor. I’m sorry but the thought of Abbot as the PM is just mindnumbing. The man is a muppet.

        • Honestly I would probably preference Labor normally ahead of the Coalition, but this time the local candidate, Michael Feneley, has been going gung-ho in the electorate for the past 3-4 years, while Labor (Peter Garrett) has ignored it completely. The new Labor candidate here, Matt Thistlewaite, was parachuted in about 3 weeks ago. Because of this, I’ll probably preference Feneley, as I think he deserves to win the electorate.

          However, it’s a hard choice — after the Greens, there are very few good options in the House of Reps.

        • Pretty much, it usually pays to vote based on ideology rather than some voting strategy. The higher preference should be used for the guys you agree with more even if they are unlikely to get in… with some exceptions.

          There are some regional seats where the combined conservative vote means that Labor never has a chance. So if you don’t want the Liberals to win the seat and vote Labor Labor will get second and the Lib/Nat vote will give the seat to the Libs. If however you go against your ideology and put Nats above Labor the Nats will get second after preferences and the Nats will fight it out with the Libs.

          Kinda like Melbourne with Greens/Labor/Liberal…. except that I don’t think many Liberal voters would be happy at all with the Greens over Labor. Unlike a lot of Labor voters who might be happier with the Nats, esp the WA Nats, over a Liberal. Case and point Wilson Tuckey ;)

      • The big one is party funding, parties get cash for each primary vote(after reaching a threshold) they get and last time I checked they get the registration fee back for reaching a min percentage of primary votes.

        This means less funding for the big parties and if the minor party gets no seats they have funding for lobbying.
        Not to mention the parties see where these primary votes go so they might start to adjust their policies to pick up part of the primary vote that is going to minor parties. So even if your minor party candidate hasn’t got a snowballs chance of getting elected still put them number 1.

      • Generally more emphasis should be given to the attributes of one’s local candidates. Fronting one’s community forum seems to be an essential qualification for electoral support.

        This tends to be overlooked when we are bombarded with the stunt and gafff of the day by our superficial MSM. Especially television.

  3. It’s only a choice between the lesser of 2 evils:

    Mr Rudd who was dumped because of his management style and his policy flip flops which made him look like a fool, however he then initiated a massive destabilisation campaign against his successor and his own party, this guy needs to be given the flick and if Labor is re-elected he should be tossed out of the party and loose his endorsement.

    Mr Abbott who has promised to release his costing’s “in good time for the election” has Hockey at this moment telling us nothing just reiterating “elimination of waste and reconfiguring spending” Nobody at the National Press Club is believing any of it, Hockey is not answering any questions and has produced no costing’s and doing a very poor job of bluffing his way through.
    It’s clear that we are going to the election with none of the coalition’s policy being costed and a “trust us to reduce waste” statement. These guys are just plain dishonest, filibusters. He’s also suggesting that if the Coalitions elected that GNP will suddenly rocket upward increasing tax revenue.

    So we have the choice between a dickhead and a crazy fraud.

    Vote Green!

    • I get to vote for Batman! I mean in Batman (an actual electorate).

      ‘safe’ labor seat with greens coming in second.

  4. The Greens (or other minor party) primary vote counts if:
    – You are talking about the Senate, where representation is based on meeting a state quota.
    – You are supporting their funding in the House of Reps (effectively reimbursement of their campaign costs)
    – You are in an unusual electorate where the Greens have a high primary vote in the House of Reps

    But when we’re talking about voting in Australia, other than our primary vote, we should really be talking about who is preferenced first between the two major parties.

    While the Senate is more representative of the nation-wide primary vote but gives less populous states more power (per capita) in the house, the House of Reps seats require a ‘critical mass’ instead but makes individual votes more equal across Australia. There are pros and cons to both, and I think both houses are a little broken. The HOR due to its under-representation of minor parties, and the Senate due to preference flows being determined by political party backroom dealing.

    I will be putting Greens 1, Labor 2, and Liberals Last in the HOR. Well, I could put Labor second-last, really, it wouldn’t make much difference to the end result.

    I haven’t decided whether I’ll vote below the line in the Senate (preferencing Greens candidates first) using or whether I’ll just give them my above the line vote. I don’t fully understand the Senate ballot system (in terms of preferences and how the votes are counted), though – anyone want to give me (or link me) a rundown?

    • I found this a good tool, which explained a lot of things…
      I just plugged some numbers in and it showed the process of election, transfers and exclusion.
      But I’m still unsure how it takes below-the-line votes into account here. Let’s say I voted Scott Ludlam (GRN) in, he gains a quota and wins a seat, then I put down the fourth candidate as my second preference, instead of the second Greens candidate. How do they assign my preference?

    • In the Senate you can vote Greens or Pirate Party above the line, depending on how you want your preferences distributed.

      The Pirate Party is probably more up the alley of the tech community and have very sensible preferences with all the right wing and religious nut jobs at the bottom of the ticket, even below the LNP

  5. Almost doesn’t matter who I vote for. Truss will be in without a doubt, though I will still preference him last though. Greens in front of Labor and other parties roughly from progressive down to conservative.

    Refugee issues is the main reason that I am voting for greens above labor, with any luck the media might get the idea that there is a decent number of Australians who don’t believe immigration through boat arrivals is killing the country.

    I must say that between work choices from Howard and almost front row seats into the LNP’s handling of the NBN. The lies and deceit, weasel words and the fact that IMHO they are sacrificing the better policy for the country all in the name of cheap politics, I don’t know what it would take for me to vote Liberal again

    As stated above, Warren Truss has been elected in this region for quite some time and for the life of me, I can’t really see what he has done for his constituents.

  6. Purely on technology?

    Hmm… I haven’t read enough of the Greens’ policy on tech to know whether it’s ahead of or behind the Pirate Party.

    I know both of them are streets ahead of the two majors, particularly when it comes to privacy & digital rights & freedoms.

    Overall, I’m leaning heavily Pirate at the moment. Just a shame they don’t have a HoR candidate in my electorate, where I get to choose between Mr Graham “I’ll resign and force a by-election if Rudd becomes leader” Perrott, and his LNP opponent, who I frankly know almost nothing about, but he belongs to a party that seems intent on wreaking upon the national economy the devastation that the LNP unleashed on the Queensland economy when they got in a few years back.

    A similar situation, really – people voted for Newman & the LNP up here because state Labor were seriously on the nose – but when the LNP got in, they proceeded to screw over the people who voted for them, and crashed the state economy. If it wasn’t for the tens of $billions that the coal & gas companies are pouring in, the state economy would be right down the gurgler. At the company I work for, just about everyone who isn’t doing work for coal or gas has been either fired or had their hours cut.

    As for what drives my vote overall – Climate Change is the #1 issue for me. If we take the expert advice, even the best case outcome is likely to be rough, so I’d rather not give my vote to a political party with a leader who thinks it’s “crap”, and a substantial proportion of it’s members who seem to think likewise.

    It’s funny – Rudd threatened a double dissolution if the ETS was rejected, and failed to follow through. I wonder if Abbott will really dare go to the polls again in less than a year? Especially as their “costings” are supposed to be out, and there doesn’t seem to be much there other than “We’ll cut 10s of billions in spending to make up the shortfall”.

    Personally, I think if the Coalition get in on Saturday, we’ll suddenly be hearing lots about “budget black holes” and “mandates” and “not written in blood”, so everything good that was promised will disappear, but the cuts will still come hard & fast.

  7. I will NOT be voting for the Greens.

    I still feel that they betrayed their principles when they voted down the first ETS out of pique at not having been a part of the process and then voted up what I considered a poorer scheme due to the requirement to appease the independents.

    If, as seems likely, Tony Abbott wins the election on Saturday and repeals even this watered down version, the Greens will bear the vast majority of the responsibility for it’s demise.

    It was pointed out to me after they did that that in fact, the natural enemy of the Greens is NOT the coalition, it is the Labor Party. Coalition voters are unlikely ever to preference the Greens, so in order to fulfill their desire to actually govern, their first and most pressing task is to destroy the Labor Party.

    Prior to this I had always put the Greens 1 in the Senate, never again.

  8. I have seen what the International Green Movement has done. Not always perfect, but they are trying. Nothing is perfect. A lot of people forget the Greens are a major part of the ebb and flow in German Politics. Have been for a long time. So as to Greens being unknown in action in a Parliament, this is not so.
    As a well-travelled guy, who left Oz in the days of youth, for a while to live OS, I chose a non-english speaking nation to live to get away from the Anglo culture. It opened my eyes. No regrets.
    As history buff, I find history is a great revelation of what works and doesn’t in policies. As a person in technology, the memorable fallacies we’ve all seen over the last few years have been a revelation in how far some will go to sell the undesirable. Sure, we cannot have everything we want, but what is on the line is a stark reality on what is on offer for our Nation. You, know as players and movers in the Industry, know what is required for our Nation to communicate effectively and share information that gives us an edge to succeed. Choose wisely.
    On the eve of the Election, I fear for my family. I fear for my Community, which has had a nasty rich petulant spoilt brat, poking my Community of Australia with a sharp stick incessantly, driving us to distraction and creating a cranky undertone few have been able to escape. I fear people will not see the crafty “tricks” used to gather the votes on offer by the quirks of our voting system, such as what was done in the QLD State Election. I fear my Nation falling into a trap that other Nations have fallen into in the past, with many tears of blood being the price to escape from it. Déja vue!
    The paths are well worn. The paths we’ve used are the same old ways, redressed a thousand different ways, but still the same old thing. Nothing in life is risk free, So to address Renee’s question, and since I vote on what Politicians have done in the past and not their promises, and that new Unknowns get a benefit of a doubt, till we have more, I am in the Seat of Lilley. I will Vote Green, then Labour, Kat, Pup, Family First and finally LNP. Senate, too complex for here, but I want as many different voices in there as possible and not all the right factional parties that are running in order to stack the deck in there to hold the balance.
    I am for strong free enterprise, but what LNP is offering is just fascism. Sorry to all those this upsets, but you vote your way and I respect that.
    Cheers everyone. Vote wisely and good luck to you all, no matter how it falls. Just remember to respect each other and not the disrespect we have witnessed for the last three very long years.

  9. A long time to fix things? To help small businesses be profitable again? Many small businesses rely upon individuals to buy their products and services don’t they?

    How is reducing the tax-free threshold to $6,000 from $18,000 if you earn under $80,000 (it will happen), cutting low income super support and the school kids bonus going to help with t People will have less money and will be putting what they do have towards super and their kids schooling instead of spending it in Australia’s small businesses.

    This year: The PBO office found $42.7 billion would be raised by the Greens’ proposed levy on the big banks, its mining tax restructure, ending tax breaks to “big miners”, abolishing funding for so-called clean coal technology and increasing the marginal tax rate on incomes above $1 million.

    Which would help out small business more? And the Greens proposed tax cuts and other policies to help small businesses. The Coalitions tax cuts were / are all based on cutting the carbon tax. Which now won’t happen for three+ years and will cost a fair bit to stop.

    Keep your eye out on October 7th for the PBO reports – they’ll be interesting reading.

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