Still undecided after several weeks of the election campaign? Are you confused on policies? Do you have a pet issue that may influence your vote? I might have just the election issue scorecard to help you decide.
I have always been more interested in party policies than voting for the personality of a candidate or leader. Ultimately policies are what really count, although there is evidence that many electors are more influenced by appearance than policies, according to psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson in New Matilda.
Election scorecards are produced by a wide range of community, union and social policy organisations. These organisations often have a high level of policy expertise. They do the groundwork in determining key policy differentiators and scales to compare and rate the differences in political party policies.
Of course most of these organisation do come with some intrinsic social and political bias. That is up to you to take their bias into account.
Melbourne University Election Watch lists all the major policies of the Liberal Party, Labor Party and the Greens for the policy wonks that want to do their own research in detail.
While some scorecards are simple graphic images, others come with links to extensive webpages or PDFs which detail individual questions and rating methodologies. Some are online interactive websites.
One of the downsides to scorecards is they tend to focus on comparing the major parties and ignore the smaller parties. Unfortunately, if you want to vote or preference highly an Independent or minor party, it is still up to you to do your own research on candidate policies.
I have been keeping a watch for scorecards this election. Here are the ones I found presented below. As some organisations produce simple and complex scorecards, I have chosen to reproduce only the simple version below. Links to additional or supporting information are also provided where available.
- Environment and Climate
- Education, Research and Innovation
- Public Transport and Cycling
- Foreign Aid
- Healthcare and Disability
- Privacy and Digital Rights
- Immigration and Refugees
- Senior Australians
- Agriculture, Forestry, Farm Business, and Biosecurity
- Animal Welfare
- Political Donations
- Trade and Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
- The Arts
- Marriage Equality and Rainbow rights
- Religious views and politics
- Industrial Relations
- Taxation and Superannuation
- Youth Issues
- Women’s Policy
Environment and climate
The Climate Institute has released a Climate Policy Credibility Assessment: Federal Election 2016 This is one graphic assessment of major party climate policies:
Solar Citizens rate the candidates for each electorate at Solarscorecard.org.au
The Australian Conservation Foundation have rated the Labor, Coalition, Greens, Xenophon and Lazarus parties on 3 criteria: clean energy, cutting pollution, and protecting our reefs, forests and wildlife. Download the PDF for detailed scores.
Environment Victoria Scorecard (PDF)
WWF have released a draft Scorecard which they will update on 29 June in final form.
With the Pope issuing Laudato Si last year and statements from other major religious traditions, climate change has become a major moral issue. Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, a multi-faith group, have rated the Coalition parties, Australian Labor Party, the Greens, and the Nick Xenophon Team on Climate Fairness Policy and issued an ARRCC election scorecard.
Getup surveyed the major parties and the major minors such as The Greens, Nick Xenophon team, Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus Team, and The Sex Party on climate change, health and hospitals, and political donations. For the first time Getup is also issuing How to Vote Cards in selected marginal electorates and the Senate. More election 2016 details here. See below the climate change comparison:
The Vote Climate website compares the main climate policies of the Coalition, Labor and the Greens, but a general scorecard for 2016 is still to be produced.
But in the electorate of Batman, Vote Climate has produced it’s own Batman climate scorecard and leafletted 50,000 copies across the electorate in the hope of affecting what may be a close result between the Greens Alex Bhathal and Labor’s David Feeney. A Save the Planet climate Independent, Philip Sutton, is also running in Batman.
Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) has assessed the two primary New England candidates: Barnaby Joyce and Tony Windsor. In the AYCC scorecard they assess what each would do to protect land and water from coal and gas, promote renewable energy, and act on climate change. This was reported in the Northern Daily Leader.
Education, Research and Innovation
Education is always a battleground issue with voters preferring education spending over corporate tax cuts according to the Australian Financial Review.
According to a Sydney Morning herald report Catholic schools urge parents not to vote for Greens. The Independent Schools Council of Australia provide a summary of the major funding and policy commitments for independent education by the three major parties.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald Malcolm Turnbull advances partial university fee deregulation agenda. Paul Kniest from the NTEU National Office compares the latest Federal higher education policy changes (23 June)
The Australian Education Union provides a very basic election scorecard comparing the three main parties on Gonski funding, but with much more public education policy detail on their website.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have provided a scorecard on Higher Education policy comparing the policies of the Coalition, ALP and Greens.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have provided a scorecard on vocational education and Training (VET) policy comparing the policies of the Coalition, ALP and Greens.
Science and Technology Australia (STA) have done a Scorecard based on a Federal Election Policy Survey asking the major parties (Coalition, ALP, Greens) to articulate their vision for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by responding to the questions that are most important to the scientists represented by STA. Here are the first three. You can download the 3 page PDF of the full results.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have provided a scorecard on Research and Innovation policy comparing the policies of the Coalition, ALP and Greens. A shame they did not also consider the Science Party as well.
Public Transport and Cycling
The Public TYransport Users Association released a scorecard on June 28 comparing public transport policies of the Liberal Party, Labor Party and the Greens.
Oxfam’s scorecard is more like an interactive game where you compare your perceptions to the facts as ascertained by Oxfam on a range of issues including resourcing First Peoples’ organisations, Foreign Aid policy, corporate tax dodging, and climate change policy. Try your hand with Bella the elephant’s help in working out which policies are fair and unfair.
Vote Fair election elephant: YOU have the power to choose a fairer, more equal world.
Healthcare and Disability
Four scorecards rate different elements of health policy in Australia. See also the Medical Journal of Australia commentary on scorecards on health policies.
The Services for Australian Rural and Remote Health (SARRAH) believes in Election 2016 the Federal Government must fund research into the economic benefits of rural and remote allied health and improve workforce development to close the health gap, but haven’t rated the parties.
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association rates general health policy in their Health Policy Scorecard The overview scorecard is displayed, check the website for more detailed policy rating.
The Women’s Health Charter looks at women’s health policy, and the Climate and Health Alliance compares the policies on climate and health. For more information: Women’s Health Charter Election Scorecard
The Climate and Health Alliance have issued a scorecard. With incresing impacts of climate change, there is a growing need for a comprehensive health policy in this area. Read more at the Climate and Health Alliance website and media release.
Here is the GetUp! policy comparison on health and hospitals:
Privacy and Digital Rights
The Australian Privacy Foundation rated the major parties and some of the larger minor parties on 10 vital privacy issues. They also assess the smaller parties what privacy related policies they have, if any. Read their Election Challenge – 2016 Scoresheet for more details.
Those concerned with digital rights will welcome the Digital Rights Watch scorecard which also rates some of the minor parties as well. For more details go to the Digital Rights Watch scorecard
Electronic Frontiers Australia have also rated the main parties and a few of the minors on digital rights. The parties are rated on encryption, surveillance, copyright reform, and censorship. The Pirate Party, Science Party and the Greens all rated highly. Visit their scorecard page for more information.
Immigration and Refugees
No surprise here, on treatment of asylum seekers and refugees the Greens score well above Labor and Liberal Parties.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have provided a scorecard on Refugee policy comparing the policies of the Coalition, ALP and Greens.
IRT Group, a private company focussed on seniors lifestyle and care solutions, has done a policy rating on four areas that affect seniors: Aged care funding review, national aged care workforce strategy, uncapping aged care places, and superannuation. The comparison was tweeted, I couldn’t find any supporting information on their website.
Agriculture, Forestry, Farm Business, and Biosecurity
The National Farmers Federation have produced an election scorecard based upon 5 points of comparison between Labor, the Coalition Parties and the Greens. Unfortunately it doesn’t compare policies balancing mining and agriculture, basin-wide water management, and adapting agriculture in a warmer climate, policies very essential for the future of agriculture and regional Australia. Policies in these areas have very much been advocated by Independents such as Tony Windsor in New England, Cathy McGowan in Indi, and Rob Oakeshot standing in Cowper.
The Australian Forest Products Association released the following election scorecard rating the policies of the Liberal Party, The Nationals, Labor Party and the Greens on forestry policies. See associated AFPA media release.
The Invasive Species Council have put out a Biosecurity scorecard on 28 June highlighting the differences Coalition parties, ALP and the Greens.
Despite Barnaby Joyce’s run in with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s dogs Pistol and Boo, the Coalition parties score very poorly on biosecurity issues. Lazarus Team and Independent Andrew Wilkie also have strong policy commitments to biosecurity according to the Council survey.
“In a nutshell we can confidently say that when it comes to protecting the Australian environment from dangerous invasive species the Greens are way out in front, Labor finally gets it and the Coalition? Well, they’re all at sea.” said Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox.
Animals Australia compared major and minor parties on three questions of animal welfare on their Election 2016 Scorecard.
Humane Research Australia have released a scorecard on where the main political parties stand on cosmetics cruelty to animals. The Scorecard includes a rating for the Animal Justice Party and many of the minor parties.
Here is the GetUp! policy comparison on political donations. The Greens, Glen Lazarus Team, Ricky Muir AMEP< the Sex Party are all strong in this area, followed closely by Nick xenophon team.
Trade and Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
The Australian Fair Trade and Investment network (AFTINET) have rated and compared the major party policies on trade in a Trade Policy Scorecard. Only the Greens and Nick Xenophon Team minor parties were included with the major parties.
Friends of the Earth have rated many of the parties based on two questions on the Trans Pacific Partnership: Will vote against the enabling legislation for the TPP; Will Introduce or support legislation to ban ISDS in all trade agreements. ISDS are investor State Dispute settlement provisions that enable private corporations to sue governments for any changes brought about by government that negatively impact on international trade or investment.
Live Performance Australia have released a Federal Election reportcard PDF rating the Coalition parties, Labor, The Greens and the single issue Arts Party. The comparisons cover 7 main policy areas for the arts. For new Arts funding commitments the Liberal/National parties promised $20 million, the ALP $176.6 million, and the Greens $270.2 million. The Arts Party do not have a new funding costing.
Marriage Equality and Rainbow rights
The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby have collated comprehensive responses and party policies on 45 questions across 11 topics of the major parties and number of key independent or micro parties. Individual responses were received from the Australian Equality Party, Australian Greens, Australian Labor Party, Australian Sex Party, Liberal National Coalition, and Nick Xenophon Team, however the main graphic just compares the Coalition, ALP and Greens.
“The 2016 Federal Election to be held on Saturday 2 July is one of the most important in recent memory for the LGBTI community. A Turnbull-led Liberal National Party win will mean our community will face a plebiscite in the next term of Parliament, possibly as soon as this year. A Shorten-led Labor Party win has pledged to introduce a bill for marriage equality within 100 days. In recent months we’ve seen young same-sex attracted and gender diverse kids used as political pawns through orchestrated attacks on programs designed to keep them safe. Attacks that, along with scare campaigns about LGBTI families, are the emerging foundation of a plebiscite “no” campaign.” says the website.
Religious views and politics
There are a number of Christian parties standing this election, especially for the senate. The Australian Christian Values Institute have developed an election scorecard that highlights these parties on issues of christian religious concern against the main 3 parties, while really not highlighting to any great extent the differences between them. This is the scorecard for 2016 Federal Election (All states and territories EXCEPT VIC & WA). The version for VIC and Western Australia has Australian Christians in place of the CDP, but otherwise they appear to be the same.
Question 21 on this scorecard was on care for the environment, in which this scorecard gave a tick to all the parties, providing no differentiation. It stands in marked contrast to the multi-faith group Australian Religious Response to Climate Change scorecard which rated the Coalition parties, Australian Labor Party, the Greens, and the Nick Xenophon Team on Climate Fairness Policy and issued an ARRCC election scorecard. (See also under Climate and Environment)
With Turnbull using the Australian Building and Consruction Commission (ABCC) legislation as the trigger for the Double Dissolution one would think it would feature as a major issue in the election debates, but it clearly hasn’t todate after 7 weeks of campaigning.
The National Tertiary and Education Union (NTEU) provided a scorecard on Industrial Relations Policy comparing the three major parties.
Taxation and Superannuation
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have provided a scorecard on Taxation and Superannuation policy comparing the policies of the Coalition, ALP and Greens.
I could not find any explicit election scorecards comparing policies on youth. Perhaps organisations that work in this policy area need to be more pro-active.
Michael Koziol at the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Major parties ignoring what young people want resulting in many of them choosing to vote Greens or other leftish minor and single issue parties. Andrew Griffiths at the ABC reports that Youth concerned about economy but rank social issues as most important.
According to the ABC Votecompass survey, Women and men split on idea of gender quotas in Parliament. Women also think that climate change action is far more important than men, according to Votecompass.
“Eighty-two per cent of female respondents to the ABC’s Vote Compass felt the Federal Government should do “much” or “somewhat more” to tackle climate change, compared with just 67 per cent of men.” said Erin Stewart in the ABC article Election 2016: Climate change – an election priority for women
The Womens Electoral Lobby (WEL) surveyed the major parties and provided an Assessment of Parties’ responses to WEL’s Women and Children’s Safety Program (WCSP). See also the WEL Federal Election 2016 Program of Action (PDF). The National Foundation for Australian Women have put together a comprehensive comparison of how major party policies affect women in a collection of PDFs
Fair Agenda looks at a range of party policies on Funding for family violence services, Improving safety in family law, Paid parental leave Policies for economic equality and Reproductive Rights and provides an interactive scorecard to compare the policies of any two parties.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have provided a scorecard on Women’s policy comparing the policies of the Coalition, ALP and Greens.
The Women’s Health Charter looks at women’s health policy. For more information: Women’s Health Charter Election Scorecard
Policies aren’t the be all and end all. Often it is just as important to find a candidate that will work hard for the electorate and the community even if they don’t necessarily share all of your views.
Independents like Ted Mack (North Sydney, retired), Peter Andren (Calare, Deceased), Tony Windsor in New England, Rob Oakeshott in Cowper, Cathy McGowan in Indi, and Andrew Wilkie in Denison are all of this ilk and may be worth supporting over major political party candidates that are beholden to party factions and special interests.