Saturday 17 July 2010

Vote early. Vote often.

Although bets were on for an August 28th poll, it could only be a 33 day race, culminating on 21st August.
Regardless, we will see some of the most tedious media releases pumped out in the next three or four weeks.
Make sure you pop in your vote in the CairnsBlog poll on the right hand sidebar.
Since my polling software can't easily interpret preferences from each candidate / party, you are welcome to add your suggestions below in the comments on how you would like preferences to go.
Remember, vote early, vote often.


Syd Walker said...

Everyone will probably have their own shopping list of issues on which to decide preferences.

After voting Green 1 in the election for Leichhardt, I'll park my second and third preferences for candidates who impress me with their commitment to:

(1) world peace - and specifically voting for immediate withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan

(2) 'net neutrality, world best practice tele-communications and no Internet censorship

(2) effective and swift action on climate change

In general, I'll be looking for integrity, commitment to civil liberties, truthfullness and evidence-based policies.

Some of the best contributions in the Federal Parliament, over the years, have come from independents. Ted Mack was the outstanding example.

Let's hope we a real debate on issues.

In the Senate, I'll probably Vote Green above the line. We desperately need a Green Senator from Queensland. The prospect of achieving that - for the first time - has never been better.

Destiny said...

Syd, I hope this doesn't become a habit, but I have to agree with you - we need more independents - unfortunately no likelihood of that in our electorate, but the Senate provides us with a real opportunity to put in people who truly think about issues (well except for Fielding anyway). Shame we can't throw the major parties out of the Senate so it becomes a true house of review.

Cairns Resident said...

I marvel at the utter stupidity of people like syd.
A vote for the greens is a vote for labor ,they preference each other .
You stupid green voters got shafted on the ets and you still preference them , what a mob of numbnuts you lot are.
juliadrudd has allread pissed in your pockets with a new positon on climate change promise.
How stupid are you people?
Why are our troops still dying overseas after 3 yrs of labor?

Cairns Resident said...

I marvel at the utter stupidity of people like syd.
A vote for the greens is a vote for labor ,they preference each other .
You stupid green voters got shafted on the ets and you still preference them , what a mob of numbnuts you lot are.
juliadrudd has allread pissed in your pockets with a new positon on climate change promise.
How stupid are you people?
Why are our troops still dying overseas after 3 yrs of labor?

Denis Walls said...

Cairns Resident

A vote for the Greens is NOT necessarily a vote for Labor. Parties may make recommendations on how to vote on their HTV cards but the decision is yours to fill out as you see fit.

Under the compulsory preferential system your vote will ultimately end up with one of the two majors. That's the two party preferred vote once all preferences have been distributed.

Like Albert Langer I happen to think that having your vote end up with a major is unfair and undemocratic. However, that is the system even if you put Labor 5 and LNP 6 (or vice versa) out of a list of, say, six candidates. BUT, the allocation choice is yours. It is true that a lot of Green voters tend to put Labor ahead of the Coalition even if it is right at the end of the list! It's their decision.

Re-the ETS, the $20 billion free kick to the big polluting industries under a locked in agreement through to 2020 was the final straw for ALL green groups (even the ACF pulled out). The watered down agreement would not have sent an adequate price signal on carbon.

The Greens are still pushing for an interim carbon price agreement but the mainstream political parties appear to have no interest in discussing this issue. We'll see how the campaign unfolds.

The Greens are in favour of withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan.

I've taken some time on this post so if you respond I hope we can have a sensible discussion on complex matters.

Syd Walker said...

@ Cairns Resident

I think you may misunderstand our electoral system.

I shall decide for myself how to order preferences on my own ballot paper. Incidentally, that's what Bob Brown, on recent occasions, has recommended.

It's true the parties must issue How to Vote recommendentions in the Senate, by law. Also, voters on the day often ask "what does the (X, Y or Z) Party recommend?" So all parties produce How to Vote cards.

The Green Party, as far as I'm aware, has yet to decide on its preference recommendations for this election, in Leichhardt and nationally. But whatever it decides - YOU can make YOUR OWN choice.

If you're especially concerned about war and peace issues - like me - you may have a hard job differentiating between Labor and the Coaltion, both of which appear to get their marching orders from News Corp and other behind the scenes forces (coz they sure as hell don't listen to the public).

Warren Entsch was part of the Howard Government, which led this country into what I believe were two illegal and utterly immoral wars: Afghanistan and Iraq. Warren does not seem to have changed his mind on these wars, even in the light of experience.

On the other hand, I've searched hard for any indications that Jim Turnour has anything better to offer on this. Does he support withdrawing troops now from Afghanistan? Presumably not. If he does, imagine he'll say so.

I recently did a Hansard search on Jim Turnour's contribution to Parliamentary debate on the keywords 'Afghanistan' and 'Iraq'. As far as I could see, he asked one Dorothy Dixer on Iraq - and that's all in three years. Maybe I missed something?

The two big parties seem like a hopeless choice for the 60%+ Australians who want Australian troops out of Afghanistan now (incidentally, American public opinion is similar on that issue).

In Leichhardt, voters will have the option of electing the Green Party candidate - so they do have the choice of at least one pro-peace political party. Hopefully some of the independents will join the Greens on this.

I've yet to decide where I'll park my preferences - and whether to rank Warren higher or lower than Jim. At this stage, I'd like to encourage both of them (and their parties) to adopt more enlightened polices.

On internet censorship, one issue I care about a lot, Warren has made a good clear statement; that counts for quite a lot to me. I'll wait and see what new information the campaign brings before making my mind up.

But the central point you made, Cairns Resident, is simply not correct. If you vote for the Greens it is not an effective 'Vote for Labor'.

In the Senate election, it's likely to be a vote for a new Green Senator. In the House of Reps election, who knows what will happen? Your vote might help elect a Green. If not, YOU decide who else your vote does help to elect, in YOUR order of preference.

cairns resident said...

Dennis I agree it is your own choice and I ask when did the greens put the call out to pull our troops out I must have missed that announcement.
Also you were doing well until you made reference to the biggest dickhead god put breath into albert langer.
He personally ruined the rutherglen wine festival in victoria in the 70s when he and his dickhead mates attacked and destroyed a police car in the main street .
I was 30 metres away and saw him.
Always amazed me how violent peace activists are.

cairns resident said...

No wonder dennis walls quoted albert langer and he is probably one of syds heros too.
Born in London to a wealthy Melbourne Jewish family, Langer was educated at Monash University, where he became a prominent student activist during the Vietnam War years. He was a leader of the Maoist faction at the university and a supporter of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist). He broke with this party after the death of Mao Zedong, but remained a defender of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.[citation needed]. Langer is an active opponent of Zionism, and was associated with a group called Jews Against Zionism and Anti-Semitism (JAZA).[citation needed] This group is no longer active.

Syd Walker said...

@ cairns resident

I presume Denis mentioned Albert Langer because he fought a well-known court case over the issue.

If every mention of an individual in is taken to be an endorsement of that person, it would be hard to have any converations at all.

Denis Walls said...

Thanks for the quick reply CR. Couple of points:

1. Bob Brown has been banging on about withdrawal from Afghanistan for ages. Only last week he was on the telly (lead item in fact after the death of the young soldier) urging a withdrawal.

2. Re-Albert Langer, I was only talking about his belief that the voter should be able to give equal value to the last preference which currently MUST go to one of the major political parties. He proposed 1,2,3,4,5,5 for example as a way of stopping the pref ending up with Lab or Coalition (in most instances).

Langer's other affiliation, beliefs, interests are NOT relevant to this discussion.

Bryan Law said...

It appears that Syd Walker is a tad confused himself. In his first post he says “In the Senate, I'll probably Vote Green above the line”. Voting above the line endorses that party’s choice of preference, and for the Greens that will be Labor. Later on, when challenged, he says “I shall decide for myself how to order preferences on my own ballot paper”. That means voting below the line in the Senate and marking 60 to 70 boxes. Which one is it Syd?

On the substantive issues, Jim Turnour isn’t sure where Afghanistan is, and hasn’t done anything at all on peace issues for three years. He might produce some empty words during the election campaign now, but you’d have to be really, really gullible to believe them, or ultra cynical to promote them.

Speaking of Denis walls, he has a vision of a Greens party where middle-aged white men trade favours among each other so that only the properly qualified govern. In Queensland, a small number of white folk have turned the Greens into a sub-branch of the ALP. They will tolerate war, wild rivers, elite politics and teensy tiny gains for an occasional pat on the head from the “real” politicians of the ALP. What an opportunity squandered.

I’ll be putting Labour last. If I see any hope of a Greens reformation I’ll vote for them, otherwise it’s independents who actually do something. Yodie Batske sounds good!

Another irrelevant old fart said...

Oh poor dear old Bry, shouldn't you be out doing something really useful for the planet and your Quixotic causes, like defacing corflutes or something.

Syd Walker said...


To prevent a long post from ending up any longer, I omitted a detail that's pertinent to your comment.

Based on the following opinion from ABC electoral analyst Anthony Green, I shall possibly vote above AND below the line in the Senate election:

A below the line takes precedence over an above the line vote. However, an advantage of voting above and below the line is that if your below the line vote works out to be informal, then your above the line vote will stand instead. If you are unsure of your ability to number dozens of preference in a correct sequence, you might find this a useful option to ensure your vote counts.


Below the line voting is for meticulous people with patience. The danger of an informal vote is high and I think it's a bad idea to recommend it to others without labouring that point. Mr Green's suggestion gives voters the best of both worlds.

If, by election day, I make a personal decision to put the ALP below the Coaltion - and if the Greens have chosen to do something else - I can votre my own way below the line, but give myself a backup of an above the line vote for the Greens, just in case I stuff it up.

Regarding the Greens in Cairns, I'm not an apologist for the local branch. But I think your comment is tripe, FWIW.

What gender were the most recent Greens candidates for Barron River and Leichhardt (prior to this election)? The answer is female.

What gender are you Bryan? What ethnicity are you? Is there any truth to the rumour that you are, in fact, yourself a 'white male'? Why do you bang on about other 'white males' so often?

As most people with the slightest interest in the topic already know, you tried to get into the Greens a few years ago but were not allowed to join. I understand a majority of local members considered you too disruptive and annoying.

At the time, I was sympathetic to your case. That was before you took time out in CairnsBlog to defame me and misrepresent my views. Now you no longer have my respect and can fight your own battles.

If you still crave party membership, maybe Family First will let you in?

KitchenSlut said...

This link is a recent backgrounder from the AEC which covers issues relevant to most of the posts here and maybe worth a read. I have only skimmed it and would have to go back but some sequencing problems in below the line senate votes may not make it informal.

Opposition to full preferential voting for the reasons given by some here is just pedantic nitpicking in my view. Optional preferential voting potentially produces more flaws particularly demonstrated in Council divisional results in Qld where results showed many flaws similar to the UK first-past-the post undemocracy.

No system is perfect but what we have is pretty much worlds best.

Bryan Law said...

Syddy Biddy, the question is not who the candidates are - it's who decides the allocation of preferences.

The decision to support Labor in Barron River was made by two men in Brisbane in a desperate and failed tactic to retain Ronan Lee.

There have already been moves by Brisbane bureaucrats to force regional Greens branches to preference Labor yet again in this election.

The Greens pay lip service to grass roots democracy and devolved power. Just like Labor pays lip service to social justice. Oh for the day when they actually stand behind what they say.

Sarah Isaacs said...

Surely one of the most important objectives of this election is getting our government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

If you can prove to me preferencing Warren Entsch will do that Bryan, count me in.

I'd have thought getting more Greens in Senate would be more effective. And Larissa is young and female- I agree that our politicians need to reflect society more, and less white, older males is generally a good move- Bob being an exception.

Obviously the two outcomes (Warren and Larissa both being elected) are not mutually exclusive...

Also much as I respect and like you for all the hard work and commitment you have given to the peace movement, I think you are targeting the wrong people.

Syd is an ally- let's focus on the real baddies boys.

Attacking personalities rather than discussing issues is just distracting- if a common habit on Blogs- easier than insulting someone face to face I suppose.

Let's all work together and get those troops home for everyone's sake.

Bryan Law said...

Hey Sarah,

I believe that Australia is pregnant with opportunity to end the war in Afghanistan. Public awareness is at a cusp where we might move towards action, and crystalise an effective program of disengagement from war. The ALP is keeping us in this war.

So far this year I’ve been to New Zealand, Canberra, Melbourne and Rockhampton seeking to build alliances and improve organisation in those (small) elements of the peace movement to which I have access. I’m working with those others towards pivotal national action re ANZAC Day and Talisman Sabre 2010.

In Queensland I’ve met and talked with several Greens, all of whom are unaware of any efforts by their Party to organise against war, and who face great difficulty in getting any political support mobilised in their own region. They are mostly good people, but they seem to have little influence on decision-making in Brisbane (by the way, it’s a beautiful new bannerhead the Party has developed). The Queensland Greens are absent from peace issues when they should be in a leadership role.

In the past three years the ALP has increased our arms acquisition budget from $35 Billion to $100 Billion – all of which goes to things like fighter/bombers, submarines, frigates, tanks, cruise missiles and other equipment used to fight around the Earth as US allies. The very day that Gillard knifed Rudd, she got on the phone to President Obama to pledge our continued indefinite presence in Afghanistan. Turnour has done nothing but toe the ALP line. Let’s get rid of them.

I can argue cogently that a war-compliant ALP is much more damaging than a war-compliant coalition because the ALP infests the unions and social movements, and neuters them in a way the coalition can’t. The Queensland Greens have been neutered.

In Queensland the Greens have foregone grass-roots empowerment, and opted instead for miniscule influence within a cynical and hostile ALP. This has not been a decision of the membership, but of a few technocrat prefects.

You know that I’ve spent five years gently agitating for some grass-roots democracy in the Greens, and getting nowhere because a couple of office-holders see fit to rort the constitution and prevent debate among members. I’d happily act on all your advice if you could tell me that the Greens can think beyond preferencing Labor. Can you tell me that?

cairns resident said...

I rest my case syd and dennis.

JULIA Gillard will need to lean heavily on Greens preferences to retain power with the Coalition ahead of Labor on primary votes in the first poll of the federal election campaign.
And just announced on national tv greens have preferenced labor in all seats . What a mob of grubs.

Denis Walls said...

CR seems to be very muddled when it comes to understanding this issue. Here is the important quote from Bob Brown in today's media.

"Voters should decide for themselves where to put their preferences. The important thing is to vote 1 Australian Greens and then make up your own mind. How to vote cards are only a recommendation and do not need to be followed."

For the record the recommendation, if any, in Leichhardt has NOT yet been decided. Naturally, under the Commonwealth electoral act the Greens, like other candidates, are obliged to recommend that the card be filled out completely.

But yes it is true, Labor hopes Green voters will put them ahead of the Coalition on the ballot paper and preference recommendation negotiations seem to be headed that way on the basis that Labor is the lesser of two evils.

I repeat again for the benefit of CR, the choice is yours. Because many Greens are closer to the ALP than the Coalition in terms of policy, they CHOOSE to put Labor ahead of the Coalition on the ballot paper.

Bryan Law said...

Denis Walls said "Because many Greens are closer to the ALP than the Coalition in terms of policy, they CHOOSE to put Labor ahead of the Coalition on the ballot paper".

Can you tell us Denis which Greens CHOSE to preference the ALP in the Senate, and in more than 50 House of Representatives seats on day 3 of a five week election campaign?

Did the members get a chance to discuss it? Did the candidates get a chance to discuss it?

Spinning like a top.

Syd Walker said...

Bryan, anyone with the time and motivation to do it can run a hostile commentary on the internal processes of a political party - a party which they don't support and of which they're not a member.

But so what?

If you think you have a better vision of internal process for a political party than the Greens, why not join it - or set it up?

The Australian Greens are currently making their choice over preferences forthis election. Relax! It has precious little to do with you.

You're not the only person in Australia to have heard of dissent. If significant numbers of local members, or entire local branches, are unhappy with the process or the decision, they won't be backward coming forward.

Whether you're happy with the Greens' process or not is of close to zero significance.

Who cares?

Bryan Law said...

It's the Jews Syd, they made me do it!