Tassie spoilt for choice in Senate vote

TASMANIANS will have more choice than ever this year when it comes to choosing their senators.

The Australian Sex Party is the latest of a fistful of minor parties to confirm it will join the Senate contest in Tasmania for the first time. 

Eight minor parties have already announced Senate candidates or confirmed their intention to run in Tasmania, with more expected to enter the race once an election date is set.

The Wikileaks Party, which has appointed outspoken Tasmanian prisoner advocate Greg Barns as campaign director, and Senator Online are among the parties still considering whether to run in Tasmania.

Combined with the three major parties, which will each run three or four candidates, plus independents, there is likely to be more than 30 names on the ballot paper. In 2010, 23 candidates from 10 parties and one independent ran and 28 the previous election.

Tasmanian polling analyst Kevin Bonham said micro parties historically had had little influence over the final result, but the addition of the Australian Sex Party could change that.

``If they run here and get a decent vote they could have some influence on the contest between Labor and the Greens if it turns out to be close at all'', Dr Bonham said.

A minor party would consider polling around 2 per cent a decent result.

Dr Bonham said the snowball effect was harder to create here.

``You get this problem in the big states they get their 1 per cent each and all allocate their preferences to each other and one nearly gets in,'' Dr Bonham said.  

Aside from the Australian Sex Party and Wikileaks, the micro party field is dominated by the right with the Palmer United Party and the Katter Australia Party the most high profile additions.

Family First has pre-selected Peter Madden, who ran for the Christian Democratic Party in Sydney two years ago, to lead its Tasmanian ticket.

``The rise of all these minor parties - the Katter party, the Palmer United Party - they're rising because they see an opportunity of dissatisfied people with the major parties, Mr Madden said. We're in the best position to take advantage of that as we've been established for some time.''

The 21st Australian Century Party is among the new entrants that would prefer the election to be later. Party founder Jamie McIntyre, who is yet to name its Tasmanian candidates, is hoping for an October 19 election.

``As a young party we need all the time we can get,'' Mr McIntyre said.

He believes people are more open to giving an alternative to the major parties a chance.

``People don't want lawyers or unionists, they want candidates with a PhD in results.''


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