Archive for the 'Australian electoral politics' Category

Latham’s blank piece of paper

Mark Latham, one time leader of the Labor Party, has caused a storm by advising voters to not mark their ballot papers at this Saturdays Federal Election. Given his political history his motives for this sage advice are unclear and not particularly important. What is important is the nature of his advice and the sharp reaction this has drawn from the commentariat.

This election has been widely, amost universally derided as appallingly drab with both the ALP and the Coalition offering very little difference in either policies or style. Indeed I cannot recall an election where even the commentariat have been so distainful of the defacto non choice being offered to voters or so open about it. And they have a point; the quality of  “the debate”, of mainstream politics, even by bourgeois standards, is soporific and dreadful. If it could be distilled and bottled no one need ever suffer from insomnia again.

This is the arena in which Latham dropped his advice and where the same commentariat suddenly proclaimed the importance and the value of voting in the current environment and berated Latham for advocating to people to vote informally in protest.

This response is interesting. The objection is not to voting informally as such (journos and commentators can tut tut about this but it’s not that important). But to encourage protest, to stir things up with the implicit threat that this may become organised is a different matter entirely.

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More numb and more dumb

I wanted to call this post “number and dumber”, but to my great frustration,  I just saw digits after I’d typed “number” into the title feed  And I was already frustrated because I was about to  eke out an election comment – this is supposed to be a political site after all, so we should be able to say something.   But I’m not interested in the election!  I don’t care who wins.

A woman came knocking on my front door a week or so.   She wanted me to vote for the ALP.   I told her that I’d be voting informally because I have no desire to vote for either, and that even if I happened to support one of the minor parties,  I knew that by the end of the count,  my vote would end up with one of the major parties, due  to the  fact that the electoral act defines a   formal vote as one in which the voter indicates a “preference” for every candidate on the list.

The woman at the door just looked at me and said “but it will be horrendous if Tony Abbot wins”.   Apparently,  I was supposed to vote Labor in order to do my bit in the fight against the forces of darkness or something.   She didn’t even attempt to give me any positive reason for voting Labor.  The only other thing she  mentioned was that the candidate is  a very nice woman – cares about the community, has an “open door”, and so on.

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