message from Animal Justice Party

Politics is interesting. Our party has been formed from people who want better outcomes for animals, not split off from another political party where people have enormous political experience. So we are still making mistakes, and still learning how it is done.
It seems timely to say more about this, given that the election has been run and won (or lost, in our case). 
There is a segment of our supporter base who are genuinely disappointed that we agreed to preference most minor parties (excepting the shooters and fishers and their ilk) ahead of the major parties, including The Greens, Labor and Liberals. They have a view that we should have preferenced parties with good animal policies above all others. The problem with this view is that it would give us no chance of winning whatsoever. Civilised disagreement is, of course, something to engage with and celebrate. Now, while we have not won in any case, we went dangerously close to it, and it is ultimately a failure to get preferences from one or two other minor parties in the order that we needed which has cost us the seat. 

There is a further segment that do not understand why we would put The Greens last in the ACT. This has been explained here:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=720120681348340&set=a.660262114000864.1073741828.657903734236702&type=1
Ultimately, we have tried everything we can to save a group of animals, whose lives should not be swept under the carpet. If there is a failure here, it is on the part of The Greens. It is a failure to care about these lives. 
And then there are antagonists that exist to damage and discredit our movement and party. Sadly, most of this has come from The Greens. 

For example, they paid for a google ad that came up and suggested that the Animal Justice Party “support Cruel Live Exports”. Yeah, right.

They sent out misinformation mixed with truth, deliberately in order to deceive and confuse. These included the lies that:

“AJP are preferencing One Nation in Melbourne” – untrue on many levels, since they were not running

“AJP are preferencing the Shooters” – untrue except that we were preferencing them last

“The ACT Greens have stopped the cull and I understand that they are relocating many of the kangaroos.” – from the normally excellent Lee Rhiannon. Completely untrue.

“The AJP made a deal with the shooters party” – completely untrue, we have never even spoken to them except to advise them we will be putting them last on our preference paper

“The AJP are preferencing the Liberals” – certainly true in that we put The Greens last in the ACT, but issued as a nationwide advertisement to confuse voters, 99% of whom were in states where we were preferencing The Greens ahead of Labor and the Liberals. 

“But The Greens are always so pure in their preferences” – Yeah, right. That’s why they preferenced the Shooters in WA the last election (getting them elected!), and Palmer United this election (getting him elected!). 

“in Victoria they have preferenced the LNP and the Shooters and fishers over the greens” – Completely untrue and this came out on the night before the election, nicely timed so that we had no chance to correct it. This was sent to thousands of people who are concerned about animals. 

Many of these emails were sent not just to animal lovers and Greens supporters, but animal organisations, funding bodies, wildlife groups. 

On the day of the election, we manned around 100 voting booths. There were many good stories, but there were also many bad stories, where people would not take our cards “because we are preferencing the shooters”. Hmmm, ok. 

This stuff was on Facebook, on email, on Google. Flying squads of real and fake greens supporters spammed our pages to create doubt and sow discontent.

We had few funds to put towards advertising, and even less to put to countering the overwhelming variety of lies being told. We did pay for some corflutes (signs) to be put up in the ACT, but these were vandalised by The Greens in the days before the election. When challenged about it, they didn’t even bother denying it. 

—-

So why didn’t we do more to counter-attack against this bullying? For one thing, we don’t have the budget to, and they know that. Just as the Lab/Lib parties often attack The Greens close to the election date, knowing they don’t have the means to fight back with paid ads, so they know they can do that to us. So they have learnt something I suppose.

Secondly, we were doing everything possible to support Adam Bandt’s re-election in the lower house seat of Melbourne. Adam has been an advocate of banning live export and the office of animal welfare, and it would be very unfortunate to lose that voice in the house. With his re-election being predicted as a very close thing indeed, we felt that it was necessary to ‘grin and bear’ the abuse from another set of Greens, so that we could not damage the chances of another Green (who was re-elected, with a great primary vote and the assistance of our and other preferences). 

—-

All this is very difficult for our supporters and volunteers. Sorry about that. Many of them, motivated to make a difference in the lives of animals, have given enormously of there time and money, only to be met with scorn and abuse. But they are the best. And living with scorn and abuse is just one more sacrifice that they will have to make in order to win this fight. 

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We lost this election. As it turns out…just. A few more votes or a slightly different preference flow from some of the minors and it might have been very different. 

But we will contest the next one, and the next, and the next. Already we have achieved a small measure of political power to be wielded directly for animals. In the future, there will be more. 

We are pleased to have skipped so quickly to stage 3 of Gandhi’s theory of social change (they are fighting us). Next, we win.

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10 responses to “message from Animal Justice Party

  1. I’m still confused as to why you put the Greens last out of Labor and the extreme Right Wing Liberal party. What does the Mad Abbott care about kangaroos or their habitat? Whose parties were in government when these ‘culls’ occurred? Not the Greens because they’ve never led the country yet. All I know is the Greens care about the environment which contains millions of species, and the Liberal party only care about mining, keeping Australia white, and making the rich richer by razing the forests which hold life and bring rain.

    • um no they don’t (SADLY!) they have just said to us they are now a human rights party and don’t advocate for animals and are ok to kill roo’s bunnies foxes etc~ matt see other post re roo SLAUGHTER and bashing their babies to death RIP 😦

  2. Thanks for this one Jaylene! You probably saw the email that came through onto Animal Liberty Now yesterday. Lauren very wisely took it off but all members would have received it through their emails. I alerted Magda and she would have alerted Bruce. The fact that this slander has happened is very sad indeed and I think it will probably loose the AJP a lot of supporters…I’m not one of them however, because I believe that they are our only hope and I am standing by them. All the best.

    Lyndel xxxx

  3. Thank you for this detailed summary of AJP experiences leading up to the election. I think AJP and supporters should be celebrating a significant entry into the complex and toxic world of politics! Well done! AJP will grow as a party and you can use this past experience to fine tune your techniques for dealing with other parties and with the public. A quote I love which I think applies well here : “You have to start from where you are, not from where you would like to be”. I believe AJP have done this as effectively as was possible and I will be following your party with great interest and support. Pat on the back from Toni in little old Canberra 🙂

  4. I posted this originally over one week ago but it was not approved. It is not an abusive comment in any way (although it is critical of the AJP). I think this is an important conversation for the movement to be having and we should be having it. So I am re-posting. Hopefully we can have some meaningful dialogue around this issue.

    AJP’s preferences in the ACT I feel unable to support the party any longer. I, like many other ACT voters (where it is easier to do so), vote below the line so I can chose my own preferences, and therefore the AJP’s preference deals would not have affected where my vote ended up. However, I am appalled that AJP preferenced the Liberal Party over the Greens in the ACT Senate race. To me, this shows a glaring ignorance of the national importance of the ACT senate race, and the potential importance of AJP’s preferences in this race (especially as AJP was drawn to be numbered first in the ACT senate race, thereby gaining the donkey vote).
    The ACT senate race is particularly important if the balance of power in the Senate is to stay with progressives after 2014. That the AJP seems either unaware or unmoved by this fact deeply concerns me. As a progressive who believes in climate change, the need to uphold the rights and dignity of indigenous Australians, racial minorities, women, LGBTIQ Australians, the poor AND nonhuman animals I find the idea of a Tony Abbott led Coalition government unencumbered by a progressive Senate worrying. This is not just because nonhuman animals were not my only concern at this election, but because I strongly believe in the intersecting nature of oppression. That is, speicism is not a distinct form of oppression unrelated to other oppressions in our society (racism, sexism, hetereosexism, ableism etc etc) but is intrinsically linked to these oppressions and helps reinforce such oppressions, just as other forms of oppression help reinforce speicism. Therefore, I think it is important to try and combat the multitude of intersecting oppressions in both our theory and practice of animal liberation. I strongly believe the AJP should consider this issue for future campaigns.
    Also, on the issue of nonhuman animal advocacy: I do not see how preferencing Liberal over the Greens in the ACT constitutes a better outcome for nonhuman animals. While I understand and support AJP’s opposition to the kangaroo cull in the ACT, and thus their disatisfaction (or indeed anger) with the ACT Greens on the basis of this issue, the Greens overall present a better option for all nonhuman animals than Liberal. The Green’s opposition to Live Exports, support for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, support for ‘phasing out’ factory farming, belief in Climate Change etc., is significantly better than the Liberals who fail to support any nonhuman animal rights issue (barring the protection of marine wildlife). I therefore can only interpret the AJP’s preferencing of Liberal over the Greens as an act intended to punish the Greens for their support of the kangaroo cull while effectively sidelining all other nonhuman animal rights issues. It seems that on the basis of the kangaroo cull the AJP would rather have a party in power (Liberal) which promises to make NO progress on nonhuman animal welfare than a party which offers some hope for future progress. Needless to say I am extremely dissapointed in this lack of political foresight, and believe you have alienated many potential voters, and former supporters, in the ACT with this preferencing decision. If Simon Sheikh does end up losing the Senate on the basis of AJP preferences (which based on the current figures from ABC remains a possibility) over the next few weeks , I think the AJP will have lost a major opportunity in the ACT.

    • Yes there’s been some heated discussion about this. Many who support the AJP are disappointed in the Greens because they feel the Greens put the asylum seekers issue and taxing the biggest polluters before animals. A few are also Climate Change deniers so they’re not interested in that one either. However, I think it’s important to have more than one policy, or issue to address. As the AJP says, they are still learning. They got my number one vote, and I also voted below the line.

    • no disillusioned ~ that message (and a few others) were lost due to my ineptness and newness at blogging admin~ APOLOGIES XXX~ matt p

  5. twenty thousand votes for AJP and no senate seat~but motoring enthusiast got 2000 votes and got a seat??? PLOISE EXPLAIN!~matt

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