Electoral reform please

Democracy and electoral reform 2011

Democracy is the corner stone of society; it allows the people to rule by way of the election of political representatives by way of a free and informed choice.

In an honest and perfect world Australia’s system of democracy works well, if indeed the outcome complied with the forewords “Free will of an informed electorate”;

Our present system fails from the onset, one MUST attend, one MUST prefer every candidate, the counting of votes MUST benefit the 2 major parties and one BEST not know who the candidates are, in itself defeats any ideal of honest democracy, in regards to the ideal of Free and informed outcomes.

The electoral systems in Australia continues to suffer from increased structural biases as a direct result of those who write the electoral legislation having the most to gain from such biases rather than a truly independent authority basing their decisions on what the people themselves deserve or demand.

The media in general do not help matters with their sights set squarely on the leaders of the 2 major parties Labor and Liberal, the same 2 who dictate electoral law and seem to control democracy on every front. While the media keep their sites set on the leaders, we tend to forget that the parties choose their leaders not we the people.

Representation by the people for the people fails immediately, as does the ability of our representatives to connect with those they are employed to represent, when democracy becomes dictated to us rather than working in our best interests.

It has become evident that the current “Two Party system” has become a failure, with most candidates and members from with in their ranks, pledging allegiance to the party to secure nominations, rather than to the people and the best interests of Australia.

Most Australians would have very little insight into the 2 party machinery, questions about who dictates their policy directives also stain democracy, do the un-elected with in their ranks decide our destiny?

The facts are, even if we had an honest and fair electoral system, these parties would still have a huge advantage over any minor players, simply by way of ingrained media support and huge financial advantage compliments of taxpayer dollars with out even mentioning the big dollar support form their corporate friends.

One could easily imagine with so much power awarded to the 2 party system, they have little reason to fear the people, as in most cases they end up with our vote regardless, there is a very famous saying that sums it up “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny”

Ideal democracy is very easy to achieve, easy and equal access to information on the candidates and their ideals, freedom of choice as to whether we are inspired to vote and whom we prefer, and ensuring the counting of votes results in the most preferred candidate being elected to represent the “will of the people”, yet our current system denies us all of this.

To Back up these ideals, we need to be certain those elected by the people make decisions based on their conscience and our best interests, something the dictatorial 2 party machine restricts, with most current members voting along the party line (set party policy) rather than in the best interests of the electorate they are paid to represent.

There are many recent changes to electoral legislation and general conduct that further undermine the democracy we all deserve; these can be put into 3 categories, Law, Election conduct and Dodgy practices.

LAW; State Electoral Acts differ from state to state, and the Federal Act is again unique, so I will include a few examples,

  • The electoral commission can guess your intention, further than what you mark on your ballot, effectively changing your vote.
  • Some Ballot papers have blank squares which is where you vote for a candidate, usually Independents, a law designed to ensure the parties are empowered rather then the people.
  • The use of Pencils, including the issue of rubbers for staff and allowing changes to the ballot papers in every case.
  • Laws that ensure the results of a general election stand regardless of the conduct or the count.
  • Legislation that ensures electoral promises need not be kept.

ELECTION CONDUCT;

  • Information on the candidates and voting tickets going missing
  • Polling booths running out of Ballot papers
  • Regular voters names being removed from the electoral roll
  • Postal ballot papers going missing in the tens of thousands
  • Parties sending out postal ballot applications with the return pre paid envelope addresses to their party office
  • People turned away from polling booths based on how they are dressed
  • Lack of transparent and educated support of our needy in hospitals and nursing homes, including reports of undue influence.
  • Identity theft and multiple voting issues
  • Out of date and dodgy inclusions on the electoral rolls
  • Ignorance by polling booth staff to their duty to assist the public

DODGY PRACTICES

  • Political parties dressing up as opposition parties and handing out dodgy how to vote information
  • Parties registering opposition leaders names as “Reply paid addresses” so voters who send information to their preferred party, find their information is going to the opposite party.
  • Misinformation, and false promises to secure your vote
  • Deliberate lies to secure office
  • Elected officials refusing to take the oath required under the constitution to hold office (both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard refused to take the oath required under the constitution)
  • Commonwealth solicitors attacking our common law right to a vote.

The electoral commissioner under section the Act, (SA section 8) is responsible for the proper conduct of elections under the Act and for the carrying out of appropriate programmes of publicity and public education, to “Ensure that the public is adequately informed of their democratic rights and obligations, yet surveys carried out during and prior to elections confirms a huge majority had no idea of their rights and obligations, so consider who employs and chooses the electoral commissioner.

The Electoral Commissioner MUST keep the electoral rolls up to date, yet they are not, The Electoral Commissioner MUST have certain equipment and information for use in the polling booths on the day of the election, yet they are not,

Ask your self and your friends if they feel so informed, and while you are at it, also ask why “how to vote guides” are no longer supplied to the electorate. The courts have concluded that the interpretation is about how to vote, not who your choices are, and they still fail on that front. So whose job is it to ensure we are informed about our choices you may ask? The courts answered with the media, but cases against the media have concluded they are a private entity and answer to themselves, talking about passing the buck on any chance we have of honest democracy.

In 2007 I argued voters intention, as the Electoral Act says, 94 (6) Where—

(a) a ballot paper has not been marked by a voter in the manner required by this

Act; but

(b) despite that fact, the voter’s intention is clear,

the ballot paper is not informal and will be counted as if the voter’s intention had been

properly expressed in the manner required by this Act.

The outcome was your intention can be guesses by the commission, to ensure the vote counts for the major parties, even if you did not mark any of the squares on the ballot paper next to either.

YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE ELECTORAL ACT.

You have the right to receive a ballot paper, regardless of whether or not your name in on the electoral roll, you have the right to a replacement ballot paper if you make a mistake, you have the right to access all the candidates details and the right to voting ticket information (preference deals) in the polling booth, you have the right to enter the booth regardless of your dress sense, yet these rights are not always awarded.

The Constitution gives you the right (entitlement) to vote, and to vote only once, yet this is not policed, neither is your identity or registered address, and your vote can be transferred to a candidate you refused to prefer, this is not honest democracy.

THE REFORM I BELIEVE SHOULD BE DEMANDED BY THE ALLIANCE;

  1. A voting booklet to every home, explaining how to vote, the electorate’s rights and obligations and all the candidates and their contact details.
  2. Identity to be produced prior to receiving the ballot papers.
  3. Voting and preferencing to be optional
  4. An independent Authority to oversee electoral reform and police election conduct.
  5. The introduction of accountability for electoral promises
  6. All ballot papers to have candidates details along side their voting squares
  7. The introduction of a rotating ballot paper in regards to the candidates names to eliminate “how to vote cards” and “The benefits of donkey votes to any one candidate.
  8. All ballot papers to be filled in with a permanent marker, and any mistakes to be allotted a new ballot paper.
  9. General election disputes to be based on merit with the support of the electoral authority.
  10. Regular enrollment checks and balances.

IN CONCLUSION,

The government and the opposition are only interested in winning elections, not ensuring your rights or any form of fair play or a fair go, the electoral commission’s in general are willing to turn a blind eye and ignore their duties to the electorate, and the media are only interested in who the parties elect as leaders, not in public education.

So it is up to we the people to demand change, to use the system as best we can to elect honest people that can fight for electoral reform, and the Alliance Australia is the only lobby group specializing in demanding honest reform, and supporting those groups and candidates who support these same ideals for change, and every patriotic Australian who will stand shoulder to shoulder with us.

Every elected member should be working together in the best interests of the country full stop!

Mark M Aldridge

Independent Candidate and Proud member of the Alliance Australia

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