Australian Sex Party stands proud
Progressive support hardening, reactionaries limp into fifth place
Despite its failure to win any seats in last week’s Australian General Election, the Australian Sex Party was today celebrating its arrival on the scene as the "Major Minor Party" of Australian politics.
This claim is based on the fact that after Coalition, Labor and Greens, the Sex Party (ASP) is now neck and neck with Family First for fourth place in the national Senate vote – a result achieved without standing candidates in either the Australian Capital Territory or Tasmania.
As of today, the party claimed to be level pegging in Victoria and vying with the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) for the last Senate seat. In the Northern Territory it received more than four per cent of the vote: in the six House of Representatives seats that it contested, the ASP came fourth in all but one, beating Family First in every case.
Damp squib, or a sign of things to come? As we have previously reported, the ASP is a genuine attempt to shake up the reactionary tendencies in some of the darker corners of Australian politics. The party claims that close results, particularly in the Senate, have given disproportionate influence to right-wing religious views like those espoused by groups such as Family First.
The party was born out of a sense of grievance that national politicians were playing to the moral grandstanders and quite failing to represent the views of the majority of Australians, who are on the whole fairly laid back about sexuality.
In terms of policy, the ASP is socially progressive, being in favour of sex education in schools, gay marriage and a censorship regime that is both less restrictive and more transparent.
The party benefits from the backing of the Australian adult industry and, in Fiona Patten, its national convenor, has a leader who is both media-friendly and politically savvy.
Other than that, it's been an uphill struggle, with challenges to the ASP's registration as a party and, last week, Google censoring ASP online ads just 24 hours before the polls were due to open.
The party's serious and sensible objective is not to take power, but to displace the likes of Family First as power brokers in the Senate. On the evidence of this weekend’s election, the party may be well on its way to doing that. ®
If you would like a taste of the genuine differences between the ASP and Family First - as well a debate without the false politeness that characterises so much political discussion nowadays - take a look at the recently televised encounter between the ASP's Fiona Patten and Wendy Francis of Family First on Sunrise.