28 November 2014

7 observations about voting for the upper house in Victoria

Just a quick bunch of notes about preferencing in the Legislative Council (upper house) for the Victorian state election which takes place tomorrow.

I've done a quick look at the preferencing (at least for Eastern Metropolitan, which is the region I live in), and as always it's quite interesting.  As always, I like to have a look at voting properly, because the group voting tickets (that is, what happens when you “vote” above the line) are really a lottery.

Obviously, folks, I recommend that you vote below the line, and do it properly. I've made a string of observations around this, and I'll discuss these below.

This time around, I am trying to get a better idea of preferencing by the different parties.  This will interest me.  The preferencing of each party is available at the Victorian Electoral Commission’s website and it is well worth a look.

I look at preferencing in one way:

Observation 1: If a party preferences one party over another, it's because they see their policies as preferable.

That's right, folks.  The Sex Party might have righteous policies in regards to censorship and drug legalisation, but they preference the Liberal Democrats, a party of ultra-libertarian lunatics that would gladly have us revert to the Wild West.

This means, folks, that they prefer their policies.

Now, I know that a few of you are going to say “preference deal” and “convenience” and other frankly bullshit excuses for why preference deals turn out the way that they do.  But you need to get over this.  Preferring nazis over moderates (which one party got pinged rather badly for at the last federal election), sends out all the wrong messages and will direct votes to such lunatics over more reasonable entities.

Even the Libs think that Rise Up Australia are a bunch of kooky nutbars, based upon their preference flows.

But you can't just look at this.  Oh no.

Observation 2: Some parties split their preferences in weird and unusual ways.

The DLP is a good example of this.  If you vote 1 above the line, your 9th, 10th and 11 preferences will go to the Libs, but it won't be until your 30th and 31st preferences that you see the rest of the Liberal candidates.

They do the same with the PUP, evidently because they dislike certain candidates intensely, rather than party platforms.

Observation 3: Parties standing for the upper house have policies that no one ever reads.

Folks, look at a list of the parties standing this year for Eastern Metropolitan.  Do you even know who the Australian Country Alliance are, or what it is that they want?

Did you even know that they are not above statements that assert that freeing up the sensitive Winton Wetlands is for kite-flying, or beach umbrellas?  When really, they would rather like duck hunting at Winton to start up again?

Mind you, they at least have a lengthy policy statement.  And whilst it smacks of redneckery, there is stuff in there that is reasonably good as well, such as better rural rail networks.

But you wouldn't know that, would you?  Oh no.  Read up – it's good for you.

But read this first...

Observation 4: When you vote below the line, its optional preferential.

This is interesting.  In the Victorian upper house, you can number the boxes below the line up to 5, and then stop!

This means that if you only want to vote for the first couple of groups – or even only 1 group in the case of the major parties – you don't have to vote any more than one to five.

This is kinda cool. I have two issues with this, though:

Observation 5: If you vote boxes 1 to 5, and your vote gets through 5 rounds, it then ceases to influence the political process.

There is nowhere to go once your five preferences have been exhausted.  This is a good reason for numbering more than five boxes. 

But another reason is this:

Observation 6: Numbering all boxes enables you to put someone last.

That's right.  I would very much like to put Rise Up Australia stone, motherless, last.  Because they're scary theocratic lunatics, that's why.  If I were to only number boxes 1 to 5, I couldn't do this.

Observation 7: It's good to do your research.

This is where how I like to do things.  I start with parties that I'd like to put last, or near the end of the ballot paper.

This year, that will be the following parties:

  • Rise Up Australia – Evangelical protestant fundamentalists with a paranoid flavour
  • Shooters and Fishers – Gun nuts
  • Family First – Evangelical protestant fundamentalists without quite so much paranoia
  • Australian Christians – Traditionalist protestant fundamentalists who are related to Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party
  • Democratic Labour Party – Catholic fundamentalists, if you can have such a thing.  Generally regarded as more moderate than RUA, FF and AC but still a little loony.  Take abortion for instance.

I then add parties that may be part of the Liberal Democrats circlejerk.  The LDP are a bunch of ultra-free market libertarians.  They like to game the system with false front parties to farm preferences – this year, it appears to be the Voluntary Euthanasia Party (Victoria) which has suspiciously close preference flows, and only came into existence this year.

Lastly, I'm looking at the Australian Country Alliance.  They seem to have positioned themselves as a softer Shooters and Fishers, but sadly their preferencing of the theocrats has not gone unnoticed.

Next is the majors and Palmer United.

Now, just because the preferencing of Richard Dalla-Riva of the Libs by the religious parties is awfully high compared to the other Liberal candidates, (he's not their number 1 candidate, Mary Wooldridge is), I'm putting him at the back of the queue.  This is alarm-bell territory.

Finally, the minors that I like, which will go near the start - In this case, numbers 1-10.  The list is short this year - in no particular order:

  • Australian Greens
  • People Power Victoria/No Smart Meters
  • Australian Cyclists Party
  • Animal Justice Party

Ordinarily, I'd classify the PPV/NSM ticket as a single issue party, but they appear to be interested in broader power and fuel issues as well.  Such as fracking.

Happy voting, all.

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