Ok, I think that I’ve got this right.
You can number boxes above the line OR below the line.
If you number them above the line, you need to number at least six boxes above the line for the parties or groups of your choice. However, if you vote below the line, then you need to number at least 12 boxes below the line for individual candidates of your choice.
Ok, I know that the whole idea is that this was meant to eliminate the anomalies that enabled people like Family First senator, Charlie Manson or Steve Fielding or whatever his name was, who was elected when he only received votes from his actual family and due to complicated preference deals, he ended up being elected in spite of only nine people actually wanting him there.
Basically, it was meant to be the death of the minor parties in the Senate, but I’m not so sure that they’ve thought this through. I know, I know, politicians not thinking something through to beyond the election, that’s a surprise.
Anyway, over the years, I’ve been a bit of maverick. I’ve usually attempted to vote below the line, and while I’m good with numbers, there have been times when I’ve wondered why I’ve got to number 123 out of 123 and I still have a box left. Then begins the long process of trying to work out which number I’ve skipped and whether I’ll end up regretting giving my 53rd preference to the person to the person I intended to give preference 123. At least, though I know that it was my stuff-up and I don’t have to have six years of me telling myself that I elected Charlie Manson by putting a “1” above the line!
It’s hard to keep track of all the numbers if you vote below the line… Or rather, it was. Now, I can vote below the line and that enables me to do something like this. (I’ve only listed the Parties, some of the minor parties may have more than one candidate.)
ARTS PARTY 1
CYCLING PARTY 2
RECYCLING PARTY 3
RENEWABLE ENERGY PARTY 4
NICK XENOPHON PARTY 5
LET’S PARTY PARTY 6
PATTY’S PARTY 7
THE GREENS 8
THE BLUES 9
SENIORS PARTY 10
JUNIORS PARTY 11
SEX PARTY 12
(Ok, not all the parties in the example are real, but due to the lack of reporting of anything but the major parties with the odd attack on The Greens, I couldn’t think of twelve. As for Googling them, good luck finding a party whose name you don’t know.)
The basic point I’m making is that it’s going to be easier to vote below the line. Not only that, you don’t even need to give either of the major parties your vote at all.
Yeah, I don’t know if that’s the way it’ll pan out, but it’s certainly a possibility.
Personally, I’d like to see half the Senate decided like it’s jury duty. You know, random people get called up. They can seek an exemption, but if they accept, then they have three years on $198,000, plus whatever benefits accrue. You organise it on a rolling basis so that there are a handful of new senators every sitting so there’d never be any need for a double dissolution because of an obstructionist Senate because surely, if the legislation was worth voting for, then they’d get the numbers sooner rather than later… Yep, that’s just silly and we’re so much better off when one of the parties gains complete control of the Senate. Yep, my idea is just the sort of nonsense that you’d expect from someone like me.
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