corner of Australian senate ballot paper

Australia Votes

In the closing weeks of the Federal Election campaign we can review the positions on transport the political parties are promoting (or not) as they try to convince us to part with our votes. Interestingly not all the parties include a position or policy on transport despite it regularly creating several single issue parties for voters to consider.

The following discussion focuses only on parties with a public transport policy, there are many other parties in the election who do not provide any publicly available transport policy. It begins with the single issue parties and continues through to those with more complex policies.


Bullet Train For Australia

Refreshingly honest in saying they won’t discuss their views on other policies.


Australian Cyclists Party

Failing to broaden the scope of cycling policy and remaining a single issue stand.


Consumer Rights & No-Tolls

Headlines with a single issue but provides a broader policy base of reversing car dominance and clear positions on several topical social and ethical points.


Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party

Sticking with the parties name a small collection of policies around motor vehicle use and promotion.


Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop The Greens)

Bravely singling out their opposition in their registered name the headline policy is broadly unfettered public access to national parks and nature reserves for any purpose in any vehicle. Other transport policies include improving conditions for motorcycles, promoting motor sport, and setting speed limits based on the speed which vehicles can drive at rather than what is safe (85th percentile method).


 

Even with such narrow transport dominated single policy parties making up a substantial fraction of  (5/57) registered parties the more substantial parties routinely fail to include any transport policies. Those that include something:


Rise Up Australia Party

Amongst the detailed and wide ranging policies transport gets a vague mention of integrated transport [freight] and a fast train link for the east coast.


Liberal Party of Australia

The incumbent government is eschewing any statements of position or policy and instead pointing solely to projects and figures. For Melbourne this means more roads, and a similar pattern is seen across the country.


National Party of Australia

Unsurprisingly as a minority member of the coalition government the presentation is almost identical to that of the Liberal Party but with more focus on the regional areas they represent.


Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Mirroring the incumbent government the other major party in Australia also leads strongly with projects and figures, but goes on to include some vague policy positions such as the inscrutable:

Investing in properly integrated transport systems involving public transport and roads

Which leaves as many questions as answers and doesn’t put forward a policy at all.


 

The above 3 parties constitute the vast bulk of elected Australian politicians but they fail to deliver any meaningful policies on Transport (and most other areas) relying instead on piecemeal promises of specific projects. This leads us into the smaller parties who are much more open in their policy and provide strong indications of their positions on transport:


Liberal Democratic Party

Free market economy adherents presenting rather specific policy positions on traffic laws, proposing speed limit increases (including 85th percentile limit setting) and higher blood alcohol limits along with motorcycle promoting measures such as advanced stopping lines. One rather interesting takeaway is:

Passive radar detectors should be re-legalised as they assist drivers to adhere to speed limits

Detecting the presence of speed measuring devices is somehow able to assist drivers in keeping to speed limits? To be sure it will reduce the incidence of drivers being caught exceeding the limit, but that remains a specious argument. Just as setting speed limits using 85th percentile methods reduces the number of speeding offences, while completely ignoring public safety. But these are the party wanting to drop mandatory seat belt laws.


Australian Greens

Among their lengthy policies is this transport policy for Victoria (Melbourne) which follows the federal policies of supporting public transport, railways, cycling, and pedestrians ahead of cars and roads. All brought together with transparent planning involving local communities which sounds like an impossible dream.


#Sustainable Australia

Operating similarly to the Greens the transport policies look to prioritise support for public transport, railways, and bicycles ahead of private car use. Along with exploring new transport opportunities such as ride sharing and rebooting local manufacturing with urban vehicles.


Australian Sex Party

Beyond their obvious platform are a range of policies including a transport focus on railways and public transport in Victoria (Melbourne). Motorcycles and bicycles are pushed to the recreation policy section to bulk it out, but notably contains a policy to make bicycle helmet use non-compulsary.


 

Any parties feeling they are misrepresented or missing are welcome to respond.

With the change away from party group voting where preferences were distributed for the voter by their party choice to the optional preferential system for the 2016 election where the voter is required to explicitly distribute some preferences, hopefully voters will inform themselves of the options available on the issues they feel are important. To reiterate, the parties above are only those presenting a transport policy, many more parties are contesting the election.

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