It's election time again in the State of Victoria, this Saturday. Which means that we have to vote again.
And may I just say that it is heating up.
Now it has, believe it or not, been many years since I voted informally. I have voted properly in at least the last two state elections.
And each time, I went for the little parties - the Greens and the Democrats before my preferences found their way down the ballot paper, first to the ALP, (in most instances) and then the Liberals.
This time around, the politicking has been brutal.
And I for one want to vote informally again.
Allow me to demonstrate my predicament:
1. The Democrats are dead. Doornail dead. So preferencing these guys early on is not so much of a big issue. And the best part about this is that it doesn't matter where you vote, because they are equally dead everywhere. So I'll put them up the list, because I still think that if they got their house in order, they'd be a force again one day.
Ain't gunna be this election, though. And that's the easy one.
2. Prefencing higher up in my vote for a local member of the Legislative Assembly (lower house) is likely to be the Greens again. But this is going to be even more interesting now that the Legislative Council (upper house) is a vote by proportional representation. This time there is a real good chance that the Greens will end up with the balance of power. And I hope that they do.
3. Following on from that is a plug to my good buddy Gurm Sekhon who is running for the seat of Richmond in the lower house. As a Greens candidate. And he stands a damn good chance of geting this, however...
4. In some seats, the ALP and the Libs have done a preference deal. WITH EACH OTHER!!!! How can it be allowed that the two major political parties can freeze out the minor parties like this? It is an outrage.
I'm actually quite disgusted at this act of bastardry. Gurm stands to be humiliated at the ballot box because the major parties fear the Greens in Richmond.
And unfortunately that leads to this...
5. It is more than likely that my preferences on my ballot sheet (cause I live in a pretty safe Labor seat) will trickle down to the majors, no matter how I number the boxes. So I have to think about in which order I'm going to put my lower preferences.
6. It goes without say that Family First, the CEC and the other crazy nutjobs will get my lowest preferences.
So the question is, in what order do I number the boxes next to the Labor and Liberal candidates?
The problem that I have in this particular instance is that I haven't been greatly impressed by the quality of either side. On Liberal's side, there has been references to all sorts of things that happened under the current Bracks government. Some of these have been criticism from the Auditor-General's office. This is particularly hypocritical given that the previous Liberal government under Jeff Kennett sought to close the Auditor-General's office down and replace them via public tender.
Labor aimed a particularly well-aimed shot across the bow of Ted Baillieu as a former director of real estate company Baillieu Knight Frank (now Knight Frank Australia). During his time with Knight Frank, the Kennett government unfortunately used this company as the agent for the sale of land that used to house schools. Which means that Baillieu is an easy target. The one thing that bugs me about Labor's approach in this election is their willingness to attack Baillieu personally at every turn.
And that has me wanting to number Liberal ahead of Labor this election.
It is simply wrong, wrong, wrong to play the wealth card in the quite nasty way that Labor have been doing. Labor ads have played up public information about Ted Baillieu's investments in such a nasty way.
And they do not have clean hands themselves. Labor ministers such as Justin Madden and Mary Delahunty have populated their register of interests with such transparent and honest descriptions such as "Madden Family Super Fund" instead of actually writing the names of the investments themselves.
Baillieu, on the other hand has paid the price for neatly populating his form with all the companies he owns shares in (which is quite a lot).
Conflicts of interest?
Well this won't be sorted out until someone passes a law that forces members to place their investments under administration by a neutral third party in a blind trust as soon as they're elected to parliament.
But I can tell you this much - until Madden, Delahunty and anyone else on Labor's side portray their financial affairs with the same kind of scrupulous openness that Baillieu has, they are in absolutely no position to point the finger.
Until then, this sordid stuff stinks. Just imagine if you had to defend your personal investments when applying for a job.
Thank God for minor parties. (The ones that don't suck, anyway)
This blogger declares an interest of sorts - he will be handing out How-To-Vote cards in the electorate of Richmond where he will be helping Greens candidate Gurm Sekhon get elected to State Parliament this weekend. Even if you plan to vote for one of the major parties, put the Greens First on your ballot paper. What's the worst thing that can happen - one gets elected? More power to democracy, I say.