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Things to fix in ACT elections

By 23 October 2012 44

Here are a few of my gripes about ACT elections.

Firstly, the whole ‘caretaker period’ concept is a joke. In Westminster democracies, the idea is that, when the Legislature is dissolved before an election, it can no longer hold the Executive to account in Parliament and the government must enter caretaker mode. However, in the ACT they get about two weeks of “government” after the Assembly is dissolved to do whatever they want. The caretaker conventions should be amended to put the government into caretaker at the end of the last sitting day of the Assembly.

The stupid Hare-Clark system that was entrenched as a virtual constitutional amendment in 1995. Now we can only get rid of it with another referendum.

Four year terms and the almost inability to have elections before that time. The Electoral Act only allows elections before four year in four circumstances: (1) when the Governor-General dissolves the Assembly; (2) when the Chief Minister is booted out and not one else is appointed for 30 days; (3) when no one stands for election, and; (4) when a new election is required by the court of disputed returns. We’ll probably have the worst four years of government ever seen, however, there will be virtually nothing anyone can do about it.

Stupid rules like the 100 metre ban on handing out electoral material. Aside from the typical ACT “ban” response to anything that might ever happen that might be bad, it basically leaves electors with even less information about who on earth they should vote for.

The election costing laws. In the Commonwealth, the Treasurer must say that the government has announced all agreed policies before the pre-election update is done, however in the ACT, Katy and Co. spent the election campaign saying “This is money we committed before the election. We are now just allocating and announcing it.” I presume Zed was not told how much he could have “allocated and announced”.

An electronic voting system from 1985, and an Electoral Commissioner who does not appear to be too on top of the actual rules and laws about voting or party registrations.

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44 Responses to
Things to fix in ACT elections
joingler 11:12 am
23 Oct 12
#1

1. Caretaker – I don’t know enough about it so I can’t comment

2. I like Hare Clarke. Surely having multiple voices at the table is better than just 1 (it’d be better if it was a more centre party, not the greens but that’s the way it goes). I also like the fact we avoid a by election in the case of a retirement/death/sacking. And it is quite fair.

3. Name another reasons we should have a election? I can’t think of one.

4. 100m ban? Surely people should make their minds up BEFORE rocking up to vote?

5. Again, I really don’t understand it all so no comment

bitzermaloney 11:30 am
23 Oct 12
#2

“We’ll probably have the worst four years of government ever seen, however, there will be virtually nothing anyone can do about it.”

I doubt it. It will be a big effort to be the last government for that title.

Maybe if the Greens operated as an independant party instead of a “left wing” branch of the ALP (and kept Labor accountable as they should have done) then things may have turned out very different. Such a shame there is no real alternative to the two major parties.

FioBla 11:32 am
23 Oct 12
#3

joingler said :

3. Name another reasons we should have a election? I can’t think of one.

I don’t agree with the result the will of the people being mockery of a travesty rejecting the die of shame.

ELECTION NOW.

Primal 11:43 am
23 Oct 12
#4

The 100m ban is a beautiful thing.

Matt_Watts 11:48 am
23 Oct 12
#5

Not that it would have made a difference to the outcome (well, I hope not!), but I’ve heard several stories about people being enrolled federally and not having moved house since then, only to be told over the weekend that they’re not on the electoral roll AND they didn’t have the opportunity to lodge a declaration vote.

That’s likely to be a minor issue, but I think it goes to the management of elections and personal data more generally, and it should be examined.

One item most of the public wouln’t be aware of is the role of the rangers with the electoral signage etc. I know a lot of people don’t like the signs, but they are allowed within certain rules. I’m not here to defend every candidate or volunteer, either – just hear me out…

If signs are allowed in certain circumstances (ie not banned outright), I would expect a ranger to know what aspect of the rules makes the sign not allowed. I once had a ranger tell me that my immobile sign at Charnwood shops wasn’t allowed and, when pushed, his justification was that it was a distraction to drivers. I looked around at all the other signs – on cars, shop awnings, shops’ A-frames – and said he had to be joking, as that wasn’t in the rules. He backed down, but I didn’t like having to have that conversation.

(Having a certain MLA’s husband raise his voice at my aunt on the weekend regarding a sign she had nothing to do with wasn’t a nice situation either, but that stuff happens every election, unfortunately. Such matters should be left in the hands of the rangers and polling officials. This isn’t something we can change through regs, but it is a cultural change I’d like to see develop.)

Holden Caulfield 11:50 am
23 Oct 12
#6

A greater variety of cup cakes and bbq food at the volunteer stalls.

p996911turbo 12:04 pm
23 Oct 12
#7

What’s wrong with Hare-Clarke? I think it’s vastly better than the federal system. It means the preferences I pick actually bloody matter.

I also don’t think we’ll have the worst government we’ve ever seen. I like minority governments. When they give power to a party I like, great! When they give power to the other party, at least there’s a strong moderating influence.

The 100 metre ban is the best thing ever. I enjoy voting in peace and it’s totally unreasonable for people to thrust their how to vote cards in my face in the last few metres. I also want a ban on roadside signs. And a ban on electioneering in shopping centres. And bus interchanges. And possibly everywhere else. Maybe that’s a bit too far…

I do agree that the electronic voting system was a bit crap. A number pad as directional arrows is just pathetic.

LSWCHP 12:17 pm
23 Oct 12
#8

FioBla said :

joingler said :

3. Name another reasons we should have a election? I can’t think of one.

I don’t agree with the result the will of the people being mockery of a travesty rejecting the die of shame.

ELECTION NOW.

INCOHERENCE NOW!

jakez 1:20 pm
23 Oct 12
#9

I like Hare Clarke. Only a basic understanding of maths is required to understand the process and its benefits. I guess I would be open to a movement to using a droop quota but I don’t think it is a huge issue and it is certainly not the change most anti hare clarke people propose.

As for Robson rotation I’m ambivalent. I’d probably be in favour of keeping it but with the addition of an ‘upper line’ option ala the Senate.

The 100m ban is nice because you can avoid people, which is something I like to do whenever I can.

poetix 2:24 pm
23 Oct 12
#10

jakez said :

I like Hare Clarke. Only a basic understanding of maths is required to understand the process and its benefits. I guess I would be open to a movement to using a droop quota but I don’t think it is a huge issue and it is certainly not the change most anti hare clarke people propose.

Droop quotas are strangely unsatisfactory.

davo101 3:18 pm
23 Oct 12
#11

jakez said :

I guess I would be open to a movement to using a droop quota

You do realise that the Droop quota is what is already used in the ACT?

Brindabella 3:41 pm
23 Oct 12
#12

Getting the delivery people for all that junk mail, to acknowledge and respect the “No junk mail” stickers on letterboxes.

Holden Caulfield 4:15 pm
23 Oct 12
#13

Brindabella said :

Getting the delivery people for all that junk mail, to acknowledge and respect the “No junk mail” stickers on letterboxes.

Or, more correctly, getting the legislation changed so that political advertising is not exempt from “No junk mail” signs.

Ian 4:45 pm
23 Oct 12
#14

It would be nice to have some candidates who were actually worth voting for, particularly in Ginninderra.

watto23 4:50 pm
23 Oct 12
#15

Holden Caulfield said :

Brindabella said :

Getting the delivery people for all that junk mail, to acknowledge and respect the “No junk mail” stickers on letterboxes.

Or, more correctly, getting the legislation changed so that political advertising is not exempt from “No junk mail” signs.

+1 whatever the reason, i actually would rather have the handing out on election day, over the political junk mail and roadside signs.

As for Hare-Clark, it works well, given we have a single legislative assembly. Note that even the labor majority gov lasted one term and then the 4 greens got in….

Deref 5:25 pm
23 Oct 12
#16

This looks very much like “Waaaaaaaaahhhhh! I didn’t get the result I wanted so the system has to change!”

Hare-Clarke is brilliant. It’s the only system that elects representatives in a pattern that looks anything like what people vote for. First-past-the-post is the most undemocratic of all voting systems.

Four year terms – not bad. Can’t imagine why you’d want less.

The 100M ban – brilliant. Should be 10,000M. If you haven’t made up your mind before you go then you’re wasting your time and everyone else’s. Pay attention and do your homework next time.

Worst government ever? Rubbish. The worst government ever is single-party government, regardless of which party wins. Making the bastards negotiate is a win for everyone except the parties themselves.

pepmeup 6:01 pm
23 Oct 12
#17

I don’t really like pollies but do we need a few more than 17, with 17 everyone has to have a ministry or shadow ministry or multi ministries, now not all people elected are really upto those kinds of responsibility.

Campaigning on getting rid of the plastic bag ban, may not give you the ability to oversee our health system or education system ect

LSWCHP 6:16 pm
23 Oct 12
#18

Ian said :

It would be nice to have some candidates who were actually worth voting for, particularly in Ginninderra.

So why don’t you have a shot at it? Serious question.

I’ve sometimes thought I’d like to have a go, but the Golden Rule (he who has the gold makes the rules) means that it would almost certainly be a futile waste of time and money.

cranky 6:36 pm
23 Oct 12
#19

“The election costing laws. In the Commonwealth, the Treasurer must say that the government has announced all agreed policies before the pre-election update is done, however in the ACT, Katy and Co. spent the election campaign saying “This is money we committed before the election. We are now just allocating and announcing it.” I presume Zed was not told how much he could have “allocated and announced”.”

+1

I was astonished that Labor were able to announce spending ‘already agreed on and in place’ during the caretaker period, when no mention had been made of this expenditure prior to this period.

Labor is an arrogant party!

Martlark 7:07 pm
23 Oct 12
#20

100m exclusion zone? Get rid of it. As a former volunteer I really enjoyed handing out the tickets with the other parties. It was a good opportunity to chat to politically interested people for a few hours. You also garnered an appreciation of all the various parts of the electoral body. We should not treat the populace like babies who can’t resist the influence of a slip of a coloured card.

screaming banshee 7:08 pm
23 Oct 12
#21

There should be fines for any roadside political advertising left standing at 8am the Monday after

I’m looking at you Matt watts.

Matt_Watts 8:09 pm
23 Oct 12
#22

screaming banshee said :

There should be fines for any roadside political advertising left standing at 8am the Monday after

I’m looking at you Matt watts.

Obviously if there’s a rule, I’ll comply to the greatest extent possible. I’m sure most candidates would.

Even without that rule, Damien Haas (who assisted me on my campaign) and I went out looking and couldn’t find the ones we put out by the roadside, at least not where we left them, on our first tour. Another trip will follow tomorrow. It’s a big area, especially for a person like myself who has never been a driver.

I’m aware of four in the Belconnen Town Centre which I haven’t prioritised because they are attached in a sturdier manner than those on tomato stakes.

I located one at Bruce Stadium car park, but I never left one there. (Obviously, I collected it.)

A couple of potential reasons some are still up… A group of volunteers from Lib HQ went out and put a bunch of signs up and I have no knowledge of where those locations were. I’m working with them to ensure all are collected, and am keeping an eye out.

Another potential reason is shenanigans. I am aware some people were swapping signs around in a failed attempt at creating disunity (so I don’t necessarily know where my signs are). There’s also video footage of one particular candidate ripping out signs on election day.

One sign was out the front of Damien’s house and it was taken yesterday or so. (Not the first time!)

Considering the number of signs out there from many candidates (and I by no means had the most), I do think, despite the need for more to be collected, most were tidied up within a short timeframe.

I don’t like the signs myself, personally – I felt obliged to do it for the sake of competing with other candidates for name recognition – yet it’s within the law, although I understand if people don’t like the
signs.

If people know where mine are, please let me know!

Woody Mann-Caruso 8:21 pm
23 Oct 12
#23

herp derp i don’t know who I’m voting for until im ten metres away from the booth and somebody hands me a shiny brochure and i like the man on the blue brochure because i like blue

RadioVK 8:38 pm
23 Oct 12
#24

Primal said :

The 100m ban is a beautiful thing.

Isn’t it great?

The simple pleasure of being able to walk in, cast my vote, and walk out without having to tell half a dozen leaflet waving hacks to bugger off was just fantastic.

mutley 2:30 am
24 Oct 12
#25

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

herp derp i don’t know who I’m voting for until im ten metres away from the booth and somebody hands me a shiny brochure and i like the man on the blue brochure because i like blue

It’s a shame you’ve reduced yourself to constantly attacking the man WMC. You used to actually have useful input.

Matt_Watts 7:31 am
24 Oct 12
#26

One thing that strikes me is the “dance” of pre-poll. So many people who pre-poll aren’t actually away or working for the whole of Saturday… No way for officials to check (ie plans change, etc). Why not just end the charade and allow the official voting period to be over two weeks?

Mav 8:05 am
24 Oct 12
#27

Having to use pencils to vote in this day and age is ludicrous. If it can be done by electronic means at prepolling places then surely it can be implemented everywhere, even set it up so you can register online then vote from home. Just give each voter an individual voting identification and then that ID can only be used once in a election vote.

Just think how much quicker the poll results would be and the tally could be instantaneous.

maxblues 8:22 am
24 Oct 12
#28

Matt_Watts said :

One thing that strikes me is the “dance” of pre-poll. So many people who pre-poll aren’t actually away or working for the whole of Saturday… No way for officials to check (ie plans change, etc). Why not just end the charade and allow the official voting period to be over two weeks?

Matt, the reason I pre-poll is that I’m a fat bastard who needs to avoid the cupcakes and sizzling sausages and as for officials checking if we are working or not…they don’t even check to see if you are the person you say you are!

stillflying 8:55 am
24 Oct 12
#29

Matt_Watts said :

One thing that strikes me is the “dance” of pre-poll. So many people who pre-poll aren’t actually away or working for the whole of Saturday… No way for officials to check (ie plans change, etc). Why not just end the charade and allow the official voting period to be over two weeks?

You seem like a nice guy, and fairly well informed, and I find you kinda agreeable compared to a lot of the other people running.

It’s a shame you were in the wrong party.

johnboy 9:02 am
24 Oct 12
#30

Voting from home is a really bad idea guys.

There goes the secret ballot.

And don’t think for a minute there aren’t employers, church leaders, dance instructors, who wouldn’t compel those in their care on the subject of their votes.

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