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September 18, 2017 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Policy for Policies

The 2017 General Election has seen a proliferation of voter-support tools. Among these is the Spinoff’s tool “Policy”, which seeks to provide voters with an accessible overview of party policies.

Policy seeks to “put information first” with a comprehensive, interactive guide to the policies and stances parties hold on a range of issues.

Policy’s creators are former Salient staff — Ollie Neas and Asher Emmanuel were the editors, Rachael Reeves the designer, and Chris McIntyre the news editor, in 2012. They pursued the tool as a way to facilitate voters informing themselves, rather than just telling users which party their values align most with.

While swiping between issues using the arrows at the top of the page, users of Policy have the option of hiding party affiliations, “favouriting” policies, and using the tool to gauge where they stand in terms of party affiliations.

They established policy categories, from the Economy to Education, are based both on what voters wanted, and what parties were providing. Neas reflected that these did not always align. “There were some areas people were really interested in but where parties had no policies on the books.” For example, until recently “only the Greens had [abortion] policy on their website.”   

Policy seeks to make policies more accessible to help people make more informed decisions in this election. Information gathered from press releases, policy documents, and party manifestos were condensed into sentence-long summaries of individual policies, alongside more in-depth explanations of the “Whys” and “Hows” for those who want to investigate further.

According to Neas, “One of the really hard questions […] was, what is a policy? Often parties just have really vague statements.” One of Policy’s main challenges was to turn those vague statements into easy explanations.


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