We are too often told that a vote for the Greens – or any party that isn’t one of the two majors – is a waste of a vote. This past week, both Labor and Liberal campaigns have been playing on this, trying to scare Greens voters with some bizarre game of confusion; ultimately arguing that if a Greens voter doesn’t vote for one of the two major parties, their vote may end up causing a politician to win who sits far away from their ideologies.

In the past, this has worked on me, and in efforts to ensure Liberal defeat I have voted for Labor, rather than the party that best represents my values. But the outright lies on Greens preferencing over the past week have led me to realise one thing quite clearly: these are two parties who have no respect for the voting public. And even more important, they underestimate us. I’m not going to fall victim to their game again. Neither deserve my vote.

The reason they (Labor in particular) play this game is pretty simple. They know that if everyone who prescribes to a left wing ideology actually voted Greens, as opposed to Labor – who are supposed to sit with the left but are starting to sound ever so much the same as their opposition (and according to the Greens, vote alongside the Liberals some 600% more often than the Greens) – there could actually be a change to the system. Especially dusing a double dissolution election where we have the opportunity to start things over from scratch. Such change is a prospect that Bernie Sanders has inspired in millions of Americans, and has gotten plenty of Australians talking – and it’s something we can have here too. And the major parties know this. They’re terrified of it. If everyone started catching wind of the possibilities of true democracy, we would have a very different political landscape in this country than we do now. Instead – much like in America – we are fooled into thinking we don’t have a choice. But we do. And before you get on your high horse and say “yeah, but politics in Australia isn’t as bad as it is in America”, we have more than our fair share of businessmen-turned-politicians helping run this country, with their own ideas of how to keep out the immigrants.

What’s important to walk into this election with is this: vote solely for the party that best represents your values. If that’s the Liberal party, then go for it. If that’s the Australian Sex Party, then vote 1 in the applicable box. And if you’re worried about preferencing, walk into that voting booth as an educated voter and “vote below the line”. Delegate a number to everyone. No one can preference your vote to the parties you don’t want in power if you put them last. What you can’t do, however, is fall victim to the deceit that our only option is to exist in a two party system. It’s time to send a message to these career politicians, who are incapable of answering questions, behaving like adults (see: Question Time) or treating the public with respect, that we aren’t fools to their game anymore. We want better. We deserve better. And I for one will be doing my part by voting 1 for the Greens this election. And that’s a vote that will never be wasted. Because I’m voting for the party that believes in the things I do.

They believe the two party political system in Australia needs to change. That the environment is as important as the economy. That people should be treated fairly. That the poor should not be penalised for being poor. And that big business should be accountable for their fair share of tax. I believe the more people we have representing us with those values, the better we will all be for it. Because they will help ensure whoever is in power – be it Liberals or Labor – are kept in check. And one day, hopefully a third party will truly have the opportunity to lead. But if we don’t start doing something, nothing will ever change and in the words of South Park, we’ll be stuck between voting for a douche and a turd sandwich for the rest of our lives.

Photo: South Park / Comedy Central