That’s all well and good, but what if you’ve got absolutely no idea about politics and the idea of choosing between two old white men makes you think you’re seeing double?
Politics is not everyone’s bag. In fact, there are people who wake up, do their jobs, post on social media, and enjoy their lives without ever considering the day-to-day goings-on in governments around Australia. It is shocking to me that these people exist, but, if you’re one of them, there are handy shortcuts you can use to help you make an informed decision without having to read thousands of articles – if only someone had told me sooner.
Here’s how you can work out where you sit on the political spectrum, who would best serve your interests, and which way you should vote at the upcoming federal election.
Vote Compass is the most straightforward and directly relevant way of figuring out who you should vote for in the upcoming federal election.
Commissioned by the ABC in Australia, Vote Compass is an application created by Vox Pops Labs, a Canadian data analytics company that creates surveys to understand public sentiment and helps people make more informed democratic decisions.
They run Vote Compass surveys in Canada, America, New Zealand, and, of course, Australia during elections at both the national and state level.
The technology is pretty cool. Based on an analysis of speeches, policy statements, and past performance, Vote Compass allows you to fill in a quick survey which will then give you results showing how closely your views align to those of political parties.
It takes about 10 minutes to complete and will offer you statements like ‘big corporations should pay more tax’ or ‘Australia should spend more on national defence’. You can answer on a sliding scale based on how strongly you agree or disagree with the statement.
At the end, you’ll see information on what political candidates say about the topics you care about, where they sit in the political spectrum, and how close you are to any of them. The end result being that it will give you a good indicator of who you should vote for based on who is most likely to represent your views.
Other Tools to Work Out Who to Vote For
Vote Compass is not the only political quiz on the market, though it is certainly one of the most thorough.
Doing all three of these will show you that none of them is perfect and that quantifying political values and beliefs is hard – it’s still worth doing however as alignment across three sites will give you a much better idea of the accuracy of the results than simply one.
Be aware though, you will likely get slightly different answers as they all locate the different parties in slightly different locations on the political spectrum.
ISideWith is the creation of two American tech and political analysts who say they want to increase voter turnout and inform those making political decisions. The quiz is definitely more geared to US users — with questions around gun control, vaccine mandates, and ‘marijuana’ — but it is well-calibrated for Australian politics. It even has a ‘learn more’ option under each question which gives you a quick bit of background on the subject which is useful if you don’t know the topic well.
Political Compass is less directly relevant to the Australian Federal election in that it won’t tell you exactly which party to vote for but it will tell you where you fall on the political spectrum, which is still helpful.
In 2019, Political Compass put together this map of the Australian political parties and it’s very likely they will do so again soon.
The organisation has been around for over two decades and is one of the most well-known political gauges in the world – however, it has long been criticised for being too vague in its questions and creating statements that are intentionally nudging users in one political direction or another. It’s worth using but take the answers with a pinch of salt.