The Animal Justice Party is running in all 8 Upper House Regions and standing a candidate in every one of the 88 Lower House Districts, so both upper and lower house preferences are relevant. You can find a copy of our How-To-Vote Cards for each district on the candidates’ webpage - search for your Regional & District candidates by postcode here: MEET OUR CANDIDATES
We have a tradition of openly explaining our preferences at each election and we're committed to making our How-To-Vote Cards (HTVCs) available to download on our website. We challenge other political parties to start doing the same.
Voting in Victorian State Elections 101
All political parties have now lodged their Group Voting Tickets (GVTs) for the “above the line” voting option on Upper House ballots. A GVT is a statement on how each party or group gives preferences to candidates from other parties after being eliminated from the vote count. GVTs are published on the VEC website but are arguably much easier to understand on Antony Green’s website. They’re also on display in every voting centre.
For Upper House voting, if you vote “above the line” with a ‘1’ in the AJP box for the Upper House, your vote will follow our GVT for that region. We have shared our GVTs for each region on the webpages of our lead candidates and we will explain our GVTs preferences below. If you do not wish to follow our GVT, then you can vote “below the line”, and number a minimum of 5 candidates, in order to determine YOUR OWN preference.
For Lower House voting, our HTVCs show how to vote 1 for AJP, and which other candidates we recommend that you vote for at 2, 3, 4, etc. There are no ‘above’ or ‘below’ the line voting options for the Lower House – but you must number every box on the ballot paper for your vote to count!
Before outlining what our preference suggestions are, it is worth pointing out that you are not bound in any way to follow them. The single most important thing for us is that you Vote 1 for Animal Justice Party. You can then follow our recommendations or order the other parties as you choose.
Our Methodology for Determining Preferences
Ultimately, having an elected representative (or two!) in Parliament is the most important outcome for the Animal Justice Party. Having Andy Meddick MP in Parliament has demonstrated how important it is for the progress of the animal protection movement. The achievements that Andy and his team have been able to secure in this last term have impressed even the most hardened detractors.
An important piece of the puzzle to elect our own MPs is how we determine our preferences, and there are two pieces of work that we focus on:
- Providing confidence to people who vote for us that we will only favourably preference other candidates and parties whose policies align with ours as much as possible and/or who will commit to improving their policies to align with our own.
- Getting other parties to give us favourable preferences on their GVT for the Upper House regions they’re contesting.
Before deciding if other parties have earned the right to favourable preferences from us, we of course scrutinise their policies and record of achievements with respect to animals. Are they for or against duck shooting? Jumps racing? Puppy mills? Battery cages? Greyhound racing? Live export? Have they campaigned on these issues? Has their policy improved as they have been presented with evidence of the cruelty inflicted by these practices?
Whoever we recommend, in our view, will always be sub-par when it comes to animals. No candidates or parties match our policies or dedication to ending animal cruelty, because that is not their priority. Thus, no party gets ticks all around from us, except the Animal Justice Party.
Getting Favourable Preferences
Similarly to the above, we are judged by other parties on our policy and track record on issues they’re concerned about. Other parties need to convince their voters and supporters that we align with their values. You only need to look at the preferences of the Shooters or the Nationals to see that they don’t think supporting the Animal Justice Party will go down well with their people.
But the other angle is leveraging the political capital we have earnt from contesting elections. Negotiations start with other parties for the next election soon after an election ends. We all look to the votes each other received and we explore opportunities to preference each other favourably in the chance we would benefit if one party doesn’t receive enough votes.
This quid pro quo arrangement is only explored if there is no negative impact on the level of confidence that an arrangement on preference would provide… or at least that’s what we believe should happen.
Dealing with the Whisperer
One of the problems with the Upper House voting system in Victoria is that a single person, Glenn Druery (A.K.A The ‘Preference Whisperer’) has represented the interests of a range of minor parties. He gets paid by them to get as many of them elected as possible, and he does this by ensuring that all of their preferences are supportive of the other parties in his “family” ahead of all others.
In past elections, our team has spoken to Glenn and arranged some ‘deals’ where we support some of his “better minor parties” in exchange for some support from some of his parties but without being a “family member” or making any payments. We are a minor party and did not invent the electoral system we have, the government did. It is not an ideal system, and we needed to do our best to work within it while it persists.
We can also challenge and reform the system!
Upper House Preferences (where we have best chance to win)
Ahead of the State Election, we, again, discussed some ‘deals’ with the Preference Whisperer but what was being asked to give back in return was unconscionable. We would have lost the confidence of our supporters and the decision was taken to walk away from any such arrangement.
Instead, we pursued a "progressive bloc" arrangement with The Greens, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party, Victorian Socialists and Legalise Cannabis where we agreed to preference each other ahead of all other parties, including the majors, across the 8 Upper House Regions. This was arranged to combat the Preference Whisperer’s “Family” and to ensure progressive representatives were elected over those less progressive objectives.
There were some Regions carved out (eg Labor ahead of Greens in East & North Vic) but all were done in agreement with the best possible outcome - ensuring parties with broadly common policies and ideologies have representatives elected over those that simply pay someone to stack votes on them to get elected.
Lower House Preferences
For this State Election, we have preferenced good independents and minor parties before the major parties at every opportunity.
For the majors, we have put The Greens ahead of Labor in 85 of the 88 Lower House Seats. Neither is adequate on animal issues but, of the two, The Greens do have the better of the animal and environmental protection policies and other measures that are aligned with our Party’s goals. The Greens can do better than to grandstand on policy and we call on them to work collaboratively with the Government to get good things done, like we do - our list of achievements from the last term is far more impressive than what they have achieved over the past 2 terms!
We have also placed Labor ahead of the Coalition in our preferences in every district. In a contest of the lesser of two evils, Labor has demonstrated the desire to support some of our policies compared to Coalition who have committed to undoing some of the wins we have achieved in the last fours years. Labor still has a very long way to go and, if returned to form Government, we will take them to task on duck shooting, protecting pets, the racing industry, wildlife protection, the climate emergency and the management of free-living introduced animals such as cats, foxes, deer and brumbies.
About Electoral Reform
There is a simple reform possible, that a simple vote in parliament would allow, where the Group Voting Ticket (GVT) would be removed, and requiring voters to number their own preferences above the line.
Such a change however would mean that most of the minor parties in the parliament, including us, would probably not win any seats. Naturally, they oppose it. It would probably return the parliament to a state where the major parties ALP, LIB/NAT would get the overwhelming share of the seats, with many GRN also elected, but very few minor parties. It can be argued this is also bad for democracy.
In order to restore a balance, the concept of electing 5 people in 8 regions would need reform. Instead, a system like WA, NSW, SA etc could be implemented, where all 40 MPs are elected in a single ballot. In this system (a classic form of Proportional Representation), the AJP would likely always get elected with 1 or 2 MPs.
In order to remove the regions, which were put in the Constitution during the last reform, a referendum will be required.