Canberra voters will be spoilt for choice after a flurry of registrations of political parties contesting the ACT Legislative Assembly election on 17 October.
Five parties have had their registrations confirmed this week, bringing to 16 the number planning to run candidates when Canberrans go to the polls to elect 25 MLAs across the five electorates.
The Canberra Party, Australian Federation Party, Democratic Labour Party, Australian Climate Change Justice Party and the David Pollard Independent Party will now be among a laundry list of parties and candidates on the ballot papers.
As well as the main parties – the ACT Greens, Canberra Liberals and ACT Labor – there will also be Bill Stefaniak’s Belco Party (ACT) targeting the Belconnen-based Ginninderra electorate, the Canberra Progressives, the libertarian Liberal Democratic Party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (ACT), Sustainable Australia (ACT), The Community Action Party (ACT), Animal Justice Party, and The Flux Party – ACT.
Some are yet to announce candidates, such as the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and David Pollard Independent Party.
Many of these minor parties are responding to what they consider a broken system in which the main parties are ignoring the needs of ordinary Australians.
The DLP, which in a previous incarnation used to be a power broker in the Senate, professes itself to be a true labour party and focuses on family issues, the Australian Federation Party wants to take the politics out of policymaking, and Australian Climate Change Justice Party, as the name suggests, wants action to avert catastrophic climate change and campaigns against fossil fuel use.
The Flux Party promotes digital direct democracy (yes, there is an app) while Sustainable Australia is concerned about the impacts of population growth and the Community Action Party, formerly the Community Alliance Party, promotes balanced government that will provide improved services, lower rates and charges, and open government.
The Canberra Party, registered by Daniel Elix, remains a mystery.
Nominations for the October poll open on 11 September and close at noon on 23 September, with nominations declared and the ballot paper order determined on 24 September.
The preliminary rolls close on 11 September but eligible ACT residents who are not on the roll may enrol at any time during the voting period.
All ACT voters will be able to cast their ballots from 28 September, and the ACT Electoral Commission is encouraging pre-poll voting to reduce any risk of spreading COVID-19.
The Commission is continuing to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the election and will be guided by the advice of the ACT Chief Health Officer in ensuring the health and safety of the public and the staff of Elections ACT.
It is investigating additional measures that can be implemented to ensure the safety of electors and election workers.
* This story has been updated after advice from Elections ACT.