Minor Parties Vote Compass, Australian 2016 Federal Election

The ABC Vote Compass is a good tool for orientating yourself in the political spectrum but only showed the three major parties, as did Fairfax’s YourVote; the third party iSideWith did a bit better, including the other parties with elected Senators: Family First and the Liberal Democrats. Meanwhile, the international Political Compass, for some reason, included Katter’s Australian Party.

So, what about all the other minor parties? Well, here is my attempt at putting them on the graph:

Post - Vote Compass

Where possible, the results are based on an official email response from the party, otherwise, it is based on policy documents and other stated positions.

Being a classical liberal, I support both economic and social freedom, so am interested in the overall liberalism rating of parties, the forward diagonal, from the most control-leaning (bottom-left) to freedom-leaning (top-right).

Post - Liberalism

In this post, I provide the calculated results for the parties, presented across several different dimensions, as well as the full details of the calculations.

Results

The ratings for each party show the calculated economic index (x-axis), social index (y-axis), and overall liberalism (forward diagonal, from bottom-left to top-right).

Party Economic Social Overall Liberalism
CDP +0.07 -0.57 -0.25
Fam-First +0.65 -0.40 +0.13
Green -0.69 +0.92 +0.11
Labor -0.40 +0.29 -0.06
Lib-Dem +0.54 +0.21 +0.37
LNP +0.41 -0.40 +0.00
One-Nat -0.12 -0.70 -0.41
Pirate -0.28 +0.56 +0.14
Secular -0.24 +0.17 -0.03
Sex -0.44 +0.74 +0.15
Shooters -0.03 -0.44 -0.24
Soc-All -0.88 +0.73 -0.07

The reverse diagonal, from top-left to bottom-right, is not shown, but is what the popular media generally refers to as left- or right-leaning (i.e. Greens are left-wing, LNP are right-wing).

All ratings are in the range -1.0 to +1.0, although due to the design of the Vote Compass including six “diagonal” questions, that affect both axes, the range of possible unscaled answers is limited to the grey bordered area. It is possible to get outside this area by answering “Don’t Know” to these six questions, which will then scale your results (as well as the parties results).

Analysis

Like previous graphs, there appears to be some degree of negative correlation between social liberalism and economic liberalism, although this is something I have never been able to understand the reasons for.

It makes no sense (to me) why believing in free trade (economic freedom) means that you have to be against same sex marriage (social control); or why support for decriminalisation of drugs (social freedom) mean you have to want the government to run things like telecommunication companies (economic control).

However, for most parties there does appear to be a link, ranging from big government progressives, such as the Greens, along the diagonal down to small government conservatives, such as the LNP.

Smaller parties are then distributed along this range, with a smattering of conservatives tending towards big government (such as One Nation and the Christian Democrats), and a degree of economic freedom spread across various progressive parties.

Largely on their own in the top left quarter are the Liberal Democrats, a classical liberal party (small government progressive). In the analysis of overall liberalism, the Liberal Democrats lead, with following parties coming from both the left (e.g. Sex Party, Pirate Party) and the right (e.g. Family First).

Populist parties, such as Palmer, and to a lesser extend maybe Hinch and Lambie, were not included, as they don’t really fit a political compass model, as they don’t generally have an underlying driving philosophy. Generally they would simply end up somewhere in the middle.

Dimensions

While the graph gives the position of parties in a two dimensional graph, we can also look at them from the various axes.

Post - Economic

Post - Social

Note that the positions on the graph are heavily influenced by the specific questions asked, e.g. this year there were more questions than normal about terrorism- and foreigner-related issues, and none on issues such as drug decriminalisation.

Previous Years

If you are interested in previous years, you can also check out an analysis of parties for the 2013 election by Lindypenguin. The results are not exactly the same, but the rough position of the various parties is consistent.

I also previously did an analysis of the most control-leaning and freedom-leaning seats based on the 2013 Vote Compass data.

Methodology

The questions and weightings are based on those from the ABC Vote Compass. The major party positions are based on those in Vote Compass. Several minor parties provided responses (I sent emails to most of the broad platform parties), whilst the remaining were based on research of the policies and other statements.

If any additional minor parties would like to be included, or provide a more comprehensive official answer, then I would be happy to hear from them.

Answers are given numerical 1-5 (which are then scaled and added to give the position on the graph). The meanings are:

Answer Meaning
1 Strongly disagree, Many fewer, Much less, Much lower
2 Somewhat disagree, Somewhat fewer, Somewhat less, Somewhat lower
3 Neutral, About the same as now, About the same as now, About the same as now
4 Somewhat agree, Somewhat more, Somewhat more, Somewhat higher
5 Strongly agree, Many more, Much more, Much higher

Rather than use party colours, the points on the graph are coloured based on their position, in a colour wheel, with grey in the middle, red (hue = 0 deg) at the top, and aqua (hue = 180 deg) at the bottom.

Major parties

The answers, and position, for these parties are based on ABC Vote Compass.

# Question Green Labor LNP
1 The government should further restrict foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land. 4 2 4
2 Boats carrying asylum seekers should be turned back. 1 4 5
3 Asylum seekers should be held in offshore detention centres while their claims are being processed. 1 5 5
4 How many refugees should Australia admit? 5 4 4
5 Transgender awareness should be taught in primary schools. 5 4 1
6 The federal budget deficit should be reduced, even if it means fewer public services. 2 2 4
7 How much income should former students earn before they have to start repaying their university debt? 3 3 2
8 Schools with lower-performing students should receive more government funding than those with higher-performing students. 5 5 4
9 The Australian constitution should recognise Indigenous people as Australia’s first inhabitants. 5 5 5
10 Australia should put a price on carbon emissions. 5 4 1
11 There should be fewer restrictions on coal seam gas exploration. 1 2 2
12 The economic benefits of free trade outweigh the costs. 2 4 5
13 How much should Australia spend on foreign aid? 5 4 3
14 Australia should end the monarchy and become a republic. 5 5 2
15 The government should establish a federal corruption watchdog. 5 4 1
16 How involved should the Australian military be in the fight against Islamic State? 1 3 3
17 How much tax should companies pay? 3 2 1
18 How much of their health care costs should individuals have to pay directly? 3 3 4
19 How much of a role should the private sector have in health care? 1 3 4
20 Anti-terrorism laws in Australia have gone too far. 5 4 1
21 The government should be able to revoke Australian citizenship from suspected terrorists abroad. 1 4 4
22 People who work on a Sunday should get paid more than people who work on a Saturday. 5 4 3
23 The government should reinstate the construction industry watchdog, the ABCC. 1 1 5
24 How high should the minimum wage be? 4 4 3
25 Foreign companies should be prohibited from leasing Australian ports. 4 2 2
26 The National Broadband Network should deliver faster speeds even if it costs the government more. 5 5 4
27 Gender quotas should be used to increase the number of women in Parliament. 4 5 2
28 Tax breaks for investment properties should be restricted to newly-constructed properties. 3 5 1
29 Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. 1 1 3
30 Terminally ill patients should be able to legally end their own lives with medical assistance. 5 3 1

Official answers

These parties provided a response to an email inquiry, with the details of their position.

# Question Lib-Dem Pirate Secular
1 The government should further restrict foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land. 1 3 4
2 Boats carrying asylum seekers should be turned back. 2 1 4
3 Asylum seekers should be held in offshore detention centres while their claims are being processed. 1 3 4
4 How many refugees should Australia admit? 5 3 5
5 Transgender awareness should be taught in primary schools. 3 4 1
6 The federal budget deficit should be reduced, even if it means fewer public services. 5 2 4
7 How much income should former students earn before they have to start repaying their university debt? 2 3 3
8 Schools with lower-performing students should receive more government funding than those with higher-performing students. 3 5 5
9 The Australian constitution should recognise Indigenous people as Australia’s first inhabitants. 2 4 2
10 Australia should put a price on carbon emissions. 2 5 5
11 There should be fewer restrictions on coal seam gas exploration. 4 2 2
12 The economic benefits of free trade outweigh the costs. 5 5 1
13 How much should Australia spend on foreign aid? 1 5 5
14 Australia should end the monarchy and become a republic. 3 3 5
15 The government should establish a federal corruption watchdog. 3 5 4
16 How involved should the Australian military be in the fight against Islamic State? 1 1 1
17 How much tax should companies pay? 1 2 3
18 How much of their health care costs should individuals have to pay directly? 4 3 3
19 How much of a role should the private sector have in health care? 5 2 1
20 Anti-terrorism laws in Australia have gone too far. 5 5 3
21 The government should be able to revoke Australian citizenship from suspected terrorists abroad. 1 1
22 People who work on a Sunday should get paid more than people who work on a Saturday. 3 3 1
23 The government should reinstate the construction industry watchdog, the ABCC. 3 3 3
24 How high should the minimum wage be? 1 3 3
25 Foreign companies should be prohibited from leasing Australian ports. 1 3 3
26 The National Broadband Network should deliver faster speeds even if it costs the government more. 3 5 4
27 Gender quotas should be used to increase the number of women in Parliament. 2 2 2
28 Tax breaks for investment properties should be restricted to newly-constructed properties. 2 4 4
29 Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. 1 1 1
30 Terminally ill patients should be able to legally end their own lives with medical assistance. 5 5 5

Note: For the Liberal Democrats, rather than an email, the answers are based on their iSideWith questions (which I worked on), plus my knowledge of their platform (I was a candidate in 2016), however I have also emailed their head office to confirm, and will update if there are any changes.

Policy answers

Based on reviewing policy and other documents available from the listed parties. Like the 2013 analysis by Lindypenguin, questions were often skipped where there simply wasn’t enough detail to answer. Results are then scaled for the missing questions.

# Question CDP Fam-First One-Nat Sex Shooters Soc-All
1 The government should further restrict foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land. 5 2 5 4
2 Boats carrying asylum seekers should be turned back. 5 1
3 Asylum seekers should be held in offshore detention centres while their claims are being processed. 4 5 1 5 1
4 How many refugees should Australia admit? 3 4 1 4 2 4
5 Transgender awareness should be taught in primary schools. 1 1 2 4 4
6 The federal budget deficit should be reduced, even if it means fewer public services. 4 4 2 1
7 How much income should former students earn before they have to start repaying their university debt?
8 Schools with lower-performing students should receive more government funding than those with higher-performing students. 4
9 The Australian constitution should recognise Indigenous people as Australia’s first inhabitants. 1 2 5
10 Australia should put a price on carbon emissions. 1 1 1 2 5
11 There should be fewer restrictions on coal seam gas exploration. 1 2 2 1
12 The economic benefits of free trade outweigh the costs. 2 4 2 3
13 How much should Australia spend on foreign aid? 4 2 4 3 4
14 Australia should end the monarchy and become a republic. 2 2 5 4
15 The government should establish a federal corruption watchdog.
16 How involved should the Australian military be in the fight against Islamic State? 3 1
17 How much tax should companies pay? 2 1 4 2 4
18 How much of their health care costs should individuals have to pay directly? 2 3 3 2 1
19 How much of a role should the private sector have in health care? 3 2 1
20 Anti-terrorism laws in Australia have gone too far. 2 2 2 4 4
21 The government should be able to revoke Australian citizenship from suspected terrorists abroad. 4 4 4
22 People who work on a Sunday should get paid more than people who work on a Saturday. 5 2 4
23 The government should reinstate the construction industry watchdog, the ABCC. 5
24 How high should the minimum wage be? 2 3 5
25 Foreign companies should be prohibited from leasing Australian ports. 2 5
26 The National Broadband Network should deliver faster speeds even if it costs the government more. 4 4
27 Gender quotas should be used to increase the number of women in Parliament.
28 Tax breaks for investment properties should be restricted to newly-constructed properties. 2
29 Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. 5 5 4 1 1
30 Terminally ill patients should be able to legally end their own lives with medical assistance. 1 1 5 5 4

Vote Compass question weighting

The weighting used for questions is based on the ABC Vote Compass tool. If you want to reproduce the results yourself, then the following table gives the economic (x-axis) and social (y-axis) weightings for each question.

# Question Topic Economic Social
1 The government should further restrict foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land. Agriculture -0.0146 0
2 Boats carrying asylum seekers should be turned back. Asylum seekers 0 -0.1141
3 Asylum seekers should be held in offshore detention centres while their claims are being processed. Asylum seekers 0 -0.1071
4 How many refugees should Australia admit? Asylum seekers 0 +0.1034
5 Transgender awareness should be taught in primary schools. Education 0 +0.0548
6 The federal budget deficit should be reduced, even if it means fewer public services. Deficit +0.1012 -0.0454
7 How much income should former students earn before they have to start repaying their university debt? Education 0 +0.0261
8 Schools with lower-performing students should receive more government funding than those with higher-performing students. Education -0.0580 +0.0334
9 The Australian constitution should recognise Indigenous people as Australia’s first inhabitants. Indigenous issues 0 +0.0496
10 Australia should put a price on carbon emissions. Environment -0.0867 +0.0647
11 There should be fewer restrictions on coal seam gas exploration. Environment +0.0381 0
12 The economic benefits of free trade outweigh the costs. Foreign policy +0.0477 0
13 How much should Australia spend on foreign aid? Foreign policy 0 +0.0778
14 Australia should end the monarchy and become a republic. Government 0 +0.0293
15 The government should establish a federal corruption watchdog. Government -0.0498 0
16 How involved should the Australian military be in the fight against Islamic State? Foreign policy 0 -0.0237
17 How much tax should companies pay? Taxation -0.0784 0
18 How much of their health care costs should individuals have to pay directly? Health care +0.0562 0
19 How much of a role should the private sector have in health care? Health care +0.0673 0
20 Anti-terrorism laws in Australia have gone too far. Security 0 +0.0557
21 The government should be able to revoke Australian citizenship from suspected terrorists abroad. Security 0 -0.0473
22 People who work on a Sunday should get paid more than people who work on a Saturday. Industrial relations -0.0484 0
23 The government should reinstate the construction industry watchdog, the ABCC. Industrial relations +0.0687 -0.0356
24 How high should the minimum wage be? Industrial relations -0.1041 0
25 Foreign companies should be prohibited from leasing Australian ports. Infrastructure -0.0184 0
26 The National Broadband Network should deliver faster speeds even if it costs the government more. Infrastructure -0.0783 +0.0371
27 Gender quotas should be used to increase the number of women in Parliament. Government -0.0646 +0.0401
28 Tax breaks for investment properties should be restricted to newly-constructed properties. Taxation 0 +0.0150
29 Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Moral issues 0 -0.0397
30 Terminally ill patients should be able to legally end their own lives with medical assistance. Moral issues -0.0195 0

Next steps

If I get some more responses from parties, I will update the graphs. There are also some answered questions about the design of the Vote Compass itself.

It may also be worth comparing to something like iSideWith, especially if their data is more available.

A lot also depends on which parties end up with elected Senators.

 

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  1. #1 by Trent MacDonald on 2016-07-29 - 12:01

    Do you know how the weights were derived? Is there an underlying methodology or are they just arbitrarily assigned by the Vote Compass team?

    • #2 by Sly Gryphon on 2016-07-29 - 16:25

      The Vote Compass FAQ links through to a methodology paper: http://voxpoplabs.com/votecompass/methodology.pdf

      It talks about using factor analysis to uncover underlying latent dimensions.

      However, I think this means the definition of those dimensions then depends on the questions asked; e.g. the dimension they call “social” appears to be “degree of care for refugees”. i.e. If I ask 10 questions about football, and then 10 questions about random topics, factor analysis — without knowing the questions — could detect there is a latent dimension highly correlated with those 10 questions (and them with each other), and can further give a weighting for how much each of those 10 question correlates.

      Because there are multiple questions on asylum seekers, that is the latent dimension that would be detected.

      I am not sure if this is the best approach, unless you have a broad selection of questions.

      • #3 by Trent MacDonald on 2016-07-29 - 17:50

        Thanks for the info. Yeah, some of the weightings seem rather questionable. Perhaps they map to specific issues faithfully (as per factor analysis), but how those issues then map to social/economic dimensions is where the question lies. For example, foreign aid -spending- has no economic weighting but has been deemed to impact the social dimension. Dubious.

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