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My senate picks... how and why

For federal elections in the recent past, I have followed the Greens above-the-line ticket. This time, I chose not to, bit the bullet and voted 1 to 84 in the bottom half of the senate ballot. Making sure that I did my research first.

My main reasons for this were that I wasn't too keen on the Greens' flow of preferences (especially their high ranking to the Australian Sex Party), and that I wanted to choose the six people who I wanted to be my six New South Wales senators. (Is that too crazy a thing to ask?)

As it happens with such a complex task, while I am confident that I cast a formal ballot, I can't recall the complete detail of every box from 1 to 84. I have summarised the gist of it in my posting about my vote in today's election.

I placed Lee Rhiannon of the Greens first. I explained my support for her in my voting intentions which I posted yesterday.

In number two spot, I chose Brami Jegatheeswaran, who is actually at three in the Greens ticket. Known as Brami Jegan, she is a member of the Tamils for Greens advocacy group.

My third choice is the Labor Party's Senator John Faulkner, a man for whom I have enormous regard. On the whole I find the Labor Party "culture of entitlement" to Senate and upper house seats repugnant, and in many cases a sinecure issued as a reward for services rendered in branch office or the union movement. An instructive example is the story of Matt Thistlethwaite's pre-selection after an earlier "promise" to Graeme Wedderburn was cast aside. Faulkner I have chosen as an individual. His party is unsupportable in any upper house contest in my opinion, especially thinking ahead to the NSW election next March.

At fourth spot is Bill Heffernan, in what is probably the first time in my life that I have voted positively for a Liberal candidate. The Hef has had many failings over the years, in particular as a hatchet man for John Howard, and is very lucky to still be in politics at all after the Michael Kirby episode. But he understands climate change better than probably anyone on the Tory side of politics in this country, and he has a more literate reading on the relationship between climate change and agriculture than probably anyone currently in federal parliament. Fact is, after seeing him on Q and A a couple of times he's won me over a bit. (And he does seem to have apologised and shown remorse over the Kirby debacle.)

At fifth is indigenous activist Michael Anderson, whose name is recorded on the ballot paper as Michael Eckford.

My sixth pick for the six senate seats is former Australian Democrats senator and former ALP member for Dickson, Cheryl Kernot.

Who did I put last? It would have been easy to go for One Nation, the Christian Democratic Party or the Australian Sex Party, but in the end I really couldn't go past the Liberal Democratic Party. Nothing like their UK namesakes, it's not so much the shallow textbook free-market libertarianism expounded on their website that puts me off; but more the aggressive preference harvesting deals that they have done with other minor parties in the expectation that they can pull off a miracle in the manner of Steve Fielding with Family First in Victoria in 2004. And as "Liberals for Forests" in NSW that same election, that gave it a real go.

But there's more to the LDP than even that. Look for "global warming" in their policy document on Environment and you will be referred to their Energy policy, where their denial of anthropomorphic climate change is quite clear. And while I am amused that they have a policy on motorbikes and scooters, allow me to quote the following from their immigration policy:

"Given Australia’s extensive welfare system it is necessary to place limits on immigration, and new immigrants who do not share our fundamental values of democracy, freedom and responsibility are potentially dangerous when they have access to our open democratic system."

It will be interesting, and hopefully not too disturbing, to see how far the LDP get in this election.