On a roll

If you’re a Crikey subscriber or are willing to take out a two-week trial, you can read my piece from yesterday on enrolment numbers. If not, Simon Jackman’s analysis at The Bullring is at least as good. More reading on this subject from Jackman and Brent and Antony Green. And remember: new enrolments must be lodged by no later than 8pm this evening.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

145 comments on “On a roll”

Comments Page 3 of 3
1 2 3
  1. Lateline tonight is called campaign midweek. Entirely focused on the campaign with debates, interviews and analysis with pundits and punters. It’s going to be happening every wednesday untill the election. Must watch.

  2. Adam @ 94,

    Do go and check that out. If you find out it is not kosher, make sure you report it to someone who can make some noise about it [call someone at The Age and turn her in, would be a nice expose type story ;-D]

  3. Antony, NZ only allows enrolment up till the day before polling day. Still at least 32 days more generous than here! (And they have compulsory enrolment as well)

    Adam, still not convinced. If ID fraud is the bugbear, a national ID card just ups the stakes and represents a greater benefit for fraudsters who acquire or can forge a false card. As clumsy as it is, a system that doesn’t place such faith in a single document or number is not inherently more riggable.

  4. Adam, you’re right, the allowances are not to be used for the election/re-election of others, but can be used by the Senator for their own election or for general communication.

    I agree, in an election campaign running the same propaganda as the party’s campaign = promoting the party = campaigning for others.

    But they’ll just argue they are merely ‘informing’ the electorate (loved Costello today saying he wasn’t launching an attack ‘ad’ but an ‘information campaign). Then they’ll use the old line that critiquing one opponent is not promoting the election of any particular candidate. (There’s a British case accepting that).

  5. Adam I’m thinking she had no idea who she was mailing it to. Someone like you, with an obvious knowledge of seats, candidates, and electoral laws, could cost her party heaps. Go to it and cause some trouble for the Libs if you can!

  6. Good-o Adam. Onselen and Errington’s papers on ‘duty senators’ and the (mis)use of their allowances will have the links to the entitlement rule you want.

  7. Once upon a time, in a former life, I was an expert on ID card technology. The best thing that happened with the ‘Access Card’ or whatever it was called was that Hockey got his paws on it – it seems to have disappeared without trace. Although I’m sure there are quite a few Liberal mates hanging onto a derived stipend on a committee. Even better, the companies most likely to get the contracts were sure to screw it up. The sad fact is that with a bit of effort concentrated on the technical side it could be extremly effective, but that will never happen as the Government don’t want this to be a card to provide an individual with personal security rather than a card to control your use of Government services.

  8. My only real objection to a national ID card is, as others have already pointed out, it may make ID theft easier.


    Your argument is based on the premise that we live in Nazi Germany, a society where there are no restraints on the state. That’s nonsense.

    And I’m sure the back in 1933 the good burgers of Germany would have agreed!

    Don’t assume we have some special immunity from suffering a similar fate. History shows that any society can sucumb under the ‘right’ circumstances. How many of our freedoms have been curtailed because of a few looney tune terrorists who, despite the fear mongering, pose little actual threat either on an individual level or to our way of life?

  9. Sorry, I forgot to add why this is relevant here. Apparently with the pre-polling, people with various disabilities will be using some sort of computer based voting. This is very intriguing as I have heard almost no mention of this, and certainly not of the technology in use, or which companies have provided the technology. This type of voting in the US has been proven to be vulnerable to failure, and currently in Australia there is no standard to which these computerised voting devices are to perform!

  10. Thanks Chris B, that US stuff is fascinating. I was over there (in a blue state) recently and was told by rusted on Dems that Amurca wasn’t ready to vote for a woman. A black man perhaps, but not no female. Now, that may still hold out, but Hillary’s looking good for the Dem vote.

    The scary thing is, in the red corner, the good results for Fred Thompson. I can’t possibly question the sanity of Rep voters (note da irony), but what the hell are they thinking when they have Guiliani – the only person with a chance of downing the Dems – as a candidate? ? Why are they even considering this bloke? Is it a Reagan thing or are the Yanks even weirder than I thought?

  11. [Of course we also need a bill of rights to go with it, as Labor also tried to get up but was frustrated by the Libs.]

    Australians haven’t voted to amend the constitution since I believe 1977 (for members to be replaced by new members from the same party, i.e. to avoid another dismissal)

    The fact Australians are always wary of amending the constitution makes me think a bill of rights will never happen.

  12. The Labor National Secretariat has a resident expert on these matters called Entitlements Man, whose identity I won’t reveal and indeed have forgotten since I no longer work for an MP. I will be contacting him tomorrow.

  13. Marktwain, the US Republicans have indeed gone mad. They would rather lose the White House than nominate someone like Giuliani or McCain who doesn’t share the view of the Christian fundies. But they can’t find an acceptable alternative. Romney won’t do because he’s a Mormon, and the fundies regard Mormons as pagans. So Fred Thompson is the least bad candidate they can find, and I think they will nominate him. I also think Hillary will beat whoever they put up.

  14. My experience is that senators who are up for re-election have to be careful about supporting other (HR) candidates with heir electoral allowance. I can’t imagine a continuing senator is able to support candidates with the allowance.

  15. Well, my own view is that having information about citizens in different places is in fact one of the main safeguards against abuse of it.

    But hey, I grew up in Quinceland under Bjelke. You’ll forgive me if Im not sanguine about the state always looking after my best interests, and only harrassing the guilty.

  16. [But hey, I grew up in Quinceland under Bjelke. You’ll forgive me if Im not sanguine about the state always looking after my best interests, and only harrassing the guilty.]

    You got Bjelke-Petersened.

  17. Adam, the truly weird thing about the Yanks is that Mass (the thoroughly royal blue state I visited) elected Romney twice and in his time he brought in a universal health care system and was reasonably well received. Actually, the Bostonites came close to liking the bloke! Now of course he has to court the fundys and is reverting to type (as is Rudi) but he does the fresh-faced Amurcan thang so well, especially with those 436 handsome young sons of his.

    McCain was the best option for the Reps early on but he’s considered too old (amongst other things, of course), and yet some of these nutters can’t contemplate Guiliani because of the amount of ex-wives he has.

    The whole country is mad. Makes for absolutely fascinating poll-bludging but, eh?

  18. [Adam, the truly weird thing about the Yanks is that Mass (the thoroughly royal blue state I visited) elected Romney twice ]

    That’s when he was pro choice, anti-gun control, and frequently endorsed democrats.

    But it is now year 0, everything starts again.

    [McCain was the best option for the Reps early on but he’s considered too old]

    If only he had won in 2000. He’s someone I wouldn’t of minded Gore losing to. 😐

  19. ShowsOn, somehow I think that if Gore had won in 2000 he wouldn’t be receiving a Nobel Prize today. He’d be as prey to the dictates of political expediency as anyone else.

    Would have been nice, though, wouldn’t it?

  20. McCain also supported Bush’s immigration bill (the one genuinely liberal think he has tried to do, since as it happens his business backers want more cheap Mexican labour), so he is unacceptable to the xenophobes of the Repub far right.

  21. Poll: As Thompson’s star fades, Clinton’s on the rise

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Fred Thompson got into the Republican race with great expectations.

    But since then, Thompson’s taken a lot of flak for a lackluster campaign from party activists in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    Support for his campaign has also wavered. The new CNN poll by the Opinion Research Corporation released Tuesday shows Thompson’s support dropping — now at 19 percent, down from 27 percent in September.

  22. Elected Romney twice? Really? I can only remember one time -when he was elected as Governor in 2002. He was defeated in his senate race against Kennedy in 1994 and decided not to run for re-election as Governor in 2006 so I think he was only elected once

    But Romney is a craven opportunist -he’s flipped flopped on a number of positions he adopted during his 1994 senate campaign when he was seeking to project the image of being a liberal republican. I suspect if he gains the nomination, he’ll start moving back toward the center to make himself a more viable candidate

    I still think Thompson has a good chance of winning the nomination. He’s run a lackluster campaign so far but I think he could win solid support from GOP voting blocs who don’t like McCain or Guliani because they are perceived as too liberal but at the same time don’t like Romney because he’s too opportunistic (and I don’t intend to be bigoted here but I’m not sure how the evangelical/fundamentalist Republicans will take to a Mormon)

    I also think that ex-Gov Huckabee could be a dark horse. He’s a formidable and slick campaigner and I think he came second in the Iowa straw poll they had a while ago. He’s socially conservative enough to draw votes away from candidates like Romney and is to the right of Thompson so perhaps he’ll also erode the latter’s voting base as well. At the same time he’s also reasonably moderate on some policy issues and may take away some votes from Guliani and McCain

  23. The attitude of some Australians to an ID card is, in international terms, a little silly. The TFN (Tax File Number) was Hawke’s “Alamo” position on th concept and remains to this day.

    I lived for 6 years in HK with an ID card, which now have chips in them as well. They were great. Instant ID everywhere and none of this stupid “points” business. It is relatively easy to fake documents that pass for points but not one of these chipped cards.

    We would also have the potential to reduce a lot of bureaucracy. At present, few federal departments can communicate with each other about client details, even if that client wants them to. A chipped ID card would allow these easily.

    As for information that some Orwellian government might “get” off them and pass around, what? a date of birth? a blood type? a tax number? Again, we have a democracy and if we don’t like what they use it for, surely the opposition will be keen as mustard to oppose it and get it out of there, don’t you think?

  24. Anyway I think it’s all academic. With Bush’s appalling record hanging around their necks, the Repubs are heading for the mother of all hidings. Hillary will sweep all before her.

  25. I’d like to believe you on your call of a Hillary hiding, Adam, but haven’t seen any evidence yet. (Then again, I still won’t believe Kevin07 will do the job until 11.30pm, Nov 28, even if I desperately want him to.)

  26. Money problems for the Republicans:
    Big Donors Staying Away From GOP Candidates
    Even Bush ‘Rangers’ Are Staying Away

    By Chris Cillizza and Matthew Mosk
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, October 17, 2007; A01

    More than a third of the top fundraisers who helped elect George W. Bush president remain on the sidelines in 2008, contributing to a gaping financial disparity between the GOP candidates and their Democratic counterparts.

    Scores of Bush Pioneers and Rangers are not working for any Republican candidate, citing discontent with the war in Iraq, anger at the performance of Republicans in Congress and a general lack of enthusiasm. More than two dozen have actually made contributions to Democrats.

  27. ID Card: I don’t see why the nazi comparison is unfair – sure we don’t live in Nazi Germany, but political systems can change over time, a database can be there forever. A coup, revolution or gradual shift towards fascism is a possibility, therefore I object to being databased. (I know, I know, it’s already happening anyway 🙁 )

  28. Captain Gerrymander, The only post I have read which seemed silly and naive has been yours. Well OK, maybe not only yours.

    The governments going to abuse the ID card system and the opposition is going to offer us salvation, right? Because the government is not going to try and put the fear of god into people to convince them that just giving up this little bit of liberty is going to help us sleep safe at night, right? A government would never have the impetus to try and do that to the community, right?

  29. There is a precedent for misuse of census data, and the electoral roll could be used for the same purpose. During the first world war the Billy Hughes government sent call up notices to all persons of conscription age on the previous census. It was I believe done before the referendum on the subject, and probably helped defeat it. Both conscription referendums were defeated.

    During the period of conscription during the Menzies Holt
    Gorton and McMahon governments use was made of university records to identify persons of conscription age, then 20, who had not registered. The age for voting was then 21, so the electoral roll was not much use.

    The current age for voting is 18. Should a future government introduce conscription (remember the first government to introduce compulsory military service in Australia was a Labor government) electoral roll data could be used for the same purpose as census data was by the Hughes government during world war one.

  30. Has there been any discussion of this from the APH site? I haven’t seen any mention of it here.

    Gavan O’Connor is apparently set to announce his candidacy as an independent today. According to that list, Alan Cadman and Kelly Hoare might soon follow.

    Now it probably just means that, when asked, they decided to keep their options open. Still, interesting.

  31. I doubt either Cadman or Hoare will run. Hoare actually indicated she would accept the result despite her disillusionment with the way she was stripped of pre-selection, if my memory serves me accurately. And I got the impression that Cadman, although not ruling out the option of running as an independent, made it clear that it was only a remote possibility

    Even Cadman and Hoare were to run as independents, it wouldn’t strike me as being that interesting as a development. Cadman is a Howard loyalist while Hoare is a solid lefty so their preferences will likely end up flowing back to their respective parties.Even if they were elected to the House of Representatives as Independents -and I think this VERY unlikely -they would likely support their respective parties in the event of a hung Parliament so there’d be no suspense there

  32. Adam,

    1. Sorry to be so late with my response to this topic.

    2. The USSR had a Charter of Rights, guaranteeing among other things the right to free spech, freedom of association, fair trials etc. It was enacted into law in 1936. Stalin ignored it and did what he wanted. You’ve got the cart before the horse, IMO – we need a strong Charter of Rights first, need it to have been there long enough to be universally accepted within the nation – and THEN, after a generation or so, we can be confident that no-one will try to use an ID Card to circumvent it.

    “Only the guilty need be scared” – hah! Orwell would have loved that!

  33. Adam

    @61: Australia does NOT have a Bill of Rights, the only privacy is given to politicians who want to hide their dirt, the judiciary is appointed by Howard (now 6 of 7 Justices), the Ombudsman is a joke, the populace at large is apathetic, there is no such thing as a free press (you pay cash on the barrelhead for every positive headline)

  34. (cont’d from Adam @61 – accidentally hit “submit” button)
    Free trade unions – don’t make me laugh. You can be arrested and fined $20,000 for striking unless the Government says its OK. Slater and Gordon – lawyers, I presume? No relevance to the civil rights of human beings – the legal system worksfor whoever can afford the most expensive lawyer. There is also the saying about prostitutes having higher professional morals than lawyers – there are some clients that prostitutes won’t take on.

    Australia has no effective safeguards – plenty of safeguards, but none with both the ability and the will to take on a (hypothetically) dictatorial government, hence ineffective. Given a restored set of safeguards, the ID Card may well be a good thing for Australia – but a free society must err on the side of greater rights, not lesser. The ID Card, in the present climate, would erode the rights of citizens.

  35. Matthew – don’t mean to quibble, but aren’t the fines for civil offences under ‘WorkChoices’ $33 000 (for unions or for that matter employers) and $6600 (for individuals)?

  36. The enrolment form itself seems to have been designed as an impediment to registration; it’s very detailed and hugely complex. One wonders how anyone with limited English could hope to get a vote.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 3 of 3
1 2 3