On behalf of the party, I’d like to express my gratitude to our party members and supporters who voted for us at the election a few weeks ago. What an amazing experience that was! Being the first time running for the senate at a proper federal election, we have learned so much for next time. Now that we’ve had a rest and things have settled down, I thought it might be time to reflect with you all about our take on the result and where to from here.
First up, I think the outcome of that election was a big surprise for a lot of people – including us. From our perspective, we were hoping to build on what we saw as a pretty good result from the Perth By-Election (over 900 votes, 1.58% of the primary votes, with spikes as high as 4.7%). This was our first senate run, so we really didn’t know what to expect. In Western Australia, we secured 496 first preference votes; and in Queensland we secured 666 first preference votes. It was a lot lower that we were hoping for, but then again we came top of the independents column in WA and came close to that in QLD too. In our view, our position on the ballot was the main reason for our disappointing result.
It’s clear to us now looking back that we really needed our own column on the senate ballot. Why didn’t that happen? There were two factors. Our inexperience as a new political party meant that we simply didn’t know the mechanics of how to secure our own column for the party. By the time we learned that the party needed two or more candidates in each state, it was far too late. So there was not enough time to generate the required additional funds: at least $2000 just to register the candidate with the AEC and between $5k-$10k to promote the candidate. The quiz night we ran was wonderful for generating community interest in the party, but it didn’t generate the funding we needed to run multiple candidates in WA and Queensland. Next time we know that the party needs much more funding, so that voters can find us above-the-line. Visibility is all important.
In terms of positive outcomes, it is clear that Australians are interested in the party. Over 10,000 Australians visited our website in May and the encouraging and supportive tone of comments we have received, show us that they want us to keep going. There’s a lot of work which goes on behind the scenes and the reality is that for our small party to survive, we need much more active participation and involvement. Our party needs to grow and transform into a political force that can hold the other parties to account on mental health and well-being. We have some great ideas on how to do that, but the success of those plans will depend on your involvement. If you’re reading this and you want to vote for us at future elections, now is the time to lend us a hand and help us prepare for the next stage of our evolution.