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RAMSAY BY-ELECTION DEBACLE
The most important part of any election is covered early in the electoral Act, in regards to the electoral commissioner ensuring the electorate are aware of the election and adequate how to vote information, the fact that her job was made harder by a lack of coverage in the media, does not dismiss this vital part of our system of democracy.
The result of poor performance in the education of voters is clearly evident when we study the outcome of the Ramsay by-election with around 20% of votes absent from the result, and the massive 9.6% informal votes, both these results would be records in Australian elections.
There were a mired of issues with the conduct in general, in every respect disenfranchised the local electorate, with reports from the polling booths of thousands being turned away due to a variety of issues, in the majority people found they were not on the Ramsay electoral rolls, yet simply had no idea.
Over 2000 votes went to the LDP, based in the most on the highlighting of the word LIBERAL on their how to vote cards, the only input they had in the election, with many reports people thought they had voted Liberal, I wonder how they feel knowing their vote may have counted for Labor?
Over recent years the few protections covered under the electoral act to protect the integrity of elections, and the ability of voter to cast a valid vote, have been ignored or undermined by the self interest of the political parties and the lack of time and resources available to the commission.
The court of disputed returns is not kind to those disputing election conducts, but in the case of the Ramsay by-election, the criteria could easily be met to force a new election, simply based on the percentage of missing valid votes.
The South Australian 2010 election conduct met with thousands of complaints, and many well published dodgy and undemocratic practices, with the missing ballot papers alone well exceeding the winning margins across the state, the Ramsay election has taken those figures to an all time high, with complaints from many starting to trickle in as I write.
Democracy in Australia is already suffering at the hands of self interest and structural biases, a direct result of those writing the legislation, being the very same that benefit from the structural biases 2 party politics brings to the table, with the average voter sick to death of forced attendance and the full preferential system, the last thing we need is dodgy practices and tens of thousands of missing names and ballot papers.
I cannot personally imagine turning up to vote, not even sure if I have to, and being confronted by up to 25 Labor workers in my face from the time I exit my car in the car park, which occurred in many polling booths during the recent by-election, only to be told my name is no longer on the electoral roll, or I am no longer in the electorate, so change when it comes to education regarding our rights and liberties is long overdue.
The Ramsay by-election was not one comfortable with the law, or indeed our expectations of how a democratic process should be conducted, therefore to me it is an invalid outcome, and must be addressed by way of a new election held within the requirements of the electoral provisions of this state.
Labor will not want to risk any such move, the Liberals are simply missing in action, and the Medias lack of coverage of the original election confirms their position, and the Commissioner will simply not admit any issues arose, leaving up to 30% of the Ramsay electorate disenfranchised from the ballot itself.
The Act clears the way for the governor to intervene, but even then they take advice from a Labor minister, who I doubt has any interest beyond maintaining their Ramsay win.
The scary part of this conduct, if it is not addressed now, how will we go enduring elections where in excess of 30% of the voters have no say in their representation, let alone those who are taken in by dodgy practices or is there going to be some sudden revival of democracy?
Dodgy how to vote cards, lies and deceit, multiple voting, incorrect electoral rolls, lack of credible policing and identity checks, missing or misleading information, the disregard of electoral law and budget elections is not the democracy our forefathers fought to defend, or acceptable practice in any respect.
Ohhh and while we are addressing fair practice, I must ask, should we endeavour to move on from a piece of paper and a pencil?
Mark Aldridge Independent 82847482 / 0403379500
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