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Why I voted Blank

If the majority of the Australian population told this current form of democracy to get stuffed by lodging a blank ballot form, what would happen next? Would our voting system be destroyed? Would anarchy break out, some kind of battle for control of the country?

I'd seen Mark Latham on 60 Minutes last Sunday, telling us that Abbott and Gillard had given us blank pieces of paper for policies, and that it was our legal right to respond in kind at the ballot box. I gave the idea a fair bit of thought during the week, bounced it around on my Facebook page. The politically eclectic mob I chat with were mostly dead against the idea. Some said that as people had died to provide the right to vote it was more or less my duty to "make my vote count" Others seemed disappointed at my stance. All in all I received enough of a negative reaction to make me reconsider.

As much as my political leanings have mostly been towards Labor (though of the opinion that if you want a job done properly, ask a right-wing Liberal to do it) I wouldn't be able to look myself in the eye in the mirror each day if I voted for a party run not just by this back-stabbing Brutus-ette, but by the unelected factional leaders who handed her the blade. Like him (and what he has or hasn't done) or not, Rudd was our democratically mandated Prime Minister, and the right place to decide his future would have been at this election. The party we put into political power denied us that opportunity. To me this is unjust and undemocratic.

And the Greens? It seems they're making a play for power by riding on Labor's coat-tails of this democratic dilemma. In other words, they're happy to support Gillard's actions.

I couldn't vote for Tony Abbott. How anyone who brought in WorkChoices could be allowed to conclude a campaign without releasing an industrial relations policy is beyond my comprehension. It seems that his sleep deprived media entourage were getting grumpy about it too, tossing him relevant questions on the last day of campaigning. Abbott, of course, said nothing, only gave a refusal to rule out changes to I.R. laws should he succeed. And as for his UK carbon-copied (and failed) Sleepless Marathon...

I think my main irritation is that neither of our proposed PMs has been able to answer a question candidly and truthfully. I've felt that they've been prepared to say anything that will give them votes, and without a shred of detail to support their catch-phrases.

Even so, I was still unsure of myself when I headed to the polling booth. Arriving at midday I had plenty of time in the queue to talk to others, many who felt they had no-one to vote for as a representative they wanted.

By the time I reached the front of the queue and received my ballot papers, I was finally convinced of what was the right thing to do. Steeling myself, I walked straight to the slots and lodged my vote.

If Tony gets in, I'll have to live with the guilt of knowing that my vote didn't help stop him. However, this election campaign has left me with a sense that my beliefs are totally irrelevant to the people who would run my life, and having participated in this disgusting charade of democracy would have been a much greater burden.

So far this arvo I've talked to a dozen other people who've done the same as me. I wonder, when the votes are counted, how many of us will have protested in this manner.

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Must be true - I read it in the paper...

Daniel, did you catch my letter in the Tiser last week (quite different to my interview in this month's SA Life)  advocating blank voting as an electoral weapon to eliminate dodgy SA Labor marginal encumbents?  My theory was that instead of eventually casting a preferential vote for folk you'd rather not have around, take a vote that would've been in their favour and hold it far away from them... I figure that if parties are going to utilise Hawker-Britten style marginal campaign tactics, thereby showing total disdain and disrespect for the votes of many, I can't see any harm in showing them that a vote is still powerful.

"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?  I don't think democracy can't work in Australia, but that maybe it requires a little remodelling.

Abbot and Gillard have both basically been saying that if we had a different accounting system they'd have won.  It's a bullshit argument if neither of them proposes first-past-the post on primaries or somesuch.

If you're treated with contempt, why not respond in kind?  For some people it's easier than for others, twould seem.  

I've a feeling that future election campaigns will need to court blank voters instead of rubbishing them, and that this indeed will be a warning shot of a possible future democratic evolution.. or is that revolution?

Fiona, it is indeed good to see you round the place again. 

Richard and Fiona!

Richard, I didn't catch your letter in the TISER but I do agree that our Australian 'democracy' does need some remodeling. Perhaps it will happen during the next three years!

Fiona, I have never really left WD but I've been watching from afar. I'm sure it needs a bit of remodelling too. Some photos or images could work wonders. 

Allowing the comments from known persons to appear as they are submitted seems to me to be essential for growth. This would allow the interchange of ideas to flow (as it does on most other blogs) rather than regular contributors having to wait for someone to appear at the moderator's desk.


David R: we do have the capacity to create a "Trusted Member" status that is unmoderated - and have had that since the beginning. Why have we never implemented it? Because we haven't found enough people we can trust, frankly - by which I mean that the great majority of our regular contributors have at one time or another made comments that should not be published (in many cases, they themselves have come back to ask us not to publish). The potential for long (meaning several hours) gaps between moderator presence means that a offensive, libellous or otherwise actionable comment might be published for long enough to be a legal problem. That's why all the newspaper sites in Australia now pre-moderate, and why international sites such as the Guardian post-moderate within two-three minutes of publication. Also, we don't really want to single out or separate Webdiarists from each other, nor imply that any of you are more respected than the others!

What recourse?

Yes, I understand Richard Tonkin's frustrations.  I'm even older than he is, so am even more frustrated at the contempt politicians and others in authority show the people of this country.

We really have little means at all of getting them to understand that we pay them to do a job, not waste well-paid time plotting against their colleagues, looking after "mates" and sabotaging accountability to the public.

If some thing more effectual had been available, he would not have had to have resorted to posting a blank vote in protest.

But the blank vote in itself is not the story here, it's the attempt to generate enough of a blank vote and mass blankvoting to pass communication of our frustrations to the mutton heads running things, since they seem only to ignore anything else people say or do.

Open and Transparent Government

It looks to me as if the independents are doing some good, demanding accountability from the two majors. There are some local bribes in there, but much of their demands seem to be about open and transparent government. Tony's refusals have really made him look as if he is too used to hiding things.

Transparent, open, accountable...

Following on the above comment from Jay, we discover today that Abbott is in strife with Tony Windsor, who has claimed that his reading of Abbott's costings display a 7-11 billion dollar "black hole", depending on assumptions. Contrasting this, is news that Labor and the Greens are closer to a mutual understanding.

I find it incomprehensible that Windsor and the others of the "three amigos" small c grouping could continue to contemplate Abbott, on his behaviours before during and after the election.

I think that, for the time being, Labor should  allowed to get on with government, but the independents should not forsake the opportunity to withdraw support rather than opt for three years carte blanche for whoever gets the nod, without a clear mandate.

After this substandard election involving two substandard major political groupings, the public expects the indies to keep pressure on whoever is in government.

Asymmetric Co-dependant Democratic Neutralism

To vote informal is something yours truly has done – often, but this time Pumpkin and I conspired to stuff them up – at least in our family nobodie won, and nobodie lost.

You see, Pumpkin voted Labor and I voted Liberal – second preference to rob them of the $1.73 or whatever.

This is what we called: asymmetric co-dependant democratic neutralism – good fun and we all lose, er win – who gives a shit anyway.

As it turned out not only did nobodie win in our family, nobody won in our greater family – our Nation. It would appear in a dialectical sort of way we were collectively united when casting our votes (f*ck em we said) – makes you all warm and fuzzy don't it?

Anyway a bloody fantastic result don't you think? And while they negotiate (lie and deceive) they can do us little harm.

One hopes this negotiating thingy goes on for two or three years, besides we don't need them – we have Malcolm to look after us, B Duncan that is, not Turnbull.

Anyway, not much use worrying about who gets in; either mob will slowly continue to push us down an invasive track (for our "welfare", our "security") – a track that will eventually turn into a super highway full of corporate cameras and statutory fines, all for one purpose and one purpose only: to pay off public debt and fatten private profits, profits to be used to further lobby, intimidate and bribe our governments. And that's just for starters.

Today governments outsource more and more of their (our) services (insurance companies, road toll companies, Macquarie Group, Redflex etc), and along with it our privacy. Prepare for the user pays toll booth society. If you don't pay the (corporate) toll collector our democratically elected debt collectors will clobber you – guilty until proven innocent, and only innocent if they allow you to go to court and face your accuser?

Think about it.

And if you do think about it; that is, the current relationships between our democratically elected debt collectors and corporations, then it could be argued we have fascism lite.

I wonder how long it will take before it becomes a statutory requirement to have GPS tracking devices on all vehicles in the interests of the consumer. This would be fantastic if the vehicle was stolen, or involved in an accident etc. Such a law could be introduced for our "security" and "welfare", enabled by corporate computing power and enforced by the bureaucracy.

However, such a tracking device could also track the speed of the vehicle and if it obeyed all rules of the road etc.etc.etc. A trip to the relos could cost a few thousand bucks in instant penalties (for careless drivers) – such penalties could ruin the disadvantaged – corporate bludgers need not worry, the company pays.

When too many punters refuse, or can't afford, to pay then a new law will be introduced in the interests of the common wealth: your bank will be directed to deduct the fine (and their management fee, even better if it puts you into O/D) from your account and pay the sum into consolidated revenue – try getting the money back then! If you go into O/D then the bank gets the interest (now around 30%) or the bailiffs will come and collect your assets on behalf of your creditor – the bank.

Think about it because that is the type of thing we can expect down the track, simply because we can see it happening now – bit by bit, byte by byte.

Not too long ago one could survive without a bank account – try doing it now. Not too long ago we didn't need a tax file number, a medicare number, a social security number – nor did we need 4,051 passwords, plastic cards and customer IDs etc etc – all of which have a heap of your personal data attached – all trackable.

Think about what your life was like in 1990; the stuff you had and how you did things (before anybody heard of the internet or email).

Now think where we will be in twenty years time?

Think about it, then think about what "moving forward" really means.

Maybe all of the above is nothing more than the fears and anxieties this old wombat has in relation to a globe that is changing rapidily, maybe our democratically elected governments will protect us as they always promise to do.

PS. You'd being doing yourself a favour to read the PDF file at the end of the above link, a quick example on where we are headed (globably) – think about it, please.

Blank vote the perfect weapon of anarchy.

Dunno if any of you heard me flunking out on Tony Delroy's "Challenge" the other night, unable to answer "Who wrote Julia Gillard's electtion campaing\gn"  I tried Terry Britton (of Hawker-Britton) and Bill Shorten, to no avail. In the conversation it turned out he'd read the above piecel  I can't find a lot of stuff written by people who've done what I did that have the guts to say so.

If preferences have become a form of Crowleyesque sciience, a "Black Art" that the populace doesn't comprehend but with which elections are fought and won, why not use this tactic's anarchic counter to make sure your vote nullifies your opponent without you inadvertantly empowering somebody you don't like.  Labourites whose preferences seated Steven Fieding take note. 

My thought is to target, in the next SA election, those cabinet incumbents who (last round)  took fiftteen per cent looses, calculated successses in Terry Britton's election campaign.  

Blank votes will eradicate those who need to be gone. Great way to truly make your vote count.


Richard, congratulations on getting on the program!

But on the subject of an anarchic counter I feel you are missing the main point.

We shouldn't be a population who attend at the polling booth as an empty act of pure obedience but can there sneakily lodge blank papers as an evasion of compulsory voting.

There should not be compulsory voting.

Is it better to be an obedient captive, and thus unmolested, or to be free?

It is more dignified to attend at the polling booth and vote the straight ticket of a major party than to lodge blank papers.  Better to go for a purpose than to go out of empty obedience.

Don't take that as a crticism.  I think you did well to lodge blank papers.  But notice that it was not the act of a free person.

I prefer not to run off

Preferential voting is a rolled-up exhaustive ballot.  There is no need for a run-off election if no candidate gains a majority of the votes cast.

If no candidate gains a majority of the first preferences cast we eliminate the candidate who gained fewest first preferences and there is an automatic run-off election among the survivors, in which the second preferences that had been already been cast by those who preferred the first casualty are added to the votes for the remaining candidates.

We have the equivalent of a presidential election for each seat, but we do it all at once, rather than returning for the runoff.

It is essential to democracy that the winning candidate has gained the majority of the votes cast.  That is not guaranteed with a first past the post system.

But it is an affront to democracy to employ coercion to procure the deception that the winning candidate is supported by the majority of the electors enrolled.

Non-compulsory an honest vote

In a non-compulsory system voters have to be enticed out of their homes to vote for a party or chapter. Quite different from being commanded to attend and voting for the enemy. A much different kettle of fish.

And while we're at changes, how about "first past the post"?  It would make a vote much more honest. 

No way for the voter to say "a plague on both your houses".

Richard, I completely understand your need to send a message of one's extreme pissedoffedness to both major political parties. Voting informal would do this if informal votes were sorted by catagegory and the numbers in various categories released but this is not the case. Instead of knowing the numbers of blank ballots, ballots with preferences incompletely allocated, ballots with comments added we just get a total number of informal votes and there is know way of knowing whether a higher total rate of informals reflects disillusionment with both parties or a mere statistical blip in the normal processes creating informal votes when people misunderstand the voting system.

I am in the electorate of Bennelong and would have liked to fill in my vote incompletely leaving no numbers against candidates for four parties, namely Labour, Liberal, poofter bashers for Christ and the red haired xenephobes one fatherland party. However that would have just added one to the total number of informal votes and my message would not have gone beyond a ballet counter or two and a few scrutineers. Eventually I chose the option of making a protest vote for the only party I actually like, the Greens with the choice between electable parties with the Liberals as a lesser evi to Labour in positions 8 and 9. Positions 10 went to the sex mad Christfoascists and 11 to One Fatherland.

Australia really needs to modify the voting system so that a voter may give the political parties a more nuanced message. Political parties regularly misinterpret a change of government as the opposition winning when what actually happens is that a government loses. In 2007 we threw the government led John Winston Eyebrows out, but the new Rudd government thought it had a bloody mandate, when it was just the lesser of two evils.

I would ike to see optional preferential voting with none of the above being listed on every ballot paper. Selecting this as a last preference would indicate that that none of the unselected canidates was acceptable for the voter. It would be even better if after allocation of preferences on candidate had more than 50% of the vote cast or even better of the registered voters at the time of election then the seat would remain vacant until the next full election. This would allow voters to punish both major parties by depriving them of a profitable sinecure for one of their candidates. Maybe some unfilled seats would slam the message home , "A plague on both your parties".

not really

Carlyle Moulton, I cheer your sentiments but suggest our system is part of a project that offers something for the world we are a part of.

We were early to democratic government, taking the Federation era as jumping off point. The better experiments included female suffrage and broadly, what historians call the Settlement of 1906, whereby a concept of an enforcable minimum wage and the civil society of the twentieth century first emerged into being, incorporating a duty of care ethic.

As to Federation, another experiment, but now despised, was the treatment of Indigenes who lost rather than gained rights with Federation.

But overall, if it aint broke, don’t fix it.

Fixing the unbroken

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Fair question, Paul.  Australia is arguably the wealthiest country in the world.  True, the Aboriginal people have a lower life expectancy than the Bangladeshi, but then, it is probably much higher than it was before the invasion. With current predictions, as well continue to maintain a lead by selling our assets, our mining resources, we will continue to be able to maintain our lead for at least the next sixty years at least. I'll be long dead by then, and my children, with some luck, will be able to make it through their lifetime.

My argument is that we can do much better. Human ability (for example agricultural, manufacturing, peace-making) is orders of magnitude better than it was even a century ago. But it has not translated into equal orders of magnitude improvements in human happiness ( in Australia, ignoring other parts of the world, most noticeably Africa). Anyone with experience in the workforce know that most work is make-work activities (the few studies I've seen suggest that it is about 85% waste).

Is Australian politics broken? No, we are very unlikely to be forced to endure a regime such as Idi Amin. The likely worst may be someone like another Bush (and some would argue that our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq is proof that it has happened). 

But, I think we are missing out on a breakthrough, that it is out there, but we aren't grasping it. Another phase for the rapid development of humanity. But our focus on the purely economic blinds us to the other dimensions of growth.


A less grasping world?

Am not quite sure how to link it, but there is a good example of the"vision thing" and the self reflexivity of which it derives, in the Age just out.

Susan Helyar, the boss of the Uniting church's national welfare program, in  All Australians deserve a dividend from good economic times, argues for what she regards as the ending of "the long term under investment in Australian communites".

She identifies social infrastructure spending as having been previously appropriated to tax cuts, but for equity and efficiency reasons argues that the healthy state of the economy, as per Wayne Swan's diagnosis, that a civil society can also invest for the future via a functioning community welfare system. 

Paul, I also am too dumb

Paul, I also am too dumb, oops, let me rephrase that, I am too dumb, or my browser is too dumb, to automatically plant links to other pages, and I have no idea how to insert images.  Here is my bumbling way of doing the first.

Go to the site, use the mouse to highlight the location, the URL at the top, click Edit, Copy.

Then got to Webdiary and start your comment and somewhere put in a noticeable marker xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Helyar where that "Helyar" will be the clickable link.  Then go back to the end of the marker, put the cursor there, then click Edit, Paste, so that the URL goes in and your text says something like

marker xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/all-australians-deserve-a-dividend-from-good-economic-times-20100902-14rjr.html Helyar  where that "Helyar" will be the clickable link.

Then click on the "HTML" button just above the text and what you see is a mess but you can locate the marker.  What I do then to get elbow room is break the HTML code up where I see "</p><p>" which just indicates the end and the beginning of two paragraphs.  You can put a line break</p>

<p>or two between such pairs and it's easier to see where you are.

Then, put the reference following the marker, the URL, in double quotes.

Then, at the start of the quoted reference, type "<a href=" without  those quotes and without leaving a space after the equals sign, so you are seeing something like xxxxxxx <a href="http://www.theage. etc.

Then go to the closing quote and put a closing angle bracket after it without leaving a space, so you have   times-20100902-14rjr.html">Helyar</a> and there I have jumped ahead, put "</a>" after "Helyar" and deleted the surrounding spaces.

Then, delete the xxx...xxx marker which only allowed you to find the place in the HTML code, click on Update and you will have

noticeable markerHelyar where that "Helyar" will be the clickable link.

Or you can delete the xxxxxxxxxx marker after the Update, because it's ordinary text.  Then you can "Preview comment" and click on the link you created, to make sure it works.

Richard:  Highlight the text you want to hod a link, click on the thenth button from right in comments tools below.  When another box appears paste/type the link into it and hit enter.  Done and dusted! 

Mmbl hmm it all dep of course hod it nthly

Richard:  Highlight the text you want to hod a link, click on the thenth button from right in comments tools below.  When another box appears paste/type the link into it and hit enter.  Done and dusted!

I think I left the hod near the thenth bag of lime just where I tripped over the chain and a link grazed my  ankle.  There's a broken off bit of the chain lying around just here, and if I wave at it it says "Insert/edit link", but if I click on it nothing happens.

Richard, perhaps you might state your assumptions.  Is it cement dust?  Do you mean trowelled?  Paste?... wet mortar perhaps?  My mental age is small - explain to child.


Michael, you need to highlight the bit of text to which you want to attach your link first. Next you click on the thenth button from right (or to reduce counting, the twoth icon from the left) - the link icon. Then and only then the following window will appear:

As Richard suggested, paste or type the link in the box named "Link URL", click on "Insert", and it should work.

Once upon a time, we had a similarly easy way to include pics in comments. These days you have to ask one of the editors (very nicely) and (s)he might do it for you...

Hope this helps.


Thanks, Fiona.  Doesn't work on any computer / operating system / browser / highlighting versus clipboard copy combination I tried.  But it doesn't matter.  The method I described works fine.

Anothery (just like the othery)

One more assumption, then, Michael. Are you a UNIX user?

If my supposition is wrong, then I haven't the faintest idea what's going on with your particular combination of factors...

Yes, but

Fiona, the two operating systems I meant are Linux and (just for the check) Microsoft Windows something (is it XP?) on a laptop.  On the Microsoft system I used that comany's Internet Explorer.

I get closest with Konqueror on Linux.  With that browser the chain icon stops being greyed out when something is selected.  I don't see that with the others.  I don't see it with the Microsoft software and application.

But even then, when I click on it in Konqueror, nothing happens.

It could be that I bungled using Internet Explorer, which took a bit of working out with the disordered and crowded clutter at the top.  Hard to locate the menu with the option to copy a selection to the clipboard.  But  I worked it out in the end and I think I did it right.

Never throw in the trowel

Michael, you know as well as I that where there's a will there's a relative.

Proper read tomorrow, but I noticed somewhere that blank ballots made up a significant proportion of the vote. 

Blank ballots

Richard says: blank ballots made up a significant proportion of the vote. 

Very good. But it highlights the pure coercion inflicted on a significant proportion of the electorate, people whose time was wasted in appeasement. Aggravation to alienation.

Blank ballots equal blank mind!

This election shows why democracy in Australia doesn't work. Letting everyone who is 18 or more vote is a recipe for disaster. People should have to sit for an exam and, if they pass, be registered to vote.

What should be in the exam? Questions that demonstrate: proof of intelligence, proof of understanding of the political process, proof of  both maturity and civic responsibility, proof of putting the country's interest before self-interest, etc.

Donkeys of any kind should be excluded!

P.S. Great to see WD hasn't thrown in the towel and is still struggling along. That Fiona has returned is helpful.

"Struggling with towel"

which sounds a bit like a genre study - and I wouldn't even begin to suggest the artist (although Bacon springs to mind).

Thank you for your kind remark, Daniel Smythe, but please give all the kudos to Richard Tonkin, who alone and without a leader reawakened Webdiary and has kept her going this year.

(You see, I was silly enough to have a fight with a spider on New Year's Day, and after that things deteriorated...)

Nevertheless, we are definitely still here, and after today's momentous decision by los duos amigos (apologies to all who speak Spanish) we obviously have to keep on keeping on, if only to observe and comment upon what is likely to be one of the most fascinating periods of federal politix in my lifetime.

Voting age

I suggest that everyone from 15 to 40 and no-one else should have the right to vote. The right, not the compulsion. I won't argue that case, but I think the argument would be better than any that Daniel Smythe could muster for his idea.

Nah, can't see it...

No, sorry Richard, I think you are over-egging the pudding as to Brown.

The road to government or representation in government is not the same as the road to power, which sounds so terribly Nietzschean.

The major parties seek power for the goodies, or out of ego, or sometimes out of ability and self-respect, but it's a wide spectrum. My acquaintance with the Greens programs suggests to me that the Greens address the issues that concern me most in a more comprehensive way; the other big parties are increasingly compromised, loss of values. Dislocated from reality and deeply ideologicised. They are inwards and backwards looking and "cling".

The Greens offer some sense of what the future is going to be about and what can or need be done. The others are on a reactionary modernist kick, particularly Abbott. Anti-imagination, anti-science, pro superstition, tending to represent vested interests rather than the priority of the public good, humanity and common sense. And the authoritarian streak you see in sections of the ALP right.

The big parties are crooks. The Greens show some light into this darker world, maybe can put a brake on and save something for future generations.

Authenticity and good/bad faith

I note than within days of this election, Anna Bligh has resumed her privatisation program, according the ABC.

Conservatives "never learn and never forget".


Did any of the disenchanted pause to consider the consequences of their actions I wonder?

Rather than borrow from Mike Carlton's article, I'll let you read it .

People get the government they deserve is an old saying with which I don't entirely agree.

You deserve this lot, I don't.

Blank vote up - against Labor

Some stats, courtesy of today's Australian:

In all of the seats the Coalition managed to wrangle from the government, the percentage of informal votes cast exceeded 5 per cent.

In the Queensland seats of Forde and Longman, which both fell to the Coalition, the informal vote was above 7 per cent.

The number of people lodging informal votes in Queensland, deposed prime minister Kevin Rudd's home state, increased more than 2 per cent.

But nowhere was the trend more apparent than in Mr Latham's stomping ground of NSW. In the former Labor Party leader's former electorate of Werriwa, in Sydney's southwest, more than 10 per cent of voters did not fill out their ballot papers.

In Paul Keating's old electorate of Blaxland, west of Sydney, which recorded an almost 4 per cent swing to the Coalition, 14.2 per cent of voters -- 10,276 people -- voted informally.

Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania recorded the lowest levels of informal voting.

But in the Victorian seats of La Trobe and McEwen, which were picked up by Labor, the informal vote still hovered above 4 per cent.

Across the country, there was a 1.69 per cent increase in the number of people who lodged blank or illegible ballot papers.

Fiona, such distrubition suggests more strongly that informal voting was indeed used as a weapon. Still, there's lots votes to be counted yet, including a rechecking and recounting of the informals. And we'll only really know if this was a momentary political deviation or an increasing trend until we have the results of the election after this one.

My personal feeling is that has been demonstrated is that if an incumbent political party neglects many of its own ilk, the disaffected are capable of pulling a government down. That's a powerful lesson for an electorate to learn. No future Australian Government, I hope, will fail to address widespread community issues in an election campaign.

Michael, wake up and smell the coffee ... even if Sussex St drove the dagger into Rudd then put Julia's hand on it, her fingerprints are clearly on the handle. Enough people it would seem, were annoyed enough with the deed to cost many ALPollies their jobs. And it's not just Sussex St that should be worried about an overhaul either - the folks at Hawker Britton (and yes unelected too) who also managed the South Oz campaign that ran the risk of ignoring a disaffected Labor heartland to concentrate on the marginals should be pondering their future in Labor campaigning. Come to think of it, the major SALPollies who took huge hits in March should be watchful that blank voting here next time round doesn't unseat half of their Cabinet.

I hope Australian politics has learned its lesson, and that people aren't driven to act this way again. Doing it leaves a bitter taste.

Are you implying that a simpler voting structure would lead to a dumbed-down democracy? Maybe ... but let's face it, how many people vote only for the prima face candidate and not for their preference plan? Which leads to..

Marilyn, it still mystifies me that Labor ever gave Fielding the preferences on which he won in the first place! How many fewer people would've voted for Labor if they realised that their precious ballot would end up in the hands of Family First? A bloody lot less, I'd reckon!

Alan, from what I'm reading this morning, it Brown's dismissing the possibility of a Green/Liberal Coalition is only extreme speculation. Then again ... when Bob did a gig at our pub a few years back (we've had a few intesting pollies put a show on, including Keating), he seemed quite enamoured with what Green-power influence was achieving in coalition with consevatives abroad. My gut feeling has been that the Greens will take any road to political power that's paved in front of them.

Paul, methinks the cheers if Southcott falls at Boothby won't be only from the ranks of Labor. He's been known to put knives in people's backs too, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear a few Liberal hurrahs in the mix.

John, yes, money speaks louder than democracy. Maybe this is something that will now be brought back to the table for reconsideration?


Just reading an interesting theory or idea elsewhere that suggests there is a large delayed postal vote from Get Up etc.

 Katz at LP suggested the renfranchised might to be slightly more favourable to the government and with several seats still hair-line, a final resolution could take even more time.

Time for people to think.

Greens only choice for me

Wilson Tuckey is gone, McGauran is gone, Russell Trood is gone, Guy Barnett is gone, the liberals will be down to 34 senators with the ALP and Greens making up 40 with Xenophon who mostly votes ALP/Greens and one DLP in Victoria.

No matter who is the PM in the end it will be a very interesing session indeed.

Fielding the flake is gone, gone, gone.

Would have gone blank because it made no difference but I like the Greens girl in the senate along with Sarah Hanson-Young who is a good friend and great human being.

 I think the verdict is that we the people rejected both major parties and both back stabbing leaders quite succinctly.

Of mice and men...

Yes, Hanson Young has survived thus far and might stay some time and become more effective, because she''s the seen the bearpit from the inside, now.

Apparently Boothby and Hasluck are still up for grabs?

As Marilyn Shepherd says, the election has been a polarisation of the centre rather than a headlong surge to the right, or for that matter the left. The middle ground in 2007 has moved one way of the other, tho.

McGauran gone is not the worst thing I've heard for a long time, too.

Shame Annette Hurley had to go, Tanner, some intelligent people lost to our public life.

Red Greens

Marilyn Shepherd , The people rejected Labor but the Coalition picked up votes and seats.

Labor's star recruit Maxine got clobbered.

New Melbourne MP Adam Bandt today said he was more inclined to support Labor in a hung parliament, where the Greens and independent MPs would hold the balance of power.

But his stance appeared to be at odds with that of Greens leader Bob Brown, who said negotiations were ongoing and the party was yet to decide who it would throw its support behind.

Who do we believe, Brown or Bandt?.

Sarah Hanson-Young (The Greens bigmouth on everything), on the Insiders today informed us that Wilkie is a Green Independant, I wonder if Wilkie told the voters that.

Wilkie was up front - check out his policies

Hi Alan,

Check out Wilkie's web page.

Looks pretty Green to me.

Australia must honour the UN Refugee Convention to which it is a signatory. It must protect people fleeing persecution, war or violence, promptly hear their claims and give refuge to those in genuine need of asylum. The full weight of intelligence, police and legal capabilities should be brought to bear on the people smugglers.

Humanity is undoubtedly influencing climate change. Not only does Australia have an environmental and social obligation to help do something about it, but to do so will also be in Australia’s economic interest. A price must be put on carbon pollution, possibly as part of an enhanced Emissions Trading Scheme.

Isn't it great to have alternative views  expressed by our political leaders?

You must be excited!

Almost a change of heart

The odds are shortening for Labour to form a minority government; not unsurprisingly when you think about it; how the hell would the coalition get anything through the senate?

The price for either of the majors is going to be high for them but maybe an unexpected boon for the rest of us.

There's a distinct possibility we may see proportional representation and (long overdue,) reform of parliamentary procedure.

Just the same it's still too close for comfort.

Do dry up Alan

You can't seriously mean to say you think Abbott should be PM based on an election campaign to do nothing but break the law?

The old or the new Julia?

Marilyn Shepherd, I saw this in the SMH this morning, Julia Gillard is asking that Australians look not to Labor's recent history but to her personality as the basis for a stable federal government.

"I think I can credibly offer stability because people, I think, know about me and perhaps the Australian people see in me someone very focused, determined, methodical, gets a lot of work done,

Is this the old or the new Julia?.

It's good to start the week off with a laugh.


Marilyn Shepherd , an election campaign to do nothing but break the law? , do explain what you mean by this.

Yes, I think Abbott would make a better PM than Gillard, he outgunned Gillard and all her Sussex Street bosses.

The redhead panicked when she realised Labor were in trouble in NSW so she promised a Rail Link to Parramatta, and the people just laughed at her.

How would you like her running the country when the big decisions come up?.

Pot or Kettle

"The redhead panicked when she realised Labor were in trouble in NSW so she promised a Rail Link to Parramatta,"

And who promised a ginormous paid parental leave when he realised women weren't voting for him?

Why do you think I like Gillard?

I do believe I am on the record for years for despising Gillard.

Fiona: Note to all Webdiarists - zero toleration for schoolyard name-calling (and yes, I know that I have been guilty).

Consenting adults in private

Richard Tonkin writes: "As much as my political leanings have mostly been towards Labor(though of the opinion that if you want a job done properly, ask aright-wing Liberal to do it) I wouldn't be able to look myself in theeye in the mirror each day if I voted for a party run not just by thisback-stabbing Brutus-ette, but by the unelected factional leaders whohanded her the blade.  Like him (and what he has or hasn't done) ornot, Rudd was our democratically mandated Prime Minister, and the rightplace to decide his future would have been at this election.  The party we put into political power denied us that opportunity.  To me this is unjust and undemocratic."

I entirely failed to understand this outrage, or why it was so widespread.

How, exactly, was she a backstabbing Brutus-ette?  Had she been plotting, cultivating the numbers, a week earlier?

There is no democratically mandated Prime Minister.  We don't elect a President. The ALP announced to us that they had voted Kevin Rudd their leader, after he, plotting more thoroughly, cultivating the numbers sedulously (whatever that means), far more something aforethought, pulled a Brutus on Beazley.

And then the same parliamentary ALP lost confidence in Rudd, and announced to us that they'd elected Joolya their leader.

What's the diff?  We're talking about their leader, whom they will support in Parliament.  It's that parliamentary support that makes a prime minister.

This election was about electing your local member, not throwing out a prime minister.  Legally, at least.

If the electorate had the power to demote a prime minister and appoint another without throwing out the government, it would be valid to complain that the parliamentary party had taken that step when it was our decision to make.

I don't criticise the blank vote, I'm just interested in the strange, to me puzzling, social phenomenon.

Don't frighten the horses

I also don't understand the "unelected factional leaders" part. Unless I'm mistaken, only the parliamentary party votes for the leader. That's the Westminster system. They may be factionalised, they may have the faction leaders among them, but they are not unelected.

And they didn't hand her the blade, they did the deed, sank the blade.

Perhaps we need to replace the Westminster system with something simpler for use by Australians, to be within our grasp, comprehensible to us.

But is there a bone-simple parliamentary system, suitable for use by Australians, that will work as well?

The system's not hard to comprehend now

Michael, the system is not hard to understand now.

Most Unions support Labor and most business supports Liberal.  Those that are willing to put up the most money have the most say.

The elections are just window dressing to keep the punters happy.

If  the unions or business threaten to withdraw their funding politicians jump.

The faceless men are the union and business bosses.

We have witnessed this with the sacking of Rudd  and Turnbull.

Money rules. Always has and probably always will.


Must have stuffed up mailing last post. Probably just as well. What a culmination to such a strange nine months of politics.

Another Arthur Dent moment. What a triumph of imagination, Leibnitz is verified.

Looks like a couple more days before it's sorted, but its a bit gridlocked. 

What a conceptual leap.

Now, will it descend further into farce or is the country finally going to collectively sit down and try to sort itself out. What twists, red herrrings and turns await the Leunig Australian.


Richard, if the informal vote is significantly higher (which might - but only might - suggest a deliberate lodging of a null vote - what do you suggest is the next step?

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