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The big day is here

Webdiarist David Markham lives in Canberra, having previously lived in other places including Sydney, Northern NSW, and for a time, many years ago, in Toronto in Canada. He has done a number of jobs in his time - taxi driver, cleaner, barman, but have mostly worked in the public sector.  He takes a great interest in legal matters (his first piece for Webdiary was Ineligible candidates). David is coy about his age, but admits to having gone to school with Malcolm Turnbull. Thank you, David; we look forward to your report on the result...

The big day is here
by David Markham

The excitement in this part of the world, that being the bit between Queanbeyan and Yass, is palpable as we prepare for the excitement of tomorrow's ACT election. About a month ago Ian MacDougall had a piece in Webdiary about this election. I note that his story received no comments whatsoever, which I regard as enormously encouraging. As for those of you with the misfortune to not live in the land of the swooping magpie, may I give you a potted guide to the election.

In his piece, Ian commented that he was going to the launch of the Community Alliance Party. I have heard this new party somewhat unkindly referred to as the Whingeing Old Farts Party. I regard this as unkind because, being a whingeing old fart myself, I cannot understand why this would be construed as a criticism. I have no idea what the Community Alliance's policies are, or if they have any. This is not necessarily a negative. If they do indeed have no policies this would, in my view, make them a better receptacle for my vote than most of the other candidates.

Currently in Government is the Australian Labor Party. Labor has a lot of policies - so many that it is fast running out of time to release them. It may have to retain some for the 2012 election. There is of course no point in releasing policies in that useless three and three quarter years out of four that do not fall within an election period. Labor's main policy is to keep Jon Stanhope as Chief Minister - all other policies are subservient to this. Frankly this is an appropriate policy focus, because if Mr Stanhope was not Chief Minister I cannot imagine what he would do with his time. He may have to spend more time with his family. Now I know absolutely nothing about Mr Stanhope's family so this should not be considered personal criticism, but whenever a politician retires to spend more time with this family, I always wonder whether anybody has sought the view of the family.

The Liberal Party is led by Zed Seselja, who at 30 appears to be the senior member of the party. One of the Liberal people standing in my electorate (and I say one of them because the ACT has an electoral system that may be understood by Malcolm Mackerras but certainly not by anyone else) is a gentleman called Coe. Reminding you of my view of myself above, I will note that Mr Coe appears to be about fourteen years old. He has adopted the slogan 'Go for Coe' and I am training my dog to do just that should he come a-knockin'. The Liberal Party also have a lot of policies, none of which I have bothered to read.

The final party, or at least the final party that I know about, is the Greens. The Greens appear to be very nice earnest young people who fulfil the old definition of a person with a PhD - that is, somebody who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else. I would consider voting for the Greens but I am afraid that if they actually won they would be so traumatised they would need a long course of reiki, or origami, or whatever the f*** it is that I am trying to think of.

So there you have it. Since I moved house recently I have not found anywhere to put up my dart board, so I have no means of working out who to vote for. A friend has told me that he dislikes all the candidates that he knows so intensely that he is only going to vote for candidates that he has never heard of. This sounds like a very sensible plan.

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Comparisons, David

 If we genuinely prefer to have fewer political parties we would tend to restrict our variety of choice.

Conversely, our method of electing Senators is a pain in the rear end.

Do the Americans allow independents?

I suppose that there is never ever a perfect anything, but I totally believe in compulsory voting because it is a small price to pay for a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Some people say that the voluntary method is more democratic but that would be false, otherwise we encourage people who are prepared to cop any government,  to also ignore the legislated laws of the land - like filing tax returns? It would be the absence of responsibility which we all abhor.

The corporations, while arguing that shareholders' voting should be a matter of choice is, at least to me, encouraging them not to vote at all.  That always favours the dedicated political alliances and brings into the equation the effect of pressure groups.

Compulsory voting should be maintained on all levels:  "The government of a people is what they deserve".


Compulsory voting

Ernest William, No it is not compulsory to vote, you only have to attend the polling booth and you can leave the ballot form blank if you like. I believe this is the reason for the high informal vote.

Conversely, our method of electing Senators is a pain in the rear end.

Perhaps then you should know this "The best example of electoral change to try and maintain incumbency was Labor changing the Senate system from First Past the Post [FPTP] to proportional representation. This was done because Chifley believed that Labor would lose the Senate in an upcoming election under a FPTP system. This back-fired on Labor, they have not had a majority in the Senate since".

Here we go

Ern, I am most certainly not Dr Woodforde.  I understand he lives in a suburb named after an old opera singer, whereas I live in a suburb named after an old doctor, the two suburbs being separated by a road named after an old pilot.  There is obviously a world of difference between his view and mine.

And while I accept your view on star signs, F Kendall, doesn't this involve altogether too much research on the candidates? 

There is a serious point to all this.  At this level of government I want somebody to pick up the garbage and keep the roads and parks etc in good condition.  Basically, I want good managers, not the display of egomania that political campaigns demonstrate.


How pleasing to find that some of the electorate is still sane, David Markham.

Having no dartboard, I am now investigating other ways of ticking boxes, eg, by astrology.   Tick all the Aries and Taurus and set ram against bull?  Could be fun.  All the water signs. and have wishy washy people in power? 

However, I'm inclined to vote only for Geminis, so that they feel so torn between  opposing views that they are unable to take any action at all.

What a good thing. Thank you.

The Benefits of Self Government

As an ex-Canberran David , the first thing I must ask of you is to please not split your infinitives. It's not that I'm a stickler for grammatical correctness; it's a matter of elegance.

Remember how we rejected self government twice for the very good reason that for a community of but 300,00 people it was simply unviable? Remember Craig Duby who was elected on the platform of no self government and promptly jumped into bed with the enemy? As for the conceited half smartarse prick Keating that foisted it on us anyway, was I glad to see him get his arse kicked.

Ah well, be careful what you wish for. (Be careful of that for which you would wish.)


 G'day David,

Even though your thread is long, I enjoyed reading it and I hope, all of us will enjoy engaging with you.

Are you sure you are not Dr. Woodforde in disguise?

Cheers Ern G.

Fiona: I can assure you, Ern, that D(avid) Markham and Dr Woodforde are completely different people.

MASSAGE: SPLITTING ONE'S INVENTIVES - the horror, the horror..

Fiona: I can assure you, Ern, that D(avid) Markham and Dr Woodforde are completely different people.

That's an relief to infinitely split know, yer honour.  And an compliment.  No one has ever called one an different people before, and one'll note it on one's next census form, where one used to put "Occupation:-  cat (but previously an article, m'lud)"

Dr Jack Woodforde, OAM &c, for services to the feline world, especially those of Akka

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