The ‘Sustainable Australia’ Party sounds like something innocuous we can all get along with. After all, we’ve spent the past decade or so being told that sustainability is the absolute gold-standard for existence on this planet. Do something sustainably and you can’t go wrong, right?
Well, what if we told you that sustainable fascism is still fascism?
The party is one of the prime examples of political organisations running under fairly PC names that support a whole range of wild policies that voters are probably not aware of when they put their number in those sacred boxes on voting day.
love when a political party calls themself smth like the Innocuous Progressive Party and then you look them up & their policies are Innocuously Progressing Fascism
— robin eames (very tired) ♿️🏳️🌈 (@less_glorious) March 17, 2023
With the NSW election happening on Saturday, 25 March, millions of voters are going to be faced with a range of options, most of which they may not fully understand. And, with recent polling suggesting that 32% of voters in this election will be voting for a minor party or an independent, the onus of research is increasingly on the voter to make an informed choice.
Some minor parties, like ‘Legalise Cannabis Australia’ do exactly what they say on the tin. Others, not so much. So, in order to help you not accidentally support a party with values highly contrary to your own, here’s a rundown of what each of these fringe groups are offering.
Who Are the Sustainable Australia Party?
The Sustainable Australia Party used to go by the name the ‘Sustainable Population Party’. Formed in 2010, they appear to make overtures to ‘science and evidence-based policy platforms’, heavily benefiting from the name and the fact that a lot of people don’t read into them.
The party has a range of fairly normal-seeming, if vague as hell, policies that include things like “protect and restore Australia’s environment,” “promote preventative health care through healthier lifestyle choices,” and “Promote peace, security and defence alliances through strong and constructive diplomacy.”
However, their immigration policies are really the focus of their campaign. Sustainable Australia, predominantly a party run by non-Indigenous people, wants Australia to become more ‘sustainable’ by locking the borders and stopping more people from entering. Essentially, it’s an anti-immigrant party operated by people of ancestral immigrant background.
They want to keep Australia’s population below 30 million, capping immigration at 70,000 people per year, down from the current 200,000 per year. In fairness, they do want to keep our humanitarian intake of refugees and asylum seekers the same, despite this being the 54th best in the world relative to GDP.
Limiting population growth is a popular idea in some environmental circles but is also one of the main tenets of eco-fascist philosophy. Largely, such thinking focuses its attention on rapidly developing countries with high birth rates, typically those in the Indian sub-continent, Asia, and Africa, and asks ‘Wouldn’t the world be better if there were fewer of those people?” It’s a more palatable way of supporting genocide.
Thankfully, the Sustainable Australia Party is not at risk of taking over the country with its slippery marketing anytime soon. The party has no seats in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, but they do have two seats on the North Sydney Council, which they won in 2021, the first time any representative from their organisation was elected.
Who Are the Informed Medical Options Party?
This party has it all. ‘information’: great, being informed is beneficial to all. ‘Medical’: awesome, who doesn’t like healthcare? ‘Party’: we all love a good party, although they’re not achieving much cut-through here.
Unfortunately, the Informed Medical Options Party (IMOP) aren’t offering to train record numbers of healthcare professionals. Instead, their primary aim is to stop mandatory vaccinations and also prevent the addition of fluoride to the water supply.
Formerly known as the Involuntary Medication Objectors (Vaccination/Flouride) Party, the group states that they represent “thousands” of Australians who want the right to “choose or refuse any health product or procedure without coercion, discrimination, harassment or penalty.”
Essentially, they are an anti-vaxx party, although they have said that this label is “insulting” since they have a range of other policies. Voting for them also means voting for calling into question the cause of climate change, the reassessment of “all current foreign trade agreements,” and cutting public services.
Counterintuitively, they seem to both support “anonymous financial transactions” and complete government conflict of interest transparency. They also want to see hazardous chemicals phased out in farming and industry while simultaneously slashing red tape and government oversight.
In 2020, they were called out by then Health Minister Greg Hunt for their “misleading” name change and the Australian Medical Association for lacking “the backing of scientific evidence.”
Of course, if you support mad conspiracy theories, this is the party for you.
Who Are the Public Education Party?
The Public Education Party are probably less of a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing than the above two but they still have a weirdly vague name so they’ve made the cut.
What single-issue policy does Public Education want to push in Australia? Their whole game is promoting public education as a first-choice for “high quality, secular, comprehensive education.”
Essentially, they want to ensure that public education is well-funded and that those providing it are well looked after. There’s no catch here.
What aligns them with the above parties is the fact that they got to this position through a pretty circuitous route.
Public Education used to be known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Party (VEP) and was the NSW outpost of the federal party of the same name. Primarily, VEP was a party seeking to advance voluntary euthanasia in NSW. However, NSW legalised voluntary assisted dying in May of 2022, leaving the party without much of a campaign focus.
When the federal party de-registered in 2021, VEP decided to merge with the Reason Party, forming the NSW branch of that federal party and adopting their name.
Reason, it’s worth noting, are a broadly socially progressive party that supports things like decriminalising sex work and drug law reform. They sadly rebranded in 2018 from the best name in politics, the Sex Party. Reason also make voluntary assisted dying a core focus of their policies, making them a natural home for VEP.
However, VEP, now known as Reason NSW, then rebranded again to focus on entirely different issues. Many of the same people from the VEP days still work for and support Public Education, but they are running on an entirely different platform to both VEP and Reason in NSW.
All of this is to say that if you vote Public Education, you won’t be voting for Reason, or the Sex Party, or for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party. You will however be voting for better public funding for free education, which isn’t bad thing. Just don’t expect them to take office any time soon.
Related: A Quick Rundown of What Each Party Is Offering at the NSW Election
Related: Are State Elections Compulsory? All of Your Voting Questions, Answered
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