The No Representation Party

... increasing representation by offering the option of no representation.

Imagine that your ballot paper looked like this

Candidate 1
PARTY A
Candidate 2
PARTY B
Candidate 3
PARTY C
None of the above

Being able to vote 'None of the above' would certainly put the wind up some of our politicians. Hopefully they will respond and actually work to represent their electorates.

Our electoral system requires that you vote for a person. If you want to be able to cast a vote for 'None of the Above' you need a person to vote for who will act as if you have voted that way.

Well, now you can. You can vote for a candidate from the No Representation Party.

If elected a candidate from the No Representation Party promises not to represent you.
They will do this by abstaining from all votes in parliament.

By promising not to represent you a candidate from the No Representation Party will allow you to cast a vote that is equivalent to 'None of the Above'.

Candidate 1
PARTY A
Candidate 2
PARTY B
Candidate 3
PARTY C
Candidate 4
NO REPRESENTATION PARTY

A first preference for the No Representation Party will allow you to vote in a way that sends a message of 'None of the above'.

Assigning a lower preference for the No Representation Party will allow you to vote in a way that sends a message of 'None of the rest' to all the candidates that you give an even lower preference.

We hope our presence on the ballot paper will send a message to our politicians that they must work to represent you. As a result we hope you will never feel the need to preference the No Representation Party other than last.

What is the Aim of the No Representation Party?

The aim of the No Representation Party is, in fact, to increase representation from our politicians.

Increasingly our politicians no longer represent their electorates nor do they seem to represent the overall views of our society.

In order to get elected aspiring politicians need to be preselected. To be preselected requires a person who is prepared to follow the party line as an undying loyal servant. Accordingly our parliaments are filled with people who have been carefully preselected for their unwillingness to think for themselves and their complete willingness to let their parties think for them. No wonder we have an absence of political leadership these days.

Thus, a politician's first loyalty is to their party and to the party's thinking, not to the needs of their electorate. The thinking of their party is always constrained in a way that will not hinder their party's funding base otherwise they cannot fund their election campaigns. Corporate influence on government policies is now accepted as inevitable. Property developers, the mining, financial, gambling, and food industries wield extraordinary power over us.

The desire to get elected encourages politicians to make unrealistic populist promises, indeed it encourages them to lie. Politicians treat their pre-election promises with such contempt that we now have no way of knowing what we might actually be voting for. This begs the question whether it is worth voting at all. The behaviour of our politicians is destroying democracy.

How will the No Representation Party improve our democracy?

What if a candidate from the No Representation Party is elected?

Policies

An overriding principle is that the party should not actively campaign for a vote of No Representation, this is the opposite of what the party wants to achieve. The party only exists to create the voting option of No Representation in the hope that this will improve the representation that our politicians give us.

Ideally voters should have the option of casting a vote of 'No Representation' without the contrived need of a place holder candidate who is only there to satisfy our election rules. Thus a policy of the party will be to campaign for this.

Beyond this the party should not have any policies at all. After all, if elected, a candidate from the No Representation Party promises to abstain from all votes. Also, having additional policies would risk making a vote for 'No Representation' no longer a vote that is equivalent to 'None of the above' or 'None of the rest'.

Selection of Candidates and Campaigning

Candidates for the No Representation Party hope that they will not be elected. Indeed they will not campaign for election. They will confine their activities to simply making the electorate aware that it is possible to vote for No Representation and what this implies.

Candidates are only standing for election to act as a place holder so that voters have the possibility of casting a vote that is equivalent to 'None of the Above' or 'None of the Rest'. Accordingly the identity and personality of a candidate is, and should always be, irrelevant. To ensure this is the case candidates will be obtained by randomly choosing one person from a pool of people who have made themselves available for selection.

In the unfortunate case that an electorate is currently represented by a member of the No Representation Party that person will not be automatically selected to stand for re-election. They can only make themselves available for the random selection process.

Funding

The No Representation Party will only accept donations from individuals and non-profit organisations. All donations will be disclosed in real time.

No corporate funding will be accepted. Corporate funding of political parties is one of the key factors in the loss of representation and openness we currently have in our government.

Potential Issues with the Idea of No Representation

It may be that the idea of no representation, and the way in which it can be used, will be too alien and complex for many voters. If this is the case then the No Representation Party will fail in its aims.

It will be interesting, possibly amusing, to see how established political parties decide to preference the No Representation Party on their how to vote cards. It is possible that parties may seek to exploit the presence of the No Representation Party to game the system in their preferencing. It is not clear what distortions in the vote this might induce but such a practice could be a concern.

The party may (will!) attract people with anarchic tendencies. (OK, I admit it, I am slightly anarchic myself!) Some of these people may want to actively campaign for a vote of No Representation which is actually not what we want.


Peter Kovesi
December 2016