Politics, Poetry and Reviews

My Manifesto

My name is Catherine, and I want you to vote intelligently.

That’s all, really.  I mean, I’m also a left-wing, feminist, greenie, unionist, inner-city, social justice type, so it does make me happy when people vote for parties that express these values, but honestly, I mostly want people to vote consciously and thoughtfully and knowing what they are voting for.  Even if they are voting for a party I really hate. About my only comfort in the Howard era was that I was a scrutineer in several of those elections, and therefore knew that, yes indeed, this really was what the public had voted for.  (Though I couldn’t really understand why.)

The political posts on this blog therefore fall into two general categories.

First, there are the posts and letters about specific issues.  They are full of opinions which you are entirely at liberty to disagree with or not even read.  I’m fine with that.  I mean, I’ll quietly think you are wrong, but that’s OK, because you also get to quietly think I’m wrong, and we can all be happy in mutual feelings of superiority.  Everyone wins.

Second, there are the posts about specific political parties and politicians.  This is the part where, before each election that I’m eligible to vote in (Australian ones in general, and Victorian ones in particular), I go to every website belonging to every party or individual on the Senate ticket for my state, read every single one of their policies, and report back on them.  Where possible, I also report on who is preferencing whom in the Senate. These are the posts I want you to read even if you personally hate my side of politics, because while these posts are opinionated, they are also as honest as I can make them.  I always link back to the website and the policies I’m discussing, if such a website exists, and I make it as clear as I can which parts of these posts are direct reporting and which are commentary, even when my blood pressure is rising steadily. I do think these posts can be useful to people on all sides of politics, so long as they are interested in what the political parties in questions are saying about themselves. I don’t, on the whole, delve into the goings-on in Parliament, or into matters of political strategy because I can’t and don’t claim any true expertise in politics.  What I do know how to do is read a set of policies, summarise them, and comment on their contents.   You could probably do that too, and I encourage you to do so.  It’s time-consuming, but worthwhile.

Then there are the non-political posts.  These are mainly silly poetry, though just occasionally, I write something worth reading.  You can ignore those, too.  I mostly wanted to have them somewhere I could find them later.


Addendum: You have probably noticed that this blog is very sporadic.  This is because I work for a living in a job which is completely unrelated to politics, but which is all-consuming at times.  A lot of political issues simply pass this blog by because they fall at a season when I am working ridiculous hours running events or writing grants, and I just don’t have time to think about anything else.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care about these issues, or, alas, that I don’t feel guilty about the things I don’t find time to write about.  But there is only one of me, and occasionally, I have to sleep.

Posted April 1, 2013


  1. Rachael

    Great summaries of candidates that helped me get my head around senate things – well written. I appreciate your work.

    • Catherine

      Thank you! I’m glad you found it helpful!

    • Catherine

      Thanks very much – it’s good to know that people are finding this useful!

  2. Ben

    Hi Cate, thanks for a really informative and fun read, and for making something that to most people seems really dry and painful quite interesting.I really like what you are doing here..!

  3. Adele

    Hi Cate thanks for the help this morning! Doing my belowtheline.org ticket to take into the booth and needed a bit of clarity on some of the parties. Very helpful

    • Catherine

      You are very welcome! Happy voting!

  4. Kath

    From one Kathryn to another, much gratitude. Not only do I feel far more informed and prepared to tackle the 77, but I’ve also had a cleansing giggle to counter the rising bile that comes from reading certain policy positions. Respect!

    • Catherine

      Hooray! We should start a political party for Catherines who want a better class of tiny political party…

      Very glad to have helped, and I hope you get the result you want!


  5. Evan

    Fun, thoughtful and interesting read, Cate, thanks very much – truly a public service and a mild anti-dote to the startling banality of Australian public life these days

    • Catherine

      Thanks very much Evan – that’s very kind of you.

  6. Frank P Mcenroe

    Election time + business as usual nothing changes , I spent a decade studying how governments are elected around the world, I found the Westminster System was the most corrupt., votes are not of equal value. the last Federal election proved how corrupt the system is here are a few facts,
    How do we understand the Election results, are they rigged, the truth is all votes are not of the same value, let’s put a $1 value on a vote. All voters pay $1 to the Party of their “first choice” when they vote, this way we will see how many dollars/votes are needed for one seat in Parliament.

    LNP receive $5,829.859, to buy 90 seats, @ $61.946, a seat.
    ALP receives $4,267,265, to buy 55 seats, @ $77.586, a seat.
    IND receives $175.915, to buy 2 seats, @ $87.957 a seat.
    GRN receives $1.097.444 to buy 1 seat, @$1.097.444 a seat.
    PAP receives $703.952 to buy 1 seat, @ $703.952 a seat.
    KAP receives $133.244 to buy 1 seat, @ $ 133.244 a seat.
    FFP receives $179.618 for zero seats,
    CDP receives $87.679 for zero seats,
    SEXP receives $77.378 for zero seats.
    Let’s now look at the 2 party preferred figures, using $1 again.
    ALP receives $5.575.173 to buy 55 seats, @ $101.366, a seat.
    LNP receives $6.398.846 to buy 90 seats, @ $71.098, a seat.
    All seats should be of same value, no wonder there is so much deception in politics.
    system has to be changed.. in the UK it is worse , some votes are worth 168 times more in value, just imagine NSW v QUEENSLAND one side with 80 times as many players on the field as the other team. this is mind boggling, but it is true, .

    • Catherine

      I am way too jetlagged to make sense of this, or to have an opinion on whether we need reform! It sounds as though you want something like proportional representation in the Lower House as well as the upper? I can see merit in this, but it does disconnect politicians even further from their local district and role as an advocate for the people of their electorate, which is often one of the places where they do the most good (perhaps because it is easier to intervene on behalf of one person than to change the law to improve the lot of many).

      I do think, though, that regardless of what system we are voting in, we do have a duty to vote as carefully and as with as much information as possible. If nothing else, this bestows on us the right to complain about our government with every justification!

  7. Daniel

    Your party reviews are so comprehensive (and often witty). Thanks for all the work. I only hope you enjoyed it.

    I have done something similar but in a much more lazy fashion: http://originaluddite.livejournal.com/53585.html

    • Catherine

      Thanks, Daniel! I shall look forward to reading your commentary when I am back in Australia.

  8. Michelle

    As election time rolls around again, I headed back here to catch up on your reliably informative and entertaining summaries of the independents’ and small parties’ policies. Your reports, and your openness about your own personal views, have been really useful in my deliberations. I think you’re providing a hugely valuable public service here, and you deserve a much wider readership! Thank you for all your efforts.

    • Catherine

      Thank you – that is very kind.

  9. James

    Very much appreciate your commentary on the independents – saved me a bunch of research time, thank you.

    • Catherine

      Thanks James – I’m really glad that people care enough to try to find out who everyone is.

  10. mong77

    Yay I found you again ! Good. So now I know what to in the ungrouped group . Don’t know how you can write all that on a plane. Genius

    • Catherine

      Yay! And thank you! It made the flight go quite fast, actually, though it got a bit interesting when the chap in front reclined his chair nearly into my lap… I’ve never typed in quite that position before, it’s not exactly ergonomic!

  11. Shane

    I stumbled across your summaries of independent candidates and found them succinct and easily digestible when creating the voting choices for my family. Thank you for that.
    Of course it would be wonderful if they held my (strong at times) opinions, but at least I felt somewhat virtuous in directing three other votes to what I consider worthwhile causes, where otherwise they would have gone to waste (IMHO of course).

    I love your writing style, it appears effortless and well balanced. And yet I know I can spend ages trying to achieve that, I hope your time is more efficiently spent than mine.

    • Catherine

      Thank you Shane! That is very kind of you.

  12. Ben

    Hi Cate, thanks so much again! You helped demystify things enormously for me back in 2013, and now again this year…

    With so many senate parties it’s almost impossible for a lot of us to spend enough time doing the detailed investigative work required to vote with an informed confidence. And for those of us that really want our vote to count, a blog like this makes the whole process so much simpler, very interesting, and even fun.

    So thanks again for what you’re doing here, it’s really awesome, super super helpful, and hopefully the sort of behaviour that might just make Australia a better country..!


    P.S. I’ll drop you another quick thanks (proxy style), this time from all the moaners that whinged to me about voting bewilderment. I pointed them in your direction and many have later reported back to me how much reading your blog also helped (and entertained) them. They’ll never comment directly, but there’s been quite a few of them, so a big thanks from all of them too..!

    • Catherine

      Thanks so much, Ben! That’s the goal, so I’m really glad people find this helpful.

  13. Mynameistoo Uniquetoremainanonymousandisaslongasthisfakename

    It is after the 2016 election and I decided to spend the latter part of the afternoon researching the independents who missed out on my vote; for the simple reason I did not know what they stood for. A task I intended to do for about an hour or so. As a result of this half arsed research I stumbled upon your blog. What bloody a waste of time it has been.
    Intending to get some quick information, I ended up reading much, much more – although I neglected a few things I should have done, I enjoyed the wit and the manner in which you presented everything. It has now been 4 hours of enjoyable time wasting and I thank you for your efforts, it would not have been easy!
    After reading your “Hijab Posts”, and getting an inkling of your political leanings and religious background (and the very pleasant world view you have), I am curious about how you balance defining yourself as a christian and espousing your political views. I am not making the statement that ‘you can’t be one while you are the other’; rather, I would enjoy reading what you might write about it. I realise you may be pressed for time and may not ever discuss such personal matters, but keep that idea in the back of your mind just in case you run out of things to blog about!

    Keep up the great work!
    – D

    • Catherine

      Thank you for your lovely comment! I’m not sure I’m up for writing a long post about my religious views at this point, but in brief, I believe that as a Christian my ‘job’ is to reflect God’s love out into the world as best I can. And to me, that means solidarity with the oppressed (and thus rather left wing social policies), and standing against injustice where I can. I definitely do not think Christianity is incompatible with feminism, either – quite the contrary. But that is a really long post, and there are others who are far more qualified to write it.

      I hope that is a starting point, at least! (Very happy to email you offline if you want to chat about this, incidentally. I promise not to evangelise!)

      • Mynameistoo Uniquetoremainanonymousandisaslongasthisfakename

        Sounds good, please do!

  14. Francesco Timpano

    Who are you and what are your qualifications to pass judgment and who do you answer to and/or regulates you?

    • Catherine

      Hi Francesco,

      I’m a voter, and I blog about parties and candidates in my area, with the intention of helping people figure out what policies the different parties represent. My qualifications are precisely the same as any other voter, I imagine – I have an interest in the outcome of the vote, and I have the ability to use Google to find out what candidates and parties are saying about themselves. I do endeavour to be up-front about my biases, because I feel that by being obvious about what I do and don’t like, and by linking to my sources, it makes it easier for people with differing political views from my own to work out what is my commentary and what is not (I have quite a number of readers whose political opinions are VERY different from mine, but who still find this blog useful as a starting point).

      Nobody has to read me, I do not get paid for writing this blog, and it’s essentially an extension of the research I do to figure out my own vote at each election.


      • Francesco Timpano


        I have no problem with you being a ‘left-wing, feminist, greenie, unionist’. What I do not accept is a misrepresentation of the facts for the purpose of character assassination. And that is what you practice against all that are not of your type. I find that no different to the vile racist practices I have had to deal with since arriving here as a child.

        • Brendan

          Francesco, if you’re accusing Cate of being anything more than an interested voter sharing her own subjective research on various parties contesting election, then you’ll have to produce some evidence, otherwise I fail to see why this blog is different from any other voter sharing their political opinions, aside from the fact that Cate is at least honest about her own bias and comprehensive in her analyses.

          Cate, thank you for taking the time to publish your views on the various candidates, especially given the dumpster fire that Australia’s microparty situation has become. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated Paul Keating’s remark about the Senate being full of unrepresentative swill more than I do at present.

  15. Francesco Timpano

    Show your face and identify yourself. People that hide their identity always have something to hide. What are you hiding? Are you a pedophile? Someone with a criminal history? What?

    • Catherine

      Hi Francesco,

      I’m just back from several weeks travelling with limited internet access. During this time, you’ve left five versions of this comment, plus a gratuitously insulting remark about my failure to publish your other comments.

      As a general rule, I prefer to let people comment fairly freely on this blog, particularly if they are a candidate or involved with a political party. Often, these comments add nuance or clarity, or provide information that I have missed. But you are not adding anything useful or interesting to the conversation. You are just being rude.

      I’m blocking you from commenting on this blog. You have plenty of other venues in which you can express your opinions. I do not see any reason why I should tolerate your harrassment here.


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