Friday, 14 November 2014

Victorian Election 2014 - Wendouree candidates : How preferential voting can allow the subversion of a popular vote.

State Election 2014: Wendouree District Candidates

Candidates are listed in the order in which they will appear on the Lower House ballot paper for Wendouree District.

    Candidates in ballot paper order

    7 candidatesContact details
    HASTIE, Liam
    Vicki Nash
    Business Hours: (03) 9347 2332
    Mobile: 0411 107 040
    KNIGHT, Sharon

    Sharon Knight
    Mobile: 0491 115 845
    O'SHEA, Sheila
    Sandra Caddy
    Business Hours: (03) 8795 7544
    Mobile: 0418 584 868
    FENN, Cielo

    Shane Clark
    Business Hours: (03) 9010 6110
    COLTMAN, Craig

    Craig Coltman
    Mobile: 0408 178 511
    BARNES, Alice

    Victorian Greens
    Business Hours: (03) 9602 1141
    BUCHHOLZ, John
    Garry Kerr
    After Hours: (03) 5261 3866
    Mobile: 0412 586 925

    The ballot paper order in my electorate was decided this afternoon. 

    First, let me state that I dislike proportional and preferential voting. I am old fashioned is one reason. The other thing is that I don't trust any system that is not readily and totally understood by every voter and I don't trust any system that can be rigged. 

    Networkers might find that last statement a bit over the top in nice, democratic Australia but, having spent half a lifetime in the not nice and undemocratic police state of Queensland under Joh Bjelke-Petersen, I know how preferential voting can be rigged. This is why I think we should only have to put a number 1 on the ballot paper. 

    When an athletic race is run, there is no fiddling with numbers to declare a winner. We know with our own eyes who has won - it is the one who has done the best and come first. I live in the electoral district of Wendouree and I am not asserting that the ballot here is rigged - but I want to show how preferential voting can allow the subversion of a popular vote. 

    The ballot paper for the seat of Wendouree - published above -  has seven candidates. Of the seven candidates, the majority (4) are from conservative parties: the Liberals, the Australian Country Alliance (somewhere to the far right of the very right National Party); and two conservative Christian parties - Family First and Rise Up Australia. On the progressive side of the ledger are the Sex Party, the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens. 

    If we had first past the post voting, some of these parties would not be on the ballot paper but because we have the magical thinking of preferential voting, they are a preference. They can lock up their preferences to make it easier for someone of their own conservative brand of politics simply by stacking the ballot paper. 

    Wendouree has an excellent sitting member in the person of Sharon Knight (NB: there has been an electoral redistribution. Sharon is currently the member for Ballarat West. This seat is no more and so she is standing in the new seat of Wendouree). Her credentials are excellent. She is visible and active. Her office is helpful and active too - a major, but often overlooked, component in sound political representation. 

    As one more interference in participatory democracy, we have in Victoria the horror of an upper house. Here my prejudice is in-built and intergenerational. As someone who grew up in the unicameral state of Queensland where the Upper House was abolished back in 1922 and who lived for a number of years in the Northern Territory which has never had an upper house, I find the doubling up of legislatures simply to provide a place for would-bes if they could-bes expensive and self-serving. 

    So we suffer through this rorting - praying that proven competence will win the popular, but rigged, vote.

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