What happens now?
With just over a month until Election Day we have a limited amount of time to make sure we are enrolled to vote. For people who have never before voted you have until 8pm local time Thursday, April 18 to get your enrollment in online through the Australian Electoral Commission website so that you can have your say on Election Day. For those of us who are already enrolled to vote we have the same amount of time to make sure all of our details are correct. This means our name and address cannot be updated after Thursday date for the election. Alternatively if you are enrolled to vote and are going overseas you will need to send in a postal vote as soon as possible.
The Government has started to hone down on advertising for the politicians so that there will be limits to how much political advertising we will have to endure in the lead up to election day. Hopefully this means not so much of Clive Palmer from the United Australia Party on our TVs and radios. Thankfully the short time frame until the vote will also means the political parties will only have a short amount of time to convince voters to vote for their party.
There will be a debate in WA between Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison on April 29 where the Labor and Liberals will try to swing our marginal seats their way.
“I think because in WA there are a lot of key marginal seats in WA this campaign trail will be quite focused in WA, so it is quite an amazing thing to have the two leaders debate in WA”, said Maryka Groenewald. “It will be really interesting to see the kind of issues and the things that they talk about, I guess also for people to tune in and hear what the two major parties are talking about. So I’d really encourage people to have a listen to that.”
Who are the two major parties political preferences? Who will they go to?
The two major political parties in Australia who we give a preferential vote to is the Australian Labor Party or the Liberal Party of Australia. The Australian Christians is a smaller political party in Australia which bases their policies and core values on the Judeo-Christian and on biblical heritage. They believe Australia needs a Christian voice in Parliament to keep society stable and government accountable.
Maryka Groenewald said, “It always ends up, and you will find this across the board with conservative Christian parties, is that they will always end up with either the candidate that is across or in line with our issues. So at this stage we have no idea of who’s in the mix or who’s not in the mix but we will definitely be able to have a firm lid on those preferences after the 24th of April.”
In Australia we work off a preferential voting system which means that the voter rank all candidates for both houses according to the person’s preferences towards the candidates. The preferences on a vote are referred to when no one party wins the vote outright based on first preferences. The smaller parties voted for if do not gain a seat in parliament give preferential vote to one of the two main parties. This way the vote of every citizen is counted as long as the ballot was filled out correctly.
“A lot of people with the preferential voting system don’t understand that it is actually quite important to make sure you know how you vote, especially where those preferences fall. When we are dealing with other candidates people need to make sure those candidates are across those issues that people find important,” said Ms Groenewald.
The Australian Christians Party will end up with the most conservative candidate that is across the values that people share according to Ms Groenewald.
The main topics we will see debated this year are the economy, tax and health as we have already started to see with the communications from Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten. These topics will be what may swing the key seats that are still in contest.
Rallying behind what is important to us
“We have got all of these other groups like Getup that are rallying behind parties and out there campaigning, so I guess as Christians as well it is important for us to be physically involved in the battle as well because the other side is doing it. So I suppose it is important especially this time around to support things like religious freedom, we’ve got the euthanasia debate even though that’s a state application again, federally it’s a huge issue. These are the sorts of things that we really need to get across as well and get behind those candidates,” continued Maryka Groenewald.
Transparency and accountability are important when analising some of these big topics. Ms Groenewald encourages people to make sure they are getting transparent accountable information from our leaders in Government. An example of this we have recently seen is Nick Goiran filibustering about the surrogacy bill in parliament to make sure they are staying accountable to the public with their legislation.
Another topical issue for Christian is euthanasia. In regards to this issue Maryka suggested, “people to write to their upper house MPs, go see what ACL and family voice have on their websites because they have brilliant templates where all you have to do is just equip yourself, copy and paste it, send the letter to your upper house members and let them know you’re not in support of it.”
It is important approaching our vote to reflect on what our non-negotiables are that align with our values and what stance you would like the representative in Government to take for you as the voter.
Maryka Groenewald encourages us to,” Have a think as a person. What is important to you? It might be certain key things that you go these are my non negotiables. Vote according to them, be informed on those issues and know where the parties stand around them.”
There is an organization which has created a handy online tool for Christians to see where the major parties stand on particular issues which are important in the values a Christian follows. The Christian Values Checklist looks at each of these values and can be an easy way to differentiate as the voter between our party preferences.
The Federal Election will be held on May 18th.
By Rebecca Low