Throw Your Vote Away Smartly With 'Below The Line' Website

Federal elections in Australia are nearly always a two-horse race — but that doesn't mean you should automatically limit your vote to just the Labor Party or LNP. This year, there are more than 50 small parties running in the election; all with differing policies, election promises and worldviews. Below The Line is a website designed to inform you about the little guys running against our country's Goliaths. It's likely that at least one of these parties will match your personal politics better than the big two.

Voting picture from Shutterstock

Voting in the Senate means deciding between putting a 1 on the party of your choice above the line, or numbering a boatload of boxes underneath. Voting below the line allows you to control where your preferences flow, but it can be a fiddly process — especially if you take the time to research where everybody stands on key issues.

However, if you're not a fan of the major parties, it's definitely worth the effort and is a far more intelligent solution than drawing a big pair of genitals on your voting ballot.

The Below The Line website attempts to simplify things by giving you key information on every party in your division — you can find out which candidates are running in your area, check out their websites and drag-and-drop the order to match how you want to vote.

You can then print out a PDF of your preferences to take along to your local voting booth. (Note: This is also a handy way to ward off the relentless party faithful with their 'how to vote' cards.)

If you're planning to vote before the election, the Below The Line website will arm you with all the information you need — you can read some additional tips on casting postal votes and finding early voting centres here. Personally, we'll be rocking up on election day, if only for the obligatory sausage sizzle.


    Thanks, I was trying to find a site that did this the other day. I normally do this.

    However I think I might just go wikileaks above the line. It'll be closer to what I do in the end. Anyway.

      Careful with the Wikileaks above-the-line vote - in some states they're preferencing former neo-Nazis and Clive Palmer type parties. Dunno why, but worth checking what they're doing in your state before you vote.

        I think the party's official stance is "Woops, that was a typo, but meh cbf fixing it"

          As I understand it, there were two camps in the party - one that recognised that the only support Wikileaks had received was from the Greens and preferenced them second before moving left to right, and a guy called Gerry who'd left the Greens after a bit of nastiness, had tried to establish a party called the "Real Greens" and would prefer to preference Ghengis Kahn than the Greens.

          And, I've seen it written, Gerry was the guy who lodged the preferences.

            Crikey's done a bit more on this - (requires registration).

            The No Rego; Didn't Read version: it was part of a unilateral decision by Assange in consultation with a couple of hand-picked people over the wishes of the party's national council and intended to give the Wikileaks Party the best chance to win without regard for their supposed ideological allies and the principles of democratic decision-making on which the party was supposed to be founded. Then Assange lied about it after the excrement impacted the vapour-distribution mechanism.

        I'm in vic. I glanced over it the other day. Seemed alright. Stupid parties likeno carbon tax, rise up ect down near the bottom.

    Sex party FTW

      As with Wikileaks (above), they're pretty tightly tied into the right-wing preference deals. You're essentially voting for the neo-nazis and One Nation types.

      You might want to think about the Pirate Party who are the leftist info-/civil-libertarians that most people think of the Wikileaks and Sex Parties as being.

        If you are voting below the line, they can preference the Guns, Bears and Fascists party for all you care. Unless you put them higher, they aren't getting your vote.

          There are 2 stories doing the rounds about the Sex Party preferences, the one they told to the ABC and the one they tell to their members in an attempt to keep them voting for them. I´m sure we will find out after the election which was true. But, at this stage, I am personally of the opinion that even the Sex Party wouldn´t threaten legal action over a deal they truly thought was good.

          ¨"We did a preference swap with the Liberal Democratic Party and four other parties that were controlled by them," the Australian Sex Party's Robbie Swan [...] "However, when it came time, the LDP failed to lodge in Victoria and so did the other parties that they controlled.¨¨

        +1 for the Pirate Party. They actually have a lot of well-thought out stances on a range of issues.

      also Darrell Morrison is actually a great independent who runs a great progressive blog. Ive checked out pretty much all the parties and independents before I voted (im o/s and voted early this morning). Darrell came pretty high up in my ballot.

      Wikileaks preferences were shoddy only on NSW - so if youre in NSW put wikileaks low down (if youre voting below the line).

      Also, Senator On-Line should appeal to the crowd sourcing geek in all lifehackers

      Please also be aware of other weird extremist parties (obviously LNP - but LNP aren't even as bad as these guys - Rise-Up, CEC, Australian Voice, one nation, shooters&fishers, smokers rights, Katter, Australian Republicans, Stop the Greens, no carbon tax sceptics and others in your state ballot)

      even if the govt goes the way of LNP, the senate is where the real power is - do your research and vote below the line!

      Check out this site which is quite useful:

    Both belowtheline and are good places to pre-prepare your Below The Line vote. The latter makes it a little easier to do, in my opinion, but the former has info about the parties & candidates in your electorate/state with links to the party's website.

    For anyone who's interested in seeing how their preferences will flow for an "Above the line" vote, the AEC website has the "Group Voting Tickets" for each party in each state (eg. for VIC - Then just replace the "vic" with your state initials to get the one that applies to you.

    I used Below The Line at the last election and have just finished my ballot for this election. Seriously people, take the time to figure out your below the line vote. I know it's tedious (it took me at least an hour to go through each party and find out their policies), but it's worth it in the long run.

    Don't trust ANY of the parties' own preference deals. As stated above, the Sex Party, Wikileaks etc. have done deals to preference Right Wing extremists ahead of more left-wing groups like the Greens. If you're thinking that makes no sense, there is a reason for it. Basically, the Sex Party, for example, doesn't WANT the Greens to win, because it means that the Sex Party themselves will be less likely to get a seat. If however they preference One Nation, who have a very slim chance of getting elected (or so I fervently hope), the Sex Party may perform better after preferences.

    Just remember: if you vote below then you know EXACTLY where your vote goes.

    And if you haven't decided who to vote for yet, the ABC has a great tool that can show you which party you are most aligned with:

    Either voting Labor or Greens, don't like the greens, but I hate my local Liberal Zed Seselja more and figure a vote for greens gives liberal less chance at the second seat.

    I live in a Labor stronghold. If Charles Manson were the labour candidate, he'd win by a landslide.
    Unfortunately, this leaves me with one option. Vote Liberal. Noone else stands a chance of dethroning labour here, and I want a marginal seat so our rep will actually get off their butt. It's amazing what competition will do...

    Smartly: previously known as "intelligently."

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