What a weekend! By all accounts a great first election outing for the Arts Party. While it looks unlikely anyone is getting elected this time, we now have a baseline, that we intend to beat in all future elections. We finally gave the Arts and Creative Australia a dedicated political voice in 2016!
Before I start, I want to give special thanks to everyone who headed to the hustings and handed out flyers for us on Saturday. You are absolute legends! We could not have achieved what we did without you. Here's a snap of just a few of you, at the Sydney post-election celebration :-)
So to the results! Let’s start with The House of Representatives.
Candidate success, as expected, was largely down to the number of volunteers available to the candidates to help them on election day. Volunteers per candidate varied from 5 to 25, depending on luck and favours. While we had about 250 volunteers all up flyering for us on saturday, the majority were NOT flyering a lower house seat we were standing in. None were ever going to win, but that was not the point. Making a stand for the Arts was the point.
And yet.. we finished 4th in Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull’s own seat, and 4th in Franklin, Tasmania, where we recorded our highest ever ‘1’ vote of 2.4%.
And then there’s The Senate.
From the numbers we have right now, it looks like between 40-50,000 Australians preferenced us ‘1’ above the line at this election..
For a party with a membership of 2,100 and a national campaign budget of around $55K, that’s pretty amazing.
However, we’re expecting a significant spike on overall preferences when the full numbers come through. I’m not going to guess how many Australians gave us a 2-6 preference at this election, but it’s going to be a LOT more than that! A million? We’ll see :-)
One thing in certain though. Every one of our candidates, whether upper or lower house, were the true stars and the hardest workers of this entire campaign. Each one was exceptional. I know how hard they all worked! They deserve your full admiration and praise.
So how do I feel?
Good. Tired. Broke!
We haven’t done a full budget breakdown yet, but as I mentioned earlier, we raised about $55,000 in crowdfunding and donations in the last 6 months. We spent over half of it just on paying the AEC to stand candidates. The rest went on posters, flyers (210,000!), corflutes and online advertising. We’ve been as careful as we can and done a huge amount with a pittance. But most important of all was the help so many of you gave so willingly last weekend. We’re truly humbled by your belief and enthusiasm.
So just to confirm, nobody has been paid a dollar to do any of this work. In fact, I’ve been living on my credit card for the last 6 months running this party.
Yet there’s so much more to do!
The purpose of this party is clear and ongoing – to introduce an artistic voice into our democracy. It's also looking very likely that we’re still going to be governed by an (even more) dysfunctional Liberal party, with no cultural policy, for the next 4 years. So here are our current thoughts:
- We need to get registered in every state.
- We need to stand candidates in both state and local elections everywhere as they happen.
- We need to organise a conference to pull the membership together from across the country.
- We need to develop even more creative and worthy policy ideas to improve the future of this country.
Australia needs us!
So as ever I must ask for your help. We are not receiving any electoral funding and doing all of this costs. We’ll undoubtedly be running further crowdfunding campaigns later this year, but even now, we can use whatever you can donate, to keep us going. Seriously.
Thank you all again for supporting this party. We’ll have more news as we receive it from the AEC (and the ABC). Please do share this post with anyone you think would be interested in knowing how we went at this election :-)
All the best,