Same Topic (Politics) – Different Venue (Oz)

In case no-one knows, today Oz is going to the Polls. It’s a bit different from the UK.

Polling Day is always a Saturday, the polls open at 8.00 am and shut at 6.00 pm and voting is compulsory – fines apply for not voting – and every polling station has a sausage sizzle (no fines apply for not buying or eating the same).

Today’s election is a little different from those I have participated in before. Normally, one votes for the House of Representatives (I do wish that the Members of that House remembered that they are reps and not delegates) and for half of the Senate.  The normal term for the Reps is four years, and for the Senate eight years, half being renewed every four years.

However, there is provision within the Constitution for what is called a “Double Dissolution”, the government can claim that the Senate is blocking essential legislation and ask that the whole of the Senate be removed and for the country to elect a whole new bunch. Early this year (so early in fact that the whole campaign has become exceedingly boring) the incumbent government sought and obtained a Double Dissolution. This is the seventh time this has happened since 1901 – so it’s a pretty rare occurrence. Please don’t ask me how it is determined which half of the Senate will go in four years time- because I really don’t know!

As some may know, the voting system here is not first past the post. In my electorate there were some 6 candidates which I had to list in order of preference. So if my first choice was unsuccessful, my vote would go to my second choice and so on down the line. Personally I like the system, since it does mean that my vote is not lost at the first count.

The Senate Vote is different. There are twelve seats for each State and Territory  and they are filled by Proportional Representation. I have no idea how many people were actually standing, but there were 38 different parties (including the Pirates Party and the Sex/Hemp Party) plus some 21 unclassified parties. I had the choice of numbering my preferences by person 1-12 or by party 1-6.  The form was at least two foot wide and I had trouble fitting it in the polling booth!

Nonetheless, I have done my civic duty. The results of the House of Reps voting will be announced with any luck tonight. The Senate takes a little longer.

Well some of you did ask… 🙂

15 thoughts on “Same Topic (Politics) – Different Venue (Oz)”

  1. Hi Boadicea.

    I’ve been following your election with interest for at least four hours ever since Twitter advised me there is an official map for the sausage sizzles and cake stands.of voting Oz.

    Pure gold!

    Moving on, what is it with Labour/Labor leaders that they just can not cope with the essentials of life such as sausage or bacon rolls?

    In seriousness, thanks for the post. Oz politics are always of interest to me and I was following the current election already, given its importance to my in-laws, and, as ever, to my country.

  2. It would seem that I’m about to proved wrong – and that there will be no clear outcome until tomorrow.

    JM – I agree just how hard is to eat a sausage sizzle!

  3. I’m chuffed to bits that Barnaby Joyce has succeeded for the Nationals in New England, but it is still uncertain elsewhere. What, exactly, is it with Victoria? In the seat of Batman there is a close race between the Greens and the ALP. Yikes! Shades of Berlin!

    The double dissolution was a fool’s errand by Australia’s own David Cameron impersonator, Malscum Turntricks. Had he been a popular leader, or even a tolerable one, he could well have benefited from it. However, he was neither and the Coalition were only saved complete devastation by the fact that the ALP is led by Blinkered Bill. (With apologies to Blinky Bill, the dear koala that he is)

  4. Wow, just wow Boadicea.

    I’ve been checking up on the critical swing seats.

    One such seat is, apparently, an electoral division named Capricornia?

    More and better, Capriconia allegedly contains the major population centre of Dysart.

    My Auntie Margaret used to run the canteen in the Frances colliery which was, as I am sure you know, in the original Dysart.

    I just hope that the antipodean New Dysartians get it right.

  5. The whole system sounds a bit of a pigs ear to arrange up to 32 parties!
    Mind you most systems are pig’s ears!

  6. Boadicea: I hope your pollsters are better than those over here and in the States. They seem to get everything wrong at the moment. Even the normally reliable bookies called the Brexit vote wrongly.

  7. FEEG, good evening. My theory is that gamblers tend to be Bremainers. They’d bet on themselves, wouldn’t they?

  8. Well still no decision. Counting stopped at 2.00 am and there might be a result may on Tuesday. Clearly having a government is not that important – everyone can go home for the weekend.

    Christopher: Turnbull may be a Cameron impersonator by policy, but, unfortunately, his grin reminds me of Blair. He is another politician who cannot even fake sincerity. He may have been a very successful businessman – but that’s entirely different from running a country. His only policy was “The Economy and Jobs” and utterly failed to address the concerns of ordinary people – indeed seemed to think they were irrelevant. Shorten managed to conduct a marvelous scare campaign – which anyone with half a brain knew were mainly lies, but with a sufficient grain of truth in that Medicare rebates have already been cut So I guess it wasn’t too hard to persuade people that the whole system was up for grabs.

    Christina – this is the ‘new revised’ voting system – intended to stop the odd way that preferences were allocated and to try to limit the number of independents in the Senate. I rather think it has failed and backfired since one or two loose canons have been returned – with I might add, a little bit of help from me. I have a horror of governments so strong that they can do whatever they like. It isn’t that difficult to stand here. $1,000 deposit for the Reps, $2,000 for the Senate and nomination by 100 electors of the appropriate division, returnable if elected or gaining 4% of the electorate.

    FEEG – it would seem that the pollsters need to go back to school here – they predicted a small, but decisive win for the LNP.

  9. Boadicea: The Wentworth Waffler was a terrible leader of the opposition.Many in the Liberal Party forgot that. He not only failed to connect with voters, most people can see past that if they recognise a competent leader with good intentions, but he antagonised many Liberal loyalists. His attitude reminded me of John McCain’s infamous quip “The Media are my base”. He was seen as more acceptable by the chattering classes of Melbourne and Sydney, but he was toxic to working class voters put off by the ALP and anathema to conservatives! The chattering classes struggle to decide if they will vote Green or ALP, but would never consider the LNP, anyway. Shorten’s scare campaign could have been successful only because so many working class voters were inclined to think the worst of Turnbull and his intentions.

  10. Christopher, if you hope to have any chance of being regarded as British, you’ll have to stop displaying your obvious understanding of Down-under politics. We genuine Brits doubt whether the Diggers should have the vote, let alone be encouraged to take themselves seriously.

  11. Christopher: your point about Turnbull as leader of the opposition is quite right – neither Bearsy nor I could understand why the Liberals put him in to replace Abbott with such a poor record. And reading a number of comments today, it would seem that a fair number of other people thought the same.

    There was not the same outcry about Abbott’s dismissal as there was for the ousting of Rudd – but it seems quite clear that quite a number of Ozzies didn’t like what they saw as back-stabbing and refrained from voting Liberal.

    It would appear that I am not alone in voting for independents. The 2013 election saw a record number of votes being cast for independents and a preliminary estimate for the present election seems to indicate that some 30% of the primary votes were for independent parties.

    To others who may be still interested – it would seem that my criticism that the counting had stopped because it was Sunday was quite unfounded.

    With compulsory voting – it is possible to vote in polling stations outside one’s local area – the largest polling station is the Australian High Commission in London. One can also pre-vote and those polling stations are often not in areas where one would normally vote.

    Today (Sunday) pre-votes and postal votes are being verified, sorted and bundled up to be sent to the appropriate electorates, and there is a recount and verification of votes cast in local electorates. Monday will see the counting of all pre- and postal votes. Tuesday, we might just get a decision – although it seems that the vote is so close that it may take some while to be finalised.

    If we can manage so long without a government – I have to ask – do we really need one?

  12. Boadicea: in 2010/11 Belgium survived, many say prospered, without an elected government for nearly two years. Finally they cobbled together a new constitution which just about allowed government to be continued. Mind you, it didn’t do them any good. After all, they lost to Wales at football and even England did not do that!

  13. Boadicea: Turnbull was a media darling who was talked-up by the media. Abbott’s toppling of Turnbull several years prior left some members of the LNP unhappy, especially those with republican inclinations and those on the left. When Abbott made too many faux pas, they took their opportunity to “get their man” into power. Turnbull had been dreaming about becoming PM since he was young. Perhaps the main difference between Rudd’s removal and Abbott’s is that Rudd was removed with no real warning. Abbott had been warned and after the Kev and Juliar Show, Australia had become somewhat inured to rotating PMs.
    Some of the nastiest comments I read about Turnbull came not from the usual suspects such as the SMH, but from traditional Liberals supporters who loathed Turnbull and all he stands for.

    Spain hasn’t had a government since December and it’s no more, or less, shambolic and dodgy for it!

  14. Just as an update – not all our votes have been counted – that’s right over a week and some of the 15m votes cast remain uncounted.

    As for the Senate, who knows when the results of that election will be complete.

    An interesting point. It would seem that the Ozzie electorate is just as fed up with the traditional parties as elsewhere. It would appear that one third of all primary votes were cast for independents or small parties, and only 2/3rds for the major parties. Seems our pollies could do with listening a little more and pontificating a lot less.

  15. Boadicea: I was must amused by the Wentworth Waffler having to fly to Kennedy to beg Katter for support. I’m fond of the old boy, that must have been quite a meeting. If the LNP/ALP can’t grasp what has happened they will condemn themselves to an even nastier 2019 election (if the current mob survive that long)!

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