22 November 2007

Dikkii's pre-election round-up (part 2)

Anyway, this is part 2.

Part 1 is here.

I didn't mention for the benefit of my international readers that voting is compulsory in Australia.

This is important, because it could be considered a wasted exercise in the electorate where I live: Jagajaga.

Jagajaga is a safe Labor seat. Current member Jenny Macklin will be comfortably re-elected on Saturday unless a natural disaster were to hit the outer north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Consequently, my vote is like Stan's in that episode of South Park where he's forced to pick between a douche and a turd sandwich.

Not that I'm suggesting that Macklin or any of the other candidates in Jagajaga are either of these.

But I am not just voting for my local member. I am also required to cast my vote for the Senate.

And that is always truly interesting.

But anyway, here are my options on Saturday, and here is my present voting guide:

Dikkii's How-To-Vote card for the Division of Jagajaga

Here are the options as they will appear on the ballot paper:

Ballot Position

Candidate Name

Party Ballot Name


LELE, Stephen

Citizens Electoral Council



Australian Labor Party



Australian Greens


CONLON, Andrew

Family First


D'SOUZA, Conrad




Australian Democrats

The first thing that should be noted is that the Citizens Electoral Council (CEC) candidate is first. This gives him a go at any perceived "donkey" votes.

However, as Lele should be eliminated reasonably early on, the donkey vote will favour Macklin.

And thank goodness for that - the CEC is a bunch of Larouchian toerags who wouldn't know a cogent economic argument if it punched them in the face.

Interesting. We have a Family First candidate up for grabs. Family First are grievous religious kooks.

This answers my first question: Who to put last on the ballot paper?

We'll come back to that one.

Who to put first has always been a no-brainer for those who know me. This is how I will be numbering.

Number 1

Hodgson of the Greens.

And why not? The Greens haven't gotten power mad yet. Or contradicted themselves in a major hypocritical way. Yet.

Number 2

Graham of the Democrats.

Dunno why the Dems - they are going to be pretty much extinct as of this election, with no more members in the Senate. Sad.

And they've never had much of a presence in the House. Oh well.

Numbers 5 and 6 are going to be hard. You're looking at nutters versus wackos. But here's where I am at the moment:

Number 5

Conlon of Family First.

Number 6

Lele of the Citizens Electoral Council

I might add that this is largely academic - Macklin will probably get a majority on primary votes alone. So my 5th and 6th preferences are extraordinarily unlikely to be used.

So on to the hard bit. The major parties. Do I preference Labor over Liberal or vice versa?

In the end I did this:

Number 3

Macklin of the Australian Labor Party

Number 4

D'Souza of Liberal

In the end, the horribly negative campaign that the Libs are running has me practically wanting to see their local guy humiliated.

OK. So wasted vote finished, what about the Senate?

Dikkii's How-To-Vote card for the Senate - State of Victoria

There are 68 candidates for Senate seats from Victoria, representing 23 groups of candidates, and four ungrouped ones.

Two options to vote - either the number 1 only above the line for a group, or below the line where you have to put a number in all 68 boxes.

Voting above the line is silly, undemocratic, opaque, and fraught with all sorts of complications which I can't stand.

And it's for those reasons that I will be numbering the boxes below the line. Oh, and I'm a complete bastard who likes to make it hard for the guys who count my vote.

Upper preferences

My initial preferences will include the following groups:
Australian Greens
Australian Democrats
Carers Alliance
What Wimmen Want
Climate Change Coalition
Senator On-line
I have to research some of the others a bit more.

Lower preferences

Last will be the nutters and extremists:
Socialist Alliance
Australian Shooters Party
One Nation
The One Nation WA ungrouped candidate
Socialist Equality Party
LDP (which stands for Liberty and Democracy Party)
Family First
Citizens Electoral Council
Christian Democratic Party
I will probably put the Shooters last, but the CEC will not be far ahead of them.

Unsure at this stage

I don't really know where to slot these ones in, yet. So they'll probably go down in my lower preferences:
Democratic Labor Party (DLP)
Conservatives for Climate and Environment
The unnamed groups and the ungrouped candidates (except for the One Nation one)
Will be doing some homework first on these.

The major parties

These will go in the middle, and just like in the Jagajaga ballot paper, they will go in this order:
1. Australian Labor Party
2. Liberals/The Nationals
Again, no surprises there.

So that's it, folks.

Enjoy the election. It promises to be a beauty.


KitKat said...

I'm actually quite apprehensive about this election. I keep thinking "please please please Australia, don't re-elect the little turd".

Yes, there are drawbacks to compulsory voting.

Dikkii said...

You're not the only one, KitKat.

Plonka said...

Kitkat: please please please Australia, don't re-elect the little turd

And here was I thinking it was just me...;)


Good to see you vote below the line. The main implication it has is that your preferences are counted before the candidate's preferences. That's why preference deals became so important when they legislated this change.

The upside of it is that it brought the ineligible (donkey or erroneous) vote rate way down, which was good.

KitKat said...

I used to vote above the line, in fact, I don't think that I have ever voted below the line. Pure laziness on my part.

That will change this year.

Last election I inadvertently contributed to the election of that Family First, Singles and Childless Last member Steven Fielding, who then went on to get VSU legislation through parliament. Git. Being full time at a university, where I work in a building that is so run down it has been condemned, sheesh, universities are really struggling and now it's only worse. My parking fees went up from $80pa to $280pa this year. For parking in Clayton.

Sorry, will get off that soap box.

And onto this one.

Have you heard of www.howshouldivote.com.au? I did the questionnaire out of curiousity and it pretty much got me right. Much the same as Dikkii, in party order. I don't think I'll put the Dems up there, I haven't forgiven them for the GST.

Go the Greens.

You can have your blog back now Dikkii.

Dikkii said...

Weird. Blogger is not notifying me of comments again. Oh well.

Plonka, I probably should remind you that a donkey vote is a valid vote, and is therefore not ineligible. I'm not aware of any model that has been created that can adjust votes counted to remove this bias.

Informal votes, I expect you meant.

Also, I've often wondered about the impact of the "reverse donkey" - where the boxes are numbered in order of preference from bottom to top. Probably not great, but some donkey voters would also be black sheep.

Dikkii said...

KitKat, you can always feel free to vent here.

And it's good to see that you're voting below the line this year. The "above the line" option is an abomination.

I'll check out howshouldivote.com.au later today.

Incidentally, while most uni's are stuggling, Ms Dikkii reckons that Melbourne Uni are swimming in it. Cash, that is.

KitKat said...

Oh yes, I was going to give what you call the "reverse donkey" for the parties down the bottom half of my list. Cancel out some of the "forward donkeys"?

Also, according to the AEC site, you actually only have to fill in 90% of the below the line boxes (if there are 10 or more candidates).

A vote below the line is informal if:
there are 10 or more candidates and there are not numbers in at least 90% of the squares next to the candidates names, which form a sequence of consecutive numbers beginning with the number 1, without repetition or omission, or numbers which would be such a sequence with changes to not more than three of them.*

So you also have to be careful about the number of changes you make below the line, if you make any.

I actually read up on voting below the line just earlier this week and learned this stuff.

KitKat said...

And yes, I've heard that about the Parkville university. They also have "air conditioning". We have "windows". The Menzies building here (Ming Wing), 14 storeys high has the top 2/3 shut because the escalators are so old they can't be repaired, and OHS don't know if the fire stairs are strong enough to handle the load. The concrete was falling off the outside too. It was touch-and-go between renovations or demolition and a new building. I heard that renovations were priced at $30k cheaper, so that's the way they went....

Plonka said...

Dikkii: Quite correct, apologies. I was talking to a friend of mine that used to run a polling booth about this last night. Man there are some weird rules. I did like the sealed envelope for the preferences though. He wasn't allowed to open that until all the primary votes had been counted. Sealed orders and all that...:)

Dikkii said...

That's quite interesting about the 90% rule, Kathryn. Naturally, I'll still continue to number every box. If I want the CEC and Shooters to be last in that order, then dammit, that's where they're going.

Hey Plonka, what's this sealed envelope thing? I wasn't aware of that one.

KitKat said...

Hey, if John Howard loses Bennelong, is that proof that there really is a god?

Or is it proof that there really is a FSM?

Indefensible said...

I have always filled in below the line, because I love to make my vote a pain in the arse to count. I am glad that I am not the only one with this mean motivation,

Plonka said...

Each polling booth supervisor receives a sealed envelope along with all the other crap. The sealed envelope contains the preferences for each candidate on the ballots at that booth, which are supposed to be secret and privy only to the candidate in question, hence the sealed envelope.

As soon as the booth closes it counts the primary vote received in that booth, which includes yours and my preferences as marked on the ballot. After that, if no candidate has received 50% or better of the vote (which they rarely do because we nearly always have at least 6 to choose from), the envelope is opened and the booth then counts the candidates preferences in order of elimination (those that receive the least amount of votes have their preferences counted first).

Remember, it's a two party preferred system so at the end of the day, everyone has to point to just one or the other and that's why preference deals stink and why I vote below the line. I want my preferences, not some greasy politician's.

Of course, this is not how it works in practice because all candidate preferences are counted regardless of how much of the primary they receive and no-one keeps their sleazy deals secret anymore.

But because democracy means that the elected person must receive 50% of the vote or better, having a preferential system is much cheaper and much better than the alternative which is to just eliminate the lowest place getter and go back to the polls week after week until someone gets 50% or better, which is how it works in some countries.

Plonka said...

Forgot to mention.

That all happens on election night. After that each booth sends it's results along with all the ballots, to the electoral commission who counts them all again, just to be sure there's been no shenanigans, and then once again just for good measure.

If shenanigans are observed at that point, then it's legal action that carries severe penalties (just ask Pauline) followed by by-elections.

KitKat said...

Oh, thank you sweet FSM!!!

You have delivered us from the clutches of that revolting little squit!!!!!

Plonka said...


Dikkii said...

Well it's all over.

And for only the second time in Australia's history, it appears that a current PM will lose their seat in parliament.

My prediction - the Libs will take a long time to recover from this one. I expect all sorts of fear and recriminations, but the finger will be pointed squarely in one person's direction.

That's right, John Howard.

Plonka said...

Well, Costello has announced that he won't be seeking the leadership and Turnbull has already thrown his hat in the ring. We'll see what happens I guess

And for only the second time in Australia's history, it appears that a current PM will lose their seat in parliament.

And now for the history lesson. Sorry Dikkii, can't resist...:)

BRUCE, STANLEY MELBOURNE, Viscount Bruce of Melbourne (1883-1967) was the last man it happened to.

It's a familiar story too. He lead for 6 years and then in 1929 he lost his seat. Why did this happen? Well, "His uncompromising stand on industrial relations brought down his government in 1929."

He changed legislation so he could break strikes (there was trouble with the unions at the time), but then he never bothered to listen to employers that complained about the system. So come the election, he copped it from both sides.

Methinks Johnny should have seen it coming...:)

See here or here for more info on the good Viscount...

Dikkii said...


If that's the case, Plonka, then it pretty much goes without say that anyone who attempts to stuff around with industrial relations in a major way is going to last long.

Thanks for the history lesson. If only Howard and co had read up on it. They might not have gone out the way that they had.

Plonka said...

Well, anyone that wants to "federalise" the process, or so it seems...

KitKat said...

I heard "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" played on RRR on Sunday morning and I've been humming it or singing it in my head ever since.

Dikkii said...

KitKat, great tune, great circumstances.

Incidentally, you might get a kick out of this:


Efrique said...

Hi Dikii

In Australia we do not have compulsory voting. Unfortunately this is promulgated by the AEC, who say that voting is compulsory in their ads.

What we have is compulsory attendance.

You have to show up at a polling place to get your name crossed off (or some other equivalent).

(Of course, once you're there, you might as well mark the boxes.)

Efrique said...

Although, I guess, whether you call voting compulsory is debatable in that it depends on whether the phrase "has a duty to vote" in the act really means "must vote".

In any case, "has a duty" has no force (which is probably why it is phrased that way), since they can compel you to attend (in the sense that if you don't, you pay a fine), but they can't compel you to mark the paper, so it's difficult to see any sense in which it can be regarded as compulsion to actually cast a valid vote.

"Compulsory" means you are compelled to do something. But in fact can compel you to mark the paper with a valid vote; to even attempt to compel you to do so would violate several election laws.

Dikkii said...

Efrique, thanks for dropping by.

The AEC would counter that argument by saying that informal votes are counted amongst their total vote stats at the end of an election, but I see your point.

I'm not sure that "duty to vote" is explicitly worded in the Act.

Nevertheless, I'm sure that the AEC wouldn't screen ads that hadn't been properly screened by their legal department (or would they?) so I'm pleaed to continue labouring under this misconception.