Sunday 24 October 2010

Vote Rort Warning: 'Bligh to change election laws after by-election loss' -LNP

Queenslanders should brace themselves for a new chapter in Labor Party vote rorting with Premier Bligh likely to change the entire election system after the Labor Party last night came in at distant third spot, trailing both the LNP and the Greens, in the Brisbane City Council by-election for the Walter-Taylor ward.

The Walter-Taylor by-election gave the LNP 57.1%, The Greens 23.5%, and Labor 16.8%.

Former city councillor Jane Prentice resigned in August after winning the the seat of Ryan in the federal election for the Liberal National Party.

The opposition LNP predict that Labor is likely to introduce compulsory preferential voting, forcing most Greens preferences to go to Labor and help Labor Government cling to power.

"Labor may introduce laws to stop political parties from raising an equal amount of money to the Labor Party to fight the next State Election," John-Paul Langbroek says. "Ms Bligh and Labor were bankrolled by a secretive fundraising arm called Labor Holdings, which had already amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in assets."

“What we are likely to see is a ban placed on fundraising so that no one else can compete with Labor’s amassed stockpile of cash. In addition to that, Labor will now likely change the way ballots are cast so that most Greens voters will preference Labor,” Langbroek says. "No changes to the conduct of Queensland’s next election campaign should take place without the bipartisan support of both parties and said the coming months would be a true test of just how effective the myriad of independent watchdogs are in Queensland."

Queensland’s electoral system was already rorted in Labor’s favour, according to the opposition, with the LNP needing more than 54% of the vote to win a single-seat majority.

“What this long-term Labor Government is now threatening to do is rort the system even further my introducing compulsory preferential voting for no other reason than to try and cling to power,” John-Paul Langbroek says.


Bryan Law said...

So the mighty ALP managed only 16.77% of first preference votes in a Brisbane Council ward. The only certain thing after such a result is that the AWU, the Labor officials, privatisation, and the misplaced arrogance of incompetent Labor members will be excused responsibility. Beyond that I’m waiting to see how they blame Noel Pearson, or perhaps John Howard, for this appalling result.

Still I think Mr Langbroek has it wrong. Greens preferences will go to the ALP anyway (at least in those seats where Labor isn’t eliminated first), but they are not sufficient to save this government. The combination of right-wing infighting (think LNP, Queensland Party, Fishing Party, FNQ Party) AND optional preferential voting, which might combine to white-ant the anti-Labor vote, is the last slender hope of the Daleks (oops, sorry, I mean ALP).

For me, the destruction of democratic values, and the rise of machine politics threatens our capacity for good governance. I mean for heaven’s sake, how has the ALP managed to make Langbroek’s crew look even remotely credible? Yet it has.

In Cairns, I think we’d send an excellent message to the AWU by making sure Tim Grau (the AWU import of choice) gets less than 16.77% of the primary vote and is disgraced. “Leave Labor OUT” is the slogan for local small g greens. Ditto for Wettenhall, O’Brien and Pitt. This can be their reward for riding roughshod over local interests.

Leave Labor OUT! Has a ring to it, dontcha think?

Philip Machanick said...

How does compulsory preferential voting force Greens voters to preference Labor ahead of the LNP?

In this ward in the 2008 election, Greens preferences split 50-50 between Labor and the LNP. I haven't seen a full prefs count this time, so I don't know if that held up.

While a good fraction of voters generally follow their party's recommendation, it's a recommendation only and the LNP can win more Greens preferences by offering policies Greens voters can support. That's how the system is supposed to work. You put the candidate closest to your preferences at 1, the one next closest to your preferences at 2, and so on. The LNP could emphasise this by following the lead of the Greens whose HTVs in recent elections emphasise that they are a recommendation only, and you can number the candidates in any order you choose.

Better still, all parties should campaign to outlaw handing out HTVs outside polling booths, and only allow duly authorised materials to be posted inside the booth, alongside official information explaining how the system works.

KitchenSlut said...

This is really quite funny as optional preferential voting was first introduced in Queensland by Beattie because it advantaged the coalition vis a vis the ALP.

The coalition merged because they hadn't won a three cornered contest in Queensland in many years. Now the boot is on the other foot and guess what?

My recollection is that the last Council elections threw up some anomalies in locations such as Townsville with some councillors elected on very low primaries and extinguished preferences? Compulsory preferential voting is a fair mechanism.

If you are incapable of allocating preferences then thats a good way to determine that your vote shouldn't matter anyway within a compulsory voting system.

Matt CYP said...

Bryan reckons "Greens preferences will go to the ALP anyway ... , but they are not sufficient to save this government." - and he may be right - but it's still a long haul up to the next State election, and it's risky to read too much into a Brisbane City Council ward by-election, as several different circumstances apply:
- Brisbane has a popular incumbent LNP Lord Mayor;
- The Greens are still riding high after their best-ever performance in the recent federal poll;
- It was already an LNP ward anyway;
- The LNP State Opposition is widely held to be a joke.

As for reverting to compulsory preferential voting, as we still have at Federal polls, many thoughtful democrats would be in favour of this, but it seems unlikely, given that it was only a few years ago that the Beattie govt introduced optional preferential voting - a clever (if cynical) and undeniably effective way of nobbling One Nation, whose supporters were the most likely to "Just Vote 1", but didn't understand that that would destroy their party's ability to exert pressure on the major parties. To re-introduce compulsory preferences now would look hypocritical.

And Greens voters, a well-informed lot, will mostly allocate preferences anyway, and in a State poll are highly likely to favour Labor.

So Bryan, let's not write off Anna Bligh too early. Unless you are advancing what you hope is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nah, that would suggest hubris!

Bryan Law said...

I admire your loyalty Matt. It's just a shame about the high price you want us all to pay for it. Leave Labor OUT!

Bryan Law said...

Oh yeah, I'll be surprised if Anna is still Premier by June 30 next year. One of the Comrades will do her in before then.

Matt CYP said...

Bryan, mate! Loyalty has nothing to do with it.

Surely you can concede that a rational, informed voter might consider the political situation objectively, as I do, and taking into account his or her political philosophy, conclude that the current Labor government remains preferable to the LNP opposition, without presuming that the position arrived at is merely the result of sycophancy?

My previous comment is a caution against declaring the result 12 months early, and I did concede that you may be right - time will tell.

Maybe you really are advancing what you hope is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Good luck with that!

Bryan Law said...

Matt, mate, you say an ALP government is better than its LNP alternative – but I have different questions for you. Is the ALP government/culture as good as it can be? Or as good as we want it to be? If the answer is no (as my rational and objective judgement tells me is the case) what is the best way to improve the situation. Do we reward the failures/apparatchiks? Or do we hand them a defeat, along with a demand for higher standards?

Bear in mind that Gillard (the war-monger) is proving right now that a near-defeat won’t do.

As for “self-fulfilling prophecy”, well, I prefer to think of it as a campaign objective expressed in a slogan. Leave Labor OUT!