The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, has spent much of the election campaign telling the people of Australia that a vote for a small party or an independent is a wasted vote – or that a vote for a small party or an independent is a vote for instability.
These self-serving assertions are not only wrongheaded and disappointing, they diminish confidence in our democracy and belittle the voting public.
They need to be loudly refuted.
You are wrong Mr Morrison
The sky is not falling: Australian democracy is maturing
Legalise Cannabis Australia is a non-partisan, single-issue, political lobby organisation that is not directly affiliated with any other political party. We are dedicated to promoting community-friendly, science-based policy prescriptions relating to the regulation of cannabis in Australia. In accord with these aspirations, the Legalise Cannabis Party of Australia seeks to work in association with any individual, organisation or government that shares these aims.
Mr Morrison, the cannabis users of Australia are not ‘confused’. We are not being ‘manipulated’. We are a group of Australian voters who have joined together to try and force the two-party system in Australia to simply listen to the voices of the vast majority of the voting public regarding the need to abandon our current misguided and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition. It is not the voters who are ‘misguided’ Mr Morrison.
The Legalise Cannabis Party of Australia is extremely disappointed that the leader of our country continues to casually denigrate our democratic system of governance in a patently partisan and self-serving fashion by suggesting that a vote for a small party or an independent candidate is somehow illegitimate. The Legalise Cannabis Party of Australia would like to remind the Prime Minister that Australian democracy does not depend on the health of the Liberal Party, or the National Party, or the Labor Party.
The Australian constitution
Mr Morrison needs to be frequently reminded that the Australian constitution does not mention political parties.
In contrast to the oft-stated views of our Prime Minister, the Legalise Cannabis Party of Australia welcomes the recent fracturing to the three-party domination of the federal electoral system. It is a sign of a maturing democracy.
The Legalise Cannabis Party of Australia suggests that the slow but steady diminution of the primary vote being cast for the major parties is simply an indication that many electors are rejecting the proposition that our democracy is a spectator sport.
Not a winner-takes-all proposition
Scott Morrison needs to be reminded that a parliament is not a winner-takes-all proposition. It is not a tyranny of the majority. Rather, a mature democratic process is one in which everybody compromises. It incorporates a respect for a plurality of voices and views.
The Legalise Cannabis Australia Party recognises that when an Australian elector casts a vote for a small party or an independent candidate, they are acting in direct accord with the way in which the founders of our democracy anticipated that our electoral system should operate.
Australian electors are not mugs Mr Morrison. When you describe a vote that is cast for an opponent (any opponent) as being a vote for instability, or as a ‘wasted’ vote, you are accusing the electors of being a bunch of misguided and gullible fools. It makes you look foolish and demonstrates a level of contempt for the electorate that is unbecoming for one occupying such a high office; it is insulting to both our democracy and of the intelligence of the voting public.
Australian voters are not idiots
In the Australian system, the voter (not the current Prime Minister) is in charge of distributing their own preferences. Thus, when a vote is cast for the Legalise Cannabis Australia Party we anticipate that our voters will then list the rest of the candidates on their ballot paper in a manner that best reflects their own considered opinion.
Unlike the candidates that are associated with the major parties, those who are standing for small parties, or as independents, do not pretend that the voting public are a bunch of helpless infants who do not know what they are doing. Rather, they appreciate that any given voter is a complex and multifaceted individual who entertains nuanced and considered views regarding almost all of the contemporary issues that are of current import.
Consequently, unlike Mr Morrison, the Legalise Cannabis Party of Australia does not seek to substitute our views for yours. We respect that you will choose to order your ballot in accord with your own wishes.
Vote 1 LCA: then the rest is up to you.
No vote is wasted. Australian democracy is in good hands – YOURS.
Michael Balderstone is President Nimbin HEMP Embassy and Legalise Cannabis Australia (Formerly HEMP Party).