Posts Tagged ‘Voting’

Sausage roll entitlements during local Government voting.

September 10, 2016
Lobelia

Lobelia

If you are on the electoral roll in Australia you must vote. It is compulsory under threat of punishment. If you don’t, the fine is $55,-. Today, is compulsory voting day in NSW, Australia. It is for representation for local shires and councils. Many shires are now joined into one which makes it a bit difficult. Some shires have disappeared or overlap, and other shires had voting some weeks ago. I don’t know why, but in any case I just voted.

All the political parties were vying for prime positions outside our Bowral High School to hand out ‘how to vote’ pamphlets. Voting in Australia is not without complications. If you thought working out all the apps on mobile phones are complicated, wait till you vote for the local municipal elections. Syria has a problem with all the warring parties but so do our voting methods in local governments. Each year complaints are lodged with the Electoral Commission about unscrupulous people handing out those ‘how to vote’ papers. Innocent voters are almost choked or tripped over into accepting those papers. Bribes and incentives are whispered about too.

But, that is not all.

Another illegal practise is handing out free barbequed sausage rolls. They cannot be given for free, especially not when the barbeque is within a couple of metres near the frenzied ‘how to vote’ mob of people. It could be seen as an enticement to vote for a particular party. At the Bowral school the sausage rolls were available AFTER you voted. You had to leave the voting hall through a separate door distinct from the door given entrĂ©e to the voters before they voted. Relieved voters now lined up for Sausage rolls. Political party favouritism and confusion was thereby avoided and it complied with all electoral rules. In any case, the whole venue smelled deliciously of fried onions and the sausages. The mood was cheerful and here and there some light banter escaped involuntary.

You have two ways of voting. One way is above a line and one below a line. Indeed, the ballot paper has a black line across, about two thirds from the bottom up. You mustn’t vote below the line if you voted above the line. This truth is rock solid. However the reverse or converse also applies. If you vote below the line than it is equally forbidden to also vote above the line. Most people that are literate and capable of reading ( about 67%) would probably get it over with quickly and vote above the line first and forget about the poor sods below. Which in my view is not all that unbiased or fair either, giving the above the line crowd a bit of an advantage. I mean if I was a councillor I would not want to be featured below a line.

Compared with the strict rules governing the barbequed sausages etiquette. I question why this voting option would not be better dealt with with a vertical line drawn down the middle. It would appear to be fairer. What do you think? Or, would this suggest left or right leanings. I mean would the Labor party member want to seen on the right side of the ballot paper and conservatives on the left?

Nothing is easy and Helvi reckons I stink of fried onions.

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Senior moments of Australia steeped in political morass.

July 5, 2016

photoThe eight weeks of electioneering in Australia had finally come to an end. The voting had finished at 6pm on the second of July. The counting had started right on cue at all the scrutineering posts. Helvi and I had settled down on the claret coloured settee. Milo had been fed. The wine decanted and breathing heavily. It was all-ready-set-and-go. The TV was switched on soon followed by the sound bar. It is one of those electrifying evenings that one might still talk about for years to come. Forget about Dr Who or God of Thrones. Election night hasn’t been missed for at least thirty years.

The Government funded advertisement free TV station, the ABC, has always been our favoured channel to watch. As the early figures started to come in we were heartened by a swing towards the left. We are left of the centre but not so left as to drop into the stormwater drain of rioting unions or brick throwing bakers. That might be so because of our age. Our brick throwing days are over. If anything could still be thrown it would be a marsh-mellow. We do believe that the rich get smoked salmon and the poor mainly Salvation Army soup. The gap is increasing and the people getting restless.

As the evening wore on and with the wine taking its effect, the two person party in our household was swinging. All caution to the wind. The power of our multi millionaire Prime Minister was drooping. Seat by seat Labor was winning at the expense of the Liberal & Nationals. At the same time it also became clear that the Duopoly of both major parties was being curtailed. Both parties were losing out on the primary vote which went to a bewildering number of smaller parties. Pauline Hanson’s ‘One Nation Party’ did a Lazarus after almost twenty years in the never never wilderness. She sucked in the anti-immigration, anti Muslim, and anti halal certification vote. She made sure that at the election barbeques around her area, all her admiring xenophobes were provided with non-halal sausages. Her prime attraction for voters was to pass a law that would insist on CCTV cameras be installed in all mosques.

At the end of the evening ( and it was now 1.30am) the experts on elections announced the most likely scenario would be another ‘hung government.’ This election was supposed to be to strengthen the Government of the LNP PM’s Malcolm Turnbull grip on the future of Australia. It might take days if not weeks to get a final result. It is likely, another election will be held before Christmas. The reflections by Mr and Mrs Oosterman are, that our PM just did not follow up on the image that we had of an innovative progressive leader. He did not pass legislation on the SSM that the nation overwhelmingly wanted, and instead went for a $150 million plebiscite at the end of this year. The other promise of lowering taxation for businesses at the expense of health and education was also seen as a hand out to the ‘big-end’ of town.

Australia is now faced with uncertainty, yet life goes on. We had a terrific evening. The sun came up, darkness lifted. At least, the LNP are now in a downward spiral. Exciting times ahead. I do hope that the prospects for the refugees on Nauru and Manus Islands will get resolved soon.