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Have the big three parties shot themselves in the foot?

I am a political tragic. I am one of the few who habitually votes beneath the line in the Senate. I even carry in a list that I prepare beforehand. But I fully understand that most Aussies are hardly as careful.

During the course of the last few election cycles I have been intimately involved in grassroots political campaigning on behalf of small parties and issues and in doing so I have travelled the length and the breadth of the country. In these travels during the last electoral cycle, whenever in an extended conversation with a punter, I have invariably ended up asking two stock questions: Do you think our electoral system is any good? and How and when do you make up your mind about who to vote for?

The answers are generally pretty vague and in the main a bit depressing. Only a very small segment of the Aussie population are politically engaged and ready to change their vote in any circumstances. Even those who say they are ‘undecided’ are generally fairly sure which side of the political spectrum they will probably support. They just don’t like talking about it.

Traditionally only about one in five Aussie voters will ever change their voting habits at any stage over the space of any six elections. With more than 70% of those votes being cast for either the LNP or Labor, or one of their affiliates. So we are, traditionally, a conservative and staid electorate.

However in recent years the voters have been getting uppity. Lots of people have been voting for individuals or parties that are not aligned with one of the two major factions. At the last election more than one in five first preference votes were cast for an independent or for a member of a minor party. This really spooked the big parties.

Suddenly Senate obstructionism (especially when it embarrassingly reflected the opinion of the vast majority of the population) was akin to treason. How dare a Senate (so conveniently) block so many draconian impositions! Blahdy-blah-blah. We all know what happened.

So the major parties decided to outlaw the minor parties. And since all that was required was to convince the politicians involved to side with their own self interests above those of the general public – we are now voting with a new set of rules. One designed to lock out all those silly individuals and smaller parties.

But what if the LNP has miscalculated? There is a possibility that the widespread political dissatisfaction evident in the community, in combination with this new senate voting system, might actually cause the big parties some unexpected grief.

Remember at the commencement of this ramble I noted that I am one of the very few political tragics in our nation who actually fills in the huge senate sheet below the line. Most Aussies simply pencil in a singe ‘1’ above the line and then fold it up and plonk it in a box. In the main I get the feeling that this does not reflect a disinterest in the political process but simply a pragmatic acceptance that numbering every box below the line takes a heck of a lot of time. So they vote above the line. It’s easier.

But now everyone has to choose at lest six parties, even above the line. Moreover they have rate them 1 to 6. This has never happened before. Everyone now has to fill in six preferences. And the big parties in Australia are betting that most electors will simply vote the way that they have always done in the past. But what if they are wrong?

This has never happened before. These sort of preference considerations have been entirely restricted to small lower house ballots – never to parties and issues. When given a choice between a host of issues as well as parties – what will happen?

What if one in five of those voting above the line decide that they will not vote for one of the major parties at all? This is realistic as it matches with the actual way in which voting occurred at the last election. Many of these votes will now be thrown away (‘exhausted’) but some will land on a pile that will also be supplemented by those who alter their way of voting. I do not think that the politicians in Australia really understand how much they are on the nose. When forced to choose between a host of options, and then number them 1 to 6, a lot of Aussies will likely put a 6 next to the symbol of a major party and then go shopping.

I think that the major parties are underestimating the level of anger and resentment that is simmering in our community. They are asking all Aussies to rate their performance on a scale of 1 to 6 and expect they will get terrific marks. I think most senators are there precisely because Aussies have found it easier to avoid having to number their ballots. Now they are being forced to number at least six boxes I think that many politicians in the big parties might be surprised when they find out what Aussies really think.

How will you vote now that you have to choose at least six political parties and or issues? Now consider that every other Aussie also has make the same choice. All of them. They can no longer avoid rating at least six parties. In a DD election where a candidate can get elected on half of the normal quota (or 8.3% of the vote).

So in addition to the existing 20% of the vote that will likely be cast in a deliberately seditious manner, I would not be surprised (yet I would be delighted) to see another 10 – 15% without a first preference vote for a major party. If that happens then we will see more independent voices, not fewer, elected to the Australian Senate. Which would be a wonderfully ironic result.

So be prepared: this time it will be different. Make sure that you think about what you will do before you have to cast your vote. The only sane thing to do if voting in Queensland is to vote for me (of course). But remember that now you also have to make a decision regarding a second through to a sixth choice.

Where do you think the majority of Aussies will put the major parties now they are being forced to choose?

We certainly do live in interesting times.


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  1. Barry

    I’ve been banging on about something similar for weeks, read….listen….THINK!….decide….vote. If everyone in the country does this it’ll be a very interesting out come.

  2. Denis

    I vote below the line. It takes forever. Does anyone know where we can obtain a sample voting paper with the current candidates on it so we can study it in detail before we go to the polling booth?

  3. Vikingduk

    Thanks, James, if I choose to cast a valid vote on the day, rather than just write f*ck off the lot of ya, you will get my 1. Perhaps Sex Party 2, where to from there? Good fortune, James, may sanity rule and more of us appreciate climate change is the issue and what can we do

  4. cornlegend

    Denis voting below the line only requires you to vote 12 unless you are keen to do the lot
    A couple of example tickets that are being distributed by volunteers are

    Queensland Senate 2016 How to Vote 12 below the line

    1 HEAD, Mike Socialist Equality Party
    2 COOKE, Erin Socialist Equality Party

    3 BEVAN, Paul Animal Justice Party
    4 WATSON, Zade Animal Justice Party

    5 WATT, Murray Australian Labor Party
    6 CHISHOLM, Anthony Australian Labor Party
    7 MOORE, Claire Australian Labor Party
    8 KETTER, Chris Australian Labor Party
    9 CASEY, Jane Australian Labor Party
    10 THOMPSON, Cheryl Australian Labor Party

    11 SELIC, Brandon Pirate Party Australia
    12 PURSEHOUSE, Isaac Pirate Party Australia

    Senate 2016 Victoria How to Vote 12 below the line

    1 SINNEMA, Chris Socialist Equality Party
    2 BYRNE, Peter Socialist Equality Party

    3 DOIG, Meredith Sex Party
    4 MULCAHY, Amy Australian Sex Party

    5 CARR, Kim Australian Labor Party
    6 CONROY, Stephen Australian Labor Party
    7 COLLINS, Jacinta Australian Labor Party
    8 MARSHALL, Gavin Australian Labor Party
    9 YANG, Jennifer Australian Labor Party
    10 PERSSE, Louise Australian Labor Party
    11 KENT, Steve Australian Labor Party
    12 TARCZON, Les Australian Labor Party

  5. Kaye Lee


    •9 June – close of nominations with ballot paper details issued 10 June and early voting should begin 14 June

  6. Matters Not

    Re the Senate quota in a double dissolution. The formula is the total number of votes (let’s say100%) divided by the number of vacancies (12) plus 1 (makes 13) which gives an approximate result of 7.92307693% (100% divided by 13). To that ‘approximate result’, one (a single) vote (not 1%) must be added.

    My calculations of 7.92307693% plus 1 vote show the quota is less than your calculation of 8.3%. Perhaps I am wrong?

  7. King1394

    People now have the option to vote 1 for their choice of obscure independent and still direct their preference towards a major party after. If I lived in Victoria, I’d be giving Ricky Muir a look in. But at some point voters do need to preference one of the majors (Labor, Lib/Nat, Green) as shown in Cornlegend’s example

  8. Maree Hookway

    Denis, I too would like a copy of the ballot papers to study before the election

  9. Clean livin

    Good report, and I believe it is the Senate results that show the “real” trust we have in the political system.

    Vote for who you want in the House, but take insurance in the Senate!

    (Vale the Democrats – keep the bastards honest!)

  10. Matters Not

    By the way, re the Senate I will vote both above the line AND below the line as well. Provided I don’t make a mistake, it’s my below the line vote that will take precedence.

    It’s insurance that I cast a valid vote.

  11. Matters Not

    cornlegend, a cartoonist by the name of Michael Leunig once drew a cartoon captioned thus: Face the future with a child on a stick. This approach of putting certain micro parties (ones that are perceived to have virtually no chance of getting a quota) high on the preference order reminds me of that cartoon.

    But it is a risk.

  12. townsvilleblog

    G’day James, I have promised to give my first preference to Glenn Lazarus I didn’t know that you were running, you will get my second preference and I’m hoping that there are enough parties running in Queensland that I can leave the LNP off my ballot papers completely. I like you and Barry believe that this new voting system could throw up all types of Senators, hopefully some who believe in “people” and helping the average Australian “working poor family.” So for me it will be Labor for the first time in 12 years in the lower house and Lazarus then you in the Senate to “keep the bastards honest.”

  13. townsvilleblog

    My wife and I have applied for a postal vote, and we expect to receive our ballot papers on the 19th of Jume, that way you can sit down at home and work it out without having to worry about holding others up.

  14. Matters Not

    Kaye my formula is correct but my ability to transcribe from a calculator is sadly lacking. The numbers I should have typed are 7.692307692 which of course can be rounded up to 7.7%. (I missed the .6).

    Thanks be I don’t have a finger on that important button. But be very worried that Trump might.

  15. Miriam English

    I’m not completely certain how the preferences system works. Is there any way to find out if a vote under the line for a minor party doesn’t end up going to someone unexpected like Pauline Hanson? In the previous election a number of the small parties were fronts for the LNP and others passed preferences on to people like Pauline Hanson.

  16. cornlegend

    Matters Not
    A calculated risk as the bulk of the tickets being handed out seem to be to those who are anti LNP
    Given only half quotas are required for this Senate election. If enough Labor supporters were to follow the above tickets then there is a possibility of getting one up , and if not preferences flow on to Labor before exhaustion at 12.
    People are being made quite aware of that through the volunteers
    It now seems 50,000 of these HTVs will be printed for each State {Vic and QLD} on beer coasters, with an appropriate meme flogged from Twitter . a reprint may be necessary based on the Sydney run
    Concentration is only on metro areas trains buses etc at peak hour and pubs and clubs
    There is also an old saying ‘If you never try, you’ll never know”

  17. cornlegend

    Miriam English
    As long as you number up to 12,{below the line} your vote exhausts after that, so you get to choose how many you want to vote for a0, 30, whatever your choice,as long as it is at least 12 and when you stop numbering you last choice is where your vote exhausts, so if Hanson isn’t in your picks she can’t get any benefit from you

  18. James Moylan

    Matters Not you are entirely correct.

    I was not attempting to do anything more than indicate that only half a quota would be required in comparison with a normal election.

    Thanks for doing the calculations. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I had not bothered to look up the exact number because I very much doubt that I have a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected.

    Y’see I am in this to ensure that all the other contenders have to talk about climate change. I also want to shoot down the complacency that I see all about me.

    F’rchrissakes at the same time as we are all witnessing the bleaching of our reef, one of the greatest environmental tragedies ever to occur, half of our media and all of our politicians are treating it like something that can be ‘fixed’ if we just throw a bit of money at the problem!

    I am intent on popping their bubbles by very publicly declaring that the recent bleaching event is not an isolated event but rather a ‘horizon’ event which will soon be followed by further even more pronounced bleaching events. We must do what we can to preserve some of the southern parts of the reef system but the northern areas are doomed to extinction in a world which is 2 degrees hotter than the 1975 mean

    I am not being alarmist I am simply saying the same things as the scientific community have been saying for the last fifteen plus years.
    We don’t need to change our relationship to the reef – we need to alter our ways of generating power.

    Moreover, we have to stop exporting coal. Just close the mines and walk away from them.

    Coal is as bad for the lungs of the planet as asbestos is for our lungs. Both are poisonous and noxious and should be left undisturbed in the ground.

    However since a tragic but accurate message will always be trumped by wishful thinking and self interest I have failed to consider that I might ever get elected. Another good reason that I have discounted the chance of getting elected is because I am a socialist and I have a habit of calling myself a socialist (even in polite company). Also my honours thesis in Law was a pure Marxist analysis of one aspect of contract legal theory – if I ever got near Canberra the Australian newspaper would have conniptions.

    So thanks Matters Not. 7.3(ish)% is close enough for me. It’s a good number to know, in much the same way as knowing how far it is to the moon is a good number to know.

  19. corvus boreus

    In the upcoming federal ballot for NSW senate allocations, I intend to cast my (BTL) vote for the following candidates/parties;

    (Australian Progressives)
    1) Allan QUARTLY
    2) Ash ROSE

    (Australian Sex Party)
    3) Ross FITZGERALD

    (Pirate Party Australia)
    4) Sam KEARNS
    5) Darren McINTOSH

    (Australian Greens)
    6) Lee RHIANNON
    7) Michael OSBORNE
    8) Jane OAKLEY

    (Animal Justice Party)
    9) Lynda STONER

    (HEMP Party)
    10) Jason OSBORNE

    (Arts Party)
    11) Barry KELDOULIS

    (Drug Law Reform)
    12) Ray THORPE

    These are the candidates standing for parties who articulate values and policy ambitions that closest align with my own, and a couple of people who have impressed me with works done outside of parliament (eg brother Ray).
    It is a shame that the Secular Party of Australia are not running any NSW senate candidates.
    I will probably continue numbering a few candidates beyond this point (eg the Soc blocs), but will do so with increasing reservations.
    If anyone has information on any decent independents who have slipped under my radar, I would appreciate informational links.

    Ps, Miriam, when you vote below the line (which is for candidates, not parties), your vote only goes to the individuals who you choose to number, and cannot be redistributed.

  20. James Moylan

    corvus boreus: Ray Thorpe and Jason Osbourne are old friends and are well worth voting for. Both are big hearted and passionate.

    (Ray should be at #2 I reckon – with Peter Breen REP at #1 of course).

    Look out for Renewable Energy candidates in every State (except SA).

  21. Kaye Lee


    I think you are punishing some good NSW Labor Sentaors. I understand why but look into Deb O’Neill. She doesn’t look for the limelight but I have watched her perform very well on Senate Committees. I think Jenny McAllister also brings valuable experience to the table though she is a party person through and through.

    Doug Cameron and Sam Dastyari seem willing to expose problems and aren’t easily intimidated.

    The choice is yours of course but numbers 13-20 seem still up for grabs in your stated selections.

  22. Arthur Plottier

    corvus, I agree with your selection of the Australian Progressives and perhaps you have to look at the Science party which have similar policies.

  23. Jexpat

    Following Cornlegend’s exclusion of the Greens would likely throw the Senate to the LNP & Xenophon.

  24. corvus boreus

    James Moylan,
    I’ve never met Jason Osbourne, but Ray is a champion.

    The fact that Peter Breen and Susan Perrow have registered as NSW senate candidates for the Renewable Energy Party has not yet filtered through to the ABC election guide, but a quick wiki search saw me straight.
    I shall, of course, be numbering their squares

    Ps, as another who accepts the scientific reality regarding the increasingly uncontrollable shitstorm that we are creating with our environmental destruction and attendant climate destabilisation, your 1:51 post more than resounds.

  25. corvus boreus

    Arthur Plottier,
    The Science Party does not have any clear policy on, or even reference to, the natural environment or climate change.
    That is a glaring gap in their science.

  26. Bighead1883

    cornlegend June 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    “Hey Cornie , how involved are you in delivering these Senate HTVs” ?

  27. kathysutherland2013

    For years I’ve made my own “How to vote” card, particularly for the Senate. I get all the candidates’ self-serving literature, check out their record in Hansard (if they’re already in Parlt,) try and do a bit if research about their local affiliations/records. It’s time-consuming, but worth it. And I am a bit of a politics tragic! You can usually get a list of the candidates from the AEC, or even good old Wikipedia. Also from the Parties, if the candidates are aligned. I try hard to make my vote matter, but I only get one vote, and, sadly, I think Eric Abetz will remain here in Tasmania.

  28. Backyard Bob


    So for me it will be Labor for the first time in 12 years in the lower house and Lazarus then you in the Senate to “keep the bastards honest”.

    How is someone like Lazarus going to keep anyone “honest” when he ripped off another Party’s [Xenophon] constitution holus-bolus? It’s not the first time he’s been caught, either.

    And while I can understand why this statement from his Immigration Policy might be appealing to you, and that’s fine, I suspect it’s going to be a problem for a lot of people:

    A comprehensive consideration process for asylum-seekers to ensure we are not exposing ourselves to unnecessary risks by accepting people whose personal, societal or religious values conflict with the national interest

    At least in their “maritime” policy statement they did remind us what an island is, so it’s not all bad:

    As an island nation surrounded by water


  29. Backyard Bob


    This is what the Science Party has to say re: CC –

    2. Global Warming

    2.1 Policy: The Science Party is in favour of moderate, sensible action to mitigate the potential grave risks associated with climate change:

    Carbon pricing mechanisms as the main way to achieve control over our carbon emissions at the lowest cost to society. All major alternatives to Carbon pricing are well known to cost more for consumers, or taxpayers, or both.

    Given the global political inertia in achieving prevention, more work needs to be done on adaptation and mitigation to climate change. We would fund more research into the specifics of how climate change is likely to damage various sectors of the economy and the environment. We would fund greatly increased research into geoengineering – with the caveat that we would unequivocally oppose any attempt to conduct large geoengineering experiments or interventions until very thorough research had been complete on the safety, costs, side effects and alternatives.

    2.2. Discussion:

    The science on Global Warming is not settled – because that’s not how science works. Scientists weigh evidence, balance probabilities, make predictions, construct and falsify models, and try to come to the most accurate possible picture about the world. The answer is never perfect; even the laws of gravity are subject to revision.

    The best current picture science gives us is that the Earth is undergoing long term warming. This is true beyond what you might call reasonable doubt. So at a minimum, we need to start making preparations for the world getting warmer.

    The best current picture also tells us that humans are responsible for most of this warming. Again, this is very, very likely, although not quite so far beyond doubt as the fact that the Earth is warming. Exactly how quickly the Earth is warming, and exactly what share is because of humans, is again, less certain.

    Warming is going to cause some benefits, and some costs. There’s good reason to believe that the costs are going to be worse than the benefits – especially for large amounts of warming. Larger and more abrupt changes are harder to adapt to, for both us and the natural systems we rely on.

    “Climate skeptics” will argue there is a lot of doubt and uncertainty in all of the above. While there exist uncertainty in results and conclusions of science, the existence of uncertainty is not an argument specifically for doing nothing about climate change.

    It is important to remember that the main purpose of having a carbon price in place now is not to make massive cuts in emissions straight away (although obviously every tonne of emissions avoided helps). Rather it is to:

    Enable the research that will solve this problem to become viable. Huge private investments in technological solutions – renewable energy, smart grids – and an end to capital funding of the worst technologies such as new brown coal plants – will occur with even small carbon prices.

    Lay social and regulatory groundwork for reductions in carbon emissions. If and when we do need to make drastic cutbacks, it will be much easier to go to a heavy carbon price from a modest one than from none at all, with the legislative framework in place and companies familiar with its operation

    Make global political compromise possible. It is simply absurd to expect countries that are much poorer and emit much less per capita than us at the moment (let alone historically) to begin making serious efforts before high polluting, wealthy countries such as Australia. Cutting our emissions now is the absolute minimum gesture required to establish good faith for negotiations for them to limit and cut theirs.

    I find the language oddly equivocal and perhaps overly cautious.

  30. Matters Not

    As long as you number up to 12,{below the line} your vote exhausts after that

    your vote exhausts after that. I don’t think so. As I understand it, 12 is the minimum but certainly not the maximum number that might be preferenced. If one’s ‘top’ 12 selections are all eliminated in early counting, that does not mean your vote exhausts. Your 20th selection could be just as important (in the valid counting stakes) as someone else’s number 1 choice.

    But I might be wrong. ? ?

  31. corvus boreus

    Backyard Bob,
    That information did not appear on the first Science Party ‘cheat-sheet’ that I brought up, and demonstrates the need for more detailed research before I cement my electoral choices.
    It did, in hindsight, seem a glaringly strange policy omission.
    The section on climate policy is cautiously guarded in the language employed (just like scientists), but seems sound in the fundamentals, and they do make a clear policy statement opposing any further native deforestation.
    James Jansson and Eve Slavich (Science Party) gain a tentative nod from this one.

    Apologies to Mr Arthur Plottier for my misinformation.

  32. cornlegend

    ““Hey Cornie , how involved are you in delivering these Senate HTVs” ?”
    Well, actually, I’m not .
    You would know the ALP rules on giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
    Some close personal friends and a bunch of volunteers {none ALP members} decided to do an anti LNP effort and I was just able to provide them with some contacts to printers and let them use some of my vehicles to get around and a bit of accomodation assistance.
    I did visit them in Western Sydney and in Albo and Tanyas Eletorates but out of curiosity not to assist :-}
    I will come across them again next weekend as we {my family} intend to go to Terri Butlers Q&A fund raiser with Tanya Plibersek an Jackie Trad in attendance, and will probably hang around a few days more to observe their operations on the trains and things
    The following week my missus and I are going to Crown Casino in Vic. so will probably run into them again down there but just to check they are mainntaining my vehicles and such and see how they are doing in Bandts seat
    .Biggy, you know the rules, you can’t hand out other Parties election stuff.
    That’s in the ALP bible, and of course I abide by that :-}
    I do think though my mates and the volunteers are doing a wonderful job fighting LNP scumbags

  33. Backyard Bob

    A vote is considered “exhausted” when there is no next available preference for any continuing candidate meaning that it must be set aside from the scrutiny at that point.

    Simple, huh? And now for some quantum mechanics ……

  34. stoo70

    Take a pen with you when you vote. You are not required to use the pencils that are provided. Call me paranoid, but I wouldn’t put it past this government to risk tampering with votes in order to stay in power.

  35. cornlegend

    Matters Not
    Below the line your vote exhausts on your last numbered box
    As that ticket I mentioned is suggesting 12 it would exhaust there , if you chose to number 15,20, 25 etc that is the individual voters choice but their vote exhausts with their last choice.
    If you choose to number 25 there is now way our preferences can continue on to 26,27, etc
    Apparently on the HTVs I listed above, 12 is the minimum you can number below the line so for expediency 12 was chosen

  36. Bighead1883

    cornlegend June 5, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks for that info Cornie and TBH I can`t W8 to see the backside of this LNP government and the whole mongrel PUP group to boot

    The Liberal Democrats have been accused of selling Senate spots,so hopefully no one vote for them either

    Pass on my regards to Albo&Tanya and I hope RedNed keeps all safe in the Cornmobile

  37. brickbob

    The AEC better have a massive advertising blitz across all media platforms Re- Voting For The Senate””” campaign, because i suspect there are millions like me who do not have a clue how this new Senate voting system works,if they dont run ads then it will be one giant mess regarding the Senate on election night.

    Even in this article and others everybody has a different version on the correct way to vote,it’s like asking someone for directions,you will get a different answer from each person you ask and still end up getting lost.”””””

    Can someone explain to me the correct method to use when voting for the Senate under the new rules,eventually i will find out myself but a few tips would be good,but not too many,i dont want to get lost again. Thanks”””””

  38. Bighead1883

    brickbob June 5, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    There`ll be no calling the Senate result on election night as in the past BB

    And which private security Co is going to watch the secure ballot boxes?

    This was/is one of the major beefs those of us who never agreed with the Shambolic AEC Senate voting reform always had/have

    We lost X number of Senate ballot boxes in WA in 2013,trust is a big issue

    There are two examples of BTL Senate voting up in the comments

  39. corvus boreus

    If voting above the line you are supposed to number at least 6 boxes (which are for bloc/party votes).
    If voting below the line, you are supposed to number at least 12 boxes (which are for individual candidates)
    You can fill in your form both above and below the line (BTL has precedence), and have an allowance of up to 5 errors.

  40. Anomander

    Not that long ago, I seem to recall all the wailing, gnashing of teeth, recriminations and proclamations that the sky would fall when these voting changes were introduced. Claims that the Greens sold out to the Libs, etc.

    It appears to me that there may be some benefit after all? A challenge to the power of the duopoly? A way for people to voice their opinions at the ballot box rather than seeing their preferences manipulated to benefit parties they wouldn’t spit on?

  41. John

    Well, according to Mathias Cormann, you can put just 1 above the line which makes numbering at least 6 is not compulsory. But your vote is exhausted if your first and only preference is not elected.–formal-.html

    Also, could anyone explain how preference is given? I thought the new rules eliminated preference from parties!

  42. Michael

    My take-home is – come 10 June or soon thereafter copy/print your House of Reps ballot paper and your state’s Senate ballot paper, note details as they come to mind, reading AIMN, etc beside each candidate and PRACTICE completing (pencil/rubber) – when settled/satisfied, take with you on July 2 and copy onto ballot papers – and make sure you walk out smiling and shout yourself an election banger (sausage) – then attend friend’s election wake, don’t drive, and get …..

    See you on the other side in enlightenment…

  43. corvus boreus

    Technically, you can just vote 1 above the line and still have it count as valid.
    This is because amendments now allow for up to 5 errors on your senate ballot paper (in this case omissions).

    As for preferencing, I am not sure (I’ll be avoiding this minefield and voting BTL)

  44. corvus boreus

    Arthur Plottier,
    I have already been corrected on that hasty misapprehension (check my 3:17 post).
    Thanks for the informational links and sorry (again) for my error.

  45. Lawrence s Roberts

    Excellent, Let us show the clowns. Pass it on.

  46. Arthur Plottier

    corvus boreus not need to apology, I am trying myself to understand what every party or independent offers and most important believe. Your inputs are appreciated.

  47. totaram

    The big problem in all this, how do we distinguish between what the SAY they believe in and what they are really on about. Please be aware that in politics, a lot depends on how many people you can fool. I’m sorry if this sounds cynical, but anyone would know what I am talking about. “No cuts to education, no cuts to … etc” would spring to mind. So the extra level of thinking that is required is to see through what they say and find out what these people are really on about .For example, I would look at the fact that Nick Xenophon voted with the coalition on most items, so I don’t see him or his “party” as any different from the coalition in most things. But so did Labor, but then they had to do so to avoid being “wedged”. It gets a bit complex, and I leave you all to do your own diligence. The sad part is that they have all swallowed the neo-liberal Kool-Aid about budget deficits and govt “debt” and I haven’t seen anyone with the guts to call it all bullshit. But maybe, the smarter thing is to just focus differently on “people” rather than “the economy” as Labor has now done.

    Anything to get rid of these crypto-fascists would be fine. That is what the main focus should be.

  48. Arthur Plottier

    totaram, I agree with your comment, quote: “The sad part is that they have all swallowed the neo-liberal Kool-Aid about budget deficits and govt “debt”
    Eventually, I hope, that economists, politicians and religion leaders will start understanding that the deficit to take into account is inequality not financial but on health, basic living necessities, education and opportunities.
    The debt will be in how we leave this planet to the next generations, which at the very least in a better shape that was when we come.
    IMO it will be hard to achieve that because it goes against greed, but we only can hope.
    Meanwhile one of the best steps to do is start running the contries by measuring the GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator), SPI (Social Progress Index) and not the GDP and other metrics that have nothing to do with equality and human rights.

  49. silkworm

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Lambie, Lazarus, Wang and Muir vote with the Libs for abolishing the ETS?

  50. Annie B

    From your article James : ” Only a very small segment of the Aussie population are politically engaged and ready to change their vote in any circumstances. Even those who say they are ‘undecided’ are generally fairly sure which side of the political spectrum they will probably support. They just don’t like talking about it.” ……

    I have said this before, on another AIM article … that many people do not ( as was instructed decades ago ) “discuss politics and religion” …. so I doubt anyone is going to get any true answers in query, because that old adage stands strong, even today. They stick to decades, even centuries now, old alliances to a particular party.

    I have a cousin ( and a sister ) who are blue ribboned LNP through to their very core. Had a conversation with the cousin ( my sister and I do not ‘do’ politics any longer – to preserve sisterly peace ) … where I answered her query re the 2012 election with ” well, I haven’t decided yet on who I am going to vote for” …. all hell broke loose at the other end of the phone, and she downright abused the hell out of me for ‘letting the side down’ ( ??? ) … blah blah yada – and “our family have always voted, and always will vote LIBERAL – how DARE you go against that ” ? How ‘dare’ I ???? 🙁 Absolutely true story. I excused myself and hung up ( haven’t heard from her since – funny that ).

    This kind of thinking is still alive and well and living in Australia, although with upcoming younger generations, I would hope it will change ……. it must. But I think that is what gives the impression that people don’t care much about politics and will find the easiest way to vote, where possible – as long as they don’t have to ‘talk about it’. Who would, today, ask, say a neighbour, who they voted for – 95% guesstimate would be a response of “that’s my business” …. which translates to ” no speaky about politics ” ….


  51. Marilyn Riedy

    I have been listening and analysing and last election I deliberately voted below the line for minor parties just in case the Liberals were elected based on Abbott’s lies. Those minor parties did exactly the job they had to do. They deflected the worst of Hockey’s decisions I will do the same this year but I will vote for those who stood up against the Liberals and stood for the people.

  52. Annie B

    I agree with stoo70 … take a pen with you to the voting booth and a notebook, so’s you do not make a mistake on the voting papers. Pencil can be changed ( hmmm – yes it can !! ) …. but pen cannot. So make absolutely sure of where you want your numbers to go. I wouldn’t trust any of these parties / candidates not to fiddle the outcome. Call it paranoia if you like, but ……. Which brings me to :

    ………… the smaller parties. Re : Johns’ comment – ( June 5, 2016 at 4:51 pm ) …. where he asked how preferances are given. Behoves us to make absolutely sure, if voting for smaller, minority parties – despite their policies that might resonate well, just who they give their preferences to. Something that will always rankle with me, was the sudden ’emergence’ of very small parties just prior to the 2012 election … and most of them gave preferences to the LNP ….. funny that !!! I do not recall too much information at the 2012 election, of which minority parties gave preferences to which other party ( of the 2PP ). I will be very very careful on July 2nd. And if they cannot show their preferences given, they don’t get a look in at all, except for being put 2nd last, with LNP last ( on the green ballot paper ). Same goes for the Senate ( new ) format paper, as far as I am concerned. BUT – it should be mandatory on all bumpf handed out at the polling stations, just who a party would prefer to see in power, in the case of them not making it ( which is usually a foregone conclusion, anyway ).


    Corvus ( June 5, 2016 at 4:12 pm ) ……. maybe it’s too late in the evening for me, but please – how can anyone have an ‘allowance of up to 5 errors’ …. and who decides if anyone has made errors ??

    Does this have something to do with crossing out ( in pencil – I don’t think they supply erasers, do they ) …. some number incorrectly put above or below the line ( considering there are 6 above and 12 or more below available ). ……… I am not being a smart bum here Corvus, I am asking the question genuinely. How can that be ?

    Seems to me, simplistically, that the required (?) numbering of 6 above the line, gives a better chance of honest results – to be able to show which bods you align with and those you don’t ( showing just 6 ) …. I frankly think all numbers across the top should be ticked according to the voters decisions.

    It can be all very confusing, can’t it …….. ?

  53. corvus boreus

    Annie B
    ‘Errors’ would mean numbers omitted from sequencing (1,2,4,5), crossed out or smudged (1,x,2,3,4), or repeated (1,2,2,3,4).
    I gather if a voter splits their numbering above and below the line on the ballot paper, the scrutineers will apply whichever, if any, can still be deemed valid, which would, in most scenarios, be the ATL (party/bloc) votes.

    I shall be avoiding any such potential confusion by simply voting for (>12) individual candidates below the line.

  54. Miriam English

    I’ve had a disturbing thought. I had intended to vote only below the line and only for 12 + however many other candidates I thought deserved it. I was not going to number the LNP at all. However, unlikely though it may be, that leaves the possibility of my vote being interfered with by simply entering “1” for the LNP and putting a “3” after my first choice (making “13”), or simply crossing it out. With the allowance of errors they don’t even need to do that — simply adding a “1” for the LNP would be enough.

    I’ve come up with a possible solution. I’ll take a red pencil with me to vote. That will be very difficult to tamper with. Any extra marks will be obvious tampering because they’ll be in black. Also red pencil is very difficult to erase.

    I know interference with votes has so far been pretty unlikely in Australia, but we are fast approaching the USA system where vast amounts of money are spent on elections and many billions of dollars depend upon the outcome.

    Elections are definitely not honest in USA. Over there they are regularly interfered with in many different ways — boundaries are rigged, voters intimidated, they are sent misleading information on the date and place of voting, voting is on working days and booths often close early, voter IDs are required (excluding many people from voting), large numbers of people are “accidentally” struck off the rolls, ballot boxes are “lost”, votes are altered, even Supreme Court judges are bribed to falsely pronounce winners (when that isn’t part of their job).

    With all the causes of such corruption already growing in our system we should really be taking steps to prevent it before it is too late. We do not want to go down the USA’s road.

  55. Annie B


    Thank you for explaining that to me. I honestly didn’t think of that …. it is simple – but could be dangerous, I guess. Errors could be mis-used by the dishonest in scrutineering, and / or handlers of ballot papers, at the behest of whoever.

    As Miriam said, and gave examples. ….. And we certainly do not want to go further down the road ( we are already on unfortunately ) towards U.S. non-standards. There has been some awful messing with and juggling around, mainly aimed at Bernie Sanders – with the Dumpf playing both sides against the middle.

    It is disgusting.

    I just hope many many more Australians, seek to understand what they are expected to do on July 2nd.

    Sounds very iffy to me, even though it is allegedly an improvement ( Senate ) …. which is a cumbersome paper to say the least.

    Thanks to you both. 🙂

  56. King1394

    Miriam English: please do not use red pencil (or advocate it to anyone else) – I’m pretty sure that a significated vote would be discarded as having a lack of anonymity – remember it is a secret ballot. A vote in red pencil would look like a signal to someone, and if I was scrutineering, I’d certainly call it out. You aren’t allowed to write your name on your ballot paper either.
    I wish more people would take the opportunity to act a scrutineers and actually be present at the counting of the votes. I usually scrutineer for the ALP, and there are always scrutineers present for the Liberal/National candidates, but often there is no one else present for other candidates. Mistakes are made and also, scrutineers need to watch each other! – no leaning across the table, or touching any ballot papers, thankyou.
    If you want to scrutineer the count, approach the candidate of your choice and volunteer to do this – he/she will be happy to appoint you.
    If you have other questions about the vote why not have a look at

  57. Annie B

    King1394 …

    That is interesting and very informative.

    Would using a black biro or fine black marker pen, be OK ? I am serious with that question.


  58. diannaart

    I too am concerned about bringing a biro or other permanent marker to vote.

    I understand why red is out, but a black pen?

    Also. about the Science Party, when I first heard of them I thought “about time”, however part of their energy policy include nuclear as part of the mix.

    I believe the money that would need be spent on setting up a nuclear power industry in Australia would be better spent on renewables that do not have the attendant risk factors which accompany nuclear.

  59. Kaye Lee

    Bringing a pen is fine with the AEC.

    “The provision of pencils in polling booths is a requirement of section 206 of the Electoral Act. There is, however nothing to prevent an elector from marking his or her ballot paper with a pen if they so wish. The AEC has found from experience that pencils are the most reliable implements for marking ballot papers. Pencils are practical because they don’t run out and the polling staff check and sharpen pencils as necessary throughout election day. Pencils can be stored between elections and they work better in tropical areas. The security of your vote is guaranteed as the storage and counting of ballots is tightly scrutinised.”

    On nuclear power, from what I have read, the size of the country is another deterrant. We are too dispersed to make it viable.

  60. diannaart

    Thanks, KL

    I agree, I do not rule out nuclear for some countries, given Australia’s vast size and available, wind, thermal and sunshine, introducing an entire nuclear industry appears more than redundant, a waste of money.

    That said I am not anti-nuclear for medical research either. Just why bother with it as a major part of Australia’s power needs?

  61. King1394 addresses this in the question ” Why do they supply pencils in polling booths and not pens? Doesn’t using pencils allow votes to be tampered with?

    “The provision of pencils in polling booths is a requirement of section 206 of the Electoral Act. There is, however nothing to prevent an elector from marking his or her ballot paper with a pen if they so wish. The AEC has found from experience that pencils are the most reliable implements for marking ballot papers. Pencils are practical because they don’t run out and the polling staff check and sharpen pencils as necessary throughout election day. Pencils can be stored between elections and they work better in tropical areas. The security of your vote is guaranteed as the storage and counting of ballots is tightly scrutinised.”

    As far as using marker pens, it would probably be a question from a scrutineer, rather than the electoral officers, that might see a vote set aside. If there is a recount, all the ballot papers, including the informal votes that have been set aside, would be returned for the subsequent count, and some of these may then be declared formal, if the general consideration is that the intentions of the voter can be recognised. Votes that have been disallowed because of other concerns would also be considered on a case by case basis.

    According to section 268 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918), a vote is informal if:
    •the ballot paper is not marked at all
    •the ballot paper does not have the official mark and has not been initialled by the polling official, and the ballot paper is not authentic in the opinion of the Divisional Returning Officer (DRO)
    •the ballot paper has writing on it which identifies the voter
    •in the case of an absent vote, the ballot paper is not contained in the declaration envelope
    •the voter has not completed a full preferential vote. There are savings measures to keep formal some ballot papers marked incompletely or incorrectly.

    If you want more information than this, you will need to phone 13 23 26 or call at your local electoral office for the final word.

  62. Annie B

    Thanks Kaye and King1394 for that advice. Much appreciated.


    Diannaart …..

    I agree with you – the money on any nuclear power industry here, would be much better spent on renewable energy, which apparently the Greens want to bring into / onto every home ( according to an email I rcvd just 5 minutes ago. )

    Nuclear use in medicine however, is excellent.

  63. Miriam English

    I’m surprised that a Science Party would consider nuclear power as worth considering. There are so many problems with nuclear power…

    As noted, it diverts money that would be better spent on renewable sources. Also, since solar power has become so affordable, I think nuclear is now the most expensive way to generate electricity. I remember reading in New Scientist some years ago the head of the nuclear industry in Germany complaining that it wasn’t fair that wind power was lowering the price of electricity to the point where nuclear plants couldn’t make a profit.

    All around the world private money is not being invested in nuclear power. It is just too expensive. Only government buys the nuclear power white elephant because the tax-payers can be conned into footing the bill.

    And the lead-time of around 5 years to get a nuclear power station running is ridiculous when a windfarm can be up and running in months and solar panels can be put on a house in hours.

    But the costs don’t end after a nuclear power station has reached the end of its life; it still costs many more millions to be decommissioned. No private money is ever paid for that. Government pays for decommissioning, insurance, and storage of waste for hundreds of thousands of years — effectively forever.

    Government also pays potentially billions for cleanup after any accident. It’s not like a solar panel breaking or a windmill stopping which is simply replaced without any big deal. A nuclear accident can poison the ground and the water and the ecology for thousands of years, causing genetic damage for generations.

    If all that wasn’t enough, their products are used in wars — not just nuclear bombs, but also armor piercing shells. Iraq and Afghanistan are littered with radioactive uranium rounds which attract children because of their strange weight.

    Horrible. The nuclear industry has been one of the most sociopathic, culpable industries of all. It might have had real promise, but it seems to have attracted the wrong people and has been a massive disaster from beginning to end. The only bright spot is, as was mentioned, nuclear medicine, though even that has had its ugly side.

  64. Miriam English

    King1394, I’m puzzled by your remark that red pencil would be disqualified as being personally identifiable. Why?

    Unless I flaunted the red pencil and said, “Look everybody, I’m using a red pencil!” nobody there would be any the wiser. When it was counted there would be a vote with red marks, but nothing to indicate whose vote it was.

    I have been a scrutineer, by the way. I agree with you that everybody should have a go at doing that.

  65. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    My voting choices in the Federal Election on 2 July 2016 from Victoria, as follows:

    House of Representatives in McMillan:

    1) Greens candidate, Donna Lancaster
    2) Australian Labor candidate, Chris Buckingham

    However, if I lived in the Victorian Federal seat of Batman currently occupied by Feeney, I would vote:

    1) Australian Progressives candidate, Russell Hayward
    2) Greens candidate, Alex Bhathal

    Victorian Senators

    My Below-the-Line voting choices for Victorian Senate candidates are listed according to party or independent status:

    1) Richard Di Natale
    2) Janet Rice
    3) Misha Coleman
    4) Elise Klein
    5) Anna Crabbe

    Australian Progressives
    6) Josh Gilmore
    7) David Knight

    8) Ricky Muir
    9) Mark Dickenson

    Pirate Party
    10) Lachlan Simpson
    11) Richard Burleigh

    12) Kim Carr
    13) ???

  66. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I rang the AEC and spoke to a spokesman and he was caught by surprise by my question as to whether I would be allowed to bring my own pen. He checked it out and confirmed that yes we can vote with pens, if we bring an ordinary biro along.

    Apparently there is some possible concern about felt pens if the papers get wet. However, a normal black or blue ballpoint should be fine.

    My explanation for wanting to know my rights was that we, the voters, cannot be too sure about the credibility of the power-traders and biros were better security for our votes being counted the way we want.

  67. King1394

    Miriam English: I believe the problem with a red pencil would be just that, knowing it would probably be the only paper filled in with red pencil it might be seen as having characteristics which would make it identifiable. A vote is informal if it has writing on it that identifies the voter.
    As a scrutineer I would question it if it was a vote for a party I oppose (scrutineers are expected to be biased). But I would let it pass if it was for my own candidate, and certainly say nothing if no one else raised it. The returning officer might well consider that it is a formal vote as he/she might place more emphasis on whether the voting intention is clear

  68. Annie B

    King1394 ,.,,,,

    Your comment from “As a scrutineer … to >>> say nothing if no one else raised it” …. this sentence included the words ‘scrutineers are expected to biased’.

    Pardon ? You “usually scrutineer for the ALP” …. so you must know the drill.

    While it is totally understood that scrutineers have their own preferred party, for which they themselves vote – I was under the impression that they had to be TOTALLY impartial once they entered counting rooms, as a scrutineer …. and as you said in an earlier post “Mistakes are made and also, scrutineers need to watch each other! – no leaning across the table, or touching any ballot papers, thankyou.”

    It sounds like some ghastly party – where it is expected that scrutineers will be biased and show that bias, the whole atmosphere would be one of total distrust, and leaves a very bad impression, as to exactly WHAT might go on in those counting rooms. Not wishing to be dramatic, but …….. it does sound bloody awful. Mistakes are made ? – makes me wonder just how many are made in fact. And a scrutineer I would imagine could challenge or deny, a smaller party ( who has no scrutineer ) vote, if it were not for that scrutineers own preferred party. Also – how can a scrutineer, inspect any ballot paper ( which they are apparently permitted to do ), without touching it ?

    And now, after reading my comments here, I have to decide ….. ya gotta be joking. !!!

    p.s. btw, in no way am I inferring that you indulge in dirty tricks as a scrutineer …. not at all, but I have always suspected funny doings might go on in countings, in past elections.

  69. cornlegend

    Annie B
    Scrutineers are only there to watch the count, and the initial count carried out by those who are used during the day inside the polling booths marking off the roles and issuing the ballot papers,under the supervision of a Returning officer [In most areas, a lot of these people are school teachers, employed casually for election day by the A.E.C .
    Scrutineers cannot touch any ballot papers, and are strictly there to observe the count on behalf of the M.P who has signed the necessary AEC documents nominating you, and the scrutineer also signs such document.
    In the count the AEC employed staff do all the unlocking of boxes, unfolding of ballots and allocating votes to bundles for the prefered candidate, simple, in the initial stages based on the number 1 vote.
    Scrutineers can “challenge” any vote they may think irregular or needs ruling, if necessary, by the returning officer.
    Overall, for every politician I have ever scrutineered for, my main job has NEVER been to see how many votes THEY got as they votes after counting are bundles into 10s the 100s based on the number 1 vote, but to keep a close eye on the preference flow of the certain OTHER parties or of popular Independent candidates and relay that , frequently to the Candidate or their representative
    By the end of the night, all the number ones would have been counted and it is the Returning Officer who releases the interim figures that you see on the TV.
    Unless you live in a very very safe seat the decision won’t be clear that night so the candidate wants scrutineers to provide info on the certain other parties preferences .
    a rough example , is
    ALP 10,000,
    LNP 8,000
    Green 2000
    Indie 1000

    The ALP would want to know where the 2,3, and 4 of the Greens and Indie went
    We {those with me, alp} have charts drawn up to quickly jot notes and figures
    Of course, in the hustle and bustle of the count you may notice something you see or feel the AEC employee overlooked and you can issue a challenge but overall, the anxiety of the candidate, located at some venue waiting for a celebation or a wake is to be kept up to date , from all the booths in their electorate of not only the number of votes they got from that booth but as accurate a guess as possible of prefs .
    Normally I go in with a group from ALP with a strategy of who will watch where and for what
    It would not be unusual to phone {from outside} the candidate 7 -10 times with updates, re guesstimated preference flows and overall count

    P.s. this is a rough explanation , not interested in picky responses

  70. diannaart


    Agree with all the points your raised regarding nuclear.

    However, the industry holds one significant ‘advantage’ that renewables don’t; control of the grid. The nuclear industry can slip in and take over where the fossil fuels left off – massive grids under (mostly) centralised control.

    A few of the reasons I wish, hope, pray for a market of independent renewable technologies, is the freedom of choice it offers people, the competition that comes from a market of non-monopolies and the protection a lot of small grid systems offer in the event of some type of catastrophe – less widespread power outages. The same reasons are why big business rail against renewable technology.

  71. Miriam English

    diannaart, yes. That was always one of the great attractions of nuclear power: control. However, the incredibly uneconomic nature of it has become such a terrible drawback lately that no company will buy into it unless government takes most of the real costs off their hands, which is totally crazy (crazy for us; good sense for them). There seems to be an increasing fear that if governments step back from funding nuclear power, any company associated with it would quickly go broke. That greedy self-interest, much more than social responsibility, appears to be causing the worldwide decline of the nuclear power industry.

    And why would anybody in their right mind want to spend several years building a nuclear power plant to operate for a mere few decades when they could build a windfarm much more quickly to produce much cheaper power forever? Even the thick-headed corporate executives at the top of power utilities and the morons who get into government seem to be finally understanding this.

    I can understand the obsessive need for control that those people have (I don’t agree, or approve, but I understand the illness). What amazes me is that they don’t opt for geothermal generators. It uses exactly the same Victorian era steam power to drive turbines, has great potential for monopoly control (hot rocks are not easily accessible everywhere), and coincidentally it even draws its heat largely from radioactive heating at our planet’s core. So why aren’t they building geothermal power stations everywhere they can? Perhaps the reason it’s ignored is that the military aren’t interested in it — no plutonium for bombs or depleted uranium to shoot at people. I’m tempted to say that the “problem” is that you can’t do anything evil with it.

  72. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I’ve posted this on Twitter, James. Keep up the good work!

  73. diannaart


    Doing ‘evil’ AKA exercising control – too tempting for some, they’ve got it, they like to use it. Common Sense has left the room.

    That is all that is needed.

    Reasonable people know it is regressive to install a fully functioning nuclear power network across Australia – so is fracking farmland or water tables. Some people(human status to be confirmed) think wind turbines are ugly, but have no issue with burning coal. Stupidity abounds all sectors of society – keeping stupid away from the shiny red button is the challenge.

  74. Miriam English

    diannart, heheheheh
    “keeping stupid away from the shiny red button is the challenge”
    That went straight into my quotes folder. Just too delicious. 🙂

  75. King1394

    Thanks Cornlegend; your further explanation accords with my awareness of scrutineering. After the first count the votes are rechecked and recounted by the electoral officer, usually on the Sunday, and they are generally then sent to a central location. In the central location, it is possible that there are people who scrutineer up to the time the poll is declared. Where the vote is close these scrutineers will often be experienced party officials but the same rules apply.

    Annie B: I am just responding to the general tenor of some comments, which are saying that the votes will be tampered with. The idea that someone armed with a pencil will adjust your numbers, is, in my limited experience, wrong. The first count is carried out at each Polling place, and those figures are forwarded to the central tally room where the televised count is followed. This is how we know lower house results by the end of election night. The Senate is more complex, but under the previous system with most voters placing a one in one box, they also could be at least sorted out on election night. I expect this time it will take a longer time than previously for the Senate to be declared.

    At the booth where I generally scrutineer, as I said for the ALP, the count is usually completed by 9-30 in the evening. The scrutineers are all scrupulously polite, and as many have spent the day together outside handing out how-to-votes, will even feel a degree of rather tired camaraderie. Usually the challenge is made where a vote has been put on a candidate’s pile to be counted but you think it is informal; you can see that there are two ones, or an X has been used. The Electoral Officer in charge then has a look and decrees the vote in or out. No touching is necessary. But all scrutineers are there for their candidate, not as supervisors of the voting system; usually I’m watching the Liberal/National votes and then later the distribution of second or subsequent preferences, just to make sure that they are counted correctly. There are several electoral carrying out various counts, so a single scrutineer is not going to see everything anyway. The presence of the scrutineers does help to provide balance to keep the system honest.

    I think that people from the smaller parties, and independent candidates should attend the count. Often they are ‘wrung out’ from a long tough day and spending another two or three hours watching the count seems too much, but the same goes for someone like me. Not only do you miss the candidate’s after party but the chance is that you will get home and find you are the only person who doesn’t know what’s happened.

    This article about the close count in the Qld seat of Fairfax where Clive Palmer won out over the Liberal Party candidate gives another perspective:

  76. silkworm

    “Keeping stupid away from the shiny red button is the challenge.”

    Uh huh.

  77. Annie B

    Thank you to all who have given me much to consider, about scrutineering.

    King1394 ….

    Your last comment ” Not only do you miss the candidate’s after party but the chance is that you will get home and find you are the only person who doesn’t know what’s happened.”

    So true. …. Many years ago, when the DLP was in ‘go’ mode, I was part of the committee and support for a DLP candidate in the Box Hill area ( Victoria ) …. don’t know what that electorate is called now. The DLP went a*se up eventually, and never resurfaced. The candidate I and others worked for, polled extremely well, as she was a popular, kind hearted and well learned person … the local chemist, much loved. Which is why she missed out on election by a fraction of votes. Election day was fraught with mixed emotions, hopes high and hopes dashed, And I think at least 50% ( including me ) didn’t have a clue as to what happened, why and when. I just went home to bed exhausted, and hoped I might wake up to good news in the morning ( which, by a tiny margin, did not happen ).

    The query I had about ‘not touching ballot papers’ came from the AEC website itself. under “During the counting of votes” … Scrutineers may …..
    ‘inspect any ballot paper’ ….. there in black and white on the AEC site. If that is not what they meant, then they should correct it. To inspect a ballot paper, one would have to ‘touch it’ turn it over back and front, and come to a conclusion about its’ validity – one way or the other.

    Maybe that is moot point now.

    Questioning of electors … one mistake that was made, and I wondered about it at the time – some years back.

    What is your full name ( named – tick )
    Where do you live …. ( was NOT asked ). Just my name and presumably my address was crossed off.
    Have you voted before in this election …. ( No – tick ).

    This was a mistake ( minor admittedly ) and everyone is human so these mistakes can be made. But no overseer corrected it.

    Re : Helping Voters …. speaks of ( from your link to Scrutineers Handbook ) …. the scrutineer, and the Officer in Charge. BUT it also allows :

    These voters may however, appoint another person
    to enter the voting booth with them to mark, fold and
    deposit the ballot paper in the ballot box. In
    this case, neither the officer in charge nor the
    scrutineer accompanies the voter into the voting

    I am honestly not looking for mud puddles here, or attempting to undermine the validity of scrutineers, who I am sure are 99% honorable in their work.

    However, given the above copy and paste from the handbook, particularly that bolded, I could put a case in point. This situation could leave it open for an accompanying person to ‘double vote’ … and I have reason for saying this. If I, God forbid, were incapable for some reason, of completing voting on a ballot paper, and a particular member of my own family ( who is rabid beyond reason, LNP ) … accompanied me into the polling booth because I was more or less incapable of saying no to that decision … there is absolutely NOTHING to stop her, filling in the form for me, or ‘assisting me’ – against my own wishes, which would be e.g. ALP. I can honestly say, she would be opportunistic and ‘direct’ me to cast a vote for the LNP. SHE WOULD. ( so much for my family secrets ).

    Admittedly, this would only happen in a very small number of cases, and would not affect any outcome ( hopefully ) …. but it is not something that should even be allowed to happen. NO other person ( other than a scrutineer or officer in charge ), should be permitted to assist a voter – EVER.

    I have seen in the small amount I have read, some other questionable directives, that one could drive a pile driver through. Enough to give an unscrupulous scrutineer or OIC, more scope to interfere with an outcome. But then, I guess, there are more scrupulous scrutineers than unscrupulous ones, and they would be jumped on – from a great height. Still and all, the handbook, and the AEC site, should be more explicit in their directives, and explanations.

    Enough now ……

  78. diannaart


    That went straight into my quotes folder. Just too delicious


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