02 August 2010

Why am I even bothering? (Keeping your member "local" part six)

People probably wonder why I bother with this. Right about now I'm having thoughts of that nature myself.

"I know who I'm voting for," they might say.

"Why don't you just follow a how-to-vote card?" some might ask.

"Get a life!" order those without a shred of originality, finesse, style, sense of irony or, strangely, a life of their own.

The fact is that, even though I live in an safe Labor seat where any vote is essentially a wasted vote, I strangely want to do things properly. At the end of the day, I will know something about my candidates. How many of you can say the same thing?

How many of you even bothered? How many of you just blindly expect to rock up to your electorate and say, "I'm voting Labor," or, "I'm voting Liberal" or even "I don't really give a toss about either, so I'm voting informally."

The fact that I'm doing research makes me superior to each and every single one of you. If just one person walks away from reading this series and says, "Yes. I'm going to vote for the best person who will represent my electorate, based upon how much they care for the voters in my electorate and maybe their party-political platform as well," well then, I think that I may have made a difference.

The fact is that as we have seen throughout this whole thing, with only a few exceptions, your candidates could not give a flying fuck about you, the voter. You live in an electorate. Your electorate is merely a stepping stone to be trodden on by self-obsessed wankers who hunger for power. And if it's not power, it's some "greater good" that requires us great unwashed to be trampled underfoot in the fight to get that across the line.

And you, the Australian public, just bend over and take it time after time. You rejoice in your ignorance. You bathe in your self-righteous belief that you're doing something for Australia, even if you forget that this is the one opportunity to ensure that your district has representation. You blindly follow how-to-vote cards, spoon fed to you as you congregate like cattle in feeding lots about to be slaughtered.

You may even be one of those sheep who vote for the same political party year in, year out without a care in the world. Or a decent shred of objectivity.

Some of you possibly even think that by voting informally, your rebellious protest at wildly identical platforms will be heard and your dissatisfaction will register somewhere. News flash, pal: It won't. Your "protest" will end up in the same basket as those informal votes from the illiterate, the innumerate, the apathetic, the mentally incompetent...

And then there was this one ignorant prick of a man that I communicated with today, a total DISGRACE!!! who thought I knew about the algorithm that poll counters use to remove the inherent bias of donkey votes. An algorithm so top secret that no one knows about it, and yet, so accurate that even if he donkey voted (the genuine definition, folks, not just an informal vote), it would mysteriously spot this and weed it out. "No harm done," he said. NO HARM DONE!!?! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND???

I could go on and on, but I won't. I've never been so pissed off at candidates (generally) or the voting public (generally) as I am right now. Am I having a mood? I probably am. I don't care.

OK. You're not all like this. But most of you are. Probably even some of you reading this blog - I do recognise that I may be preaching to the converted a little bit and that some of the ones who should be reading this are either parachuting into a convenient electorate on the other side of town wondering how many people they can confuse or how best to promote their 'brand' while others are just wondering how long it is before Brangelina break up for real.

Well I for one am sick to death of it.

I remember one story - the name of the electorate escapes me.

A local independent candidate was campaigning for election somewhere up the Queensland coast - I don't know where. He was widely known and respected throughout his electorate. He'd done work for a few clubs and local charities and was considered an all-round good guy.

Then the parachute candidate comes in from either the ALP, the Libs or the Nats (might have even been the LNP - I don't know how old this story is) and with the well-funded political machine behind them, kick's all-round good guy's arse.

The electorate is just as much to blame for this debacle. And it is a debacle: They had, on a silver platter, the perfect guy to represent them, and they fucked it up.

Wouldn't you like to look at yourself in the mirror before you go to bed on Saturday, August 21 and say, "I made a properly informed decision when casting my vote. I'm proud of myself."

Yes. I acknowledge that compulsory voting is fascist. But if you have to do it, why on earth would you do a half-arsed job? What kind of idiot is going to rock up to have their name ticked of on polling day and then switch to autopilot?

If you sympathise with this, get the word out there yourself. By all means tweet this, or write your own post. Get Australians thinking. Think yourself. You have a brain - use it!

No the donkey voter was not the straw that broke the camel's back, folks. This communication back, in response to my previous email, from Peter Harris, Secular Party Candidate for Jagajaga did it:

Thanks Dikkii. The 'bigger picture' doesn't equal a singular platform in this context, and, like the greens, the Party's platform is rooted in a couple of singular ideals (secularism, humanism), but come out through many social/other policies (refer web site). My 'snide' comment is as it is. I'm not out there right now to collect a mountain of votes. I'm helping get the party some exposure in its early building phase. Even if I was interested in appearances, I personally do not equate volunteering for a local community org. with understanding local issues - but yes I know that many would. At this stage of my life personally, I work damn hard, but my leftover time is best spent with my family, and a percentage of my income donated directly to my chosen charities and local organisations. Regarding the engineering, I work in road safety helping review safety of designs, remodel work or existing conditions, and conduct risk assessments, on anything to do with the road (I'm X-VicRoads). I recently conducted reviews through Eltham and Yan Yean, and Greensborough (in response to a massive truck crash off the Highway into a property). Also, I am the lead external consultant assisting VicRoads rewrite its "Worksite Safety Code of Practice" which is the "Bible" for how people conduct roadworks on the road safely. Got to run. Seeya.

As a response it's informative, exploitative, exploited, revealing, guarded, tasteless, cynical, helpful, unhelpful, wasteful, frivolous. Possibly even un-local. Certainly not serious about even having a red-hot go at representing Jagajaga.

Utterly frustrating. At this point it has occurred to me that only one candidate (one that is above contempt, anyway) is serious about representing his electorate responsibly. It doesn't appear to be Harris.

Click here if you want to see my election posts so far.


Sean Wright said...

Hmm jut making up the numbers - that's a bit pissweak. Glad I'm not in Jagajaga

Anonymous said...

Two points:

Firstly, it is WRONG to say voting is compulsory in Australia. It is only compulsory to turn up to the election booth and be given a form. You can choose to do what you want with this.

Secondly, I have never understood why the AEC doesn't generate generate randomly distributed forms, each with a different ordering. If there are five candidates, only five different forms would be required to negate any bias to each position. (this can be proven mathematically). The additional printing costs would be minimal and would avoid the lottery for who gets top of the form,


Dikkii said...

Quite right, Peter. I did word it badly, but that is the intent of the law. Although, philosphically, voting informally however you do it may be seen as a "vote of no confidence", no? That, sadly is both a vote of sorts as well as a wasted exercise.

I'd love to see random papers introduced. It's been pointed out to me that this might generate additional electoral costs - scrutineers might have to look at the papers harder when counting.