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September 9th, 2006

Early and often, used to be the motto, but I was certainly glad I only had to vote once today, after one of the least edifying campaigns I can recall. I will certainly be glad to hear no more of the phrase “can’t govern Queensland”.

There’s a sense in which the prevalence of negative campaigning shouldn’t be surprising. In a situation where both sides of politics have converged on a rather watery version of social democracy, based primarily on service delivery, the only real issue is who is better qualified to deliver those services. And, a lot of the time, it’s going to be easier to demonstrate the faults of the other side in this respect than the virtures of your own.

Anyway, it’s all over bar the counting now. With luck, that’ll be finished in time for Doctor Who.

Update It was over, for all practical purposes, with heaps time to spare. The ABC computers called the result at about 6:50, and they were pretty much spot-on. Still we went through the full ritual of a complete count, post-mortem and call of the board. An undeservedly easy win for the government, but a well-deserved loss for the Coalition.

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  1. Louis Hissink
    September 9th, 2006 at 18:44 | #1

    Good grief,

    being forced to vote.

    Isn’t social democracy a contradiction!

  2. September 10th, 2006 at 02:04 | #2

    Democracy is not about freedom, it’s about government by the people.

    In reality there can be no government by the people, no democracy, if people do not vote. Voting is not the right of a citizen, it’s the citizens obligation.

    Liberal democracy, democracy with rights but without corrosponding obligation, now that is a contradiction.

  3. September 10th, 2006 at 08:13 | #3

    I hope you saw Doctor Who, it wrapped up the ‘Descent into Hell’ story. I like this doctor, and the series seems to have a bit of its quirkiness that was at risk of disappearing for awhile. The mix of horror, sci fi, and superhero in the present series is excellent. Maybe not so different from Qld election?

  4. jquiggin
    September 10th, 2006 at 08:24 | #4

    I almost missed it, Marko, but my son happened to be flicking through the channels and we saw all but the first couple of minutes. I’ve enjoyed both recent regenerations.

  5. September 10th, 2006 at 09:23 | #5

    I don’t often find myself in agreement with Coalition politicians but Springborg was not too far wide of the mark when he said that the Beattie Labor Government was retruned by default. Like the coalition, the Queensland branch of the Labor Party is a party which depends upon donations from property developers and land speculators. This would be the expalnation behind most of Beattie’s misgovernment of Queensland in the last 10 years, and why would have got no better from the Coaltion if they had won.

    It’s a shame that Cate Molloy did not win her seat back in the election. Of all the candidates she deserved most of all to win for having had the courage to defy the Labor Party machine and for having tried to support the best interests of her constituents. Here vote of 23.6% was impressive in the circumstances, but obviously not sufficient.

    Cate Molloy’s letter of resignation from the Labor Party can find it here.

  6. September 10th, 2006 at 11:30 | #6

    James,
    To me, the problem is a real lack of numbers in the major parties. The people getting elected to parliament (both for Labor and Liberal – and for that matter the Greens) can no longer appeal to the grassroots over the heads of the faction bosses as, frequently, the only people left in the parties in an electorate are the faction bosses, their families and maybe a few mates. I agree it was a shame that Cate was not re-elected, not because I agree with her (I do not know) but because it sends a powerful message to the other time servers in Parliament of the costs of defying the party. Disendorsement means unemployment.
    As I have said before – if you are not happy with it, join one of the parties that actually has a chance of electing members to Parliament and try to change it.

  7. September 10th, 2006 at 12:54 | #7

    Andrew,

    All that you say about political parties is true, although I think if you thought about it carefully, you might come to see that these circumstances actually help keep the world running more in accord with your ideals and prevent the world from being changed towards being run more according to my ideals.

    I think it’s quite OK for others to work within existing political parties in order to change them, however, what usually happens to those who wish to change the direction of those parties to move against the status quo is that they either become co-opted or they give up in despair. Also, I think it’s far more important to have discussions about ideas in the broader community and not be limited to the very small audiences one has within these parties, particularly when channels for communication even within these organisations, let alone to the outside world, are deliberately restricted by those in control.

  8. Bemused
    September 10th, 2006 at 13:29 | #8

    Compulsory Voting?
    Naaah.. doesn’t exist. Citizens are simply asked to attend a polling place and have their name crossed off a list. Alternatively, if that is too much trouble, a small donation to democracy (fine) is imposed.
    What you do with your ballot paper is your business and, having scrutineered, I have seen some quite creative contributions.

    Party memberships?
    I can only speak from observation of the ALP and it seems that public funding of election campaigns has largely removed the need for the membership to provide a lot of fundraising and voluntary labour. In party held seats, electorate allowances for postage etc also supplant work that previously would have been done by party members.
    Oh…and please don’t discuss politics at branch meetings, just toe the party line. (Not applicable to all branches but certainly many.)

    There is a gathering backlash in the ALP as represented by the appearance of the Labor First website. http://www.laborfirst.com.au/lf1/1.asp

    Andrew Reynolds is right – all parties need an influx of members with ideas and energy.

  9. melanie
    September 10th, 2006 at 16:59 | #9

    Toe the line was certainly my experience of branch meetings. My brother had the same in a different branch of the same party. Some people stayed around despite this, but lived in a state of permanent frustration. Everyone ended up leaving in the end.

    The Democrats had a more inclusive way of consulting the membership, but look where it has got them.

    When I lived in Britain, party activists used to come around doorknocking to drum up the vote. Don’t think it helped to keep Blair in line with the thinking of Labour Party members.

    If Party activism doesn’t help, maybe there is another more creative solution out there?

  10. jquiggin
    September 10th, 2006 at 18:43 | #10

    I’ve thought for some time we need to consider some version of the US primary system.

  11. rog
    September 11th, 2006 at 08:51 | #11

    I didnt know that compulsory voting was a definition of democracy whereby a voter is obliged to attend a poll station and have their name ticked off to ensure their democratic rights.

  12. rog
    September 11th, 2006 at 09:20 | #12

    Clumsy construction, shake me up Judy!

  13. chris shannon
    September 11th, 2006 at 10:36 | #13

    I caught part of Beattie’s victory speech in between football games on channel 9. Did he really wait till the break between games to claim victory (around 8.25pm to 8.30pm) or was it delayed on that channel? It wouldn’t surprise me if the old media tart waited for maximum coverage.

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