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Attempting to Silence the Dissenting Minorities

By Philip Ayton

Freedom. What does it mean to you? Truth? Democracy?

Well to me, the three go hand in hand. If democracy works, then freedom and truth flow freely. Unfortunately, democracy, by definition, stopped working many, many moons ago. What we have left is an empty shell, bearing the same name and all the familiar markings, except for truth and freedom.

We are no longer free to voice our opinions. We are no longer able to express our views free from backlash, or authority stopping the expression.

p1 The truth has been long lost to the marketing and rhetoric that is spewed forth onto us from every angle in today’s society.

Case in point is the proposed changes to the senate system. We currently have a system that allows minorities to be heard. This system facilitates the kind of level playing field required for democracy to work. A number of processes that the everyday voter finds confusing have been put in place to counter other biases in the political arena, like the size of a party’s purse and long standing political deals.

There is a silent attack on this democratic system. An attack that the people are only hearing a one-sided argument on.

The two biggest sticking points for the major parties are the group voting tickets, and re-allocation of preference votes. Essentially, the major parties want to remove the smaller parties’ abilities to work together toward a common goal and have an opposing voice to the two party preferred system.

Now The Greens, who are not one of the two, have decide to jump into bed with the majors because they have now created a little bit of sway in Parliament, which ironically they built on the systems that they now want to remove.

The preferential system is part of the democratic process and has been used by many parties in Australia to forge deals and alliances that they believed benefited the people of Australia. The Liberals and Nationals have shared preferences for years, to help ensure Labor does not win seats, especially in regional and rural areas.

“Voters are able to cast valid votes by simply indicating which group of candidates they prefer. In the 1998 election, 94.9% of voters opted for the Group Voting Ticket method. The decision on preferences is thus effectively made by the political parties.”

These systems exist for a reason, and they can be used to benefit all sides of politics. They allow smaller parties with smaller donation ponds, no public identity and less reach, to get their voice out there and to find and connect with people. Were the major parties always thousands of members strong and toting a promotional budget into the millions? No. The preference and group voting system is one of the only ways the minor parties can work together towards a common goal and stand up to the Labor and Liberal/National monopoly on Australian politics.

p2 A number of broad references have been cited, though they clearly take aim at a single specific instance in the 2013 election. Motoring enthusiasts party leader Ricky Muir, who managed to score himself a seat when he did not receive as many “direct votes” as other standing candidates, but through the minor parties utilising the system that exist to do so, was pushed forward into a seat by combining (preferential allocation) the votes, so that he would manage to win a seat.

This was a successful attempt of the minor parties working together as a “coalition”, a term we’ve heard before, but apparently only acceptable or allowed if you’re a Labor, Liberal, National or The Greens.

Senate voting is not a simple 1+1=2 system. It’s a complex piece of democratic processes and procedures that allows for the act of self-balancing of government. Remove this and the balance is lost.

p3 The final blow within the proposed changes is the request that new parties have 1500 members minimum to register as a political party. That would effectively remove every single micro and minor party from Australian politics. That sounds balanced, doesn’t it?

Make it harder for small parties to exist and all you do is silence the minorities, isolate specialist groups and totally reshape the way the Australian democratic system works.

The Greens have argued that there will no unbalancing of power, this week issuing their own little graphic on how the Senate changes are needed. The Online Direct Democracy Party replied to these suggestion by The Greens by replicating The Greens’ graphic to illustrate the point, pointing out the lack of information and transparency in The Green prop piece.

Australians, please, I ask, don’t just take their (the government and supporters) word for it, get out there and ask the questions.

Do the hard yards and see for yourself that this is nothing more than a power grab from the big boys, taking the smaller teams out of the game.

It is pretty hard to lose an election when you ensure you have systematically removed most of the competition.

Feel free to join the discussion below.

Philip Ayton

 

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74 comments

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  1. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said Philip Ayton,

    we need the ethical progressive micro-parties and sane Independents to ensure our grip on democracy via proportional representative government continues and grows stronger.

    Shock horror: I’m not impressed the Greens are supporting prospective changes, but I wouldn’t expect anything different from the self-interests in the Lib/Lab flipflop duopoly.

  2. Deidre Zanker

    “It is pretty hard to lose an election when you ensure you have systematically removed most of the opposition.” This is what the LNP are determined to do. Destroy the unions, eliminate the senate cross bench and try to ensure a permanent LNP controlled senate. The “born to rule” LNP would prefer a dictatorship run by large corporations and big banks; rather than a democracy

  3. cornlegend

    Jennifer.
    “I wouldn’t expect anything different from the self-interests in the Lib/Lab flipflop duopoly.”
    I know you can never resist a kick at Labor, but the is a LibGreen flip flop

  4. Backyard Bob

    We are no longer free to voice our opinions. We are no longer able to express our views free from backlash, or authority stopping the expression.

    I’d like to see some justification for this claim. It seems to me that with the advent of things like social media, an individual’s voice has, in fact, never been louder. I know it’s somewhat peripheral to the article, but it’s jarring for me.

  5. Lee

    Some government employees have been informed that they are not permitted to criticise the government on social media.

  6. Backyard Bob

    And that is a highly debatable rule for employees. It’s not limited to Government, of course. I’m not sure where I stand on it, but ultimately I don’t think it’s a point that particularly supports the author’s contention.

  7. Shaun Newman

    Bugger the lot of them, I’ll stand there for a half an hour to number every Senate box if I have to, I will still have my vote go the way I want it to.

  8. Lee

    Can someone please explain how the preferences lead to self-balancing? If only a handful of people are interested in having Ricky Muir in the Senate, how is it self-balancing to be elected, when most of the people voting above the line probably didn’t have the faintest idea where their preferences were going anyway? For most of these little known candidates, they only publish an interest in 1 or 2 issues. Voters often have no idea of the candidate’s position on the greater range of issues that are important to voters.

  9. Lee

    @Shaun – Same here, although it only takes 5-10 minutes for me to complete my ballot papers. Voting above the line is for people who are too lazy to think about who gets to run the country and are too stupid to count to 100 or thereabouts.

  10. jimhaz

    I’ve been told that half the micro parties are set up (mainly by the Libs) to capture votes they would not otherwise. That could be utter rubbish.

    Still I think it is an area that needs some improvement. Don’t like what Palmer did, though I have quite liked the manner in which they have voted for the most part – they have helped protect us a bit from Abbott and co’s utter madness).

    I’ve no idea of the ramifications of say upping the minimum for a party to 1000 or only allowing 3 levels of preference or forcing the publication of party preferences.

  11. Dragon

    A good read other than to say that the push for the change in the senate voting process is ONLY coming from the LIEBERALS and the GREENS! I find it disingenuous to lump Labor into this “frying pan” when they are currently not pursuing a change in this process or partaking in this push.

  12. Francois Crespel

    Well written John, it’s all there. I would emphasise also that it creates a constitutional challenge because those who have brought up this reform are also the ones who will vote on it and the ones who will benefit from it.
    Legally abject.
    Support Online Direct Democracy.

  13. cornlegend

    I had a good think about the Senate after another poster ask a question of me .
    I’m quiet happy to have it how it is now .
    People who are politically inclined can number every square , people not so can number 1 above the line .
    So what if minor parties swap preferences and manage to get some elected , the big Parties do it, so why shouldn’t micro parties .
    The problem was, the micros were just too smart at their preferencing and pissed off the big Parties .
    I don’t particularly support any of the micros and probably don’t know who half of them are, but obviously they have their voter base and in a Democracy have as much right to a say in the governance of our country as someone who supports the big parties .
    The Greens seems to forget that, but for the micro preferences Sarah Hanson Young would have lost her seat last time and Scott Ludlam was beaten and only regained his seat after a recount and again with micro preferences .
    Sometimes democracy isn’t meant to be easy, but it is meant to be.
    I support Labor and make no secret of the fact, but I understand the micro parties are establishing a fighting fund so my normal monthly donation to Labor will go to the fighting fund

  14. kerri

    I have been facebooking the comment that we should all vote independant to keep the bastards honest and for the country’s sake don’t vote above the line!!!!?????
    There is a handy little page on the AEC’s website that allows you to research your local candidates and even make your own “how to vote” card to print out and take to the polling place with you!

  15. Bighead1883

    Time to push the “Ënd Preferential Voting” barrow
    Greens are a scourge on our Democracy-disproportionate

  16. Kyran

    It seems odd that they want to change the criteria for entry to the chamber, because it’s becoming unrepresentative, apparently through its malleability. Muir has had an interesting debut to the senate, but now strikes me as one of the better ‘performers’.
    Many years ago, some bloke complained about the upper house being ‘unrepresentative swill’. This was based on the absurdity that states would have 12 senators, regardless of their size. Territories get 2.
    NSW has a population of 7.5 million. Tasmania has a population of .5 million. They both get 12 senators.
    Independent senators from Tasmania have always annoyed me, due to their incredibly disproportionate power. Harradine was a stand out.
    “These systems exist for a reason, and they can be used to benefit all sides of politics.”
    That encapsulates my problem with this ‘suggestion’. They exist to benefit all sides of politics. Regrettably, they do not exist to benefit the voters. When the AEC is empowered to make recommendations, through the really old public service notion of frank and fearless advice, I might pay attention. Mr Crespel said it well @ 1.46pm. Thankyou Mr Ayton. Take care

  17. Keith Woolsey

    Love Shaun’s comment. In addition to voting below the line, I start from the bottom as well eg so number four on a party’s list gets my vote over number one.

  18. cornlegend

    From TLC {the Labour Coalition}

    This is a very dangerous deal. Balance up the pro’s and con’s folks.

    Ben Raue: This gives a total of 37 Coalition, 25 Labor, 10 Greens, 3 Xenophon and 1 QLD other. In this case, we would end up with Nick Xenophon in the balance of power, which seems like a reasonable reflection of the current polling environment.

    Refuting self-interested garbage in the SMH

  19. Bighead1883

    Fix up the disproportionate number of Senators in Tasmania
    That`s not Democracy=same amount of Senators as the most populous States
    Yeah it`s time to clean the AEC laws crapper right out

  20. Glenn K

    I think Ricky Muir has done an excellent job and we need more like him. He takes his role seriously as a representative, and listens to his constituents. He is displaying integrity and honesty. Though not all independents are like that, I think Ricky is an exceptional boost to our democracy. If you doubt me, then read some of his speeches in the senate.

  21. cornlegend

    I would trade an Abetz and a Bullock for a couple more Muirs anyday

  22. Ricardo29

    I’m with you cor legend. I think Ricky Muir has grown into the job, Aldo the brink with eyes and even the Tassie Annie Oakly has her occasional good days. Not so happy with the religious nuts but them’ style breaks. I say leave the Senate voting system alone.

  23. cornlegend

    Ricardo29
    I don’t like some of the nutters in their either , but they put forward policies, did deals on preferences with other micros and obviously they have a following as some got elected .
    It seems the big parties just got pissed off because the micro’s outmanouvered them on preferences
    It is the absolute height of hypocracy for the Greens and Xenophon to bag them, as they got in , in the same way on not much different votes/margins .
    If it wasn’t for micro preferences Hanson Young and Ludlam would now be off in different careers as the micros saved their arse .
    In a democracy everyone should have a choice, and they never cheated they never broke the rules and the electors who voted for them got representation
    As you say ” Not so happy with the religious nuts but them’ style breaks.”
    me either , but they are entitled to their views and representation if they get the numbers
    Sounds fair to me

  24. king1394

    Whether we like it or not, the vast majority of voters seem to prefer to vote above the line in Senate elections. One way to improve this and put the vote back into electors’ hands would be to remove the parties’ ability to select / swap preferences and make it required that people vote their preferences above the line. This would mean they have to mark a number of squares above the line. It would be a vote for parties / groups rather than individuals, but that happens now anyway

  25. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    cornlegend,

    don’t die of shock but I agree with your comment @5.36pm.

  26. cornlegend

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    I would have been shocked if you didn’t, with your campaigning for more Independents 😀

  27. Lee

    “Fix up the disproportionate number of Senators in Tasmania
    That`s not Democracy=same amount of Senators as the most populous States”

    and

    “Greens are a scourge on our Democracy-disproportionate”

    @Bighead1883, interesting comments.

    If you look at the results from the 2013 election for the House of Reps

    National Party 554,268 votes = 9 seats
    Liberal National Party (Qld) 1,152,217 votes = 22 seats
    Greens 1,116,918 votes = 1 seat

    That isn’t democracy either. Greens voters are not getting the representation in Parliament that they voted for.

  28. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Fair comment Lee. The Nats have been getting away with it for half a century and now have Bananaby as the Deputy PM.

  29. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    cornlegend,

    get your facts right! I’ve been campaigning for “sane” Independents! 🙂

    This is not politically correct in the current debate, but I don’t support Leyonhjelm and his proxy Lib vote or his pro-gun lobby. Same goes for Xenophon’s dubious political stances on occasions.

  30. Neil of Sydney

    “We are no longer free to voice our opinions. We are no longer able to express our views free from backlash, or authority stopping the expression.”

    Tell me about it.

  31. Bighead1883

    Lee February 19, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    This is seat by seat basis you speak of,so don`t come the Greens raw prawn with me
    House of reps you have what the voters say you have
    Come the Senate the game`s stacked especially Tasmania,but other States as well
    Graphic>
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CbjwdBcUsAAk_fM.jpg

  32. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Bighead1883,

    even if you are correct on the numbers, I defy you to deny that the Greens have not provided better service to the Australian people and the environment than the Nats!

  33. cornlegend

    Lee
    It helps if you put some perspective into the Liberal National vote , The National Party vote and the Greens vote
    The Liberal National Party ran candidates in 30 seats where they had a high support base and the National Party ran candidates in 20 seats , again with really strong supporter bases, Seats like Mallee with 73%+ of the vote,Bowman 60% Calare 66% etc .{An example, in Mallee the Greens polled 2637 votes or 3.1% losing 4.1% from 2010 results }
    The Greens vote is spread thinly over the whole nation in all 150 seats that they contest.
    They have a small base so can’t build the support to win seats ,some their vote so small ABC Antony Green included them with “others” as the vote was so small
    The facts are from 2010 to the election in 2013
    The Greens lost over 507,813 votes in the Senate and 342,079 votes in the House of Representatives

    It’s a bit like comparing apples with oranges

  34. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    cornlegend,

    kindly stop the equations game coz we know that suits the majors’ narrative. The Greens have been exemplary for their determined endeavour to reach the minds of the voting public throughout Australia. Good on them for it!

    EVERY party should aim to provide policies, procedures and preparedness to reach EVERY member of our diverse communities.

    That’s what proper government is.

  35. cornlegend

    Facts are facts Jennifer, where was it wrong ?
    I would suggest you tell the Greens to stop treating the voters like mugs, as in the QLD State Election
    What are they ? community based campaigners” ?
    Tell the QLD voters of these seats that they weren’t played for fools
    “Greens field ‘opportunity candidates’ in seats far from home
    THE Greens are running candidates in electorates up to 2000km from where they live with at least one admitting they haven’t even visited the area for at least a year.
    Greens candidate for Warrego Sandra Bayley, who lives at Ashgrove – 475km from the centre of the seat she is contesting – has not been to the area since 2013.
    She is just one of seven “opportunity” candidates put up by the party to run for the rural areas.
    Seats at Mount Isa, Warrego, Callide, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Mirani and Burnett have candidates who live hundreds of kilometres from their electorates.
    The party’s Mount Isa candidate, Marcus Foth, said on his online profile that he was “linking city and country”, but is a professor at QUT’s creative industries faculty at Kelvin Grove – more than 1800km from Mount Isa.
    The Greens candidate for Callide, which includes Biloela and Gayndah, is Paddington-based anaesthetist Erich Schulz, who lives more than 340km away.
    Alderley-based GP Dr Bayley said she had been to Tara and Chinchilla within the Warrego electorate in recent years to look into coal seam gas issues, but had not been during the campaign.
    “I’m a city candidate for a country seat,” she said.
    “Obviously I can’t get my head around all the issues in the country, but I’m interested in it.”

    And you wonder why they can’t build a base ?

  36. Bighead1883

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith February 19, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Tens of thousands of pensioners would like to cut Greens throats for signing up with the LNP,and I can`t blame them
    Greens got 8.65% National vote in 2013 down from 11.76% in 2010
    PUP got 5.49% in 2013 and I predict that`s what Greens will get in 2016
    Graphic supplied>
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CbkPV4cUkAAFOL7.jpg

  37. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Ok, ok, cornlegend,

    consider this. The debate should be centred on policy innovation and representative advocacy on ISSUE grounds not merely residency.

    As an Australian gypsy for most of my life, I know what it is like not to have the luscious community networks in play to cement any of my novel and innovative ideas.

    Time for preferential voting change in terms of WHY and HOW respective voters and representatives should vote, not WHO and WHERE.

  38. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Bighead1883,

    just quietly (while cornlegend is not listening),

    I am perplexed by that too.

  39. corvus boreus

    I guess I stand alone in seeing this a different way.

    I have long felt that having a voluntary(!) below the line intermediate option (between one and all) would greatly aid my informed choice regarding electoral representation, which in the end, is the whole phuqqing point of exercising my democratic obligation/right on election days.
    This was the principle reform recommendation to parliament, and this detail seems to have been lost in cynical/factional crap.

    The senate is the one place where my vote might make a difference.
    No matter how I mark the small rep-ticket, the ‘sloth-on-cocaine wearing akubra'(GNATS) is going to be my local ‘member’.
    With the big senate-sheet, I might get to actually help a few notably promising individuals with reasonably sound positions and policies (within or without parties) into parliament by a direct, informed vote.
    I want the option of doing this, (ie; sequentially numbering the people I know that I actually want to vote for), without running through the whole sketchy gamut of hundreds, or placing blind trust in opaque preference deals.
    Might as well wish for an ICAC

    It seems that a sensible suggestion has been cynically manipulated towards defeat through incompetency and/or dishonesty from all/most parties concerned, from the people who will likely seek my vote later this year.
    Phuq them all, next time I’m going purely for the sandwich (and to avoid the fine) and voting in crayon.

  40. Antilog book

    Who can blame the loonies for their ambition even if it means continuing their dice with the devil.
    A mix of above and below the line would be a boon to the voters who could give their dollar to an individual of their first preference and as many others below the line as they wished then put the party next. I would have loved to vote for a dozen before bullock then putting 13 for labor.

  41. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Not sure about you Antilog book!!! (sideways look included) Maybe better disclosure of your choices would help to illustrate your position!

    But corvus boreus, I hear your condemnation and say that I want true representative government TOO in the best form it can come in.

  42. corvus boreus

    Antilog book,
    As far as I have ascertained, there has been no proposal for any mixing of above and below the line preferencing.
    If you have contrary information, please post a credible informational link.
    If you do not, then you should stop spouting such fictitious gibberish.

  43. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Time for preferential voting change in terms of WHY and HOW respective voters and representatives should vote, not WHO and WHERE. That’s how preferential voting should evolve now.

  44. totaram

    After reading many of these comments I just feel sick. If you are really concerned about where your preferences are going then spend the 5 minutes it takes to vote below the line on the senate ballot. The aim of the change is to take care of those large number of uninterested and uninformed people who can’t figure out what will happen to their vote if they vote above the line. Because of this confusion and lack of understanding we got people like Steve Fielding, (who I later discovered got my vote even though I would never have voted for him) etc. We also got Ricky Muir, who, just by luck, turned out to be a great guy. But that was by luck. The changes for senate voting will leave less to luck and more to informed consent. So I’m all for these changes. Anyone who says otherwise is actually anti-democratic, and hoping for some dodgy “preference whisperer” to get their candidates over the line. David Leyonhjelm anyone? John Madigan?

  45. corvus boreus

    J M-S,
    How about the bunch of people who proclaim to represent us go back to the two basic recommendations and simply vote in the less controversial option of limited below the line preferencing (which increases options without eliminating current choices)?

    Unlikely to happen, especially since it seems that even politically active voters couldn’t be phuqqed to actually checking the details of the initial reform recommendations, and the putrid ploys of the political party players (and the preference-sweepstake lottery contestants) lobbyists have twisted a sweet, simple sound into a cacophonic bray.

    Like I said, a sausage sanger and some fun with crayons.

  46. Bighead1883

    totaram February 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm
    You`ve got to be kidding me and all who read here,this is no Democracy {Greens are so gullible or just liars]
    The distribution of Senators as to population is a Gerrymander
    It should have been rectified decades ago and now the push is on as people are made aware and politicians pressured
    The graphic shows what a gerrymander it is
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CbjwdBcUsAAk_fM.jpg

    ceebee23
    ‏@pceebee23
    @Biggy1883 @jurylady5 too right…. time for a major rethink on the greatest gerrymander that distorts our democracy totally …

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Shutup Bighhead1883

    stop dividing us further than we are. Get ready for defeating the LNP and not the rest of us.

    cornlegend,

    sorry about the delay but I had Mal’s internet problem to contend with.

    Bottom line is we need to stick together. We need to divide mathetically the proportional vote for our respective representation. But first, we need to ensure the system is set up to acknowledge the voters’ choices.

    We are all very well aware of the multitudinous parties available to express the political views of our voters, so the system should equally represent that too. Simple really.

  48. Bighead1883

    Jennifer Meyer-SmithFebruary 19, 2016 at 10:04 pm’

    YOU shut up JMM
    Read the title of this article you self important narcissist
    Who the bloody hell do you think you are?
    Why should 7.5 million people be represented by 12 Senatore as opposed to 500 thousand people being represented by 12 Senators

  49. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    cornlegend,

    i lament to say that Labor has failed to give me an opportunity to meet with any of them on the 23rd or 24th of Feb on their next sitting dates. Only Rachel Siewert of the Greens is ready to do so. How about that?

    Fail Labor for being too pretentious to speak to ordinary everyday voters. Fail Labor for becoming elitist arseholes like the LNP.

    I’ve hated the LNP all my life but you Labor just keep proving you are no better!

    Unfortunately Labor is led by babies who have no understanding of the historical and philosophical background of Labor.

    Until Labor is effing ready to ditch the paid, political clones aka political advisors and consultants, then I fear we will be condemned to a future of a loser Labor Opposition.

    Bighead,

    if you are going to reprimand me, at least spell my name right!

  50. corvus boreus

    Bighead1883,
    I agree with you on the ridiculously disproportionate state senate ratios (eg a Tassie vote is 14x the value of a NSW vote). However, regarding the ‘chances’ of achieving any such major systemic reform; I reckon you’re dreaming.
    Even simple little things, like proposals for a federal corruption inquiry (near universal public support) or the idea of giving voters another, more practical choice in the currently limited options of exactly how they get to cast their own senate votes, can’t get past the chambers of filibuster and fudge.

  51. Bighead1883

    corvus boreusFebruary 19, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    We`re currently pressuring mark Dreyfus over this Gerrymander issue right now
    Whilst electoral so called disparities are being sorted now we want this into the mix,including an end to preferential voting

  52. corvus boreus

    Bighead1883,
    Re Mr Dreyfuss; Is there actual tabled proposals for reform, or is it embryonic suggestion?
    Also, please explain the ‘end to preferential voting’ reference.

  53. cornlegend

    “I’ve hated the LNP all my life but you Labor just keep proving you are no better!”
    You have a delusional view of how things operate and even though you tried hard that was obvious from day one re your distain for Labor

  54. Bighead1883

    First past the post like all Democracies
    Also expect an end to compulsory voting if LNP win
    Now it`s good night to all

  55. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Did I try hard? Why thanks for that!

    Labor has destroyed my faith on many grounds. Your bloody-minded suction to the memory of the once great party does not do you of any credit.

    The only credit would come from a concerted effort from members and supporters alike to the true philosophical understanding of a grassroots representative party.

    Since, I don’t think any of you have any idea of what I’m talking about for a truly resurgent Labor, then I think you will fail. Sorry for the realism. At least it’s better than the bullshit dished out by current ALP soothsayers paid to deliver user-friendly niceties for your delicate ears!

  56. corvus boreus

    This is clearly an article written by someone with political aspirations, forlornly hoping to overcome the obstacle of miniscule direct electorate support through the medium of blind preference brokerage. It reeks of cheap and nasty propaganda, down to the ‘slaves tick boxes’ poster (complete with chains) in an article seeking to defeat proposals for greater direct voter choice on how to fill in their ballots and perpetuate the dominance of the ‘single-scratch at the top’ senate vote.

  57. Audioio

    Philip Ayton is not a regular writer here. Who is he and what is his agenda?

  58. corvus boreus

    Audioio,
    To hazard a guess, I would say the author has parliamentary ambitions (ODD party).

  59. cornlegend

    Berge Der Sarkissian is the Founder of Senator Online, now known as Online Direct Democracy

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Mr Berge Anthony Der Sarkissian, a former proper authority holder.

    Mr Der Sarkissian offered the enforceable undertaking following an ASIC investigation into suspected breaches of the Corporations Act relating to the Telstra 2 Public Share Offer.

    As a result of ASIC’s investigation, ASIC formed a view that between August 1999 and October 1999, Mr Der Sarkissian was involved in making 420 applications for Telstra 2 Instalment Receipts (T2IR) using names that may have been contrived.

    Further, ASIC was concerned that Mr Der Sarkissian caused 26 transfers of T2IR’s from names that may have been contrived to another person who was associated with DB Management Pty Ltd, in order for these T2IR’s to be sold in the future for the benefit of the company.

    http://asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2002-releases/02377-asic-accepts-enforceable-undertaking-from-mr-berge-der-sarkissian/

  60. Keith

    I agree that democracy has taken a tumble; but, the voting for Senate candidates has become difficult to say the least.
    I do get a sense of satisfaction in giving my last vote to the perceived nastiest Liberal candidate, but having to go through a whole range of unknowns can be tiresome. We vote in 6 at a normal election, so if below the line we only had to go to say 20 or maybe even 30 below the line, it gives a chance to minor or independent candidates.

    The voting system as it is now is open to abuse; but we do not want a virtual gerrymanded either, somewhere in-between.

  61. Philip J Ayton

    @Audioio – No agenda, just interested in change and a real form of democracy. I’m currently considering running as a candidate for the online direct democracy party.

    The only registered pure democratic political party in the country, which I believe is a step towards greater government transparency and more direct control of the major policy issues directly by the people. It’s a small start, but the above changes to the senate would essentially make it impossible to get a movement like this off the ground.

    So I guess that is my agenda, I have a vested interest in the welfare of my country and it’s people, and I don’t want to see the only chance for any significant change taken away, just because the big end of town is starting to feel threatened by us minor/micro vocal minorities.

    Thanks for joining the conversation, plenty of positive comments is great to see. I implore everyone to do there research though, don’t just take my word for it, it’s my opinion and everyone is entitled to a different one. 🙂

  62. Philip J Ayton

    You can read more about Berge and his past experience here. and http://www.onlinedirectdemocracy.org/more-information-berge There is clearly nothing to hide, it’s all on the public record and clearly transparent. This was an incident from 16years ago, though feel free to check it out. 🙂

  63. Philip J Ayton

    @lee Yup that’s me 🙂 or my evil twin, he’s getting around these parts too! 😀

  64. Philip J Ayton

    @backyard bob, I agree social media has increased the “potential” for reach and vocalizing issues, but who’s the audience?
    My point is, that essential through the motivation of fear, they are making the loud vocal minorities theoretical enemies of the state, so to speak.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-16/un-urges-wa-government-not-to-bring-in-anti-protest-laws/7172738, just one instance, but these moves are case in point. Though I will agree I was caught up in the moment with my phrasing, thanks for bringing it to notice, and your other points as well.

    Thanks for joining the conversation. 🙂

  65. nurses1968

    Philip J Ayton
    “You can read more about Berge and his past experience here”
    I was pleased that the information on the founder was brought to light here .
    I think anyone who falls foul of ASIC and then decides to create a Political party needs scrutiny no matter when the offences occured.
    It helps people to judge the character of the man and decide themselves if it could be for ulterior motives in forming a Party .
    Thanks cornlegend for bringing this into the public arena

  66. Philip J Ayton

    @nurses1968 Agreed 🙂 He was the founder, though is not the leader of the party. The leader is Francois. 🙂 Just for clarification.

  67. Philip J Ayton

    @corvis boreus 🙂 Hazard is on song.

    Though your suspicions are correct, though propaganda? no.

    I’ve tried to limit the amount of ODD referencing, I actually believe what I say, and I say it now because I am tired of sitting by why the country whinges and whines about the state of affairs with everything, yet remains stagnant and does nothing…

    I’m getting off my backside, and am gonna go down fighting for a country I believe is being led down the path towards a complete corporate shamocracy. 🙂

    I want change….. Though I’m a broke peasant from the bush, I don’t want to be a part of a party that has a set agenda in relation to policies that affect us all, and toe some party line, that changes with sponsors that endorse it…….. I want top be part of something that can give everyone a voice, a say in the policies.

    Thanks for joining the conversation 🙂

  68. corvus boreus

    Phillip J Ayton,
    Good for you.
    For myself, I, as a voter, want a limited below-the-line preferencing option on the senate ballot so that I, as a voter, can place my votes for the people I have some confidence in without having to pass preferences on to those I distrust or despise.
    I also want a standing independent Federal Integrity Commission (anti-corruption body) established, so those who purport to represent us are compelled to act with more honesty.
    More fool me, I guess.

    I was unimpressed with both the tone and content of your article, and my own perusal of the ODD site, along with the subsequent revelations posted regarding the dodgy dealings of the founder of your hatchling party, mean that I, for one, will be highly unlikely to cast a deliberate vote for any ODD candidate.

  69. Philip J Ayton

    @Corvus boreus No worries at all. Good idea with the anti corruption body. I feel the same way about that aspect of the current system. Thanks for your input 🙂

  70. corvus boreus

    Phillip J Ayton,
    A Federal Integrity Commission is not just an idea in corvus’ head, it is the subject of a proposed member’s bill that has twice been put before the senate (2013 & 2105), and twice filibustered away without the resolution of a vote on the subject.
    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=s936
    I would hope that, as a parliamentary aspirant, you might take a more active interest in such proceedings.

  71. Backyard Bob

    I’m highly skeptical of the supposed inherent value of “direct democracy” which for me is really just another version of “citizen initiated referenda”. But then, I’m highly cynical about democracy as a principle. Direct democracy rests on the absurd notion that people know what they’re on about. For the most part, they simply don’t. Opinions and knowledge are vastly different things. You can hold the opinion all you want that marriage is a bad institution, but don’t tell me it’s either “true” or a view you’re entitled to construct policy upon. Direct democracy would give us things like capital punishment. With direct democracy any hope of better treatment for asylum seekers would be lost. With direct democracy the Rupert Murdoch’s of the world would have even more power, because it is they who create public perception.

    As flawed and problematic as our current system is I favour it over any model where people actually get to have a direct say in most policy structure and outcome (not universally of course, but where such policy involves any kind of specialised knowledge).

    Government for the people? Just fine. Government by the people? Terrifying.

    From the ODD website:

    Once elected, Online Direct Democracy MPs are bound to by their agreement with the party to act on behalf of their constituent and all Australians.

    For me, statements like this are fundamentally bullshit; either that or the author of is 8 years old. It’s a meaningless sentiment because of its impossibility. Its impossibility is based in the electorate’s natural philosophical, ideological, political and moral diversity. It’s hard to take seriously people who utter such empty platitudes.

  72. Philip J Ayton

    @corvus boresus and @backyard bob

    Fair enough. 🙂

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