30 July 2010

Keeping your member "local" part three

Folks, nominations have only just closed for all those who are running as candidates for the 2010 election. It's a little early to see exactly who are all the candidates are, but thanks to the ABC, we can already see who three of the candidates are in the electorate of Jagajaga.

Presently, it appears to be incumbent member Jenny Macklin, standing as a member of the ALP, Johannes Bauch (another Joh!) standing as a candidate for the Liberal Party and Chris Kearney who will represent the Greens.

I'll have to wait until the AEC fixes their webpage to catch all the candidates - no doubt that there'll be more - but until then, I thought it would be good to find out about Bauch and Kearney.

Incidentally, the letter I sent to Macklin nearly a week ago still hasn't been answered, yet. I'll give her staffers another week to answer it, then I'll follow it up.

I'll be honest: Bauch and Kearney don't stand a chance. Jagajaga is an ultra-safe Labor seat, and Jenny Macklin is a shoe-in. But still, even though in the grand scheme of things my vote is worth diddly-squat, if I'm going to rock up to the polling booth and cast my vote, I'd rather do it properly.

It's either that or vote informally, which I have to admit, I've done before.

Allow me to digress just for a moment: I have had a discussion with someone who thinks that the above sentence may be interpreted as advice to vote informally which is illegal in Australia. Obviously, only a complete idiot would interpret that sentence this way, but am I wrong? Do courts apply a "what would an unreasonable person with half his faculties missing think" test?


So, in keeping with that theme, I thought I'd take the opportunity to grill Bauch and Kearney about their community involvement. I strongly suspect that Bauch has been parachuted in, as his profile on the Liberal Party's website is devoid of detail, but Kearney on the other hand might be a little more interesting. Kearney appears to have runs on the board according to the Greens' website:

  • He's lived in Macleod for 32 years. OK, he's clearly local.
  • "Many local schools and sporting committees". I need specifics.
  • "Active" member of Macleod Tennis Club. "Active" could mean anything.
  • Member of Eltham & District Amateur Winemakers’ Guild. Very interesting.

Kearney is clearly a standout candidate at this point, assuming that I end up disregarding the candidates' policy platforms of their political parties (a lot of "P"s) which I won't.

I need to ask the candidates individually what they have done for Jagajaga. To keep this fair, I will only make it for the term elapsed since the last election in November 2007:

Dear Candidate,

I notice that you've declared as a candidate for Jagajaga. May I congratulate you on your preselection and wish you the best of luck for what will be, I'm sure, a rivetting contest in Jagajaga.

So that I can vote properly and not roll a dice or blindly follow a how-to-vote card like so many Australians do, I thought I’d ask the question: Is it possible for you to send me a summary of what your contributions to the community of Jagajaga have been during the period covering the last electoral term?

Please note – I am not looking for your achievements personally, nor am I looking for your qualifications of which I'm sure there are a few. I am simply looking for what it is that you’ve done to benefit the people of Jagajaga specifically during the current electoral term and nothing more.

Community stuff is what I'm after. For example I note that the current Member for Warringah is a member of a surf lifesaving club in his electorate and although he doesn’t get rostered on terribly often, he has a record of turning up to do his shifts. So stuff like that please.

Although the election is still a little while away, please be assured that I will consider every syllable of your response when I get to the polling booth in August.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Yours sincerely,


I bet they'll be faster than Macklin at responding.

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