Continuing in the spirit of Cate Speaks

Category: Announcements

Abortion in Australia

Hi folks. We’re not planning on making a habit of this, but some issues are too pressing, too important, to remain silent about. So here we are.

We have watched with great dismay and disgust the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1972. This is a terrible thing for reproductive rights, for women in America and for humanity everywhere. It does not directly affect us in Australia, although it may serve to embolden certain conservative voices over here.

To our American friends and allies, we offer our empathy and our support. We see you, and we are here for you.

Ironically, the recent American decision returns that country to a situation not unlike that in Australia: the laws are different in every state.

First off, this article has a good summary of the laws surrounding abortion in each state (you will need to scroll down past the story to find it). There are a lot of common features, but every state has its own peculiarities. In addition, this summary does not include information about the exclusion zones surrounding clinics (i.e. the areas in which anti-abortion protestors are not permitted to gather), so we have briefly summarised it below:

  • No Exclusion Zone: NT, SA & WA
  • 50m Exclusion Zone: ACT
  • 150m Exclusion Zone: NSW, QLD, TAS & VIC

If you are in need, or think you might be in need, of an abortion, there are places you can reach out to and people you can talk to about this:

Finally, if you find yourself filled with rage and horror at the Supreme Court’s decision and what it might mean for Australia, there are constructive things you can do with your anger. The fight to ensure reproductive rights is far from over in Australia: our existing rights need to be protected, maintained and extended. Here are some folk who will be glad of your help:

Please note that none of these lists are complete, and we welcome additional suggestions to add to them.

How my Democracy Sausage was made

Well now. That… that was really something.

When I volunteered to carry on in Cate’s name, I thought I knew what I was letting myself in for. Cate made it look easy, but then, I saw only the democracy sausages, not their making.

Making them is much more difficult than I realised. Writing isn’t that hard, reading isn’t that hard (a few grammar challenged sites to the contrary), but thinking, analysing, comparing – and most of all, trying to do so from an assumption of good faith, if not actual objectivity1I don’t actually believe that objectivity exists, anywhere, so I don’t beat myself up about that – that, friends and neighbours, is hard work.

I’ve learned a lot from doing this. About how to do it, and how to do it better next time (and yes, there will be a next time). About myself, which was a surprise. And I’ve learned a better appreciation of my dear friend Catherine, too.

I mean, I’d read almost every post she ever made on Cate Speaks, but I read them as they were published. It’s when you sit down and read multiple posts about the same parties over the span of a decade, that you see not just how the parties change over time, but how the person writing them did. It should come as little surprise that Catherine improved as a writer over this time, or that she took this work more seriously the more she did it.

But I hadn’t noticed, until the contrast was right there in front of me, the growing sophistication and subtlety of Catherine’s perceptions over the years. One understands these things in a general way, that we change as the years pass, hopefully into a better version of ourselves. But in reading four posts about the same party written a few years apart each time, that understanding is no longer general, but specific, almost quantifiable.

Writing these posts, carrying on this important work, has been a privilege, a responsibility, and an honour. Thank you to each and every one of you who read these, who posted comments, or sent links to friends, or let us know how much you appreciated this work. We didn’t do it for the praise, but it’s still nice to receive it.

The other thing I didn’t foresee going into this was that it was running headlong into my grief at Catherine’s loss. I felt her presence and her absence constantly. For the first week or so, I wanted to ask her if I was doing it right approximately every half hour. Let me tell you, it’s not imposter syndrome when you actually are replacing someone.

That’s all I have for now. See you back here when the Victorian State Election draws closer, and thank you for your time. It means the world to me.

‘Twas the night before polling…

Well, folks, we made it! We survived six weeks of wall to wall ads, stupid gotcha questions, Scott Morrison’s refusal to appear on any media platform that wasn’t on his side, and a truly monumental amount of misinformation and scare-mongering regarding Independent candidates. We’ve seen policy on the run and policy that falls at the first hurdle (dear me, athletic metaphors, I don’t even know who I am anymore). There were stunts and photo-ops, gaffes and unnecessarily rough play (shout out to Luca – how’s your head feeling?), hi-vis and dirty tricks and some of the most bizarre candidate statements I’ve ever read.

And now all that’s left to do is vote, if you haven’t already (at last check, over 40% of Australians had voted early, which says … something), and claim the democracy sausage of your choice.

If you have been unlucky enough to test positive for Covid-19 and are isolating, you are able to vote by phone if you haven’t already received a postal vote.

Remember, in the House of Representatives: number every box in your preferred order.

In the Senate, you have two choices:

  • Number 6 boxes above the line in your preferred order
  • Number at least 12 boxes below the line in your preferred order. Beyond that, number as many as you like – if you have the stamina for the entire New South Wales or Victoria ballot, good on you!

This link will aid you in your quest for your Democracy Sausage. These people are true patriots who perform a great service for all Australia. And please, add to the map if you find somewhere new that’s providing this important part of Australian society.

In the interests of full transparency, here’s how we voted.

In the Lower House, my electorate is Cooper. I voted Labor at number 1. I considered putting the Greens first, but when it comes right down to it, there are a few Greens policies that just don’t work for me. Some are impractical in the extreme, and some just… miss the mark. Of all the parties, Labor’s platform has the most of what I want to see in a new government. The Greens came in at number 2, followed by Fusion, the Victorian Socialists and the Animal Justice Party. Then it was a struggle to work out who would go last. Ultimately, two parties were worse than the Liberals – One Nation, and the United Australia Party respectively.

For the Senate, I voted below the line, as I have always done. Reason got the top spot for me. I was incredibly impressed by its policies, and by its record as part of the Victorian State Parliament. Socialist Alliance ended up at number 2; despite some of its frankly impossible promises, the fact that it had even bothered with an Arts policy counted for a lot (not to mention its welfare platform). Australian Progressives at 3, and Independents Neal Smith at 4 and Max Dicks at 5. These two impressed me as being compassionate, thoughtful, and having a firm grasp on what it means to be an Independent in a system still dominated by two major parties. The Australian Democrats came in at 6, and Fusion at 7, followed by the Greens and Labor. And that’s where I stopped. The rest either had policies I didn’t support, didn’t provide enough information, or were loopy anti-vaxers obsessed with the Constitution and secret tunnels under Canberra..

Living in the Lower House electorate of Macnamara, where it’s basically a race between the Greens and the ALP (last election, the Liberal candidate got the most first preferences, about 40%. The ALP and Greens tend to get about 25-28% each, and whichever of them gets the higher tends to get the other’s preferences and wind up winning the seat.) Mindful of this, I have given my first preference to the Greens, followed by the ALP at 2, because while obviously the Greens will not get the numbers to form a government, giving them a little more weight if the ALP wins or a larger thorn in their side if the Coalition does appeals to me). These are followed by Animal Justice at 3, the Liberals at 4, the UAP at 5, the LibDems at 6, PHON at 7 and finally, independent John Myers at 8. Or in other words, the bottom half of my ballot are anti-vaxxer loons of one stripe or another – and the PHON candidate doesn’t even live here.

In the Senate, I am voting below the line, because it’s the right thing to do, but even so, I’ve put Reason first, followed by Max Dicks, Neal Smith and Susan Benedyka. After them are the Australian Progressives, then the Greens, then the Australian Democrats, Joe Toscano, Fusion, and finally the ALP. And there’s not much point in numbering below that. I suspect my vote will go to electing a Greens Senator in the end, but Reason probably have the best chance outside of the top four parties to get someone across the line, and I’d like to see it happen.

And so, finally, we come to an end of our pre-election coverage!

Going through all the parties and Independents to review their policies has been a labour of love, but wow, was there a lot to read! Thanks so much for coming on this journey with us, and for all your helpful, insightful comments. We had each other to help us keep going, but our dearest Cate did this all on her own – her dedication was nothing short of phenomenal! We’d like to think she’s sitting up in her brightly-coloured heaven right now, kicking back with a cat on her lap and a glass of chilled ginger beer in her hand, tapping her toe to Eurovision’s greatest hits, watching what we’ve done.

This is for you, Catherine.
We love you.

Preferential Treatment

No, not that kind.

Preference cards are now becoming available – the ABC has a central record of them here – and so we’ve updated the parties that we’ve already covered with a look at their preferences, and if the preferences are available, they’ll be covered in any newly published posts too.

Information about preferences is now provided for the following parties:

Any party reviewed after the publication of this post will also have its preferences listed, assuming that they have provided them.

Have you seen this candidate?

It never fails. Every election, there’s always some independents who can’t be found online. Either they have no profile, or there are enough people with the same name that it isn’t clear which one they are.

We do search for them: we put their names, as given on the ballot paper, into search engines, and look for them, appending terms such as “parliament”, “senate”, “facebook” and “twitter”. Somehow, they continue to elude us, despite these measures.

So, we’re putting out a call to you, our readers. Can you point us at the details of any of the following candidates? Allen Ridgeway, Bernardine Atkinson, Nat de Francesco and David John Dillon.

Everyone else has been located and will be being reviewed soon, but these four are the Scarlet Pimpernels of this election. And unless we know what they stand for, we’re not going to be able to review them fairly, and they will, perforce, be place lower in our preferences than might otherwise be the case.

EDIT: Thank you to our eagle-eyed readers, all of these MIA politicians have now been located, as you can see in the comments below! You can now read about Allen Ridgeway, Bernardine Atkinson, Nat de Francesco and David John Dillon to your heart’s content.

What’s Next?

So, the election has finally been called, what happens now?

Well, first of all, you have until Monday, April 18 to get your enrolment sorted out. So if you’ve moved since 2019, or if this is the first election you’re old enough to vote in, now’s the time to take action. Especially since Friday and Monday are both public holidays. You can check your current enrolment details here, and if you’re enrolling for the first time, you can do that here.

Now, some parties and candidates are already out there doing their respective things, and we’ll starting the work of analysing them over the coming weekend, and posting what we find here. Nominations to be a candidate for the election are to be announced on Friday, April 22. At which point such things as Senate Ballot positions and preference cards will become available, and will be incorporated into our ongoing posts (and edited into the existing ones). We’ll keep you posted on what’s new and what’s been updated.

If you need to apply for a postal vote, the closing date to do so is Wednesday, May 18 – you can apply here.

If you’d like to vote early, you can do so between Monday, May 9 and Friday, May 20. We’ll post information on where you can do so once it becomes available. Please note that eligibility to vote early has been tightened from previous elections – the criteria can be found here. Also, voting early means that, in all likelihood, you will be forgoing the opportunity to feast upon a Democracy Sausage.

Finally, of course, there’s election day itself: Saturday, May 21, 2022. After which we here will be downing tools and having a well-earned drink or two.


Hi folks, and welcome to Something For Cate

This site is a continuation of the fine work done for many years at Cate Speaks. Cate herself is no longer with us, but in this place, some of her friends are attempting to continue her good works.

In the weeks to come, we’ll be analysing the policies, positions and preferences of the parties and independants contesting the 2022 Australian Federal Election, in the spirit if not quite the style of Cate Speaks.

We look forward to meeting you all in the comments section.

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