16 November 2006

Tweedledum and Tweedledumber

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.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like good advice; you've obviously thought about this a great deal more than I have.

Doesn't democracy make you positively sick sometimes? This preference deal swindle is an absolute disgrace.

"...haven't been greatly impressed by the quality of either side."

When are we ever? Have you seen the South Park episode on voting: "The choice is always between a shit sandwich and a giant douche - that's democracy."

I agree completely that Labor's tactics have been pretty revolting, although it's not enough for me to preference the Libs ahead of them. Maybe it's just that I'm paying more attention to politics than I used to, but it seems the attack ad has enjoyed a very healthy run this time around.

Anonymous said...

I swear I looked here yesterday and these two posts weren't here...:(

I have to agree that we've heard far to little of policy and far to much of bagging the opposition on both sides this time round, which doesn't help much if you want to make an "informed" decision.

Don't know if I'll go informal though. Whenever I think I'll do that, I get the guilts in the booth and end up doing it properly anyway. Still, as you say, the Democrats seem to have lost their way and grubby preference deals muddy the waters. I doubt I'll preference against Labor either but like your seat Dikkii, Lara is fairly safe in that respect as well.

Dikkii said...

G'day Adam,

Yes. The preference deal is certainly an unsavoury part of democracy. However, I'm prepared to let them get away with it, as I like to think that people aren't so steeupid as to blindly follow the How-To-Vote card that they've been given.

(I know this is not correct, but humour me!)

What makes me sicker is the voting-above-the-line option for the Senate in federal elections - putting a 1 in a box where you don't even know how the lower preferences will be distributed. I know, cause I went looking on the net at the last federal election and couldn't find them.

Needless to say, I number the boxes below the line. And not just cause I can be a complete bastard.

Good point about quality. I probably expect too much.

Ted - it's probably because if you save a blog post in draft form, Blogger uses the date it was first saved as the date of the post.

I put these both up within an hour of each other on the 21st.

Although it actually doesn't matter how I vote in the lower house - Eltham is a pretty safe Labor seat - the upper house is a different story - everyone should be going hard at it to get the Greens into the Legislative Council with the balance of power.

Let's see these idiots in the major parties try to pull one on us then.

Thank FSM that Australia has preferential voting. Imagine if you lived in the States?

Anonymous said...

Imagine if you lived in the States?

Lol. I'd rather not...:)

It's not easy to explain it to someone who's new to it either. There's a hell of a differnce between how it's meant to work and how it actually works...

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just that I don't understand it, but I just can't get over the electoral college thing over there. It just seems completely insane to me.

[Late addition: I don't know what's going on with your comment system Dikkii, but every time I hit the "Publish Your Comment" button, the damn thing tells me I got the word verification wrong. Second time always works though - wierd.]

Dikkii said...

Ted wrote:

"There's a hell of a differnce between how it's meant to work and how it actually works..."

Oh so that's why 10% of the population supports the Greens, but they have no representation in the lower house? LOL.

Adam wrote:

"Maybe it's just that I don't understand it, but I just can't get over the electoral college thing over there."

It seems insane to me too. But apparently it's because people who were (at independence) eligible to vote couldn't be trusted to vote in the best interests of the country.

In other words, screamingly elitist claptrap.

Re word verification on comments:

Yeah, it's been like that since I switched to the new Blogger Beta. They're still ironing out a few things, but it does what I ask.

beepbeepitsme said...

Go the greens!