Continuing in the spirit of Cate Speaks

Companions and Pets Party


Social Media: FacebookTwitter
Previous Names: none
Slogans: Protecting your right and freedom to love and own Companion Animals
Themes: Your right to enjoy and own animals
PETA is wrong about everything
Electorates: Upper House: Eastern Victorian, North Eastern Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan, Northern Victorian, South Eastern Metropolitan, Southern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan, Western Victorian
Lower House: Nepean
Preferences: There’s nothing terribly surprising in CAP’s preference distribution – it’s business-lovers at the top and environment-lovers at the bottom, and I’m sure it’s no surprise that Animal Justice is at the very bottom of the ticket every time, with the Greens just ahead of them.
Starting at the top, CAP preferences the Coalition parties first, followed by the Liberal Democrats and the DLP. Shooters, Fishers and Farmers come next, except in the Eastern and Western Victorian regions, where they are placed second, with the LibDems and DLP after them. After that, it’s United Australia, One Nation, Angry Victorians, Sack Dan Andrews and, curiously, Transport Matters. Then follows Freedom Victoria, independent candidates if there are any in that region, New Democrats, Legalise Cannabis and the ALP. After the ALP, it’s a less predictable assortment – you have Family First, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, the Victorian Socialists, Sustainable Australia, Reason and Health Australia, before we get to the final pair I mentioned above.
Previous Reviews: none – they’re new

Policies & Commentary

The Companions and Animals Party positions itself as the advocate of pet lovers, and while this is not merely a pose, it’s not the whole story either. The initial list of animals they’re concerned with starts as follows: Whether it be a Pet Dog, Racing Greyhound, Saddle Horse, Thoroughbred Racehorse, Standardbred Harness Horse, Show Jumper, Event Horse, Show Dog… – and a quick glance at their list of directors shows that 2 of the 3 are highly involved in the greyhound racing industry. And this sets a tone for the policies of the party: they may or may not love their animals, but they see them – even household pets – primarily through a filter of what utility they provide. They also frequently rail against what they refer to as extremist animal activists, and although they never name their opponents beyond that, it’s fairly obvious that they’re thinking of PETA and the Animal Justice Party – and that their scare-mongering about these extremist animal activists fails to consider how little actual power these groups have.

Their policies into two categories, Animals and General, and I’m going to look at each of them in turn.

Animals starts with by railing against ‘animal guardianship’, on the ground that it could mean that some third party could stop you from putting down an animal, specifically because of the financial strain this might cause. The very next section is Welfare, which talks about how important animal welfare is – whoever wrote this seems blithely unaware how thoroughly they have undermined this protestation by starting how they did.

The next section goes on to talk about Pet ownership, which has some rather vague language about owners associations and breeders associations. It frequently refers to codes of conduct as “codes of conduct” (inverted commas in original) – which has the unfortunate effect of making this sound more sarcastic than I think they intend it to. But simply not being net-savvy is no reason to vote against a party1Their lack of net savvy extends to also not having the links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts appear anywhere on their website, which I find baffling. The next two sections, which are all about the commercial value of animals, for farming, racing and fishing, are reasons to vote against them. They are total idealists about the skill and good nature of the people who work in these industries, despite the existence of, say, battery hens, horses being put down at racing meets or over-fishing. They also come out hard against vegetarianism and veganism – this is the only political party who feels that it is necessary to talk about quality protein that only meat can provide. They want to legislate to protect farming by enshrining the rights to farm animals and allow animals full access to natural grazing facilities – the latter of which essentially means grazing in national parks. And they also want to take GST off pet food, which is just kind of random.

The General section is a more mixed bag. They strongly support increased funding across all levels of the health system, and have some detailed proposals on how to do this, although most of them simply seem to be ‘throw more money at the problem’. Similarly, they support a world class education system (in fact, in general, if this party supports something, they want it to be world class, by which they actually mean something more like ‘in line with G20 nations’), they support both public and private transport, and they provide no detail on what they mean by any of those three. Their economics policies are very much in the support for small business mode – they want to reduce “red tape” for small to medium businesses, and they want to tax multinationals more highly. They want to increase funding for law and order, but they also want to crack down on corrupt cops. They’re worried that the courts are over-burdened, but also that in some cases adequate punishment is lacking. This policy, CAP will seek to establish a tribunal system to support our courts, where offenders who plead guilty to lower level offences, will receive instant sentences as appropriate. This will free up court time, thus ensuring that more serious offences are dealt with in a more timely and efficient manner. Now, this sounds okay, but it’s also very easy to see how it could be abused in a very classist and racist fashion. I’d want to hear more details, and I’d want to see a lot of safeguards, because as written, it creates a perverse incentive to plead guilty even when you’re not, and that is already too great a pressure in our legal system.

They also have a semi-decent policy on social housing, with an increase in supply flagged. On the other hand, it also contains the responsibility to ensure the house provided is kept clean and tidy, and maintained in a good condition, which, like their court policy above, could easily be abused. They want to harvest the rainfall of the far north and transport to other places for use in agriculture. Which sounds great, except that isn’t that a thing we already have that’s a total mess? I’d be more impressed if they were looking to solve the problems with the existing system, rather making a vague statement with no details. In addition, CAP believes everyone should have the freedom to consume food of their choice – which, great news guys! we do already.

Their climate policy isn’t half bad. It emphasises solar and battery power, along reforestation including provision of both firebreak and wildlife corridors working with our indigenous people (interesting phrasing that – I guess when you’re so very pro-farmer you have to be careful talking about land ownership). Strangely, considering recent events in Victoria, there’s nothing here about flood mitigation…

Finally, and I’ve deliberately left this for last: gambling. The CAP wants to categorise sports as either Gambling Sports or Recreational Sports (they acknowledge that some sports will be in both categories, depending on what level they’re being played at). They want to fund both types of sport however funding decisions will take into account the relevant income streams when making these considerations. As always, that’s as much detail as is provided. The also want to restrict gaming machines to being owned and operated by not-for-profit agencies. And that’s it. What were you expecting from a party with such great ties to the racing industry?

I cannot bring myself to vote for this party. They will be a long way down in my preferences, just ahead of the anti-vaxxers.

Just a reminder that Maz and I lack the necessary Eurovision knowledge to choose the songs that Catherine liked to include, but we’d love to see what you suggest in the comments below 🙂


  1. LSN

    What a very… eclectic bunch of policies.

    • Loki

      There seems to be a bit of that about this year – parties who its hard to classify as left or right, or even sensible or not, because they have policies that fit any of those descriptors.

  2. Ingrid Mary

    Thank you, I won’t!

  3. Benjamin Cronshaw

    Wow, wondered what a “Companions and Pets” party would be referring to. Funny that they have such a rivalry with the Animal Justice Party. Curious mix of policies.

    • Loki

      Yeah, this party more than most seems to be having difficulty making up its mind.

  4. Tigggr

    You had me at PETA is wrong and then lost me just as quickly with more detail.

    • Loki

      …I’m not sure where that means you’ve landed

  5. Susan K

    I value your website and analysis – but being supportive of racing is not a reason to vote against anyone- i such a comment demonizes an entire industry and just as you call out this party for idealizing all animal owners, it is equally wrong to go to the other extreme

    • Loki

      The animal racing industry is synonymous with two things: gambling and animal cruelty. I’m opposed to both.

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