The worst union in Australia is the Shoppies. (The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, or the SDA). For years they harvested money from young workers at places like Coles and Hungry Jacks and David Jones, who once forced all their employees to join the union. Funnily enough, those companies never had any trouble with strikes. The bosses of the Shoppies union have never been interested in fighting for their members, in fact recently a pack of ragged-arsed anarchists won a victory for underpaid Dominos pizza delivery drivers that the union refused to even work for. The union bosses are far more interested in using the power of the union to make sure equal marriage never happens.
If you’re voting for the ALP in the Senate in Queensland or Western Australia, then if you don’t take control of your own vote, you’ll be voting for three powerful officials of the SDA, Don Farrell in South Australia, Chris Ketter in Queensland, and Joe Bullock in Western Australia. If you vote ALP in Queensland, SA or WA, and you just vote ‘1’ in the ALP box in the Senate, you will be voting against equal marriage.
So what if you want to vote ALP, but you support equal marriage? How do you do that? Instead of just voting ‘1’ for the ALP, you can take total control over your vote by voting “below the line“. On the Senate voting paper, every single candidate has a box next to their name. Voting below the line means you fill in every single box. In Queensland you’ll have to put a ‘1’ in the box next to the person you like the most, all the way down to ’82’ next to the one you hate the most. In Western Australia it’s a little easier, you only have to number 62 candidates. This can get a bit complex, but there are now plenty of tools to help you work out how to get your vote just right. Have a look at senate.io, Cluey Voter and belowtheline.org.au
Here’s an example of what you might do:
You might decide you still support the ALP, even if they keep weird homophobes like Chris Ketter and Joe Bullock in the party. So if you’re in Queensland, you can give your number 1 vote to Claire Moore, your number 2 vote to Mark Furner, and your number 3 vote to Nikki Boyd – they are the three other ALP candidates for the Senate. You might then go right through the ballot paper marking everyone else from 4 to 81, and then save your 82nd vote for Chris Ketter, to send a clear message you support the ALP but you also support equal marriage.
In WA, you’d do the same thing by giving your number 1 vote to Louise Pratt, and your second vote to Peter Foster, going right through the paper from 3 to 61, then giving your 62nd and final vote to Joe Bullock. SA’s a little different again; you should vote ‘1’ for Penny Wong, skip over Don Farrell, ‘2’ for Paul Pisoni, then go through everyone else and give Don Farrell your 73rd vote.
Of course, you might do something different. There are plenty of bad people running for the Senate, and you might decide someone else deserves your very bottom vote. So what I say here is just one way you can vote for the ALP in the Senate but stil support equal marriage. Whichever people you decide to support, the three tools I linked to above will help you sort out who you like, who you hate, and who you don’t care about. And if you REALLY want to take control there’s a tricky way to make sure only the people you really like get a chance to use your vote.
If you’re a member of the SDA, or if you work in the retail or fast food industries and you like the idea of a union that would stand up for you and for equal marriage, you might want to have a look at three groups who want to change the way the SDA operates. SDA Union Transform and Transpose and SDA Members for Same-Sex Marriage are fighting the homophobes from within, and the General Transport Workers Association is pounding on the gates from outside by setting up a rival organisation that actually knows how to fight.