No accounting for taste

Matthew Franklin of The Australian reports a Newspoll survey commissioned by conservative think tank the Institute of Public Administration finds Australians’ views on electoral reform are the opposite of my own: 70 per cent back compulsory voting, while “more than half would prefer first-past-the-post voting to the preferential system”.

Now for some other matters I’ve been keeping on the back-burner due to post-election ennui:

Tim Colebatch of The Age offered a litany of evidence last month on the extent of public disaffection expressed at the August 21 election, which seemed especially concentrated in areas traditionally strong for Labor. The turnout of 93.2 per cent, meaning votes cast as a percentage of enrolled voters, was the lowest since the introduction of compulsory voting in 1925. Furthermore, the informal vote rose from 4.0 per cent in 2007 to 5.6 per cent in 2010. Anecdotal evidence of large numbers of blank ballot papers have led to talk of a “Mark Latham effect”, although Peter Brent at Mumble observes it was actually 2007 that was the aberration. However, one of the reasons proffered for the lower informal vote on that occasion was a lower number of candidates (no doubt a consequence of an increased deposit, one of the few agreeable features of the Howard government’s 2006 electoral law changes). That the number was lower still this time brings the disaffection hypothesis back into play. Speaking of Latham, his column in the Australian Financial Review on September 23 argued the election amounted to a rejection of two-party politics with reference to a combined major party vote of 71.8 per cent, when measured as a percentage of enrolled voters rather than votes cast. The Australian’s Cut and Paste section then proceeded to completely miss the point in response. Brian Costar and Peter Browne at Inside Story calculate that the non-voting rate as a proportion of the adult population was 21 per cent, the main culprit being an enrolment regime that uses the power of data-matching to strike those with incorrect enrolments from the roll rather than update their details. The solution to this problem, automatic enrolment, has now been adopted at state level in New South Wales and Victoria, but is opposed at federal level by the Coalition for completely spurious reasons which are examined in another article by Peter Browne and Brian Costar.

• A fortnight ago, the Australian Electoral Commission released a report into the pre-polling irregularities that led to the exclusion from the count of 2977 votes in Bootbhy and 1306 in Flynn. The difficulties in each case related to the reform that allowed pre-poll votes to be treated as ordinary rather than declaration votes, and thus to be admitted to the count on election night. This required protocols concerning the security of ballot boxes which had not applied when each vote was contained in a declaration envelope and later subjected to individual scrutiny – in particular, a requirement that boxes not be opened during the three week pre-polling period. At the Oaklands Park pre-polling booth in Boothby, the polling official emptied the ballot boxes at the end of each day and transferred their contents to larger boxes, so as to keep “an ongoing detailed record of the number of ordinary ballot papers and the various categories of declaration votes issued”. On polling day the boxes were taken to the Boothby scrutiny centre for counting, at which point the Labor scrutineer noted the ballots inside were “stacked and flat” rather than “disordered and jumbled” in the usual fashion. There were two separate incidents in Flynn. In Blackwater, an official opened the boxes and counted the votes upon the final closure of pre-poll voting the day before the election, based on a set of instructions from the district returning officer intended to detail procedures for ordinary booths on polling day. At Emerald, the officer had opened the box on a number of occasions “to rearrange the papers and create more space”, and then applied new security seals (the officer had been provided with extra seals on request to the divisional office, which should have rung alarm bells at the time). This came to light due to procedures used to identify and record the seals. The net effect of the votes’ exclusion in Boothby was to cut Liberal member Andrew Southcott’s winning margin by 339 votes; I am not aware of the impact in Flynn, but the eventual Liberal National Party margin was 5720 votes.

• Ruminating on Labor’s malaise is very much in vogue this season, as demonstrated by the post-election review process being undertaken by party elders Steve Bracks, Bob Carr and John Faulkner, and the publication this week of Power Crisis: The Self-Destruction of a State Labor Party, by former NSW state MP Rodney Cavalier. Writing in The Australian, Cavalier calls for a secret ballots in preselection votes and a prohibition on candidates who in the past five years have been members of the “political class” (“those on the staff of ministers, ALP office and union officials who do not come from the industries the unions represent”). Lenore Taylor of the Sydney Morning Herald reports NSW Labor is planning to choose candidates in selected electorates by conducting open primaries, either through a straight vote or “a hybrid of an open-to-all-comers vote and the usual branch member system”. This follows the lead of the Nationals in the independent-held seat of Tamworth and Victorian Labor in Liberal-held Kilsyth. Disappointingly for Cavalier, the latter process turned up Vicki Setches, electorate officer to upper house MP Shaun Leane.

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.

895 comments on “No accounting for taste”

Comments Page 1 of 18
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  1. [70 per cent back compulsory voting]
    That would include me, if only for the reason that IMO only the threat of a fine would get most Australians off the couch to attend a polling booth.

  2. Puffy, me three.

    ah the sunlight is sifting thru’ trees in this beautiful sydney spring morning. the howling wind has gone.

    Hey Mum, it’s hard to die on a day like this :kiss:

  3. And we criticise the North Korea’s Kim Dynasty. The Dear Leader at least has a real Kingdom to give. This man has nothing except his own buffoon-ness to give.

    [THE NEW paradigm of politics has hit a snag with claims Bob Katter’s support for the Coalition in the hung parliament came with the promise of a clear run at a political dynasty.

    But the colourful Queensland independent has strongly rejected the assertions, labelling the origins of the story as ”mischief-making”.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    According to Coalition sources, Mr Katter’s vote for the opposition was shored up over discussions about his son, Robbie, during a dinner with Liberal Party powerbrokers on the weekend before Labor formed a minority government.

    Robbie Katter, a Mount Isa businessman, is widely tipped as next in line to represent the people of Kennedy after his father’s retirement – maybe at the next federal election.]

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/dynasty-claims-dog-katter-20101016-16oar.html

  4. Hi Finny,
    Dawn is breaking here now. A bad dream woke me up. No, the rabbott wasn’t PM, I said a bad dream not a nightmare. 😆 I was just watching a report on abc24 about the homes flooded in NSW, very unfortunate and distressing.

  5. “First past the post”.
    We do have first past the post now – and it is a fixed post.
    In the current system each vote is of equal value.
    The only other way to maintain equal value is to have a system of proportional voting for the lower house. This would have the effect of ridding us of the essentially two-party system and wold see the emergence (depending on the size each electorate) of more and more minor parties and independents – as well as an inherently less stable parliament.
    The “first past he post” system popularly understood is that the candidate simply polling the most votes wins the seat. It is conceivable that radical candidates whose stance is eschewed by all other candidates could win with, say only 20% of the vote whilst the remaining 80% had no say at all and would have every right to feel disenfranchised. This cannot be said of the current system.
    I don’t like it.
    It stinks of shallow shockjock ignorant populism.

  6. Wall to wall Saint Mary coverage on all news channels this morning. I can’t stand it.
    To think that adults in high places can credit this superstitious twaddle is most disturbing.
    The thought of Rudd, Bishop, Joyce and Fischer over in The Vatican is sickening.

  7. BK
    The other reason I like compulsory poll attendance, is I vehemently do not want USA style circus events for months on end run by all parties just to get people to the polls.

    I like our system: four week campaigns, a night of counting most votes, sort the wheat from the chaff (Julia = wheat, Tony = chaff), bed down the new government in a couple of weeks and forget about it, or spend the rest of the time posting on PB.

  8. Headline at the ABC on-line

    [Pilgrim feels Mary’s presence in Rome]

    This whole sainthood thing has reached ridiculous levels,

  9. [Wall to wall Saint Mary coverage on all news channels this morning.]

    BK, i have no doubt Mary Mac was a great woman and did many good deeds.

    What i object to is the branding and marketing Mary Mac as a “saintly product” especially by the Catholic Church Establishment, read the Vatican.

    You must admit the Vatican is very good at creating a product, then branding and marketing the product. Who can forget the action packed selection and crowning of the Pope.

    If only Mecca learns from the Vatican.

  10. The planet is unwell and needs desperate treatment if it is to survive yet the ABC thinks it’s OK to give equal time to all sides in the debate including Lord Nutbag and his devotees. Now the ABC swoons to the sound of religious followers with not a moment given over to those who find the whole thing to be farcical and a complete waste of money and effort. What hope for humanity?

  11. [What hope for humanity?]

    Tom, Disneyland.

    [AN INDIANA teenager who admitted he strangled his 10-year-old brother and told police he identified with TV serial killer Dexter has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

    Andrew Conley, 18, showed no emotion as a judge sentenced him for the November 28 murder of his brother Conner……………. In a chilling video played during a five-day sentencing hearing last month, Conley calmly described how he killed Conner while wrestling with the boy at their home in southern Indiana.

    The teenager told police he caught his brother in a choke hold as the child, who witnesses said had idolised him, fought and pleaded for him to stop.]

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/teen-killed-brother-10-to-be-like-hero-dexter-20101016-16oa7.html

  12. [In the current system each vote is of equal value.]

    This is not true. In the Senate Count Ticket votes for Majpr Parties in fact increase in value as the count progresses, if there a candidate is elected as a result of a deferered distribution the party ticket vote increases disporprtionally to its orginal value whilst primary votes for minor party candidates are devalued disportional to bolster teh party ticket vote. This is a flaw in the way the Senate vote is counted and the method of distributing preferences.

  13. De-educating the electorate: Australia’s Voting System Undermined
    It is all in the way you ask the question

    The Australian Government has done a poor job in promoting the Preferential voting system, Apart from the way they calculate and count Senate elections Australia’s voting system is one of the most democratic on offer. The Alternative vote – preferential voting system gives voters a choice and ensures that who is elected has the support of a majority of voters.

    A Newspoll. published in the Australian and Herald Sun and promoted by the Liberal Party think tank “Institute of Public Administration” pushes the false notion that Australia wants a first-past-the-post voting system, but does it?

    The question being asked should be rephrased in the terms

    [“Do you support a candidate with less than the majority support being elected or should they have 50% or more support?]

    You would find that the most supported answer would be “50% or more”. The highest polling candidate is not the most supported candidate nor does it represent the majority. In fact it is, more often then not, the minority that has the highest vote as we saw in the UK elections.

    In 1996 Melbourne City Council Candidate, Peter Costigan, received 40% of the primary vote. He was the highest polling candidate in his electorate, the second highest primary vote candidate had 36%. Costigan later lost the vote due to the distribution of preferences. Costigan having lost the election jumped on to the Radio and claimed that as he was the highest polling candidate he should have won the election. Problem for him of course was that 60% of the electorate did not support his election to office.

    It is also interesting that the published article promotes the British and USA first-past-the-post voting system whilst in the UK there are moves to have this system replaced with the Australian preferential model.

    Our system of democracy is under challenge, not just as a result of the flaws in the way we count the Senate vote but primarily due to the poor level of education and government support and the extent of tinkering at the edges that undermine the effectiveness of our vote.

    The Australian government needs to do much more to promote the Preferential voting system. Not just in Australia but also internationally.

    A preferential voting system would save France, which has a two round presidential ballot, 100s of millions of Euros – The cost of holding a second round ballot should the first round ballot not deliver a candidate with majority support (50% or more votes).

    Preferential voting ensures that the person elected to office has the support of a majority of electorate without the need for second ballot. Under the the US or British first-past-the-post voting system a candidate with as little as 34% support can be elected to office (some times even less).

    It is this lack of understanding, lack of government education, lack of promotion that has contributed to the misinformation and push to see Australia revert back to the undemocratic first-past-the-host voting system.

    Optional preferential voting will only make it worst in years to come.. I for one would prefer to see compulsory voting abolished long before abandoning the preferential voting system.

  14. [This is not true. In the Senate Count Ticket votes for Majpr Parties in fact increase in value as the count progresses, if there a candidate is elected as a result of a deferered distribution the party ticket vote increases disporprtionally to its orginal value whilst primary votes for minor party candidates are devalued disportional to bolster teh party ticket vote. This is a flaw in the way the Senate vote is counted and the method of distributing preferences.]
    Dem
    My comments referred to the lower house.
    I do agree that with quota counting there is, the smaller the number of seats, an increasing imbalance. However there is an approximation of equal value.

  15. in 2006 at the Victorian State election, report indicated that VEC staff had accessed the data file records of vthe elctornic voting kiosoks prior to the close of the ballot. No scurineers were present. This of course raises concern as to the level of security of electronic voting

    [From: Glenda Frazer
    Sent: Friday, November 24, 2006 8:37 AM
    Subject: Late update to results
    A late update to all regarding the votes taken at our 6 E Centres and Melbourne Airport. Each centre mentioned will be taking votes for all Districts in the State, additionally each of these centres will be counting all votes taken on election day. After analysing the number of voting centre results entered last night for 1st prefs (District and Region) and 2 CP we have realised that everyone could be waiting around all night for what would be dribs and drabs that we do not anticipate would make an impact on the result. Because of this we have decided that we will not be entering these small results on election night. These will be entered on Sunday during the day.
    Many apologies for those people who I have misinformed this afternoon, as I said this is a late change.
    We do not anticipate large numbers of votes from these centres. I will keep in touch with progress reports.
    Regards – Glenda]

  16. The Age has an interesting piece on Afghanistan as its lead story on the website today. see http://www.theage.com.au/national/troops-overwhelmed-and-cannot-defeat-taliban-20101016-16odk.html

    The link to the actual article by Smethurst discussed in The Age piece is incorrect

    It can be found through http://www.defence.gov.au/jetwc/publications/shedden_10.html (The Age have accidentally replaced the underscore before the “10” with a hyphen)

    The article itself is at http://www.defence.gov.au/jetwc/docs/publications%202010/Publctns_100924_CreatingConditionsfortheDefeatoftheAfganTaliban.pdf

  17. [This whole sainthood thing has reached ridiculous levels,]

    What I find to be rather obscene in the Mckillop Saint hood push is the amount of money that has been allocated spent in what is fast becoming nothing more then a promotion scheme. I am sure that the money spent could have been better deployed elsewhere providing a real service to those in need. I wonder what Mary McKillop herself would have thought of such.

  18. [The thought of Rudd, Bishop, Joyce and Fischer over in The Vatican is sickening.]

    Bronnie is there too apparently. It is said that when she was Aged Care minister she had 17 bibles in the bookcase in her office. 17!

    [70 per cent back compulsory voting,]

    I used to be one of those, until this election. I’d much prefer that engaged voters got to determine govt rather than the disengaged who do now.

  19. [I am sure that the money spent could have been better deployed elsewhere providing a real service to those in need.]

    Dem, Capitalism Rule No: 1 – You have to spend money to make money.

  20. In a hurry this morning so:
    1. Sainthood: Oh, c’mon guys. I’m not Catholic but let the guys have their day! There is nothing wrong with a bit of branch stacking in the Catholic powerbase after all.
    2. OVOV: Don’t agree with this. When you get to the 8th and 9th preferences it gets ridiculous. When you get to the 23rd, 24th preferences in Senate races its beyond ridiculous. We need OPV (which means your vote may expire if you vote for minor candidates that are excluded). This may decrease informal votes.
    3. Money spent: Does the Catholic church charge for sainthood???

    I dont want to rain on the parade, but I cant resist pointing out how little we have learned over the last few thousand years. An ancient Greek philosopher made the point about all these miracles perfectly for me when he was criticised for not believing in miracles:

    Masses: Lord Bion, How can you not believe in God? There are so many sailors who were saved from drowning by praying to God!

    Lord Bion: Yes, but tell me how many prayed and drowned?

  21. if you travel overseas for a prolonged stay or for work commitments and you give you your rented apartment you are more then likely to find that you are removed from the role and disenfranchised as a result. On your return you will have to once again produce a birth certificate in order to re-enroll. The rules of entitlement differ between each state and each electoral authority. The Southern Cross Group has been trying to campaign on this issue. This is one aspect that escaped the GetUp organisations fund raising campaign/court challenge. It seams as a citizen of Australia you not entitled to vote unless you have a place of residence or intend to return to the place of residence at which you were registered.

  22. Good Morning, Bludgers

    A very special Good Morning to my say and other PBers who’ve looked forward to this day for a long time … and to one who won’t read this message; Sr Mary Carroll, former school mate, for decades a Josephite teacher in South America.

    I don’t share your faith or believe in any god, but I did, for a while, attend a Josephite school & was taught by a magic old Bushie Nun who knew Mary, and who gave me the best education – especially in all things Aussie – I could have had.

    Mary McKillop was a very great & courageous Australian who took on priests, bishops and the Vatican, and won. At a time when women were expected to be housewives, she, her Ladies & schools which taught both boys & girl throughout primary (most private schools segregated at about the half-way mark) provided much-needed examples of strong & strong-minded women in senior positions.

    Ignore the few PBers who have belittled you, your faith, your heroine and your day. They have attitude problems, not you & are no better than TTH/GeeWizz, spewing undeserved bile because of their own hang-ups.

    Australians used to be proud of their tolerance; of being a nation where what mattered was the person him/herself, not her/his ethnicity, religion, class or background. Until Howard & Hanson, most wartime & PostWar parliamentarians and PMs had been proudly united in entrenching tolerance. Those who, in a decade, welcomed and assimilated a million migrants from war-torn Europe & the Middle East & many different sects, even religions (inc Muslims from the Balkans & ME) are rightly disgusted by bigotry.

    Have the best of all possible days, my say, and tell us about it.

  23. [his came to light due to procedures used to identify and record the seals.]

    What do you do with electronic voting kiosks which do not have seals placed on them.

    This is one reason why e have been campaigning for access to copies of the preference data files as the count progresses. Staff and scrutineers must not have access to the data files prior to the close of the ballot and there is a need for each kiosk to be fitted with a write once only CROM audit trail that can preserve the secrecy of the ballot. A Single Use Only access voting key that is not cross referenced to the voters identity. but in all cased the voting data record needs to be protected from interference.

    In the Senate Count the weakest security link was the counting room central tabulation computer. By providing access to copies of the preference data files as the count progresses limits opportunity for any potential tampering of the data files as copies are available to scrutineers. There still remains potential weak spots in the data collection process and the transfer of data via the USB key system.

    In a single member electorate there is no need or advantage in undertaking a transcribed data-entry computerised count of the ballot.

  24. ABC TV news. 9AM

    Lead: “All eyes are on the Vatican …”

    Er, no they are not.

    Second item: “The Federal Opposition says …”

  25. Was listening 2GB on Friday arfternoon as I thought my blood pressure was too low and needed a boost. They interviewed someone about this poll and here’s what I learnt from the host:
    He doubts the 70% figure
    He doesn’t like PV, he prefers FPTP
    Both the elected state and federal Labor governments are all bad all the time!
    And my favourite bit: 2GB is the voice of the people

  26. In the 2010 Senate count Scruineerrs were refused access and copies to the progressive Senate below the line preference data., This prevented opportunity for scrutineers to independently review the data collected. Review of the data files finally released identified a number of records that should have been subject to further scrutiny but were not. For example who did the computer interpret a data entry preference record of “050” or “010” in some cases this should have been a 50 and a 10 or even a 01 or 05. More importantly was this pickedup in the double entry batch control system?

    Thankfully the Senate count was not as close in 2010 as it was in 2007. But in the State Victorian election this will need to be monitored much more closely.

    [In 2006 the result of the upper house regions was decided by less then 150 votes. And records showed that votes went missing between count A and Count B and copies of the data files for count A were destroyed without backups copies being made, as a result scrutineers and members of the Parliamentary review committee were denied the opportunity to analysis the data quality.]

  27. [Wall to wall Saint Mary coverage on all news channels this morning. I can’t stand it.
    To think that adults in high places can credit this superstitious twaddle is most disturbing.
    The thought of Rudd, Bishop, Joyce and Fischer over in The Vatican is sickening.]

    But their attending the Olympics etc isn’t, BK?

    [This whole sainthood thing has reached ridiculous levels,]

    And Aussie Rules hysteria didn’t, Tom Hawkins? Especially on this blog?

    At least, in this case, the hero is far more worthy of celebration and/or hero-worship for contribution to national education, especially of Bush & Outback kids, and the poor, than most sport-persons, especially self-indulgent footballers.

    This is a pluralist democracy. People are entitled to their own beliefs and heroes.

    If I’d rubbished Aussie Rules hysteria & heroes the way you do a different religion and hero, there’d have been howls of outraged abuse & William would have yellow carded me.

    You need to embrace tolerance & get a little perspective, instead of getting your spoil-sport kicks trying to upset my say and other RCs on the board (or lurking) on their very special day.

    How bloody unAustralian can you get!

  28. [If I’d rubbished Aussie Rules hysteria & heroes the way you do a different religion and hero, there’d have been howls of outraged abuse & William would have yellow carded me.]

    Absolute rubbish

  29. OzPol Tragic – If we were talking about (serious) witchcraft would William tells to get back on topic? (You seem to know he who monitors us well!)

  30. OPT@32:

    [If I’d rubbished Aussie Rules hysteria & heroes the way you do a different religion and hero, there’d have been howls of outraged abuse & William would have yellow carded me.]

    Nonsense.

    I am not a fan of team sports, and when I have gently chided the promoters of aerial ping pong, they have done what any sensible person with passions not shared by others would have done – they ignored my comments.

    Only when I have criticised bastardisation of the english language have I had confected rage directed at me.

    At the same time, if people promote religion, they must expect those who do not share their views to give their opinion. This does not (or should not) denigrate the people, just the ideas or the lack of consistency of those high in the hierarchy of religion.

  31. [The Australian Government has done a poor job in promoting the Preferential voting system]

    WTF??? Federally, we’ve had PV for 92 years, FFS! Given the voting age at the time was 21 (born 1896/7 or earlier), you’d have to be over 110 yo (or under 18) not to have exercised a PV for a Federal HoR election.

    It’s a citizen’s duty to know our electoral system. If Aussies need to waste tax-payers $$ “promoting” a voting system that’s been around almost a century, no wonder people think of Australia as the World’s “Dumb Blonde”!

    [Australia uses various forms of preferential voting for almost all elections. Under this system, voters number the candidates on the ballot paper in the order of their preference. The preferential system was introduced in 1918 … It was first used at the Corangamite by-election on 14 December 1918.[15][16] It had previously been introduced as a result of the work of Thomas Hare and Andrew Inglis Clark in the Tasmanian House of Assembly.]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_electoral_system#Preferential_voting

  32. [It is understood Wikileaks is preparing to release as many as 400,000 sensitive intelligence files relating to the US-led war in Iraq.

    The files have been leaked to the whistleblower website from an unconfirmed source.

    The Pentagon has begun scouring through its own Iraq war databases to prepare for the fallout and has reportedly set up a 120-person taskforce to assess the possible impact.]

    Now This is big news.

  33. [This does not (or should not) denigrate the people…]

    Quite right Don. My initial comment wasn’t directed at ordinary church going Catholics nor even the church itself. My beef is with The ABC and the way that CC debate is handled (fancy allowing deniers equal time alongside CC scientists) with the way this completely unscientific Sainthood thing is handled.

  34. One month and ten days until the Victorian State Election and you would hardly notice it. No polls very little campaigning, an opposition that is clearly on the back foot and missing in action.

    The Greens need the preference support of the Liberal Party in order to be contention for a win in inner Melbourne seats but at what price will that support be given. Expectation is that the Greens will need to deliver the LNP preferences in key lower house and upper-house seats. Rumors have it that the Greens will be required to deliver preferences to the Liberal Party in Eastern, Southern Metro and the three key rural region upper-house seats. The preference deals will expose the hypocrisy of the Greens and associated flow on effect in the Federal and Tasmanian State domains.

  35. I mean about the voting system and how our system of government works – checks and balances, separation of powers, rule of law. My impression is that something like 5% have the faintest idea of it all thus allowing for the shock jocks and their puppet politicians free rein to carry out their apalling disinformation programs to support the conservative side of politics. (Part of the reason why conservative governments starve state schools of funding…)

  36. There seems to be a general trend amongst what I would call the better politically informed crowd (ie many bloggers) that voting should not be compulsory. The arguments tend to be around democracy and dealing with those people who are (apparently) not making informed decisions. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am with Puff on this one – if it’s not compulsory then a very substantial number of Australians just won’t vote. Yes, they will complain about whoever gets in, but they will never be motivated to vote. Evidence? eg votes in societies and clubs – the turnout is abysmal leading to wins for the political astute, rather than those who may be better for the role. (Please don’t tell me that’s different, it’s not – it’s an atitude we cultuivate in the lucky country).

    And as Puff mentioned, having a round of coaxing before an election, just to get us to vote – the campaigns are already too long. If you have not shown, by your actions and policies over the long term, that you are fit to run the country (for all), then the four weeks before an election is not going to convince me, and I wonder how many others really do change or their mind (or just say they do).

    … now there’s lots in there to rip apart 😉

  37. [One month and ten days until the Victorian State Election and you would hardly notice it.]

    The bombardment of Government advertising is sign enough. Having fixed terms as in Victoria is a good thing but allowing millions to be spent promoting a government this close to an election is wrong.

  38. NSW politics. Toongabbie is held for Labor on 14.5% (in NSW, the “new marginals”):
    [FAMOUSLY dumped as premier by his own party, Nathan Rees faces a fight to hold on to his political career.

    Forces within his Left faction are marshalling for a push to unseat Mr Rees in his Toongabbie electorate before the state election.

    Federal MP Laurie Ferguson, the Left’s local warlord, is pushing for a rank and file ballot during the preselection for Toongabbie.

    Mr Ferguson’s candidate, Susai Benjamin, a migration officer from Toongabbie’s large Indian community, would have significant support in a vote by branch preselectors – although it is thought Mr Rees would still get across the line.

    The matter has turned ugly, with ALP head office sources saying they are keeping a close eye out for branch stacking.

    There is also talk that Right faction powerbroker Joe Tripodi is working hand in glove with the Ferguson family to see Mr Rees ousted…

    “We cannot win in Toongabbie without Nathan Rees as our candidate, it’s as simple as that,” a Sussex Street source said. “Having been premier, people feel like they know him. There’s recognition there and that counts for something.”

    Susai Benjamin works at the NSW Office of State Revenue and is also a registered migration officer. He did not return phone calls.]

  39. OzPol Tragic
    [WTF]

    Your assuming that the punters understand how the system works. they do not. There has been no debate or educational programs that distinguishes the Australian experience from that in Britain or even in France.

    the fact that the poll spanked by the IPA shows that a majority of Australian want First past the post voting demonstrates this fact. If as you say Australian have been using Preferential voting for over 100 years then why are they now calling for a change reverting back to the outdated flawed first-past-the-post ballot system, when Britain is debating abolishing FPTP voting. This indicates that most Australians are not aware how our voting system works. Australia does little in promoting the principle behind the alternative vote. A large percentage of voters in Australia were not born her so they have not had the experience or understanding of out voting system when compared to overseas countries.

    I think much more needs to be done to promote and explain how the system works.

    The Senate voting system , for example is understood by very few voters. Why? because the government has not explained how it works.

    [It’s a citizen’s duty to know our electoral system.]

    Well they need information in order to make an informed decision don’t you think?

  40. [ My impression is that something like 5% have the faintest idea of it all thus allowing for the shock jocks and their puppet politicians free rein to carry out their apalling disinformation programs to support the conservative side of politics.]
    Singha -that doesn’t mean we should leave the voting to the 5%. You are right in that we need better education of our system to allow people to understand the shockjocks of the world and interpret their ranting accordingly.

  41. [It is reported in the SMH that part of the deal Katter had with the coalition (and one of the reasons he backed them) is they would “guarantee to clear a path for Robbie Katter [Bob’s son] at the next federal election.” This is rejected by Katter.]

    You do realise Bob Katter is an independent right?

    This stuff is fairy lands stuff.

  42. [You do realise Bob Katter is an independent right?

    This stuff is fairy lands stuff.]
    Oddly anough I agree with you GW. But then I live in NQ, so I am baised!

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