I've voted Labor all my life, not because I like their colours or the dress sense of their leaders, but because their policies have been generally in accord with my own principles. I've never voted for the two big conservative parties because their policies have been (and remain) focussed towards meeting goals that I believe to be unethical.
And, until now, I have never voted for a minor party—mostly because their policies are either single-issue or unethical (or both). However, the continuing drift of Labor to the right and the abandonment of policies that are of fundamental importance (the environment; the treatment of women, minorities and refugees; the education and health systems, to name several) has made me look harder at the alternatives.
In the past, I was not impressed by the narrow focus of the Greens or by their lack of real policies beyond their principal focus. And I have been unimpressed by some of their preferences decisions. But they have come of age at a time when the major parties have descended into irrelevance. The Greens now have real and ethical policies on most of what I see as the important issues of 2010.
Obviously, the election on 21 August will return us a government controlled by one of the two major parties. But now seems like the right time to tell them something about how people really feel. So, if you think the Greens are right about at least some of the important issues, do what I'm going to do—put them first in both houses of parliament and then give your second preference to the major party of your choice. If you're lucky enough to find the Greens' preference allocation meets your needs, then vote above the line. Otherwise, do what I do and take the time to number every box below the line. It's not hard and we only get to do it once every three years. Seems like a small price to pay to put pressure on whoever is the government to start doing the right thing.