It’s sort of interesting that just a few days ago we had the conservative side of politics telling us that they didn’t have a position on the Voice because they didn’t have enough detail. Now, according to Nationals muppet, David Littleproud, there’s enough detail to announce that they’ll be opposing it.
Ok, I shouldn’t be calling Littleproud a “muppet”. This sort of name-calling doesn’t advance the political agenda. Besides, the muppets were cute little puppets who were fun to look at and brought laughter to a lot of people… So calling him a muppet is only accurate on the last point.
Anyway, in rhetoric reminiscent of some of the reasons for not apologising to the Stolen Generation, the Nationals are opposing it because it does nothing toward closing the gap. When asked why his government did so little about closing the gap in their time in office, Littleproud insisted that they’d done plenty.
I’m sorry, but I don’t consider making health and education outcomes worse for non-Indigenous people is really what’s intended when people talk about closing the gap.
Anyway, I’m sure that there’ll be a disproportionate number of voices being given coverage praising the Nationals for their courageous stance in standing up to the woke forces…
On a side-note, given that Hitler was racist does that mean people who are anti-Nazi are just succumbing to woke nonsense?
Part of the trouble is that the media feeds off controversy and drama so instead of working on the theory that where there’s a strong consensus, let’s concentrate on fixing the roadblocks to getting things done, they work hard to find a problem. For example, if there’s difficulty getting help to flood victims, instead of an impartial investigation into how the problem can be fixed, as well as how similar issues can be avoided in the future, we’ll have a “PASTOR BLAMES BUREAUCRACY FROM STOPPING HIM BUILDING ARK.”
For example, in the recent Victorian state election, Independent Ian Cook was given a great deal of publicity because his exit poll of friends and family said that he was a great chance of upsetting Dan Andrews in the seat of Mulgrave. Having failed to get the required votes, he is now getting airtime on mainstream media with his complaints about the fact that the two-party preferred on election night was done between Labor and Liberal when after the distribution of preferences he would have been in second place, and this says something about the corruption inherent in the system.
While the Victorian Electoral Commission have explained that the election night preference count is done on the basis of who is expected to finish in second place and it’s just done to give a guide, but when preferences are actually counted, they are actually distributed in accordance with the actual distribution, this hasn’t stopped the various calls for a recount being given a significant amount of air time.
The only problem is that it looks like Andrews will score more than fifty percent of the first preference vote in Mulgrave, meaning that even if another candidate gets ALL their remaining preferences, Andrews will still have more votes. It’s like complaining that they’re declaring the winner of the Brownlow medal when there’s still a round to go when the leader is more than three votes ahead of the field.
Preferential voting seems difficult for some people to understand with various people tweeting that Labor only got 37% of the votes so most people oppose them. (Similar arguments in the recent federal election.)
So for the benefit of everyone I’m going to explain preferential voting in simple terms so that you can show this to your kids or that drunk uncle at Christmas.
A simple majority vote
I have a class of twenty-five students. I tell them that I am buying them lunch on the last day. They need to vote on what we get. These are the options.
- Red Rooster
- Fish and chips
- Nothing – I’ll be on the sports excursion
After voting, the results are as follows.
- 5 votes for Pizza
- 3 votes for Red Rooster
- 5 votes for McDonald’s
- 2 Fish and chips
- 4 Subway
- 6 Nothing,
Of course, when I tell the kids that in a fair and democratic election, Nothing won with 6 votes, so they won’t be getting lunch, I suspect that they won’t see the fairness of the simple majority system. On the other hand, a preferential system would ask them to number their votes from first to sixth. Apart from anything else I suspect that those voting for Nothing wouldn’t fill the squares from 1-6 making their vote informal.
After the distribution of preferences we discover that apart from those who voted Pizza 1, eight people had it as number 2. At this point, Pizza has more than fifty percent of the vote and is the victor. While they may not be overjoyed at not getting their choice, they’re certainly a lot happier than if Nothing was declared the winner.
It’s also interesting that some people who claim that Labor are illegitimate because they got less than fifty percent of first preference votes are more than happy for parties like the Nationals and Pauline Hanson’s One Notion to wield power disproportionate to their number of first preference votes.
And that’s part of the trouble. For years, it’s been suggested that Labor are the left and that the Liberals are the right and other parties are far right or far left and there’s a battle for the middle ground between Liberals and Labor but this overlooks the reality of the electorate.
While I’ve often pointed out that there’s something strange about calling someone like me left-wing when I’m not exactly calling for the destruction of the capitalist system and all I’m asking for is policies that work for people and not an elite few, the problem is not simply that I’m considered a lefty by people with extreme right views. The problem is that when you’re at the North Pole, everything is south of you, and when you’re on Sky After Dark, then even Costello’s Nine is far too close to that lefty outfit, the Liberal Party.
In the end, most people won’t something done about the cost of living but they also want something done about climate change, they supported marriage equality, they don’t support racism or sexism even if they – like me – sometimes have problems recognising it.
So the rise of the “so-called Teal” candidates in the federal election was no surprise. Simply, in seats where people hadn’t been able to bring themselves to vote Labor because they just don’t, they suddenly had an alternative that more closely reflected their views than the Liberals.
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