First it was Flux trying to re-name itself “Liberals for Climate”. (See the detail in this post)
Now it is the Daylight Saving Party trying to change its name to the “Daylight Saving Party – The National Liberals”.
What in my opinion is politically scandalous is the application attempts to adopt “National Liberals” as the party name that will appear on the ballot paper.
So not only is the party trying to confuse voters looking for the Liberal or National parties on the Legislative Council ballot paper, but wants to adopt a name that does not let voters know the party’s one big policy, to introduce daylight saving in Western Australia. Voters in Western Australian have rejected daylight saving at four referendums over the past 50 years.
In my opinion, adopting “National Liberals” as the new party name to appear on the ballot paper instead of “Daylight Saving Party” is a clear attempt to mis-lead voters as to the party’s identity and policies.
Here’s the proposed change of name notice from the WA Government Gazette.
The Government Gazette has also included an application for the Small Business Party to change its name to the WAXit Party. There has also been an application to register “The Great Australians”, a party associated with former One Nation Senator Rod Culleton, whose term in the Senate was cut short when the High Court disqualified him.
Another new registration is the “Legalise Cannabis Western Australia Party”. As well known preference whisperer Glenn Druery has explained in the past, any party that mentions marijuana or cannabis in its name is good for a few percent of the vote. Druery’s complex preference deals almost elected Help End Marijuana Prohibition to the final spot in the Queensland Senate at the 2013 Federal election.
And it was Druery’s underestimation of the possible vote appeal of the Marijuana Smokers Rights Party that prevented Druery winning election to the NSW Legislative Council at the infamous 1999 tablecloth ballot paper election.
As I have written numerous times over the last decade, the use of group voting tickets to elect the upper houses turns the race to win the final seat into a lottery over which voters have very little say.
The first step of the game is to get as many parties on the ballot paper as possible, to make it complex and difficult for voters to understand, and to make it harder for voters to find the parties they do know amongst the myriad of cleverly named micro-parties. Then you get all the micro-parties to swap preferences above all the larger parties, then allow group voting tickets to aggregate their votes together, and one of the parties gets lucky and wins four years in the Legislative Council.
That’s why parties adopt attractive sounding names, or names that might be confused with other parties. Amongst the pool of parties in the micro-party alliance, the game is to pick a party name that will give you enough votes to stay ahead of other micro-parties as parties start to be excluded and have their preferences distributed.
Rather than run through all the arguments again, let me point to my previous post on Flux trying to change its name to “Liberal for Climate”.
And if you want to know how preference harvesting works, read my old post on the astonishing path to victory by Wayne Dropulich of the Australian Sports Party, who had it not been for a re-count and some missing ballot papers, would have been elected to the Senate from Western Australia in 2013.
The New South Wales Legislative Council, South Australian Legislative Council, and the Federal Senate, have all abandoned group voting tickets to stop preference harvesting and to try and control the size of the ballot paper.
Victoria and Western Australia have not abolished group voting tickets. Both saw record numbers of party contest the last state elections, and Western Australia is on track to see another record field in March 2021.