The End is Nigh, Nr 2


You wonder why we seem to have such a strange and illogical voting system. I have never really understood the system of voting in Australia. Especially not the system of preferential sharing of votes going elsewhere where the voter is left with a result they did not intend. I have asked many people to explain this but most of them also don’t understand it. Here is an extract of a piece on our National Broadcaster the ABC and it seems even the politicians themselves find it a ‘Bizarre’ system.

It begs the question; why not make it fair and logical?
Or are our voting systems based and inherited from England totally Fawlty Towers stuff and beyond fixing especially with the oft quoted ; if it isn’t broke don’t fix it?
Anyway, here is an extract from that article,

Quote:’Bizarre preference flows all over the shop’: Xenophon

Speaking to the ABC’s Insiders program, Senator Xenophon described the results as “very interesting”.

“It happens because of the way preference flows work and there are harvesting of preferences,” he said.

“I didn’t get any advantage from anyone. I always had to win basically two full quotas in order for my running mate to get up but there is a lack of transparency in terms of preference deals.

“For instance, in South Australia, the Greens preferenced the climate sceptics ahead of my running mate who actually believes in climate change and believes that something needs to be done about it in a very constructive way.

“So, all sorts of bizarre preference flows all over the shop. Clive Palmer, a coal miner, preferenced the Greens ahead of my running mate in South Australia. You go figure.”


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20 Responses to “The End is Nigh, Nr 2”

  1. frangipani Says:

    Well, I had the delight of voting below the line yesterday, for 110 senatorial candidates. Trust me, Gerard, this system was not inherited from England. While I’m not a fan of “first past the post” systems I really do not like the mandatory nature of preferential voting. I’d prefer to be able to number my top four or five candidates and ignore the rest. And I think it’s inherently undemocratic to cede my choices to some cabal of backroom boys.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I also have trouble understanding cricket so thought that perhaps that strange system of preferential voting also came from the UK. Sorry for that. Who thought this up though? It must come from somewhere!


      • frangipani Says:

        Haven’t got a clue where it came from. All I know is, the UK still has first past the post. So, sadly, does Canada. Not a great system, because it doesn’t give recognition to minority opinions. But, having looked at the Vic Senate run, I simply cannot believe that the Motor Party guy got a seat in the Senate, given the number of primary votes he had (under 12,000, I think). That’s crazy. Cricket is easy to understand in comparison.


  2. Nick Ryan Says:

    Cricket Rules are easy Gerrard read the following . . . . . . .

    You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.

    Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.

    When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.

    Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.

    There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

    When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. auntyuta Says:

    It would be interesting to find out how many people actually attempted to put 110 numbers in the ballot paper!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I don’t think many Auntyuta; It is just too difficult and too long a paper to navigate within the confines of the booth. It would have taken many more days if everyone did all the 110 numbers. People have to eat and drink, feed babies or have other duties.
      On top of that we have a compulsory by punishment system as well. Countries with compulsory by punishment voting system are by and large very dictatorial or a bit dodgy. I wonder where that comes from also?
      Compulsory voting: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Equador, Congo, Uruquay, Nauru, Singapore.


  4. auntyuta Says:

    Thanks, Gerard, for this very interesting reply.
    This time I think people handed in more ‘informal’ votes than usual.
    I wonder why!


  5. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Hmm, England has always refused to contemplate any kind of proportional voting – so not guilty – but, properly run such a system should be fairer. I actually went to Wikipedia to try and understand your system, with mixed results. The lower house system should work OK; the upper house (Senate) looks like a dog’s breakfast to me (but I have NO political qualifications, so you can ignore my opinion). I fear that the results – electing Abott – mean that a majority of your countrymen actually agree with him (*?!!?*).
    There’s a not-too-bad explanation of voting in Australia and analysis of the results at


  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes Hilary, yes, a dog’s breakfast. Just brilliantly put! Yes, the majority did prefer Abbott but the senate is now where the action will occur. If Abbott was really preferred without hindrance, fair enough. But, Murdoch’s relentless campaign to unhinge Rudd (ALP) did also a lot of damage. (or good)
    Australia has an economy the envy of the world, lowest interest rates for 60 years, low inflation, low unemployment and a triple X credit rating by the largest credit agencies in the world. Yet, people voted the present government out.
    Tomorrow it will be Norway’s turn where the labour government is predicted to fall.
    Life goes on and the tulips are coming!


  7. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Gerard, each and every one of your posts makes for a good laugh. You are funny as usual and all of this is interesting. Politics befuddles the mind and it is useless to try to figure where the the nut cases that run for office got their “smarts” from when clearly none of them can think, act, or speak in a rational and meaningful manner.

    I really got a kick out of the one commenter and your reply. It is priceless. I included it below.

    “Yes, Thanks Nick.
    I knew it would be simple. I am out of here but in the room, out of bounds but in with the hounds. In with a win but out with a sin. I get it perfectly.” by Gerard Oosterman


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes Petspeople, who wants to be a politician? I try and lighten up situations, things are serious enough as they are, without dwelling on the inevitable.
    Today is a beautiful day, tulips everywhere and a second coffee on the way. Hoorah. Thank you for your kind words.


  9. Office Diva Says:

    Mr. G.O. I think the world (at the very least, Australia) is missing out on a great candidate since you show no interest to run for office. Especially since you have shown by your passion for AGM meetings that you would bring a fresh perspective to the political arena, perhaps even spiced up with an occasional press conference in your Batman suit.

    With each passing year, I have become frustrated with politics in the US. Each politician I admire eventually disappoints, either with scandals, stupid voting record, cowardice, and self-promotion for the next election. Our elected officials have become so partisan and self-serving that nothing is accomplished. These people work for us; they are supposed to represent us. If they were an employee in a business, they would be fired for their incompetence and job performance. I don’t get it.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Diva:
      I would make a good candidate and immediately introduce free tulips for all and compulsory Jack Russell Terrors in all homes and backyards. There would be no shirking away from long walks and tree trunk smelling, nor from lentils with rookworst.
      Communal Singing between 1-2 pm with Berlioz Apfel strudel mit cinnamon afterwards. All cokes and Big Macs would be chased into the river of discontents together with mining magnates and conservatives with climate sceptics manacled to their knee socks and red jumpers.
      All boat people would be housed in parliament and feted with garlands of daffodils around their shoulders with boundless curried kipflers at their feet.
      That’s just for starters.


  10. ThePoliticalVagina Says:

    Always good for a giggle Gerard and I don’t get cricket either. I think it’s time to go back to one candidate one vote. I think preferential voting was actually introduced by the Labor Party because of the sparsely populated areas of Australia getting such a dodgy representation….something to do with a thing called a ‘gerrymander’. Which to me always sounded slightly Nazi-ish (don’t talk about the war in my best Basil Fawlty voice).
    I’ve consulted Mr Google who referred me to Ms Wiki ;

    ……and it seems the yanks are to blame??


  11. Patti Kuche Says:

    None of that preferential business in the UK where a simple X in the one box is all it takes!


    • Patti Kuche Says:

      . . . for better or worse!


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        In NSW Australia, the vote for the upper house included 110 parties, all almost unknown. They, the unknown parties, then give the votes to each other as in some kind of musical chairs or spin the bottle which in essence is the preferential voting system.
        The voting form was so long many of the poor took them home to fill up cracks in walls or as door stoppers.Some made shelters out of them as well.


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