The Coalition, Labor and the Greens (plus the wave of independents) are getting most of the headlines in this election. But your ballot papers will also be full of candidates representing parties you might not know much – or anything – about.
From the big-spender ads of the United Australia party and the re-election desires of One Nation, to a bunch of micro-parties representing niche interests, Australia’s democracy and elections are a rich tapestry – and it takes all types to make a campaign.
Here’s a quick rundown of these lesser-known parties running Senate candidates in the 2022 Australian federal election on 21 May, and what they stand for.
Animal Justice party
With representatives in NSW and Victoria’s state parliaments, the party says it wants “to give a political voice to animals”, including promoting animal protection and “animal-friendly policies”. They campaign for increased penalties for animal abuse, animal trade, and supporting sustainable and ethical practices.
Running in: the Senate in all states besides Northern Territory, as well as lower house seats in most states.
Led by the former special forces soldier Heston Russell, the party says it aims to “bring balance into the Centre” of politics. AVP wants to create an American-style National Guard to assist in emergencies, better support for defence veterans, a review into ABC funding, “greater certification requirements for media organisations and journalists to be permitted their special exemptions under legal legislation”, and “greater consequences” for “negligent” media reporting.
Running in: the Senate in Queensland, NSW, WA and Victoria, and several lower house seats in Victoria and Queensland.
The party wants to elect “a Christian voice amidst the voices in Parliament”. It wants to see marriage as only between a man and woman, “zero tolerance” to drugs, and suggests an inquiry into increasing the legal drinking age to 21. It also says the settled scientific view that carbon dioxide is contributing to climate change needs “further scrutiny”, opposes euthanasia, and wants to restrict IVF to married couples.
Running in: the Senate, as well as nine lower house seats, in WA only.
Australian Citizens party
Saying they were “inspired by the policies of old Labor”, the party wants to start a public bank at post offices, repeal the prohibition on nuclear power, wants a “dramatic” increase to health resourcing and a moratorium on house and farm foreclosures.
Running in: the Senate in Queensland, Victoria, SA, WA and NSW.
Once a major player in the Senate, the party’s presence has faded significantly since it was formed by the former Liberal politician Don Chipp. In the small-l liberal tradition, it pursues broadly centrist economic policies, social liberalism and puts an emphasis on political accountability.
Running in: the Senate in SA, NSW, Victoria, WA and QLD.
Derryn Hinch’s Justice party
Named after its leader, the former journalist, the Justice Party is calling for reforms to bail, parole, family courts and domestic violence law, campaigning for sentencing to “reflect community views” and “more jail, less bail”.
Running in: the Senate and several lower house seats in Victoria
Drew Pavlou Democratic Alliance
Named for the anti-Communist party activist, the party wants to “stand up to China”, support Hong Kong, Uyghur and Tibetan communities and repeal Australia’s free trade agreement with China. The party also is calling for welfare rates to be raised above the poverty line, and wants to boost renewables and put dental health into Medicare.
Running in: NSW, SA and Queensland.
Federal Icac Now
The name pretty much sums it up. As the party says, it is “a single-issue party and that issue is anti-corruption”. It wants a national Icac, to limit donations to political parties, real-time disclosure of donations, and to restrict politicians from being appointed to government positions or commercial businesses connected to their former portfolios.
Running in: the Senate in NSW, Queensland and WA.
The party backs Christian values, opposes late-term abortions and the teaching of “gender fluidity” in schools, and wants to consider “corporal punishment models” to penalise rape and other serious crimes.
Running in: the Senate and lower house seats in Victoria, WA, SA, Queensland and NSW.
A “fusion” of the Science, Pirate, Secular, Vote Planet and Climate Change Justice parties. Its policies include a 10-year transition to negative emissions, a carbon price, 800% renewables, high speed rail, and a $500 weekly universal basic income.
Running in: NSW, Queensland, SA, Victoria and WA in the House and Senate
Great Australian party
Led by the controversial former One Nation senator Rod Culleton. GAP backs “mandatory” jail for violent crimes and boot camps for juvenile offenders, would relax firearm laws, has policies for a “concealed carry licence”, and would abolish income tax and remove compulsory superannuation.
Running in: the lower house and Senate in WA, Queensland, NSW, Victoria, SA, NT.
The party is calling for the protection of rivers and better water management, an end to detention for Indigenous children and ending adult incarceration “except for the most serious offences”, and replacing fines with community service.
Running in: NSW and Queensland.
Informed Medical Options
Imop campaigns for people’s right to refuse or choose medical products and procedures like Covid vaccines, including advocating the removal of No Jab No Play and vaccine mandates. It also wants to remove fluoride from drinking water, promote alternative therapies, legalise medical cannabis nationwide and pause the rollout of 5G technology.
Running in: ACT, NSW, Queensland, SA, Tasmania, Victoria and WA.
Jacqui Lambie network
The Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie wants to get more supporters in parliament. She wants to lower donation caps and introduce real-time disclosure, boost local manufacturing and start an inquiry into Chinese foreign interference.
Running in: Tasmania
Katter’s Australia Party
Bob Katter’s organisation wants to lower power prices, relax firearms and crocodile culling laws, have an opt-out scheme for organ donation, increase access to vaping products and boost north Queensland infrastructure such as roads and rail.
Running in: Queensland
Kim for Canberra
With some financial support from Climate 200, law academic Kim Rubenstein is campaigning on climate, integrity and a federal Icac, women’s safety and a First Nations voice to parliament.
Running in: you guessed it, the ACT
Unsurprisingly, the party wants to legalise, tax and regulate weed. It wants a moratorium on arresting users and to expunge historical sentences for personal use, as well as to allow people to grow cannabis at home.
Running in: all states and territories.
Still running under their original name (despite a high court challenge), the libertarian party’s run is being headlined by the former Liberals Campbell Newman and John Ruddick. Calling for smaller government and low taxes, the Liberal Democrats want to institute American-style “recall elections”, wind back Covid and mask rules, immediately cut all government departments and politicians’ pay by 10%, and a flat tax of 20% for all.
Running in: all states and territories.
Focusing on candidates who are “independent local leaders who are already contributing to their neighbourhoods”, this party has a larger focus on Tasmania-specific issues such as salmon farming, the state’s energy mix, and further restrictions on poker machines. It also advocates for “citizens’ juries”, or the process of deliberative democracy, to decide contentious issues.
Running in: Tasmania and SA.
Formerly known as the New Liberals, TNL advocates for net zero emissions by 2030, a retrospective federal Icac, a legislated charter of rights, boosting foreign aid, new lyrics for the national anthem, restricting mass political advertising, real-time political donation disclosure, and restricting politicians to serving only 12 years in parliament.
Running in: Queensland, NSW, Victoria and SA.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
Looking to hold Pauline Hanson’s Senate seat in Queensland, One Nation wants to remove Australia from the United Nations Refugee Convention and Paris climate agreement, boost government subsidies to apprentices, block sale of property to non-citizens, and place further restrictions on abortion.
Running in: all states and territories.
The fledgling party says it aims to end poverty, homelessness and the climate emergency, and dismantle corruption. It wants an emissions trading scheme and a federal Icac.
Running in: Victoria, ACT, Queensland, SA
A centrist party, Reason seeks to decriminalise all drugs and legalise cannabis, promotes comprehensive sex education in schools and supports more progressive policies on Indigenous Australians, women, the LGBTIQ community and immigration.
Running in: Victoria, NSW, Queensland.