So some of the more optimistic supporters of the ALP are clinging on to Labor’s narrow victory in the state by-election in Melbourne at the weekend as evidence things for the party are not as bad as they could be.

The atmosphere was electric…

The Greens, on the other hand, are crowing about their primary vote, claiming a moral victory even if Labor pulled through on preferences. They can argue it out among themselves - because it seems the rest of us are not listening.

In fact even the prospect of a $70 fine wasn’t enough to persuade one third of registered voters in Melbourne to bother turning up. So much for compulsory voting.

While voter turn-out in by-elections is historically slightly lower than in general polls, the 66 per cent turnout (possibly 68 per cent by the time all the postals are accounted for) is incredibly low.

A futher 8.4 per cent of the people who did bother having their name ticked off the rolls voted informally. Again, uncommon.

The Victorian Electoral Commission’s records are only digitised as far back as a decade, but a spokesman for the VEC told The Punch this weekend’s turn out “is on the low side, and we will be conducting thorough research” as to why.

It’s not like nobody knew it was on. Both the ALP and the Greens bombarded the electorate with reading material. The Sex Party managed to get itself plenty of coverage.

The VEC did a huge awareness campaign. And media outlets all over the country covered the event as being relevant to the fortunes of the Prime Minister.

Some might blame the Liberal Party for failing to field a candidate. With Labor’s political fortunes in Canberra so publicly tied up with the Greens, any voter wishing to register a protest might have wondered how that was possible without a Coalition box to number 1.

Regardless it’s a dire situation for the ALP.

Given Labor had a lot to prove by retaining the seat and the Greens were very keen to win their first seat in the Victorian lower House, you would have thought their supporters would have turned up.

Based on the number of registered voters in Melbourne, the ALP managed to entice just 20% and the Greens 22% - numbers not too different to pretty much every opinion poll in the country right now.

Once people are given a real choice those keen to give the Government a kicking will be the ones more motivated to turn up at their local primary school on polling day.

Apathy will not be Labor’s friend.

Most commented

98 comments

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    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:25am | 24/07/12

      The Melbourne result was a disaster for both.
      Over 7% cast Informal Votes
      33% of Voters simply did not bother to turn up at all!
      Collectively, that could be interpreted as over 40% of all the voters wouldn’t have a bar of either the ALP or the Greens. Maybe the Libs should have fielded a candidate!!
      Labor won but, just as Julia squandered Kevin Rudd’s 18-seat majority in Ausgust 2012, technically they lost a seat they had held with a fairly comfortable majority for 100 years or more!
      Last week, in The Punch, I suggested that people should Deliberately cast an Informal Vote rather than, as we are now told, 33% of all Registered Voters in that seat of Melbourne who simply did not bother to turn up at all!
      The No-Shows & Informal results should send a very clear & loud message to our Federal, State & Territory politicians.
      Voters are sick of their Lies, their Deceit, their blatant self-interest, their total lack of Honesty, their selfishness.
      Given their behaviour over recent years not one of them has remained in, or entered, politics for any other purposes than their own self-interest & gratification.
      They have no interest in the advancement of Australia. They are all solely driven by their personal ambitions.
      At the 2013 federal Election our family (collectively 70 voters) will all be fronting up to our respective Polling Booths, getting our names crossed off the Electoral Roll & then Deliberately casting Informal Votes.
      We would not bother turning up at all but aren’t prepared to pay the fines for not doing so.
      Today, an Informal Vote is every bit as Legitimate as a formal one.
      Why should we vote for selfish, self-engrossed Liars & Cheats?

    • Anniebello says:

      01:14pm | 24/07/12

      So long as your informal votes are the ‘leave the form completely blank’ or draw pictures kind of informal. Maybe add your own ‘none of the above’ box?
      People who number the boxes from top to bottom or bottom to top are not voting informally, they are actually voting for someone - that’s how most of the idiots get elected.

    • mooksool says:

      10:53am | 24/07/12

      The Razor - as in sharp? So the people of Melbourne are idiots and morons with a low IQ for democratically exercising their right to vote. The Greens are lunatics and insane for presenting an alternative to the ‘business as usual’ major parties. SHY is a dope, gleefully conspiring to make us pay more via the misery of others, and you top it off not with examples or facts but with the tired old trope of illegal queue jumpers… you and I both know they’re not illegal and without embassies in their countries there are no queues for them to join (or jump). Is the point of your post simply to denigrate those with whom you disagree? Might be time to get the strop out mate, your edge is dulling.

    • The Razor says:

      09:42am | 24/07/12

      So Melbourne still have enough morons who will vote for the lunatic “Greens”.....Unfortunately these idiots do not have enough IQ to work out that the massive problems we have had forced on us by Gillard, are the work of this insane party ! ..... Sarah Hanson-Young would be the only dope who would see this as a victory, rubbing her hands together, wondering how many more illegal queue jumpers she can get into Australia at the taxpayers expense !

    • Daniel says:

      08:44am | 24/07/12

      I think this election result is still too close to call really.

    • Paul says:

      09:31pm | 23/07/12

      Although the voter particpation was disappointing from a democratic point of view, there were a few wider influences:
      1) The by-election was in “progressive territory”, not a more balanced representation of wider Australia. Which contributed towards there being little, if any, true discussion of any political issues beyond creating a stronger opposition by giving it another seat (instead of a minority party).
      2) One of the two main parties didn’t run. There was probably some trolling by the Liberals in not running a candidate who didn’t have a snow ball’s chance in hell. However without a clear “conservative” option it is quite feasible that a number of people didn’t want to vote for someone who isn’t politically similar to them and thus abstained from voting.
      3) The fiasco in the Federal Parliament is dampening everyone’s interest for politics. There is a strong sense throughout the public towards all levels of politics to cut the BS and get on with it, as opposed to enthusiasm towards an ideal. Though there does also appear to be a trend throughout Western politics towards this type of apathy.

      Although disturbing to see the low voter turnout, it is a warning sign, not proof that the system as a whole is broken.

    • LC says:

      09:18pm | 23/07/12

      - Allow informal voting to an extent. Such as one only has to preference 50% of the available candidates. On the house paper, you have to nominate a minimum of 3 (out of 5), while for the senate, a minimum of 30.
      - Allow for no-confidence votes. If an electorate can produce the equivalent of 20-25% of the number of registered voters on a petition to go to an early by-election, then a by-election is held. This will discourage candidates promising the world during campaign time and delivering nothing when they get into office.
      - Ban how-to-vote cards. People must be left to make up their own minds, not voting as-per the how to vote card like sheep.
      - Scrap above-the-line voting for the Senate. As now one only has to number half the boxes, it’s shouldn’t be too daunting a task.
      - Give back the 1 week breather between the campaign and the election.

      Would do wonderful things to democracy in this country.

    • LC says:

      07:16pm | 25/07/12

      Oh, and introduce new laws so that members of parliament don’t have to destroy their careers when they vote on a matter contrary to the party stance. This way they can better represent their constituency, rather than being forced into voting for or against something to because that’s the party line.

    • The Galah from Hervey Bay says:

      06:29pm | 23/07/12

      There is an element truth in claims that the Australian Labor party is on it’s last legs . Certainly , theparty will never again rise from the ashes to it’s former strengths and glory . The fire which will literally destroy Labor will burn with such intensity there will be little left to rise again.

      The anger in the Australian electorate is a tangible thing…it is not so much the disillusionment with politicians in general . It is more the voters waiting for an inevitable train wreck each time Labor gains power , either federally or in the state sphere.

      Conservative governments have been susceptible to Labor’s self destruct mode but never with the focus now taking Labor into such an intense inferno of it’s own making.

    • Andrew Dolt says:

      06:16pm | 23/07/12

      Just because the Libs didn’t run is no reason not vote for them! They are so beloved I would have thought voters in their tens of thousands would show up in support. Some could vote more than once even, the extra votes just a show in confidence of how perfect they are.

    • LC says:

      09:25pm | 23/07/12

      The seat of Melbourne has been historically a safe labor seat since the first federal election held in the country until the 2010 one. Why would the Libs bother? They would be better concentrating the bulk of their campaign at swinging seats.

      I imagine at state level it’s little different. The Labor stronghold of Melbourne, and the labor/greens one of Brunswick are impenetrable, so they don’t bother having a candidate.

      Who knows? Maybe, if they were given the choice, the missing 39.4-41.4% of voters would’ve shown up or voted[properly if a liberal candidate was available.

    • Daz says:

      04:41pm | 23/07/12

      Probably just a reflection of community disdain with politicians in general and Labor and the Greens in particular.

    • leaving says:

      06:29pm | 23/07/12

      Probably people are starting to realise that it’s a waste of their time and energy to care about something over which you can have no verifiable influence, that our political identities are pretty boring and obvious, and that I’d rather stay home and make hot love to an unskinned kiwi fruit.

      Put simply, voting is a waste of my time and caring about politics for 99% of us is utter furious intellectual masturbation.

    • Ian1 says:

      04:29pm | 23/07/12

      Classic title to the story, in answer - a double “entendre” dissolution?

    • Against the Man says:

      04:16pm | 23/07/12

      People having seen the Gillard crash are going to be very careful with their vote next time round smile

      All good baby!

    • Alec says:

      07:32pm | 23/07/12

      Labor won the seat, right ?

    • D says:

      03:47pm | 23/07/12

      I’m not fussed about ‘having to vote’ but it’s strikes me bizarre that I still need to go to local public school, be issued with a paper form thats 1.5 metre wide then fill it out in a booth thats 60cm wide.  What a waste of materials…  The whole thing is laughably archaic.  It’s 2012 - I should be able to vote online from home, or smartphone.

    • Inky says:

      06:25pm | 23/07/12

      “I should be able to vote online from home”

      Good lord no. Given that the last attempt made by the government for internet security cost, what? $70-80 million? And was cracked by a 16 year old kid in what? 30 minutes.

      Do you really trust the election to not be tampered with if it’s taken online? I don’t, and it’s not due to ignorance towards technology that I come to this conslusion.

      Still, having a Federal Electioon won by Rick Astley might be cool.

    • Non-Voter says:

      03:13pm | 23/07/12

      Jack Skellington got my vote on the last few polls I attended, except for the last where I simply got my name marked off took the 2 papers and simply folded them up without marking anything on them.

    • Karen from Qld says:

      08:03pm | 23/07/12

      St Michael as does The Pope, Jesus, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse

    • St. Michael says:

      03:27pm | 23/07/12

      Darth Vader seems to have the confidence of a good slice of the electorate from what I’ve seen as a scrutineer.

    • Michael S says:

      03:07pm | 23/07/12

      Has anyone actually been fined for not voting?

      I forgot to vote in a local council election about 10 years ago, and got a letter asking me to explain why I didn’t vote. I sent back the lamest excuse (I didn’t vote because I forgot) - not expecting I’d get away with it. But I never heard back from them, so they must have accepted the excuse.

    • gnome says:

      08:13pm | 23/07/12

      Melbourne non-voters are going to declare in droves that they were in Darwin to watch their team playing Port- one of the few chances of a win this year.  No absentee voting arrangements interstate.

      Note to the Electoral Commission- 15,000 didn’t vote, but there were only 6,000 at the game.

    • TimR says:

      04:10pm | 23/07/12

      I got the letter for not voting a few years back. I actually went to pay the $20 fine and the lady at the desk asked why I don’t offer an excuse. I went with “I didn’t know there was an election on”.
      No fine for Timmy!!

    • fml says:

      03:51pm | 23/07/12

      I paid $20 bucks once, I was actually overseas at the time, I couldn’t be bothered filling out the form and saying I was away or going to the consulate to vote.

    • Gordon says:

      03:03pm | 23/07/12

      Anyone care to hazard a guess why the once-was-Liberal Crikey bloke preferenced the Greens?

    • Tad says:

      02:53pm | 23/07/12

      End preferential voting.

      I wouldn’t have voted either if I knew my vote would be filtered down to either Labor or the Greens.

      Liberals too, though I can stand state Liberals more than federal (and no, that’s not because of Abbott).

    • marley says:

      06:48pm | 23/07/12

      @Sandra - and what difference do you think direct democracy would make?  You’d still be voting for someone whose ideas you probably didn’t agree with entirely.

    • Sandra says:

      04:28pm | 23/07/12

      As mentioned Direct democracy a la Switzerland is the only answer.

    • Cat says:

      02:51pm | 23/07/12

      There is no compulsion to vote. There is a compulsion to “attend the ballot box” (i.e. get your name marked off the register.)  That is not democratic but it is the way the electoral system works. (It was decided by parliament by the way - not the people.)
      I believe people should vote. It is a democratic right and a democratic responsibility.  I do not believe people should be required to do so - and most Australians believe they are required to actually vote. (It is actually an offence to discourage people from voting in the context of a campaign.)
      The idea of “compulsory voting” and (even worse) compulsory preferencing is what keeps power in the hands of the ALP and the Coalition.
      Our electoral system needs to be changed in a number of ways.(1)  We should severely limit the amount that can be spent - and only registered parties should be able to spend money.  (2) All campaigning and advertising should cease three days before an election.  (3) Voting and registering on the electoral roll should be voluntary (4) There should be a provision on a ballot paper for “none of the above” and, if that reaches more than 51% there should be a search for new candidates and (5) preferential voting should be optional. Finally people who do wish to vote should show some form of ID in order to prevent multiple voting (in the names of other people).
      All this could be put in place relatively easy. It will not happen because the major parties believe the system benefits them.
      If we then had an election and nobody came then people could simply go without representation - but someone would always turn up.

    • Lie Lover? says:

      11:50am | 24/07/12

      What is the point of (2)?

    • Marcus says:

      03:15pm | 23/07/12

      Get rid of compulsory attendance/voting/ticking name off. It’s what’s lead us down this sorry path in the first place.

    • M says:

      02:48pm | 23/07/12

      Get rid of compulsory voting. Those that don’t care won’t bother, and those that do care are more likely to be better informed, which would eventually lead to a better class of politician who tries to pander to the informed voter rather than scare the stupid one.

    • marley says:

      08:28pm | 23/07/12

      I cannot see that the quality of governance in Australia is any better than in the many countries that do not have compulsory voting.  The US is a mess, but that’s more to do with their peculiar mix of presidential and congressional governance than with optional voting.  Canada, the UK, Germany, and a lot of other countries seem to manage reasonably well without forcing people to the polls.  The lobbyists go after politicians;  the aren’t nearly as good at influencing individual voters.

      As for “one issue” politicians - sorry, but Australia is hardly exempt on that point - remember Family First?  How about the Shooters? Getting one issue politicians has far more to do with preferential voting than it does to do with optional voting. And the Australian system is in fact more prone to tossing them up than some of the other Westminster democracies.

    • LJ Dots says:

      07:35pm | 23/07/12

      M, just to add to my previous post. The slogan in favour of compulsory voting could be *Outrage beats indifference every time*. I will leave it to you to fill in the outraged lobby groups, there is a fine selection available.

    • LJ Dots says:

      07:17pm | 23/07/12

      M, I know compulsory voting is a pain in the butt and comes with it’s own problems, but without it the problem of lobby groups incentivising (I made that Americanism up) their tribe to vote one way on one topic is simply not worth it.

    • Shane* says:

      04:59pm | 23/07/12

      Where they have nothing even remotely resembling a “better class of politician who tries to pander to the informed voter rather than scare the stupid one” and they have one-issue politicians winning seats comfortably because they manage to get one-issue voters to mobilise.

    • M says:

      04:00pm | 23/07/12

      What situation is that?

    • bael says:

      03:45pm | 23/07/12

      Or you end up with a situation like America.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      02:31pm | 23/07/12

      I guess the election bribes aren’t working….

    • Richard says:

      07:29pm | 23/07/12

      What election bribes exactly did the Greens offer which aren’t working, Shane ?

    • Croyden says:

      04:25pm | 23/07/12

      Are you kidding? Gillard could give us the world, we’ll take it and return the favour with the worst election outcome in Labor’s history. If a hard arse Labor dude such as myself is over this government and its constant back flips and failures, you know the Gillard mob are in deep trouble.

    • Justin of Earlwood says:

      02:23pm | 23/07/12

      Compulsory voting (when adhered to) basically ensures that we get a middle of the road government decided by the middle of the country (demographically). There’s not really a major difference between the 2 major parties. Sure there’s some difference in IR policy & a few other areas, but despite the hot air, there would be lucky to be 5% difference in most areas.

      If compulsory voting breaks down (either through people not voting, informal voting or optional preferential voting), the likelihood is that the parties will shift apart ideologically as they’ll no longer need to appeal to the middle, but will instead appeal to their motivated base as the percentage of the vote required drops dramatically.

      Why is that a problem? Specifically in situations such as a 3 cornered contest (e.g. 1 Lab, 1 Lib & 1 Nat), it would be possible for the Lib & Nat to poll 33% each & the Lab to poll 34%, meaning that 66% of the voters wanted a conservative, yet the Lab would win. The same could happen in Greens/Lab/Lib contests (where the Lib gets up).

      Our parliaments would become unrepresentative of the majority & we would shift to a situation more like the US where there are wild swings in policy & social cohesion at elections.

      If you’re of the left & think Abbott is the root of all evil, you haven’t seen anything yet. If you’re of the right & think the Greens are wreckers, just wait.

    • Gerard says:

      04:34pm | 24/07/12

      “Compulsory voting (when adhered to) basically ensures that we get a middle of the road government”

      You know the country’s in serious trouble when a party which advocates internet censorship is considered “Middle of the road”.

    • Tony says:

      10:39am | 24/07/12

      @marley
      Democracy means “the will of the people” without any preferences whatsoever.

      Oligarchy means rule by the few.

      Can you spot the difference?

      No wonder that “shit happens” everyday.

    • marley says:

      06:45pm | 23/07/12

      @maria - well, if you go to direct democracy, you can be damn sure you’re surrendering your democratic rights to the mob.  What exactly do you think direct democracy is?

    • maria says:

      06:10pm | 23/07/12

      Why is that a problem?

      because voting under our phony system means surrender all your democratic rights to the mob ( will you sell your soul and your boby to the devil?) and “think Abbott is the root of all evil” as all autocrats are under our crooked.

      The best way to stop the mob to screw us is to have a direct democracy.

      If you know a better system than a direct democracy to keep the bastards honest please tell us.

    • Interloper says:

      05:17pm | 23/07/12

      Justin, I think you’re conflating preferential voting and compulsory voting. They’re separate issues

    • Karen from Qld says:

      02:18pm | 23/07/12

      I have a feeling that at the next federal election there will be no holding the voters back. Have heard from a friend who lives on the Sunshine Coast that a local business has ordered tee shirts with baseball bats printed on them to be ready for next year. Apparently a lot of interest has been expressed.

    • nihonin says:

      08:34am | 24/07/12

      No prizes for 2nd Mattb.

    • Mattb says:

      08:43pm | 23/07/12

      ive heard from a few friends on the gold coast they’re printing the same T-shirts for the newman government…

    • Fiddler says:

      02:12pm | 23/07/12

      “Some might blame the Liberal Party for failing to field a candidate”

      You mean some people might try and blame the Coalition for something it has nothing to do with? Surely not, certainly there are no posters here that do that.

    • MarkS says:

      08:54am | 24/07/12

      I suspect that many people simply refused to vote because there was no Liberal party candidate. So yes, I would blame the Liberal party.

      After all, it would not cost them anything to simply put some dropkick on the paper & spend nothing campaigning.

    • Phil S says:

      04:32pm | 23/07/12

      Well, if it turned out that the 33% who didn’t vote would have voted coalition, and specifically did not vote because they did not have a coalition candidate to vote for, and refused to vote for the lesser of “evils” listed on the form, then yes, I think you can lay the low turn out rate at the feet of the coalition.

      The fact is that this poll was dominated by major left wing parties. Sure there were some right wing candidates, but if you don’t have one from the major party that represents a large portion of the electorates views, then I would expect a large number of people not to show up…

    • james says:

      02:46pm | 23/07/12

      It doesn’t make sense not to try and win an extra seat when you govern by a 1 seat majority?

      Thats 2 in row the libs have squibbed in Vic.

    • Huonian says:

      02:11pm | 23/07/12

      It was pretty much a contest between Labor and the Greens.  Neither of which are currently worthy of an intelligent person’s vote.  Who really cares about a left vs far left spat ?

      Perhaps it’s time to give voters the option of voting for “none of the above”.  Then the disgruntled could really tell the pollies what they think of them…...

    • fml says:

      03:49pm | 23/07/12

      When you find an intelligent person could let me know?

      Kthnxbye.

    • AdamC says:

      02:09pm | 23/07/12

      The media spin on the by-election is a little weird. At least the ALP won the thing. Meanwhile, the Greens failed to win the most Green-friendly seat in the state.

    • James In Footscray says:

      04:43pm | 23/07/12

      Greens are expressing anger over the fact the ALP ‘stole the election’ with preferences from the Sex Party - ‘has the ALP no shame’ etc.

      Pity Adam Bandt won the federal seat of Melbourne with Liberal preferences.

    • AdamC says:

      04:09pm | 23/07/12

      Hamish, that is the largely ignored story here. It seems that, without generous preference flows, the Greens cannot win anywhere.

    • Hamish says:

      02:41pm | 23/07/12

      I think the most interesting aspect is how well the independents did. Clearly, both Labor and Greens were an unpalatable choice for a large number of voters. You’re right though. If the Greens can’t win Melbourne, where are they going to win?

    • marley says:

      02:04pm | 23/07/12

      Maybe it just says that Australians are tired of being forced to vote when none of the parties involved reflects their political beliefs or has their confidence.

    • marley says:

      09:25pm | 24/07/12

      @maria - neither funny nor phoney.  Who’s flag bearer for the Swiss Olympic team?  That would be Stanislas Wawrinka.

    • maria says:

      03:47pm | 24/07/12

      @bella starkey
      @marley   women got the vote in Switzerland in 1971

      Funny and phony or phony and funny which way you want….
      Today’s Daily Telegraph question

      Is it time for a woman to carry the aussie flag at Olympic’s?

      Where the bloody hell are you??????????

    • St. Michael says:

      09:52pm | 23/07/12

      @ PhilD: minor point of trivia, but Swiss mercenaries were so effective it’s actually still a war crime to use them in war.

      They’re also still holding onto a good portion of the gold Hitler stole off an entire generations of Jews’ corpses, but that’s another story.

    • Gordon says:

      09:18pm | 23/07/12

      good replies, thanks all,  I guess if you want both a party that both exactly reflects your views AND is a strong chance at winning then unless you are Mr Mainstream you will likely cop dissapointment one way or another. Democracy gives you a voice but doesn’t guarrantee it will be loud. To be heard your fellows have to pick up your song, like it and join in. Spitting the dummy when they (unaccountably!) aren’t interested is not going to get you anywhere really.

    • PhilD says:

      08:25pm | 23/07/12

      @Maria :Switzerland….it did not participate in most european wars”
      Swiss guards still guard the Vatican and they were used by other counties as well. Swiss mercenaries fought in most European wars from the 15th to 19th centuries including those involving the the Holy Roman Empire and the Napoleonic wars.
      The Swiss have pharmaceutical companies and engineering companies, and they make pretty good watches, light aircraft and cuckoo clocks.

    • marley says:

      06:41pm | 23/07/12

      @maria - women got the vote in Switzerland in 1971.  That’s just a tad after women got the vote in most of the western world.  Say 50 to 70 years.  If you think that speaks well of Swiss direct democracy, well, I don’t.  I think its incredibly timorous.

    • maria says:

      05:20pm | 23/07/12

      @iansand
      Switzerland does not have any oil or good recources it did not participate in most european wars did not do any colonizing but they are richest country in the world is this only because of swiss banks or are there anything else?

      @bella starkey
      i suggest you look up women’s sufferage in Switzerland.
      What do you mean?
      woman are voting too in Switzerland, you better check before making any phony comment as our politicians and nobody get screwed by them there.

      Extreme laws will mercilessly be blocked by the electorate in referendums, parties are less inclined to radical changes in laws and voters are less inclined to call for fundamental changes in elections.

    • marley says:

      05:00pm | 23/07/12

      @Gordon - I do not agree that there is a full spectrum to choose from.  There’s loony left and right, there’s the Greens (but I repeat myself), there’s the ALP and Coalition, neither of which is even close to representing my views, and then there’s the Sex Party and a few others.  And while I’m greatly in favour of sex, I’m not sure that the Party actually represents the full range of my political views.

    • iansand says:

      04:55pm | 23/07/12

      In the last few months the cities of San Bernadino and Stockton in California have gone bankrupt I don’t know if this is connected with directly democratic rejection of higher property taxes by the electorate in citizen sponsored referenda, but I have seen that link made in relation to the generally parlous state of Californian finances.

    • bella starkey says:

      04:48pm | 23/07/12

      Sandra, if you think direct democracy is a good thing i suggest you look up women’s sufferage in Switzerland.

    • Sandra says:

      04:32pm | 23/07/12

      What about Direct democracy as mentioned above by true democracy ?

    • Markus says:

      04:30pm | 23/07/12

      @Gordon, while I know federal elections are not quite the same thing, I think it’s worth pointing out that my HoR electorate in 2010 had exactly three options: Labor (a token female thrown into a safe seat after the retirement of a long standing member), Liberal, and Greens (whose preferences of course all went to Labor).
      Hardly a full spectrum representing all beliefs.

    • Tad says:

      04:28pm | 23/07/12

      @ Gordon

      What’s the point of voting for them when they can’t win a seat and your preferences will result in your vote helping one of the major parties win or hold a seat, even though that’s exactly what you don’t want?

    • M says:

      03:18pm | 23/07/12

      Too lazy to engage.

    • Gordon says:

      02:34pm | 23/07/12

      Given there is a full spectrum out there from loony left across to loony right, what you are saying is either autralians simply have no political beliefs to represent, or that Aussies are too lazy to engage and find out who might represent them.

    • CBR says:

      02:02pm | 23/07/12

      I don’t think there’s any precedent for that so..who knows?

    • Jad Jones says:

      02:39pm | 23/07/12

      In the highly unlikely event that absolutely no-one lodged a valid vote in the the entire electorate then, I believe, the returning officer from the VEC would have the deciding vote.

      Essentially that provision exists for when there’s a tie between candidates at the end of the count.

      In reality it would probably end up in court instead of the vote of the returning officer being accepted and that being the end of it.

    • Shane says:

      02:01pm | 23/07/12

      More to the point, what if you pasted up an article and nobody came to comment on it. :-p

    • Pwned says:

      02:56pm | 23/07/12

      Well you did and now I did so that’s at least 2 comments.

    • St. Michael says:

      02:00pm | 23/07/12

      What if you had an election and nobody came, or everyone voted informal because the choices were bad?

      Easy.  You get Julia Gillard with the Greens riding her back.

    • Bitten says:

      03:05pm | 23/07/12

      @subotic: I think pretty much the same situation as we have in federal Parliament right now - all show, no blow smile

    • subotic says:

      02:18pm | 23/07/12

      What if you held an erection and nobody came?

      That would scare me more…

    • Mahhrat says:

      01:57pm | 23/07/12

      Apathy would be fantastic if we could get some law into our constitution that says you need 51% of the population - not 51% of people who turn up - voting you in before you can form government.

      Not only do you have to be better than the other guy, but good enough to actually get real people voting for you.  It’d be brilliant.

    • Josh says:

      01:54pm | 23/07/12

      In all seriousness, would would happen if the informal vote recorded the majority in an electorate?

      Is a by-election called?

    • Anniebello says:

      01:00pm | 24/07/12

      I too have worked as a scruntineer and totally agree with Karen here.  What I can’t figure out is if a person puts a great big number one, tick or cross in the box of their choice and leaves the rest of the boxes empty it counts as an informal vote. Surely this is a clear indication of the voter’s intention - I want THIS person and NO ONE else. It’s all about the preferences - just look at how many Federal members owe their jobs to people who didn’t want them in first place.

    • Karen from Qld says:

      07:59pm | 23/07/12

      Al even the informals get closely scrutinised

    • A la Switzerland says:

      07:49pm | 23/07/12

      @Marley. Not True. If, like in Switzerland, Australians had the right to vote on all issues rather than to elect a ‘face of the party’ once every three years, once elected this face would still be accountable to the people: they would vote for or against the ideas put to them. So carbon tax, super, compulsory third party, asylum seekers etc, all those issues would be voted on by the people and it would not matter if the ‘face of the party’ lied or not. Even better, the people can themselves submit a modification of their choice, granted they have sufficient support to start with. There are too many laws being changed or passed through without people even hearing about it here in Australia. A democracy ‘a la Siwtzerland’ would prevent that, even if, like my wife always comment, I have to vote for ‘every bloody things’ every three months. I prefer to have too many elections than none. I wish I could vote more often in Australia (double nationality), and vote about ideas, not about who we are going to hear negative things about for the next three years. It may not be perfect but politicians are much more accountable this way.

    • marley says:

      06:38pm | 23/07/12

      @true democracy - well, I can’t say that Switzerland is better governed than the rest of us. Glacial movement on major issues, xenophobic reactions to asylum seekers, and whatever the banks want, they get.  Essentially, imagine yourself governed by your local town councillors. That’s what they have.

    • Shane says:

      06:00pm | 23/07/12

      @true democracy,
      That system? Here in Australia? Hahahahahaha…. that’s a good one.

    • true democracy says:

      03:55pm | 23/07/12

      We would have another election with new faces and the same shit.

      The best way is to have a direct democracy a la Switzerland in which only the people are sovereign.

      Switzerland’s direct democracy means that all proposed amendments to the constitution are decided by referendum. Any other federal law can be put to a referendum if 50,000 citizens sign a petition - meaning that Switzerland’s federal system can be changed by its citizens.
      DIRECT DEMOCRACY:
      - Restores authority to the people, and makes them responsible, not the parties.
      - Curbs the imbalance of power, makes politicians responsible to the people
      - Gets the community involved
      - Makes for better legislation
      - Politicians are forced to act on petitions instead of throwing them out right away.
      - Helps to gain control over Parliament and the direction of the country.
      - Restores parliamentary government with representatives.
      - Makes politicians be accountable.

      and “shit happens” would be history once and for all.

    • Al says:

      03:41pm | 23/07/12

      Karen - sorry, I thought you were commenting along the lines of this thread which was to do with informal votes, not accepted/formal votes.

    • Karen from Qld says:

      03:26pm | 23/07/12

      Al The scrutineers from each party get to see the votes and the ones that I have come across are certainly interested. Most of these votes are actually counted as formal. They are only informal if they don’t show a clear voter intention towards a candidate or the voter has left information as to their identity as in vote 1 for and placing an actual name and that does happen.. If the boxes are marked correctly and there is no way to identify the voter then they are indeed formal comments, drawings and all.

    • Al says:

      03:02pm | 23/07/12

      Karen - just how many of those expressions made their way to the candidates?
      None, right.
      What impact did they have on the outcome?
      None, right.
      As such the candidates are not privy to the disatisfaction, they just know they did/didn’t get a majority of the valid votes cast (and only realy care about the invalid ones if they lose).

    • Mahhrat says:

      02:55pm | 23/07/12

      @Al:  I love it.  Where do I sign up?

      The very best part is you’d get arguments around “But then we’d always do that, because society sucks.”  If that’s the case, make society better.  You actually need to give people a reason to vote for you, not the other people.

    • Karen from Qld says:

      02:26pm | 23/07/12

      Al having worked for both the QEC and the AEC at both State and Federal elections I can assure you that a lot of people do voice their opinions in their own way. In fact some go to great lengths to get their point of view across even to the extent of drawing little pictures.
      I have worked at elections where the informal vote out ranked some of the candidates.

    • Al says:

      02:06pm | 23/07/12

      A by-election would not be called, they simply count the valid votes cast, the rest are excluded.
      This is why I keep saying I want 1 additional option on all voting.
      That being ‘I find none of these candidates suitable’.
      If majority vote that way then a by-election should be held with none of the original candidates being allowed to stand (as they have already been voted not suitable).

 

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