Feel the power: get creative on your ballot paper

Ian Bushnell 9 August 2020 19
Election day

It’s nearly that time again so make your vote count. Photo: File.

It’s on. The campaign that is. With less than three months to go until election day on 17 October, the drip of party promises and single-issue offensives is about to become a deluge.

Especially when you consider that the caretaker period begins on 11 September and pre-poll voting is being encouraged, starting from 28 September.

So there is not much time to waste if you are still weighing just where your votes will rest.

I say votes because we have multi-seat electorates based on proportional representation, and while the intricacies of the Hare-Clark system elude most people, its benefits include the flexibility of stepping outside the party ticket if you so wish.

Like the Senate, your selections can come from anywhere across the ballot paper and in any order so a uniform party vote isn’t mandatory and you can pick and choose according to your inclination about who would be the best persons for the Assembly.

In fact, the Robson rotation method that randomises the order of candidates discourages simply ticking down the boxes even in the party columns.

This gives the voter real power.

Only two members of the Legislative Assembly are not recontesting this year – Liberal Vicki Dunne and Green Caroline Le Couteur – but frankly, a few more could have joined them to ensure more fresh faces and new ideas come into the chamber.

A couple even hold down some key positions but that’s no reason for them to be returned.

As the postcards and leaflets start to pile up on the kitchen table, some interesting candidates that look like they would make a good fist of local politics are coming to light.

They don’t have to be just making up the numbers so their incumbent buddies can go back to what they were doing.

They can leapfrog sitting members into the chamber so we can have a little electoral recycling.

Labor, Liberal, Green, Independent, it doesn’t matter as long you believe they have something to contribute because the Assembly more often than not is dealing with bread and butter issues where ideology isn’t relevant, and more often than is credited works together to produce outcomes for the people of Canberra.

So why not mix it up a little and put together a winning list of candidates that can get the job done and not be party time-servers?

It may take some thinking and take a little longer in the booth but at least you can walk away knowing you gave it your best shot contributing to the make-up of an Assembly and government that might just be more productive, accountable and creative.

But I can hear it now. Chaos! A recipe for gridlock. Well, we’re not that far apart politically in the ACT and it doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.

I’ll be looking for new faces, new ideas, sitting members or no, and not necessarily following party lines.

If nothing else it might make a few of them a little nervous and keep them on their toes.


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19 Responses to Feel the power: get creative on your ballot paper
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Kim Kim 10:44 am 11 Aug 20

Chewy chewy chewy. I feel a sense of déjà vu here. Hasn’t this conversation come up before? The Labor-Liberal vote at the 2016 election was 45-43% which translated to just over 4000 votes. Labor received 50% (Ginninderra), 51% (Yarrabi) and 44% (Kurrajong). The Libs got 38%, 41% and 35% respectively. Lib leader, Jeremy Hanson as well as Andrew Wall and Mark Parton’s personal votes brought the overall result up significantly, contributing 25% to their electorates’ successes and bringing Giulia Jones and Nicole Lawder over the line. Labor didn’t do too badly either in Murrumbidgee considering it had 5 new candidates. Candice Burch has been running a very negative campaign in Kurrajong and sounds like Mike of Canberra has pulled his comments straight from her Facebook page. However, Ms Burch may care to reflect on her comments and the responses she generates with the Labor-Greens parties receiving a combined vote 65% at the 2016 election.

    chewy14 chewy14 3:44 pm 11 Aug 20

    Kim,
    Yes we have been here and you still seemingly don’t know how our voting system works, nor it seems do you understand the numbers. It’s almost like your blind support of the ALP makes you unable to be objective.

    Firstly, what numbers are you referencing? Those aren’t the first preference numbers at the last election so I’m unsure where you’ve pulled them from.

    The ALP first preference vote was 38.4%, the Libs was 36.7%. Not that it really matter becaise we have an electorate system and preferential voting.

    In Brindabella, the Libs won 3 seats comfortably, ALP 2.

    In Ginninderra, the ALP won 3 seats comfortably, Libs 2.

    In Kurrajong, it was 2-2-1 ALP, Libs, Greens all comfortably.

    But this is where it gets interesting.

    In Yerrabi, as I said, the pork barreling got the ALP 3 seats, Libs 2. Considering the demographics of this area, this was a great result for the ALP that can be largely attributed to the light rail promises. Electoral bribes work.

    In Murrumbidgee, it was 2-2-1, with the fifth seat being very tightly contested between the Greens and the Libs. The Libs had a higher primary vote than Brindabella here but fell just short of the 3rd seat by a few hundred votes to the well known Greens candidate.

    Final result 13-11-2.

    If the Libs had won the 5th Murrumbidgee seat which they nearly did, it would have been 12-12-1.

    How do you possibly think it wasn’t close.

    And no, you don’t get to count votes for the Greens as votes for Labor. Despite what some people say, they are not the same.

    chewy14 chewy14 4:22 pm 11 Aug 20

    Sorry, that final result should read 12-11-2.

    Kim Kim 4:25 pm 11 Aug 20

    Gawd chewy how long did it take you to write that rant? Too much to look at. Look at the Elections ACT website Chewy

    chewy14 chewy14 6:04 pm 12 Aug 20

    Hmm,
    Seems the moderators don’t like me responding to your wild claims.

    This didn’t take me any time to write because I’m already well informed.

    And my numbers and analysis come directly from the elections ACT website.

    Yours don’t.

    If you think I’m wrong, provide some links and references to the specific percentages you mention.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:25 pm 10 Aug 20

If the yet to be debunked Stanhope/Ahmed diagnosis of the ACT’s public finances is anywhere near the mark, whether we end up with Coe’s rates freeze (or maybe that should be “freeze”), or Barr’s rates botox – we could probably do with some candidates from an outfit like this, they may be needed in the next few years –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KordaMentha

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 11:33 am 10 Aug 20

Ian, you want creativity amongst those casting their ballots? How about the notion that the most creative thing Canberrans can do this election is to vote for a spell on the opposition benches for a tired old hubristic government that has run out of inspiration and only knows how to tax its way out of trouble? Time for a change.

    Kim Kim 12:50 pm 10 Aug 20

    And what’s the alternative Mike of Canberra, a tired old conservative government with no policies. I know who I’ll be voting for

    Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 3:12 pm 10 Aug 20

    No policies? How about a 4 year rate freeze? If you don’t know about that one then, like many Canberra lefties, you clearly have more money than sense.

    JC JC 4:08 pm 10 Aug 20

    The rate freeze isn’t policy. That is a political game. They know the issue of rates upsets so many so are just proposing to do the opposite to swing the vote. And that’s what annoys me most about the Libs, they have little vision and policy other than do the opposite of Labor. And that I am afraid ain’t a policy.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:36 pm 10 Aug 20

    “That is a political game.”

    And that is why Labor/Greens will win again and again and again.

    Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 10:51 pm 10 Aug 20

    Well, let’s see how their policies stack up as we progress through the election campaign. As for a rate freeze not being a policy, to the best of my knowledge, anything that affects revenue flow is a fiscal policy in one form or another. And you know as well as I do that the Libs aren’t about to unlock their full policy set with more than 2 months to go before the election and with the campaign not yet properly underway. I expect that in another 4-6 weeks we’ll all know a lot more. Until that time, stop looking for excuses to keep a tired old hubristic government in power. Oh and the reference to “a political game”: given the Libs are up against a government that holds Masters qualifications in political gamesmanship, it’s hardly surprising if they’re indulging in some of it themselves. If you’re of the left JC, fine. Just stop trying to appear above it all when discussing politics.

    chewy14 chewy14 3:18 pm 10 Aug 20

    Kim,
    Its strange, I saw plenty of other candidates on my ballot paper at the last election.

    It’s almost like you don’t have to choose between either of the options you’ve mentioned.

    Choosing a political party because “at least they aren’t as bad as the other mob” isn’t really a ringing endorsement.

    Kim Kim 4:44 pm 10 Aug 20

    Is that the best you can offer in reply Mike? Maybe you can tell me what services the Libs plan to cut to fund the rates freeze in a post Covid environment? Education and Health (the governments biggest spends), public transport and infrastructure spending? I have asked Liberal candidates at shopping centres how they plan to fund this freeze but no-one can give me an answer, just blank looks. And chewy, I’m not really sure what your point is. Why should Canberrans reward these Coe conservative Liberals with government for offering nothing and treating Canberrans as mugs. Let’s not forget Coe went to the last election with a plan to rip up the tram contracts if elected and it looks like we will see another anti-tram election from the Canberra Libs. And what did the Liberals give him in return for being the architect of their spectacular loss, the leadership with Nicole Lawder given the deputy leadership for her role in barely getting over the line.

    chewy14 chewy14 5:59 pm 10 Aug 20

    Kim,
    I’m unsure how you think voting for candidates other than from the major parties rewards Coe and the Liberals?

    By your logic, voting for other parties also has gifted the ALP government. Perhaps if more people weren’t so welded to a party but actually voted on the issues we wouldn’t have the woeful representatives we do now.

    And the last election was close, so I don’t know how you think it was a spectacular loss for the Liberals. Considering how bad the Lib candidates were, it should have been an ALP cakewalk. Instead it was the ALP pork barrelling with the light rail project that got them across the line, when you consider that the election boiled down to the 5th seats in both Murrumbidgee and Yerrabi, which were realistically the only seats at play.

    The light rail project won the 5th seat in Yerrabi for the ALP and the 5th seat in Murrumbidgee (won by the Greens) was decided by a few hundred votes and could easily been won by the Libs.

    JS9 JS9 1:35 pm 11 Aug 20

    Putting aside all political angles, it’s pretty much always going to be that a couple of 5th seats that will decide the election one way or the other in most cases. It really is the nature of our system – the move to 5×5 has made it much harder now for that last person to be independent etc, compared to 7 members in a seat that we once had.

    Either it needs to be the Liberals or Labor getting a 13th member (exceptionally unlikely in most elections) or it’ll be a green (thus labor win) or an independent/other (which creates uncertainty). Is there a genuine independent with a chance to get required quota this time? Maybe with Bill Stefaniak, but I’m far from convinced as he has been out of the game for a long time, and may not resonate particularly well with younger voters.

    And your point about people voting on issues really does apply on both sides and is the key one. The Canberra electorate is more progressive in its constitution I’d expect to most, but there are plenty of nailed on conservatives that also vote that way too irrespective of policies/track reacord – even when elected representatives (Zed is the perfect example at the federal level – but it happens at the Territory level too) do a dreadful job at actually representing their electorate.

    Good first start to make people think more about their votes more generally would be to completely ban how to vote cards at all levels. I assume the 100m radius issue will apply in the ACT which is a decent start.

    Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 11:01 pm 10 Aug 20

    Actually Kim, what I’ve been discussing is the art of prudent budgeting. This is a skill, unknown to the left by and large, whereby you seek to optimise your revenues (you know, gathering sufficient to operate the place properly without driving people out of Canberra) by tailoring your expenditure planning to what you can prudently collect. It’s called not killing the goose that lays the golden egg, something that assuredly will happen if Barr continues on his merry way. As for the tram, yes the Libs went to the last election on an anti-tram policy and, in large part because of this policy, they lost. The so-called anti-tram policy to which you refer is a proposal to submit Stage 2 to a cost-benefit analysis before proceeding. That’s a conventional approach to rational decision making, especially given that Stage 2 is significantly more difficult and complex than was Stage 1. Surely even a leftie such as yourself understands that.

    JS9 JS9 1:37 pm 11 Aug 20

    The art of prudent budgeting isn’t well know on either side of politics to be fair Mike. The Right has just as many examples of poor outcomes being driven by their alternate views of the world as well. Just look at (pre-covid) outcomes of the current federal liberal party. They’ve done an outstanding job at pretending to do something about debt, but then handing out pork barrelling here there and everywhere, and not making any substantive progress towards a more sustainable budget (noting surplus/deficit discussions in both ways do not necessarily equal sustainable budgets).

    Its a fallacy that either side is better at it then the other. Both have shown, over an extended period, to be equally inept at it.

chewy14 chewy14 7:13 am 10 Aug 20

The really good thing is that once you meet the minimum amount of preferences (5), you can keep going for as much or as little as you want.

I take great joy each election knowing that my vote will never assist certain people to get elected, which simply isn’t possible using other voting methods.

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