Climate Council warns of wet future for Oz

Climate change, driven by burning fossil fuels, contributing to the Great Deluge, is consigning Australia to escalating climate disasters

Most of Australia’s East Coast from Cape York south to the Victorian border has had over a meter of rain by the end of October — with the rains still continuing. Some of these areas have had more than 2 meters, and a few more than 3 meters! Many rainfall records have been smashed in all of the eastern states: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania; leading to almost constant flooding through the whole area that is continuing today. The latest reports from the BOM tell us the rains will continue into summer.

This is clearly a function of global warming. Physical laws dictate that as air temperatures rise, the air can carry more water vapor before it begins to condense as rain. Higher temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water from soils and standing water – encouraging drought. Seemingly contradictory warmer air can precipitate more water in areas where it is raining. As the water condenses out as rain it also releases its ‘heat of fusion’ — and more heat is available to drive more extreme winds able to carry rain to high elevations before the rain freezes to fall back to Earth in devastating hail storms. Over larger areas there is also more energy available to fuel increasingly powerful cyclones.

Increased water means increased plant growth, increased temperature increases the rate at which soils and vegetation dry out — ensuring ever more catastrophic wildfires.

Ever more floods, fires and tempests cause increasing damage to infrastructure and people’s livelihoods and property until the catastrophes follow one another so closely that there are simply not physical or human resources left to repair the damage from one catastrophe before the next catastrophe causes even more damage. If the warming is not stopped this progression leads inevitably leads to social collapse (as we are already seeing in parts of the world), agricultural collapse (and famines as we are already beginning to see in Africa and the Middle East), ecological collapse (as we are already seeing in marine habitats with coral reef communities, kelp beds, sea grass meadows), and finally, population collapses when the land has literally been swept bare (areas in Africa are already on the edge of the cliff).

With the collapse of society, humans will quickly lose the scientific and engineering capabilities to fight further climate change already dialed into the system, such that there will be little hope of avoiding near-term global mass extinction. Continuing ‘business as usual’ support of the fossil fuel industry more-or-less ensures this grim outcome.

The Climate Council’s report, presented below, presents the facts and explains what they mean here in Australia, and some of the things we can to moderate and mitigate the expected damages. This is a good start, but I would be a silly liar if I said this was all we need to do in order to keep from utterly destroying our future.

Vote Climate One will continue to do whatever we can do to encourage serious government leadership and action to fight climate change. Please do what you can to pressure your representatives to counteract the self-serving special interests who consume our resources and return little or nothing from the super-profits they take overseas.

If we can help get climate savvy governments on the problems that really matter, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish

Featured Image: Rainfall and Flooding 2022 – Queensland to Tasmania. Current year data from 1 January to 2 November, sourced from Bureau of Meteorology, 2022. Graphic from Chapter 2, The Great Deluge: Climate Extremes in Action, in the featured article.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Readers, the Election’s over – time to shift gears

I still have washup on the Victorian Election to write, but it’s time for news on why we have to hold our representative’s feet to the fire

The election is over, but votes are still being counted. Greens and climate-friendly minor parties have done well in both houses, with climate friendly independents in Hawthorn and Mornington still in the running on Monday evening. Labor will have a clear majority in the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) and it seems fairly certain that Greens and climate friendly minor parties will hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council (Upper House).

This is a vastly better outcome than we could have had with a Liberal/National Coalition in power.

Nevertheless, our climate is still warming at an accelerating rate, and humanity faces extinction if we fail to stop and reverse the warming before civilization begins to collapse and a consequence of climate catastrophes, increasing die-offs from extreme temperatures, and famines from collapsing agricultural systems. At least until we are fully involved in the NSW state election, I will be posting more of the flood of bad news crossing my desk every day to reinforce the need for all of us to keep hammering our Parliamentary representatives with the urgent need to organize effective responses to the climate emergency.

From today alone, I have 5 important news items, I’m going to try to get out tonight. All are important, but not all of them are grim reading.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Group Voting Tickets – made for dodgy dealing

Group Voting Ticket for Group P (Health Australia Party) in the Western Metropolitan Region.

Let Victoria’s Group Voting Tickets (GVTs) show you how they abuse your one vote above the line to elect 4 more people you don’t know to the upper house

The group voting ticket illustrated above (page 31 & 32 in the file on the Victorian Electoral Commission website) is the completed ballot paper for a voter in the Western Metropolitan Region putting a [1] above the line in the [P] column on his/her formal ballot paper to vote for Health Australia. Assume that you are that voter. This one mark will then be your vote to elect FIVE members for the Legislative Council for the Western Metropolitan Region.

By voting [1] above the line for [P] you have given your FIRST PREFERENCE to candidate Isaac Golden, the homeopath who established the Health Australia Party (where minor parties are concerned, only the first preference in the column ever has any chance of being elected). You may have voted for Health Australia because of its apparently strong pro climate policy and/or your support for alternative medicines.

However, according to the GVT for your [P] vote, if Golden fails to win a quota for election from his above the line votes, the SECOND PREFERENCE from your ballot goes to [Q] who happens to be incumbent MLC Bernie Finn for Labor DLP. Finn is one of the most extremely right wing Christian MLCs in the Victorian Parliament: rabidly anti abortion, anti-gay, and anti climate science. In the end he is so extreme that when he was a sitting member for the Liberal Party, in May this year they expelled him from the party. If these added votes do not complete a quota to elect Finn go to Finn’s first preference, Group [U] for the independent, Villagonzalos. The Group U first preference goes back to Finn, adding the number of ballots for Villagonzalos to Finn’s preference count.

Your THIRD PREFERENCE goes to column [M], for the sitting one time Labor member, Kaushaliya Vaghela who recently founded the New Democrats Party after resigning from the Labor Party in March this year because she was left off Labor’s ticket for this election. As a Labor Member she worked to represent the Victorian Indian and south Asian communities across Victoria. Intensively searching the Web, I could not find a single document mentioning the word climate. Vaghela’s first preference goes back to Isaac Golden’s Health Australia. So, if Vaghela fails to reach a quota in that round, her preferences are also added to Finn’s account towards his quota.

Your above the line then gives you the independent Fred Akerman from Taylor’s Lakes in Group [E] for your FOURTH PREFERENCE. Akerman is a member of the Liberal Party’s far right religious faction, but Group E’s preference also is Health Australia’s Isaac Golden.

Your FIFTH PREFERENCE goes to Meg Watkins a member of the Animal Justice Party in Group [N] which also lists Health Australia’s Isaac Golden as their first preference.

All this does my head in, but the GVT tells me that if Golden does not gain a full quota from your [1] vote for Health Australia, Bernie Finn has two chances to add your vote to his count for the quota, and if your vote does not complete Finn’s quota for election, Golden gains votes from three more of his preferences if they are also not elected.

Do you really want to elect these kinds of rat bags into Parliament with this kind of wacky diabolically obtuse voting system?

The bottom line: if you want to control who your vote can elect you must express your preferences below the line on the big Upper House ballot.

Vote climate one’s Traffic Light Voting and Voting Guides – Vic make this about as easy as possible.


They are legal, but Victoria’s Group Voting Tickets are evil and encourage corruption

On Climate Sentinel News I have already reviewed several articles showing how Victoria’s electoral legislation seems to be deliberately designed to encourage dirty political backroom dealing:

Incidentally, I first encountered the idea of group voting in the late 1960’s when I was living in the then notoriously corrupt US State of Massachusetts, where all you had to do is tick which party you were voting for — and that was it, the party would tick all of the other boxes on the ballot the way they wanted to.

Group Voting Tickets for the current Victorian election were published by the Victorian Electoral Commission on the evening of 13/11/2022. Early voting begins on the very next morning, 14/11/2022. Given the bizarrely complex ballot format used to show each party’s tickets, and the difficulties of actually finding the page where they would be/were published on the VEC’s website, it would be completely impossible for the average early voter to vote above the line with any knowledge of how their vote would be used. It is hard to think this is NOT a design feature in the voting system to deliberately hide the fundamentally evil and corrupt harvesting of voters intentions by political insiders to elect the insiders’ own preferred candidates.

Beyond the issue of timing, there are two others major problems relating to voter’s intentions for electing candidates for the Legislative Council (Upper House):

  1. The legislation encourages backroom preference swapping cabals to be established where micro-parties winning less than 1% of first preference votes still have a have a good chance to elect a party representative in at least one of Victoria’s 8 Upper House regions. The members in the cabal (nominally 8) do this by directing the voter’s single above-the-line vote to certain other parties in specified regions (as demonstrated by Health Australia’s GVT ballot above) .

    Collectively, if all 8 parties in the deal for a particular region pass all their preferences to a designated “winner”, this will probably be enough to provide a quota to elect their preferred candidate to the 5th seat in that region. With an average of around 24 candidate “groups” in each of the Upper House Regions, three cabals can operate across 8 regions without substantially impeding each other’s operations. Each cabal can organize the 8 members’ preferencing so that all of the cabal members will pass their preferences to the designated party who most wants a seat in that particular region. Each of the participating parties then preference the agreed ‘winner’ for each region. E.g., Isaac Golden’s Health Australia Party clearly seems to be a designated winner for the Western Metropolitan Region.
  2. Victoria’s Group Voting System easily accommodates secretive cabals to win seats for rat bag micro parties that would never be elected if voters had to preference all candidates. The VEC regulations also make it relatively cheap and easy to formally register a party by paying an application fee of $764.50 as at 1 July 2022, and proving that it has 500 members. Because it is easy to do, many ratbags and other kinds of unpopular extremists form parties. This guarantees a super-large and complex ballot that that begs to be gamed and actively discourages voters from voting below the line,

The two major parties have no interest in changing this situation, as in the past the corrupt system has clearly worked to keep many Greens from being elected. The system also provides them with a number of micro parties that can be easily bought by catering to their special interests should it may be necessary to form a minority government.


The Facts

Following here, is my attempt to show the information extracted from some 200 group voting tickets from across the 8 Upper House Regions. The law allows a party to submit TWO GVTs each with different preferences. Some parties have taken advantage to do this. Two tables show the information extracted.


Group Voting 2022 Victoria
(full table here)

The full table covers all 8 Upper House Regions. It is organized specifically to show how each party makes its preferences in relationship to acting on the climate emergency. The Greens preference is highlighted with green. The Greens’ commitment is considered to be the best in terms of its breadth and extent for taking the emergency seriously. Some of the column names are self-explanatory. Letter refers to the label of the [box] and column for the named party on the ballot paper for the region. First non-self is the named party’s first preferenced party. The GREENS column lists the Greens Party’s ranking on the named party’s preference order. Similarly the Labor and LNP (Liberals or Liberals and Nationals joint ticket) columns list those parties’ rankings on the named party’s preference order. 3rd last, 2nd last, and Last indicate the three parties at the bottom of the preference list for the maned party. This gives a fairly clear picture of how serious each of the parties is about climate action. Also, by tracing the chain of first preferences (e.g., first preference of party A is party N; first preference of party N is to party C; first preference of party C is to Greens) it is easy to see if party A is either directing its preferences towards climate action or to potentially anti-climate parties.

I have only looked in detail for specific evidence of preference swapping at the Western Metropolitan Region, and only as far as the first preference. The following sequence shows the alphabetic identifiers for each group/party on the ballot with an arrow pointing to the first non-self preference on that party’s Group Voting Ticket. If the party is not elected in a round its votes are applied to the alphabetic group listed as its first preference. Where a group receives more than one first preference – its name or the name of its leader if that leader is running in the Western Metro region is shown in parentheses. Where the same name appears three times or more, I take this as evidence that the fix is in where that party or person is likely to be elected on preferences, even if that group has received a very low number of voters first preferences. Constructing the sequence requires scanning the full group voting ticket for each party in the Western Metro Region, as can be found on the VEC website:

A → W; B → S; C → M (Vaghela); D → Q (Finn); E → M (Vaghela); F → Q (Finn); G → T; H → R; I → G, J → F; K → P (Golden); L → J, M → P (Golden); N → T; O → Q (Finn); P → Q (Finn); Q → U; R → Q (Finn); S → M (Vaghela); T → G; U → Q (Finn), V → F; W → A; X → G.

Depending on how many above-the-line votes Finn receives, given his long tenure in the region as a member of the Liberal Party he has a chance to win a quota and be elected in his own right. Adding quotas to be received from SIX additional parties’ first preferences added to his own first preferences, there is a good chance that the Labor DLP may also elect its second candidate, Thi Kim-Lien Le, a Vietnamese “small business owner” from Footscray. This has to be a ‘fix’, as there is no way in a practical sense that people voting for six other parties above the line could have any idea that they might be electing the extremist Finn and a total unknown.

Vaghela (New Democrats) and Derryn Hinch’s Justice each will receive first preferences from three other parties besides those they receive in their own right. Golden and the Victorian Socialists and Labor both will receive preferences from two other parties. Here it should be noted that preference trading can go a lot further down the parties’ preference orders, where in some cases it may be necessary to go down the list to even the last places.

A case in the Eastern Metropolitan Region from the 2018 Victorian Election that I presented in Corruption of ‘Above the Line Voting’ for the Victorian Parliament’s upper house, and repeated here demonstrates this.

[In 2018, i]f you voted above the line in the Eastern Metropolitan Region for Labor because you thought it has a better climate policy than the Liberals, Labor preferenced Transport Matters ahead of the Greens and successfully replaced the sitting Green member with the Transport Matters candidate:

EASTERN METROPOLITAN 
2014: 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green
ABC Calculator: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters
Projection: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters

Summary: In this count the major parties have two quotas each and Rodney Brian Barton (Transport Matters) appears to snowball from 0.62% of the vote to beat all others including the Greens (9.03%).  Although Barton at one point falls to third-last, no threat to his victory has been identified.

Result: The provisional result is, as expected, 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters.
Update: This result has been declared.

Your vote above the line for Labor because they appeared to have a better climate policy than the Liberals, shifted the balance of votes by two further away from reliable supporters of climate action.


Group Voting by Party Victoria 2022
(full table here)

The full table covers 24 parties/groups standing candidates over all Regions in the State Election. Columns have the same meanings they did in the first table organized by Region. This table is sorted by party and reformatted to show the preference flows for each party over the whole state. In addition to using bright green for the Greens, the additional colors highlight additional information. Grey-green designates parties other than Greens that Vote Climate One has flagged with green lights. Light grey-green is applied to Sustainable Australia because of their exemplary voting record in Parliament but decidedly anti green-light preferencing in the election. Solid orange highlights parties Vote Climate One has flagged with orange lights. Legalize Cannabis is highlighted with orange borders because they have more favorably preferenced green-light and orange-light Labor parties than all other red-light parties, despite having been placed in Vote Climate One’s red-light category for historical record and stated policies.


To conclude: if you want to have any control over who you are electing to the Upper House, VOTE BELOW THE LINE

If you vote above the line you will be supporting genuinely crooked politics! Both major parties actually like it that way. Both parties have some genuine ethical members, but the parties themselves are happy to cater to the needs and desires of their special interest patrons.

Vote Climate One has done everything we’ve had the time and resources to do to make voting below the line as easy as possible while still giving you full freedom to vote for who you want. Rob Bakes little video shows you how to do it. Of course, we want you to vote for responsible climate action, but what Rob demonstrates will help you rank candidates any way you want.

As a final note: treat my numbers with a bit of caution. My brain has difficulties with detailed quantitative stuff like this. I have double checked most stuff, but I haven’t had time to triple check.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

VC1 red lights some parties and candidates on ethics

Crooked systems encourage dodgy players

Victoria’s use of politically corrupt group voting tickets for Legislative Council elections fosters unethical parties and practices. In Corruption of ‘Above the Line Voting’ for the Victorian Parliament’s upper house I explained how Victoria’s group voting tickets (GVTs) gives political parties the unbridled power to allocate preferences from every single above-the-line vote they received to whatever other parties or individuals they wanted — irrespective of what the voter might have wished. These allocations were often made with or among minor and micro on the basis of back-room ‘preference deals’ – many of them brokered by Glen Druery, the well known “Preference Whisperer”. See also Malcolm McKerras’s Chapter 6: “The Preference Whisperer” from his unpublished book: UNREPRESENTATIVE SWILL – Australia’s Ugly Senate Voting System, introduced here and here. The following excerpt quoting Druery re the 2019 Federal Election, sourced from Kate Legge’s article from the 16 March 2019 issue of The Weekend Australian Magazine, says it all:

“Voters want disruption and that’s what I’ve given them. I’ve put the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the sex worker into parliament. . .I won’t say my cross bench, that wouldn’t be appropriate, but the cross benchers that are there, that I had a hand in putting them there, all of them except for Nick Xenophon, in one way or another they had my fingerprints.”

p. 7, Chapter 6: The Preference Whisperer – Read the complete article….

Druery did it for money and power. And he has found many takers wanting to be elected under their micro party logos willing to pay him for advice ….. and much more on getting elected.

Monday’s article in the Guardian by Benita Kolovos describes a beautifully just ‘sting’ by the Animal Justice Party that both gives Mr Druery a very black eye, and demonstrates the fundamental corruptness of Victoria’s election legislation still being supported by the major parties. The sting may also represent a win for pro climate-action in the Victorian Parliament. Please read the article:

Preference whisperer Glenn Druery says the Animal Justice party pulled off the ‘most elaborate sting in minor party history’ ahead of the Victoria state election. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian | from the article

By Benita Kolovos, Mon, 14/11/2022 in The Guardian

‘It was a charade’: preference whisperer Glenn Druery falls for Animal Justice party’s Victorian election sting

Exclusive: Having successfully attracted the support of Druery’s clients, minor party switched its allegiances at last minute

It is, as victim Glenn Druery puts it, the “most elaborate sting in minor party history”. For months the Animal Justice party was “negotiating” with the so-called preference whisper to gain the support of other parties working with him – only to direct its own preferences to others at the last minute.

But for Ben Schultz, the state election manager for the Animal Justice party and its lead candidate in the southern metropolitan region, undermining Druery’s preference arrangements just minutes before group voting ticket registration closed on Sunday was a case of righting what he described as some “wrongs”.

“The Animal Justice party does not agree with the wheelings and dealings of a preference whisperer and the backroom deals of predominantly older, white males. That time has come to an end,” Schultz said.

“It’s time that we move Victoria to full proportional representation and abolish group voting tickets so that we don’t have people like Glenn Druery setting up people.”

Victoria’s Legislative Council is the only jurisdiction in Australia still using a group voting system that allows parties to allocate voters’ preferences [read this linked article too!] when they choose to vote above the line on the ballot paper.

Read the complete article….

In Victoria the politically corrupt major parties have no interest in reforming a system that helps them stay in power. In 2018 despite the Greens polling 9.25% of the Upper House first preferences Greens went from 5 seats to 1, losing all 5 seats they won in 2014 and winning only one new one. By contrast, micro parties won 10 seats, where Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (where Druery was a paid staffer) won 3 seats with 3.75% of first preferences, Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Vic won 1 on 3.02%, Liberal Democrats won 2 on 2.50%, Animal Justice won 1 on 2.47%, and 3 other parties each won 1 seat with between 1.37% and 0.62%.

By arranging their group voting tickets to ensure that their residual preferences were distributed to a micro party ahead of Greens candidates, Druery’s cabal kept any of the incumbent Greens in the Upper House from being reelected, despite the fact that a fair proportional distribution of preferences would have seen them stay in place.

Many parties will discourage voting below the line, because the law grants each party voted [1] above the line the right to distribute that vote’s preferences as they see fit.

The susceptibility of the legal but politically corrupt voting practice to being gamed by backroom preference swaps gives fundamentally sleazy micro parties a real chance to win the fifth seat in one region in turn for helping backroom swap partners win a seat in another region. Almost any ratbag ego tripper with a burning passion who can con 500 people into signing a nomination petition can enter the race. If enough of ratbags make it to the cross bench in Parliament and hold the balance of power between the major parties, the rabble are then in a very strong position to trade their Parliamentary votes with whichever major party forms government for supporting their respective burning passions.

Although this is all quite legal within the current law, it certainly does not ethically represent the voters’ interests. Major parties have to give out promissory notes to ratbags in order to enact legislation. And, of course, the ratbags have to support whatever other legislation the major party may want to enact irrespective of what their electorate might want — and why should the ratbags care about the electorate? Hardly anyone voted for them in the first place. Any allegiance they owe is to the other ratbag parties in the back room and the preference ‘broker’ they paid and who organized the deal(s) that got them elected.

In our ranking of the minor parties, Vote Climate One does not hold any gains against them that the party may have received from preference swapping. In Victoria, to win you have to play the game. However, this underscores and emphasizes why we warn that if you care about your voting, you must vote below the line!

For the latest information on how the various parties will allocate THEIR “preferences” for distributing YOUR vote in their group voting tickets for the present election, see The Bludger article by William Bowe. Short circuit their dodgy deals by voting below the line!


Who are the ratbags

Vote Climate One has looked at the kind of game the major parties have organized. And, given the nature of the game, it is inevitable that whichever major party is in power will work to maintain the benefits it provides to the leading party. It is now time to look at the parties and candidates sucked into playing the game. Some are basically ethical and some aren’t. But all of them have to play the politically corrupt game if they are serious about getting elected (why else would you run for Parliament?).

I would argue that there are only four fully developed political parties with complete platforms in Victoria: two major parties (Labor, Liberals); and two middle sized parties (Greens – 88 Lower House candidates incl. 3 incumbents and 40 Upper House candidates incl. 1 incumbent; and Nationals – 10 Lower House candidates incl. 4 incumbents and 6 Upper House candidates with no incumbents).

And then, thanks to the possibilities group voting tickets give them for being elected, there are 20 minor and micro parties, including some working to become fully developed, a host of ratbags, and a few ‘community independents’ that cobbled some friends so they could be listed as a party for above-the-line, single choice voting.

Given my background in biology, I cannot help but try to group parties with common features to make them easier to discuss [the color of the bullet in the right hand column indicates Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light assessment of each party]:

Group nameCharacteristicsParties
“Don’t tread on me!”Anarchic libertarians: anti-government, anti regulation, antivaxers, anti-Dan Andrews Angry Victorians Party;
Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party
“Follow God!”“Put the family first”: Hard-line conservative values with tendencies towards theocratic enforcement (e.g., anti abortion, public health mandates/anti science, strong policing, militaristic Democratic Labor Party [Catholic];
Family First [Protestant]
“Follow the Leader”Personality cults following the founder’s extremist ‘thinking’, generally with a strong law and order and enforcement component Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party;
[Isaac Golden’s] Health Australia Party;
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation;
[Clive Palmer’s] United Australia Party
“Follow Mammon”Pro development (especially fossil fuels, forestry & environment), remove & prevent public health regulations (support ‘alternative’ medicine’ practices) Freedom Party of Victoria;
Liberal Democratic Party
“Single track mind”Virtually total focus on a single issue Companions and Pets Party [commercial breeding, racing & farming];
Legalise Cannabis Victoria [commercialization of cannabis]
“Follow the Community”Party representing a particular ethnic or economic community National Party [rural people and interests];
New Democrats [Aspirational Indians & South Asians];
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party;
Transport Matters;
“Sustaining our Futures”Party focused on sustaining human welfare into the future — more-or-less in the face of global warming and the climate emergency Animal Justice Party;
Australian Greens;
Reason Australia;
Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption;
Victorian Socialists;
Categories of minor parties

The following section summarizes where I think each party (excepting the majors, Labor and Liberal) stands in relation to action on the global climate emergency — the only issue that really matters. These assessments are based on my scientific understanding of the crisis, assessment of the parties’ policies and the parliamentary performances of any elected representatives on climate and environmental issues. Finally, the views expressed here are mine, and do not necessary represent those of other Vote Climate One members.


Comments on all the parties

Green Light

  • Animal Justice Party: Going along with care and respect for the animals we share a planet with, Animal Justice has a strong policy of care, respect, and protection of our common environment. They also have the best voting record next to the Greens. This is backed up with a very strong policy on the climate emergency.
  • Victorian Greens. The Greens have strong, considered, and progressive policies on almost everything founded on humanistic and science-based deliberations. This is backed up with significant Parliamentary experience. Well qualified to inform and stimulate actions to deal with the climate emergency.
  • Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption: They have initiated legislation in the Upper House to support and empower local government planning policies, which are often negated or overruled by the State Government, or completely disregarded in VCAT and legislation to insert environmental and native species protection into the planning scheme. Further, they have proposed legislation to force responsible authorities who issue permits for developments, large and small, to take into account mitigation and adaptation to climate change. All of these environmental issues have been resisted so far by the major parties. Finally, they have a strong progressive platform with a practical focus on science, technology, government operations including climate.
  • Victorian Socialists. The most urgent item on their policy agenda is to recognize the magnitude of the climate emergency and to respond to it in ways that are as fair as possible to those who are directly affected. Overall broad, humanistic, and well thought out policies on climate and many other areas.

Orange Light

  • Reason Australia. Focus on humanism and feminism. “Reason commits to backing any policy, from any government, of any political persuasion that will improve the health and wellbeing of women in Australia”. Strong policy on the climate emergency but state explicitly that will horse-trade anything for what they really want.

Red Light

  • Angry Victorians. Spinoff of Australian Values. Ego trip for Chris Burson? Victorians “focused on rebuilding the economic and social foundations of our State responsibly, with strong priorities on Mental Health, Small and Family Businesses and our Veteran Community”. Australian Values has reasonable climate & energy policies, but individual candidates seem to have their own independent agendas – especially in Victoria. Not to be trusted on climate.
  • Companions and Pets Party. Could equally be placed in the ‘Follow Mammon’ category. I can’t prove it, but it looks like CPP was formed by commercial interests specifically to counter the Animal Justice Party. Mirage News makes this very clear. Not to be trusted on climate.
  • Democratic Labor Party. Supports “traditional family values”. See policies: “Energy Affordability” – strongly pro fossil fuel generation and denigrates renewable energy; “Restoring Agriculture” – remove all government controls on land use and farming. Strongly anti controlling anything relating to human ‘freedom’, but for the strong enforcement of biblical sexuality well to the right of the Coalition parties. Would probably fight to stop action on the climate emergency.
  • Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. Derryn Hinch’s policies to harden policing, courts, imprisonment, and tracking for sexual crimes and family violence. Anti-public health regulations relating to Covid. Not to be trusted on climate.
  • Family First. Fighting “against the radical anti-family attitudes and policies of modern politics”. Policy supports “family, life and faith” from “radical political correctness”: “Economic freedom for families” strongly and specifically promotes the fossil fuel industry. “Education” – “Centre the curriculum around the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Restore the primacy of Western Civilisation and the Australian achievement”. No mention anywhere of environmental concerns or issues. To Hell with climate science and climate action??
  • Freedom Party. The movement: “Freedom Party of Victoria is the result of three years of dedication towards building a credible and reliable alternative for Victorians who have suffered enormously under the watch of an incompetent and corrupt government that needs to be changed.” Policy: Energy – deregulate and promote fossil fuel industry; Pandemic Management – repeal all regulations; Timber Industry – protect timber production not the forests; Fire Arms – “gun ownership is a right not a privilege”, “hunting is a divine right” No mention anywhere of environmental concerns or issues. To Hell with climate science and climate action??
  • Health Australia Party (HAP). I’ve done a lot of research on this party, because they appear to have a good progressive health policy, but they gave us a slightly ambiguous response to our Climate Lens question as to whether they would “support a national declaration of an ecological and climate emergency.” The assessment committee took this to represent a somewhat ‘libertarian’ response, so I investigated further to reveal a real can of worms.
    Much more concerning is that HAP has many features of a personality cult around its leader, Isaac Golden: National Secretary, Victorian President of the party, and First Candidate for the Western Metropolitan Region. [Isaac’s daughter Leiah Golden is the second candidate for this Region]. Questions to HAP candidates in other regions and in the districts, seem to end up being answered by Isaac.
    According to several of his autobiographical profiles, after “an early career in finance and financial accounting, Isaac changed career paths to natural medicine and has been a practitioner of “Hannemannian homeopathy” since 1984, and teaching it since 1988. The only educational qualification he lists in his Linked-in profile is his “PhD” on “homeopathic immunizations” from 2000-2004 at Swinburne University. To be completely clear, homeopathy has been proven scientifically many times over to be fake or fraudulent medicine.
    The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, in its article in its 2006 article, A Brief History of Homeopathy, states: “If there was ever a medical system which cried out for a careful scientific trial it is homeopathy. One of the early trials, carried out in 1835, is astonishing because it was very close to a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, undertaken with great care long before the mid-twentieth century when most of us believed that such randomized trials were first devised and carried out. It showed, incidentally, that homeopathy was ineffective.”
    At best, homeopathic medicine is a placebo. Anyone practicing it is either a gullible fool or a total fraud. Isaac Golden has been in this kind of business for a long time and has exploited many different spin-offs (e.g., explore what he is claiming on his Homstudy and other web sites: Isaac Golden Education, Natural Immunization Research, Dr Isaac Golden – World Authority on Homeopathic Vaccination).
    I do not think Isaac Golden is a fool. He established the Health Australia Party in 2015 as a vehicle to help deny the science that shows homeopathy to be more than a placebo. See his paper, “A Political Response to Attacks on Homeopathy in Australia” that unequivocally describes his aims for the party.
    Beyond Isaac Golden’s practice and promotion of fake medicine, there are a variety of published allegations that Isaac Golden is not a person of good character that that he has not refuted in court. The most telling allegations are in Chris Johnston’s 21/12/1019 article in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Cult member, homeopath, Senate candidate: The bizarre past of Isaac Golden“. Johnston alleged that Golden was a “key member of of a bizarre quasi-religious cult whose leader [Ian Lowe, now deceased] was jailed for sex crimes against the children of cult members”…. “Corporate records show Lowe was a business partner of Dr Golden’s in a Victorian-based natural medicine business called Aurum at the time the child rapes were occurring”. The article provides a lot of additional detail on Lowe and the cult.
    Most of HAP’s other candidates I have checked are associated with various alternative medical practices or show some direct association with Golden. The fundamentally narcissistic nature of [Isaac Golden’s] Health Australia Party is also evident in his Official Statement to Party Members of 29/09/2022.
    The bottom line is that although Health Australia Party appears to have a good climate policy, nothing they say they will do should be trusted. We recommend that you do not vote for any of their candidates!
  • Legalise Cannabis Victoria. Other than decriminalizing the sale, possession, and all forms of Cannabis use, the bulk of policy seems to be focused on commercializing all aspects of the plant. The Victorian Party seems to be indifferent to climate issues. We recommend that you do not vote for them
  • Liberal Democratic Party. Policies to eliminate government restrictions – especially on fossil fuel development and use and land use. End gov’t support for renewable energy. Minimize uses of gov’t emergency powers. “Every candidate for the Liberal Democrats takes a public pledge to never vote for an increase in taxes or a reduction in liberty if elected.” LDP would probably work to inhibit government responses to the climate emergency. Do not vote for them.
  • National Party of Australia. Where Victoria is concerned in terms of their existing representation and 2022 contests, the Nationals for Victoria are clearly an average sized micro party seeking to maintain their representation of country electorates. They say nothing about climate, but surprisingly are offering households subsidies to take up renewable energy: “Our Power to the People Plan will provide 1 million households, including for at least 100,000 rental properties, with a rebate of up to $1,400 for solar panels and $3,000 for a home battery”. Nevertheless, given their affiliation with the Liberals and history in the Federal Parliament, we consider Nationals to be a dangerous choice if you are concerned to see action on the climate emergency.
  • New Democrats. This party fits quite well in three different categories.
    First, [Kaushaliya Vaghela’s] New Democrats has many signs of the “Follow the Leader” personality cult. She is the an incumbent member of the Legislative Council, elected as the third Labor Party MLC in the Western Metropolitan Region, apparently recruited into the party by Adem Somyurek and was caught in the crossfire following on from the IBAC hearings on “red shirts” and branch stacking. She resigned/was expelled from the Labor party, accusing Dan Andrews’ office of persistent bullying, and went on to establish the New Democrats on 28 July as the Party Secretary. Using her high profile in the widespread community of aspirational Indian and South Asian immigrants, she was able to find candidates for the party to run in all Victorian Upper House Regions and most of the Lower House Districts in the Western Metropolitan Region. As founder and Party Secretary she is the designated contact person for all candidates.
    As a Labor MP, Vaghela established herself as “the” representative for this extensive community throughout Victoria and seems to have done a very good job of this. Now, as an independent member of Parliament she with some justification presents herself as the Indian/South Asian community independent.
    However, there is little doubt that much of Vaghela’s core policy places the New Democrats firmly in the “Don’t Tread on Me” category of anti-Dan Andrews parties with a strong emphasis on libertarian values.
    I have found no mention anywhere that New Democrats have any policy relating to the climate emergency. Even if you are a member of Vaghela’s “Indian and south Asian community”, if you are concerned about the future of your family, we suggest that because of their angry libertarianism the New Democrats will be a dangerous option where effective climate is concerned, and that you put them near the last in your below-the-line preferences.
  • Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (PHON). The Party is definitely Federal Senator Pauline Hanson’s angry, bigoted and racist personality cult that particularly appeals to the far right fraction of Queensland’s population. Additionally, PHON also provides a trumpet mouthpiece for Federal Senator Malcolm Roberts. I have had several personal exchanges with him over years. Roberts is a ‘retired’ coal mining engineer who is one of the most rabidly antiscientific climate science deniers in the whole Australian Population. PHON’s Climate and energy polices reflect this. Thanks to Roberts, PHON will likely fight climate action tooth and nail. Put them last!
  • Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party. Ex Labor Party staffers and whistleblowers totally focused on removing Dan Andrews. “The Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party intends to do what it says on the tin, and stands for:” No perceptible interest in climate and energy issues, so probably could not be trusted on climate issues. Put them near the bottom of your preferences.
  • Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party represents and promotes rural libertarians and could just as easily be placed in the “Don’t tread on me” category. Compared to the more measured Federal Policy, The Party’s Victorian policy wants no legal rights for animals, strong limits to councils’ abilities to manage land use and to declare climate emergencies, opposes pandemic related mandates and lockdowns, no limits to land use and forestry, absolutely minimize restrictions to hunting and shooting, promotion of fossil fuel extraction, etc., maximize farmers’ rights to exploit their lands. This Party will clearly try to prevent effective actions against the climate emergency. Put them close to the bottom of your preferences!
  • Transport Matters Party (TMP). This party fits clearly in my “Follow the Community” category, as its national policies and those expressed by the Party’s founder Rod Barton, a Victorian incumbent MLC, almost exclusively represent the broad community of transport workers. Unlike other red-light parties, TMP is not especially libertarian or anarchic, and it actually has a reasonable favorable climate and environment policy: federal / Barton. Vote Climate One has given TMP a red-light flag, because of Barton’s voting record in the Victorian Parliament. However, he offers an interesting justification for his support of the EV Road Tax that should be considered:
    In May 2021, I negotiated with the government regarding the Electric Vehicle (EV) road user charge to ensure that there would be a substantial investment and subsidy package in place to encourage EV uptake in the short term. This became a $100 million package that provided 25,000 subsidies for EV buyers and investment in charging infrastructure. Subsidies do not need to be provided once price parity is reached, which is expected to occur anywhere between 2025 and 2030.
    Nevertheless, in other Parlamentary votes he has sided with measures to protect the fossil fuel industry, suggesting that TMP would not reliably support the kinds of climate action we need to save our species. Considering everything, we advise that TMP candidates should still be preferenced near the bottom of your list, but among the least worse of the red-light candidates.
  • [Clive Palmer’s] United Australia Party Victoria. Definitely multi-billionaire Clive Palmer’s personality cult. A con job financed to the hilt to support his passions: fossil fuel, anti-science (e.g., vaccination, Covid mandates, climate emergency), and general libertarian anarchy. None of his promises can believed. It is very likely that any one he elects will be obliged to fight climate science and any strong action against climate change. Put this party at or near the bottom of your preference list.

How they voted for their parties

The following graphic (prepared by Rob Bakes) shows how minor party and independent incumbents voted on several climate-related issues during the current Parliament. It is discussed in more detail on our How They Voted page.

Ranking the many independents

The insidious implications of Victoria’s electoral laws relating to Group Voting Tickets for so called ‘preferential’ voting in the Upper House led to the formation of an unusually large number of parties. We had to spend substantially more effort evaluating parties than we anticipated to understand the legal but highly unethical and secretive preference swapping that gives (and even encourages) microparties to apply the voter’s above-the-line [1] vote to apply THE PARTY’S preferences to elect 4 other candidates in the voter’s region.

Given the large number of micro parties, each of these parties then had the opportunity to endorse their own candidates in many or even all Lower House districts as well. Many of these micro party candidates will have strong anti-climate action biases due to their party affiliations. Also, it is likely some of the independents will be distractors encouraged to nominate by anti-climate major parties to draw votes away from pro-climate parties and independents. And then, there are a large number of genuine “community independents” encouraged to nominate by the success of the “teal” independents in the federal election, where Climate200 supported 23 independents and 10 were elected/reelected. Note that all these independent candidates were nominated by and worked to represent what their local communities wanted from government — Climate200 supported them because they had similar values.

Because the Victorian electoral law gravely minimizes the support independent candidates can receive compared to what major parties can do Climate200 is only able to provide limited support to four candidates in the present election. And even then there is a great deal of misrepresentation from the major parties as to what community independents are.

The fact is that there other community independents running that deserve green-light ranking for their climate policies, but are not necessarily easy to identify because they lack Climate200 support.

The above is a long-winded way of saying the Vote Climate One has lacked the resources in time and effort to rigorously survey all independent candidates for their climate action credentials. Some of these may be flagged with our default red-lights in our Voting Guides simply because we not seen evidence to rank them any other way.

If you are an independent candidate and think you deserve better than we have marked you, please contact us immediately with your climate credentials, and we will reassess your ranking

Hopefully, before Election Day itself, we will be able to complete our assessment of all independents. As this assessment work progresses, rankings updated.


Why are we at Vote Climate One going to all this effort to try to help you?

If we don’t stop global warming soon, we’ll have fueled enough positive feedbacks that runaway warming to Earth’s ‘Hothouse Hell’ state will virtually guarantee human extinction.

However, if we can help get climate savvy governments in power soon enough, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish
Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

We’re racing down “highway to climate hell” (UN Chief)

UN Chief, Antonio Guterres warns world leaders at COP 27 summit that nations must cooperate or face “collective suicide” from climate change.

Guterres pulled no punches in his opening address to heads of state and other national leaders attending the climate summit: “Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” “It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact or a Collective Suicide Pact,” he added…. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator,”

Chart showing a collection of indicators of human action and impact on the climate / AFP — from the article

by Laurent Thomet and Kelly Macnamara, 7/11/2022 in PhysOrg/Earth/Environment

World risks ‘collective suicide’, UN chief warns climate summit

The UN’s chief warned Monday that nations must cooperate or face “collective suicide” in the fight against climate change, at a summit where developing countries reeling from global warming demanded more action from rich polluters.

Nearly 100 heads of state and government are meeting for two days in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, facing calls to deepen emissions cuts and financially back developing countries already devastated by the effects of rising temperatures.

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told the UN COP27 summit.

Read the complete article….

In his own words:


These are no empty words — Guterres is reporting on what the best science available to us we must do to avoid the highway to climate hell

Supporting Guterres’s stark warnings is a vast array of physical evidence (i.e., satellite and direct measurements) on climate change and theoretical modeling. This shows beyond any reasonable doubt that humanity is indeed accelerating down the “highway to climate hell”. Some of this evidence was reviewed in David Spratt’s series of articles in Climate Code Red, beginning in January. Those articles and my contextual comments covering them discussed some of the tipping points we may be passing on our progress towards the point of no return where positive feedbacks in Earth’s climate system.

The featured image in the present post and in my seven posts on the Spratt series is from a 2018 article by Steffen et al. in the prestigious science journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene“. The image is a highway map showing the alternative roads: to “climate hell” and suicide, or to planetary stewardship and survival on a “Stablized Earth”.

The “Trajectories” paper identifies various tipping points in the climate system where intrinsic temperature-related positive feedbacks would continue driving global temperatures higher when global warming reached those points. If the warming is not stopped, a “planetary threshold” (i.e., ‘point of no return’) will soon be reached where the intrinsic feedbacks become so strong that nothing humans could plausibly do would stop global temperatures being pushed high enough to produce a “Hothouse Earth” and global mass extinction (including humans). Fig. 1 (below) and the featured image provide a map illustrating how humans might be able to divert the evolution of our climate away from the heat driven highway over the planetary threshold (point of no return) where societal collapse and extinction becomes more-or-less inevitable.

Fig. 1. A schematic illustration of possible future pathways of the climate against the background of the typical glacial–interglacial cycles (Lower Left). The interglacial state of the Earth System is at the top of the glacial–interglacial cycle, while the glacial state is at the bottom. Sea level follows temperature change relatively slowly through thermal expansion and the melting of glaciers and ice caps. The horizontal line in the middle of the figure represents the preindustrial temperature level, and the current position of the Earth System is shown by the small sphere on the red line close to the divergence between the Stabilized Earth and Hothouse Earth pathways. The proposed planetary threshold at ∼2 °C above the preindustrial level is also shown.

As Guterres said, if we act soon enough and with enough vigor to stop carbon emissions and do whatever else is necessary, we may be able to find the left turn off the highway to climate hell. By being good stewards of our limited resources we may be able to find our way along the less probable road to a “Stabilized Earth” where Earth’s climate can return to the kinds of tolerable conditions humanity evolved and flourished in. After 45 years of hiding from the problem and allowing it to become progressively worse, saving our species from the highway to hell will take global mobilization of a monumental effort.

Otherwise, If we continue with business as usual supporting our fossil fuel puppet masters, the highway to hell will inevitably take us over the cliff to our doom. We have a choice. “Cooperate or perish”.


What must we do?

In Australia our present governments are still at least partially in league with the fossil fuel industry. Science tells us that we must stop all carbon emissions as fast as we possibly can. Yet all of our governments continue various subsidies for the industry, allowing them to continue developing new projects, trying to extend the life of coal-fired generators and selling cheaply produced natural gas (even in the states where it is produced) for some of the world’s highest prices to make astronomical profits for mostly foreign owners. Most of these schemes were perpetrated under COALition governments, but today’s national and Victorian Labor governments continue to support them.

We need to work to ensure no major party/coalition can achieve government without Greens and/or climate friendly community independents in the balance of power. This was achieved by one vote in the Senate (the ACT’s David Pocock). In Victoria, Labor’s Dan Andrews enjoys a presently dictatorial lead over a Liberal/National Party coalition. If we are to achieve the kinds of sweeping climate goals we need, Community oriented climate activists are going to need to be elected in both COALition and Labor Party held seats. Vote Climate One’s Climate Lens is designed to help you select climate friendly and trustworthy candidates, and to use Victoria’s preferential voting scheme most effectively to give your selected candidates the best opportunities to win the seat.


Using our Climate Lens in Victoria

In Australia, states probably have more capacity for effective climate action than the national government. Victoria’s upcoming state election should be an election focused on the only issue that really matters, climate.

The Victorian ballot is far too complicated and is deliberately designed to keep all the power in the hands of whichever major party is in the majority.

Vote Climate One emerged to help people cope easily with complex ballots to focus on electing the kinds of candidates who we think can be trusted to legislate and lead effective climate action. We do this in two major ways: using our Climate Lens help you assess who is pro climate vs those who are not; and using Climate Sentinel News’s searchlight to highlight and explain the facts that show why climate change is so dangerous and climate action is so important.


Featured Image: Stability landscape showing the pathway of the Earth System out of the Holocene and thus, out of the glacial–interglacial limit cycle to its present position in the hotter Anthropocene. The fork in the road in Fig. 1 is shown here as the two divergent pathways of the Earth System in the future (broken arrows). Currently, the Earth System is on a Hothouse Earth pathway driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and biosphere degradation toward a planetary threshold at ∼2 °C (horizontal broken line at 2 °C in Fig. 1), beyond which the system follows an essentially irreversible pathway driven by intrinsic biogeophysical feedbacks. The other pathway leads to Stabilized Earth, a pathway of Earth System stewardship guided by human-created feedbacks to a quasistable, human-maintained basin of attraction. “Stability” (vertical axis) is defined here as the inverse of the potential energy of the system. Systems in a highly stable state (deep valley) have low potential energy, and considerable energy is required to move them out of this stable state. Systems in an unstable state (top of a hill) have high potential energy, and they require only a little additional energy to push them off the hill and down toward a valley of lower potential energy.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

I’ve asked for years. Why won’t we save ourselves?

For 45 years we have known that fossil fuel emissions caused global warming that could kill us — and have done nothing effective to stop them. Why?

In today’s Conversation three social scientists explore this conundrum that is both horrifies and fascinates them to consider. We’ve known the dangers. “Why do we condemn today’s children and future generations to live on a dangerous and hostile planet?” Their article tries to answer the question.

How long can fossil fuel hegemony continue as weather events become more extreme? Marcus Kauffman/Unsplash, CC BY / from the article

by Christopher Wright, Daniel Nyberg, & Vanessa Bowden, 7/11/2022 in The Conversation

A technologically advanced society is choosing to destroy itself. It’s both fascinating and horrifying to watch

We’ve had decades to act.

Like watching a slow-motion train crash, the world’s leading climate scientists have for decades warned of the dangers of ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Political and corporate leaders knew of the threat more than a decade before it was key public knowledge. Back in 1977 [follow this link – it is important!], United States President Jimmy Carter was briefed on the possibility of catastrophic climate change. That same year, internal memos at one of the world’s largest oil companies [ditto] made it clear that continued burning of fossil fuels would dramatically heat the planet.

So why, in the 45 years since, has there been so little action in response? Why do we condemn today’s children and future generations to live on a dangerous and hostile planet?

Read the complete article….

Most of the articles in Vote Climate One’s Climate Sentinel News explore aspects of this conundrum. Our condensed answer to “What can be done?” is that we have to begin acting by changing our governments. We must evict the puppets of the fossil fuel industry who have largely worked to BLOCK effective action, and replace them with candidates who take the climate emergency and the need to act on it seriously.

In Australia, states probably have more capacity for effective climate action than the national government. Victoria’s upcoming state election should be an election focused on the only issue that really matters, climate.

The Victorian ballot is far too complicated and is deliberately designed to keep all the power in the hands of whichever major party is in the majority.

Vote Climate One emerged to help people cope easily with complex ballots to focus on electing the kinds of candidates who we think can be trusted to legislate and lead effective climate action. We do this in two major ways: using our Climate Lens help you assess who is pro climate vs those who are not; and using Climate Sentinel News’s searchlight to highlight and explain the facts that show why climate change is so dangerous and climate action is so important.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

We’re almost out of time to save our species!

The Guardian article shows we’re perilously close to the point of no return where global warming will be unstoppable. The UN says act now! Victoria needs to have a successful climate election as this is the only issue that really matters.

The featured image (from the Guardian article) shows no hint that the rising greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming have even slowed, let alone begun to reverse. In fact, as evidenced over the last three years (shown in the circle) methane emissions are currently accelerating. Over 100 years methane has more than 30 times the greenhouse potential than CO₂ (more than 80 X over 20 years!). Accelerating methane release from soils and permafrost is a highly dangerous source of temperature related positive feedback capable of driving temperatures higher than humans can possibly stop – to produce ‘runaway’ feedbacks forcing Earth’s climates into the ‘Hothouse Earth‘ state within a century or so that would most probably cause human extinction.

We face a real and existentially stark climate emergency. For humanity to have a future, WE MUST STOP AND REVERSE GLOBAL WARMING. Because this is a global phenomenon to have any hope of success, governments must coordinate and lead actions.

The UN environment agency’s report found there was ‘no credible pathway to 1.5C in place’ amid ‘woefully inadequate’ progress on cutting carbon emissions. / Photo Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

by Damian Carrington, 28/10/2022 in the Guardian

World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies

Key UN reports published in last two days warn urgent and collective action needed – as oil firms report astronomical profits

The climate crisis has reached a “really bleak moment”, one of the world’s leading climate scientists has said, after a slew of major reports laid bare how close the planet is to catastrophe.

Collective action is needed by the world’s nations more now than at any point since the second world war to avoid climate tipping points, Prof Johan Rockström said, but geopolitical tensions are at a high.

He said the world was coming “very, very close to irreversible changes … time is really running out very, very fast”.

All three of the key UN agencies have produced damning reports in the last two days. The UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” and that “woefully inadequate” progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.

Read the complete article….

However, as dire as the UN’s predictions are, they almost certainly understate the magnitude of the risks. Government action is essential and urgently needed! Where Victoria is concerned we can elect such a government in less than three weeks.

In Australia, state governments probably have the most power to control and stop human sourced greenhouse gas emissions (CO₂ and methane) through licensing, permitting, and regulating (environmental and development). Even though the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria is doing a lot to act on the climate emergency, the voting record and its campaigning shows that Labor continues to support fossil fuel developments that will continue adding yet more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This will keep pushing us ever closer to the point of no return beyond which warming will run away to a Hothouse Earth and likely human extinction. This is a very real climate emergency!

Thus, the upcoming State Election gives Victorian voters a chance to shift our government towards prioritizing action on climate change. What we need to do is to elect enough climate friendly independent, minor party and Green representatives in present Labor seats to put climate activists into the balance of power. As demonstrated federally, fossil fuel puppets and other losers will undoubtedly shout to the rafters that a hung parliament is a recipe for chaos and disaster, but recall that in terms of passing legislation the Gillard Minority Government was arguably one of the most successful governments in Australian history.

Vote Climate One shows Victorians how you can use your preferential voting system to maximize the power of your vote to elect a climate friendly representative.

Our Climate Lens Traffic Light Assessment process has determined where every candidate in every electorate stands on climate issues and ranks them in one of three classes: Green Light – trustworthy supporter of a strong climate policy; Red Light – bad climate policy, voting record or other history suggests can’t be trusted to support a good strong climate policy, or position on climate cannot be determined; Orange Light – weak climate policy and/or record but definitely better than those ranked Red Light.

For the Victorian Election, our Voting Guides for each electorate do not tell you who to vote for. However, if you want to elect a climate friendly government, we provide information about every candidate’s climate policies and an easy to follow voting strategy to maximize the chance to elect a person with a good policy.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Hawthorn: Show climate action is your top issue

Why Vote Climate One thinks Hawthorn is a key seat

In the Victorian election, Labor, Liberal and Green parties plus a ‘teal’ independent are contesting the seat of Hawthorn on climate.

From Vote Climate One’s perspective, how candidates will respond to the present climate emergency is an existential issue. For us, it is the only election issue that really matters.

If we don’t stop and reverse global warming, our carbon emissions and the accelerating global warming feedbacks driven by emissions will drive our planetary climate system into a Hothouse Earth within a century or so (a geological instant of time). Much of Earth’s surface will become too hot for humans and most other large and complex species to survive because the change will be far too rapid for slowly reproducing organisms to adapt. If our elected governments fail to solve the climate crisis, there will be no civil society left to worry about any other issues the government we are electing in November might or might not have solved.

Where the election in Hawthorn is concerned, clear choices exist: The incumbent Labor Party retiree pushing Labor dogma (including support for new and extensive fossil fuel production projects); a vigorous Liberal Party progressive and previous MP for Hawthorn still tied by Party discipline to Party’s anti-scientific support of its fossil fuel patrons; a young Green who should be trusted to follow the Green’s strong Party line on climate; and a mature ‘teal’- colored community independent who is strong on climate and very well qualified to be in Parliament.

The 29 October Age, provides a comprehensive review of the District and these candidates by Clay Lucas in his article “Will Hawthorn go back to blue, remain red or could teal lightning strike again?

The following links will take you to these candidates websites: John Kennedy (Labor incumbent); John Pesutto (Liberal); Melissa Lowe (Green Light Independent); Nick Savage (Green). Two other candidates not surveyed by the Age are also running: Faith Fuhrer of the Green Light Animal Justice Party who is a communications consultant concerned about animal welfare; and Richard Peppard of the Red Light Liberal Democrats (from the linked candidates’ page you will then have to use your browser’s search function to find “Peppard”). Peppard is a neurologist claims to value “science, the environment and good values”, but is staunchly anti- Labor, Greens, and teal independents, thus clearly following the Lib Dem’s libertarian point of view.

How does our Climate Lens Traffic Light Assessment deal with these alternatives.

In this contest, it is highly likely that the seat will be decided on the basis of preferences. If you are concerned about government support for action on climate change, how you manage your preferences may be critically important.

If you accept that effective climate action is really the only issue that really matters in today’s circumstances, you should vote [1], [2], and [3] for the three Green Light candidates.

In this electorate we recommend [4] and [5] for Kennedy and Pesuto. Although Labor policy is consistently better than the Liberals, the Labor Party is marked everywhere with Orange Lights, because Labor’s policy supports their fossil fuel industry patron’s continued growth in terms of opening large new production projects. Liberals and Nationals are marked with Red Lights in most electorates’ but in Hawthorn we give Pesutto (Liberal) an orange light. On a number of grounds (as discussed in the Age article) he seems to be a better choice to be elected than many of his Liberal colleagues contending for other seats. Thus if you are voting climate first, Kennedy and Pessuto are ranked [4] and [5].

(If you are a ‘rusted on’ liberal and intend to vote [1] for Pesutto, but still concerned about climate you should rank our our Green Light candidates [2], [3] and [4]. This gives you three chances to support election of someone who can be counted on to give their full support for climate action before Labor and/or Liberal. Similarly, if you vote [1] for Labor, you should also rank our Green Light candidates [2] – [4].

All Liberal Democratic candidates are marked with Red Lights wherever they are running because of the Party’s libertarian stance against Labor, Greens and teal community independents because these candidates accept that governments will have to be heavily involved if climate action is to be effective. In Hawthorn, Peppard has clearly expressed his allegiance to this anti-government policy, so that puts him last [6] in the preference list.

Hawthorn should be an interesting bellwether seat to follow in terms of support for strong climate action.

Finally, you may also be interested in our Traffic Light assessments for the Upper House in the Southern Metropolitan Region (in which Hawthorn District is included).

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Corruption of ‘Above the Line Voting’ for the Victorian Parliament’s upper house

Assessing parties and individuals running for Victoria’s Legislative Council (upper house) for Traffic Light ranking on climate policies reveals murky deals and unethical behaviors with strong odors of corruption. This corruption is made possible or even ‘encouraged’ by Victoria’s unique and arcane ‘group voting tickets’ (GVTs).

Group Voting Tickets defeat voter intentions

Some facts

Wikipedia gives a good explanation of how Group Voting Tickets work, and problems arising from them. Basically, they encourage establishment of a plethora of minor and micro parties and allow preference deals to be set up amongst groups of micro parties that more-or-less assure that at least one of the group is elected even with less than 1% of voter first preferences. This puts put single issue candidates from the far fringe into Parliament that otherwise wouldn’t have a hope of being elected in a fair proportional distribution of votes.

Ben Raue in Tally Room posts, “Victoria 2018 – the preference cabal is back” and “Vic 2018 – group voting tickets triumph over voters“, shows how GVTs grossly distorted the result of the 2018 State Election, with major deviations in seat counts from what might be expected from a ‘fair’ distribution of votes under proportional representation methods (i.e., D’Hondt and Saint-Laguë).

The most notable result in the election was that the Green voters were well and truly robbed. Although the Australian Greens had 4 seats in Parliament prior to the election and lost some votes going into the vote, after distribution of GVT preferences they ended up with only 1 seat, despite having 331,751 votes, coming 3rd in the count of first preferences. Eight (8) minor parties won 11 seats. Of these the largest number of preferences won by any one of them was, Hinch’s Justice Party with only 134,413 votes. Hinch’s Justice won 3 seats with 3.8% of the total votes, while the Greens won only 1 seat with 9.3% of the votes (the two ‘fair’ distribution methods both would have given 4 seats to Greens); and the Liberal Democrats won 2 seats with 3% of the vote. In other travesties, Sustainable Australia and Transport Matters Parties both won seats with substantially less than 1% of the first preference votes.

Quoting Raue,

If you look at the ratio of votes to seats, the discrepancy is massive. Transport Matters won one seat off a statewide vote of 22,228, while the Greens only won one seat off 331,751 votes.

My objection is not to small parties winning seats – but to the arbitrary and undemocratic way that this is decided. If the Victorian upper house was elected by the Saint-Laguë method (a variation on D’Hondt which gives a boost to smaller parties) we would have seen two less Labor members, one more Liberal, and three more Greens. But we would have still seen two members of Hinch’s party win seats, along with six others. This would have included members of the Democratic Labour Party and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, both of whom received more votes than Sustainable Australia or Transport Matters but missed out thanks to unfavourable preference flows.

One of the most extreme results was Transport Matters in East Metro. They won off 0.6%, thanks to preferences from almost every other group. Eleven other candidates started ahead of them in the race for the final seat, with the Greens leading on 9%.

It’s also worth looking at the result in the South-Eastern Metro region, where the Liberal Democrats won off 0.84% of the primary vote. If every vote flowed according to the group voting tickets, the Transport Matters party would have won a second seat off 1.3%, but enough below-the-line votes flowed elsewhere to knock out TMP before the Greens, at which point preferences instead favoured the Lib Dems.

Read the complete article….

For formal results of the 2018 election, see the Victorian Electoral Commission (scroll down to Overall Upper House results and further to Individual Upper House results for the results in each electoral Region.

Chanel 6 News blog from 10 October (with more recent updates) lists candidates for all upper and lower house electorates with comments on changes of status. This item includes an interesting interview with the Deputy Leader of the Freedom Party, Aiden McLindon, discussing motivation and lack of ethics enabled by Victoria’s Group Voting Tickets in the Upper House:

Finally, there is a useful Age article from July 28 by Rachel Eddie, The blocker v the whisperer: Prizefight for preferences before state poll.

How can this affect you?

The Victorian State Legislative Council (Upper House) consists of 40 MPs, elected from eight multi-member electorates known as regions. Each region returns five members for a four-year term. How these are elected is unique to Victoria.

To understand how your one vote is apportioned to elect 5 different people, you need to understand what a Group Voting Ticket actually is. According to the Victorian Electoral Commission:

Two or more upper house candidates can register a group in a State election. Registering a group means that these candidates will be listed together on the ballot paper and will have a box above the line. Candidates who are not part of a group will appear below the line only.

Groups can contain members of one political party, multiple parties, or independent candidates. Groups appear before ungrouped candidates on the ballot paper and the group name appears above the line.

When completing the group registration form you can specify the order that members of your group will be listed on the ballot paper. Candidates can only be part of one group.

Group voting tickets are used to determine how your group wants to direct preferences when someone votes above the line.

The boxes above the line are groups of candidates that have registered one or more group voting tickets.

To vote above the line, write the number 1 in the box for the group you want to support.

When you vote above the line, your preferences will be decided by the group voting ticket.

A group voting ticket is a statement on how each party or group gives preferences to candidates. Every registered group voting ticket is made available on this website before an election and is also on display in every voting centre.

All group voting tickets will be published on [the VEC] website from Sunday 13 November.

Ungrouped independents are ONLY listed below the line.

In voting for the Legislative Council (Upper House) if you vote above the line, no numbers other than your 1 will be counted; and nothing you put below the line will be counted. i.e., there is no way you can vote above the line for an ungrouped independent.

If you want to vote for an ungrouped independent, you must vote below the line, and for your vote to count, you must number at least FIVE candidates below the line in your order of preference. Do not put any numbers above the line!

In 2018 Labor probably contributed largely to knocking out three of the four Greens candidates that would have won on a fair proportional vote: According to the Tally Room, “Labor is preferencing the Greens quite highly [so they look good to people concerned about the climate], but in every region they are preferencing a [micro party] candidate listed above ahead of the Greens, which means if they end up in a head-to-head race with the Greens at the end of the count, Labor’s preferences would help elect the little-known micro-party candidate.”

Personally, I would call this definitely unethical even though it entirely conforms to the provisions of the law!

This makes it clear why neither major party has shown any interest in reforming the ethically corrupt Group Voting Ticket law that wins them an extra upper house seat or so, and significantly reduces the number of Greens elected compared to what would result from a true proportional distribution. Keeping this law on the books also seems definitely unethical to me.

Summing up, if you are not a donkey or are voting only because you might be fined if you don’t, you will want your vote to elect candidates or parties who you think will support issues you deem to be important. If you vote above the line, your single vote will also go towards electing four other candidates below the top name on the party ticket – and you have NO SAY in deciding who these four candidates may be. Each party then allocates your vote to any other 4 candidates THE PARTY prefers. For large parties, this is why their tickets normally include 5 people. However, as the articles referenced above point out, based on largely hidden back-room preference deals among the parties, if you voted above the line your remaining 4 votes may be allocated by the group ticket you voted for to any one, such that the fifth choice may well go to a party whose policy is diametrically opposed to your interests.

E.g., if you voted above the line in the Eastern Metropolitan Region for Labor because you thought it has a better climate policy than the Liberals, Labor preferenced Transport Matters ahead of the Greens and successfully replaced the sitting Green member with the Transport Matters candidate:

EASTERN METROPOLITAN 
2014: 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green
ABC Calculator: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters
Projection: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters

Summary: In this count the major parties have two quotas each and Rodney Brian Barton (Transport Matters) appears to snowball from 0.62% of the vote to beat all others including the Greens (9.03%).  Although Barton at one point falls to third-last, no threat to his victory has been identified.

Result: The provisional result is, as expected, 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters.
Update: This result has been declared.

Your vote above the line for Labor because they appeared to have a better climate policy than the Liberals, shifted the balance of votes by two further away from reliable supporters of climate action.

How Vote Climate One can help you elect the candidates YOU want

Group Voting Tickets encourage a plethora of micro parties to nominate candidates, because several of them actually have a chance of being elected in the Upper House even with microscopic numbers of first preferences if they make the right preference deals. Thus, if you want to vote below the line you may end up having fifty to perhaps a hundred boxes to number if you want to allocate all your preferences. Our TRAFFIC LIGHT VOTING system, VOTING GUIDES – VIC and pro-forma ballots make doing this something you can do in a straight forward way and relatively quickly at home, so that all you need do in the polling booth is copy your pre-decided numbers from your Upper House pro-forma to the formal ballot paper. We also provide similar help with the Lower House ballot in every district. Use these tools, and you’ll then have time for your Democracy Sausage after if you vote on Polling Day.

Why are we at Vote Climate One going to all this effort to try to help you?

If we don’t stop global warming soon, we’ll have fueled enough positive feedbacks that runaway warming to Earth’s ‘Hothouse Hell’ state will virtually guarantee human extinction.

However, if we can help get climate savvy governments in power soon enough, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish
Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

We don’t want majority governments!

If single parties can pass legislation on their own, it’s hard to stop them from becoming puppets of obscenely wealthy special interests

The climate scientist, Bill McKibben in his Critical Years blog article, “Big Oil is addicted, but it’s killing the rest of us“, explains that fossil fuel industry is ‘addicted’ to the super-profits it can generate by continuing to increase its production of products and their lethal greenhouse gas emissions. The industry will do anything it can to stay in this business, including using its vast wealth to corrupt government.

The Sacramento working group of Third Act held a die-in this weekend outside the fossil-fueled Chase Bank. For them it was powerful guerilla theater; for millions around the world it is reality / From the article

By Bill McKibben, 26/10/2022 in The Crucial Years

Big Oil is addicted, but it’s killing the rest of us

A shocking new summary of fossil fuel’s assault on public health

Yesterday afternoon, the British medical journal The Lancet published a vast and remarkable assessment of the health impacts of climate change. (Produced in Britain, the Lancet is among the world’s most venerable journals—it’s where Joseph Lister published his plan for antiseptic surgery in 1867.) Assembled by a team of more than a hundred researchers, the report found that

“Because of the rapidly increasing temperatures, vulnerable populations (adults older than 65 years, and children younger than one year of age) were exposed to 3.7 billion more heatwave days in 2021 than annually in 1986–2005, and heat-related deaths increased by 68% between 2000–04 and 2017–21.”

and also that

“the number of months suitable for malaria transmission increased by 31.3% in the highland areas of the Americas and 13.8% in the highland areas of Africa from 1951–60 to 2012–21, and the likelihood of dengue transmission rose by 12% in the same period. The coexistence of dengue outbreaks with the COVID-19 pandemic led to aggravated pressure on health systems, misdiagnosis, and difficulties in management of both diseases in many regions of South America, Asia, and Africa.”…

…[T]he fossil fuel industry has spent decades blocking the way—a massive three-decade campaign of deceit, denial and disinformation; an ongoing lobbying effort against renewables that the industry boasts will get even more powerful if the GOP wins the midterms; endless support for rightwing lawmakers to make sure that lobbying will work.

I think the question I get asked the most may be: why do these vast oil companies not simply convert to energy companies? Why don’t Exxon and Chevron decide to own the renewable future, instead of investing at most a few percent of their research budgets on clean tech?

And the answer is, if you think about it, sadly logical. You can make some money putting solar panels on people’s roofs—there will be solar billionaires. But you can’t make Exxon money, because once the panel is up there, the sun delivers the energy for free every day when it rises above the horizon. From Exxon’s point of view, this is the stupidest business model ever: they made their fortune by selling you more energy, every week for your entire life. They are hooked.

Read the complete article….

Because the fossil fuel producers are hooked, they will use their immense financial power in any way they can to ensure that governments make life easier for them to feed their daily addictions for their ever growing fortunes. This is irrespective of how many people are killed and the biosphere is damaged in other ways. The craving for the daily fix is more important than any concern about the future of life on Earth.

Majority governments are easy pickings. Political parties are addicted to power and will do almost anything to stay in power. Fossil fuel interests can do a lot (‘ethically’ or unethically) to help a party to gain majority power or (especially) to stay in power. Climate Sentinel News has given many examples of how Fossil Fuel subverts governments to feed emission producing addiction. Here are three:

It is much harder to corrupt a minority government that depends on the cooperation of several independent (and often shifting) entities to pass legislation. Probably the most difficult government of all to corrupt is one where the balance of power is held by community independents ethically representing the community of voters that selected and elected them. Such independents will work for the interests of those who voted for them rather than a party line representing special interests of major patrons working to keep the party in power.

Vote Climate One is working to provide Australian (and Victorian) voters with the information you need to elect representatives who will work for you rather than for the lethal addictions of the fossil fuel industry. See our Voting Guides – Vic for the upcoming Victorian State Election on 26 November 2022.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.