AUSTRALIA: The Sex Party is within a nudge and a wink of winning a Senate seat in Tasmania, with party co-founder Robbie Swan running third on preferences behind the Liberal Party and the Palmer United Party.
Mr Swan faces tough competition from Labor, but if he manages to overtake its vote, he could sneak in to the Senate on fewer than 5000 primary votes, with Labor preferences pushing him ahead of the conservative parties.
At the close of counting on Friday, the Sex Party was about 300 votes – after preferences – behind Labor.
The result would be an extraordinary outcome for Mr Swan, who splits his time between Canberra and Melbourne.
Mr Swan said he would move to Tasmania ”in a flash” if he was elected, and said one of his first priorities would be to lobby for legal marijuana crops to be grown in Tasmania, alongside poppy fields.
”This could reverse Tasmania’s economic woes,” he said. ”It could become the marijuana capital of Australia.”
The would-be senator said his party was more than its name.
”The Sex Party really … we’re not about sex, in the same way the Liberal Party’s not really about being liberal, and you could argue that the Labor Party’s not much about organised labour these days. So, the Sex Party’s really about, you know, our five main policies are legalising and taxing marijuana, euthanasia, taxing the church, abortion as a national health policy and censorship.”
Mr Swan is co-founder of the Eros Foundation, a sex industry lobby group, with his partner Fiona Patten, who stood as the Sex Party’s candidate in Victoria.
He has previously threatened to ”out” a conservative politician who voted to ban X-rated videos in Canberra, who had earlier been seen visiting a sex shop with his partner to buy explicit videos.
While some pundits have already excluded the Sex Party from their calculations of the Tasmanian Senate, a spokesman for the Australian Electoral Commission said it was ”just too close to call”.
Most projections do not take below-the-line votes into account, but in Tasmania about 10 per cent of voters voted below the line last weekend, compared with 2-3 per cent in the rest of the country.