Message to all POLITICAL COMMENTATORS & MINOR CANDIDATES

IS IT REALLY WORTH COMPLAINING ABOUT POLITICS?

There seems such strong interest in change regarding politics, but no interest in how that change can come about, in the most we talk about new elections, using our vote to support and or for a swift kick for those supposed representatives selling our country short.

The fact I have specialised in electoral conduct for many years, is because without a free and informed vote, we can do very little to initiate change, I say elections are rigged, and the response is usually one of “Conspiracy theory” either that or no body actually gives a shit?

Every word I write or speak regarding elections and their current state of play, I can back up 100%, and the many issues I know exist, that I cannot prove, I do not convey to others, maybe I should.

So I will attempt to give a short and sweet overview;

  1. Elections should be about the free will of an informed electorate, we should know where and how to vote, be guaranteed a secret vote, and that votes cast are added up to ensure the candidate/s with the most support are elected to represent our best interests in parliament, sounds pretty simple.
  2. One sad point is under the current system there is no responsibility to inform the voters as to who is running and what they stand for, a massive omission, which opens the doors to the empowerment of big money, rather than the best candidate.

There is no chance in hell of any person casting an informed vote unless they themselves go to great lengths, to personally scrutinise all the candidates, and if suddenly every voter made the decision to do so, the candidates themselves would be over whelmed, and in any case, the 2 party system expects you to have a preference for every candidate “Even those you do not like or in fact oppose”.

So from the onset “free and informed” is already doomed, so left to work with a biased system which is the direct result of the self interest of those in charge of writing the laws, we must cast the most informed vote we can, yet again we cannot rely on even that!

  • Dodgy how to vote information, is allowed under the Act
  • False promises and outright deceit are all allowed under the Act
  • Missing ballot papers exceeding winning margins is acceptable conduct.
  • Names of long term voters missing from the electoral rolls is also accepted. (77.000 went missing in the 2010 SA state election and turned up a few months later)
  • Postal vote applications intercepted by the major parties is also common practice, in some cases in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Missing postal ballots is also accepted even in the 10’s of thousands
  • Multiple voting is now common place.
  • Dodgy postal addresses are now common practice, so your mail can now be intercepted.
  • How to vote information is now a thing of the past.
  • If ballot papers run out, you miss out on your vote.
  • Candidate names missing of the ballot papers are enforced by the electoral commission
  • Counting of the ballot papers favours the 2 major parties, not the candidate with the most support.
  • Scrutineers can guess your intention beyond what you mark, as such change your ballot.
  • Required information under the Act missing from polling booths.

In the recent Ramsay by-election in SA, dodgy practices, informal and missing votes, totalled well over 30% of the result, and this is acceptable (over 2,000 possibly dodgy, over 1,700 informal and well over 4,000 missing, out of 22,000 voters) this is democracy in Australia!

So how the bloody hell do we use our vote to bring change, if a free and informed vote, is of the agenda, and is replaced with out-right deceit and dodgy democratic practices?

And to top it off, if you go against the grain as a non 2 party candidate, the silence will indeed ensure you have no chance from the onset, and a land slide will be needed to even come close, if indeed the 2 party count allows a slight chance, or in fact if you are even allowed to have your name above the line on the ballot paper.

“Independents and minor parties have to perform twice as good as a 2 party candidate to be considered half as good” and the media in general prefer to cover the leaders of political parties, even though they are chosen by their political parties not the voters of Australia.

Every year it gets worse, more dodgy practices, more missing names, greater informal percentages, and increased voter anger, and like a broken record, after every election there are parliamentary consultations and enquiries, which are all clear we the voters have had enough of their bloody system, and over and over again, the 2 parties ignore the findings, and indeed our rights and liberties, because the system as it stands empowers them at the expense of honest democracy.

Recent ideals for change, rather than to help the Australian public, are to further stem dissent, attacking freedom of speech, deregistration of minor parties, even attempting to silence on line comment.

Polling booth staff are under government agreements to keep what they see to themselves, complaints are silenced and even our courts have confirmed over and over, “the results of a general elections stand regardless of the conduct” all this and the only people who can empower we the voters of Australia, are the very same people who write the biases into law, and are using deceit and dodgy practices out of self interest in the first place.

So to all those commentators who go on and on about all that is wrong in our society, yet over look the corner stone of social change, our supposed democratic system of electing our representatives, give up now, unless you enjoy complaining, because the only way forward is through the empowerment of our voting rights.

Now to what I can’t prove in a court of law, I have viewed video of trucks carrying ballot papers being pulled over and the ballot boxes being exchanged, I have heard from polling booth staff about dodgy changing of ballots, using a simple rubber or a quick cross out and change, which is acceptable if a recount is ever ordered. I have heard of whole nursing homes told how to vote and who for, and have statutory declarations to that effect, during the 2010 SA state election, I received over 1000 written complaints, and proved an election to be dodgy to the extreme, but the law’s say “who cares” the result of a general election cannot be invalidated regardless of the conduct.

Until we have genuine freedom of choice, equitable access to information about the process and our choices, and a system that moves forward beyond a pencil and a piece of paper, that is written and policed by a genuine independent authority, change will continue to be the cover of the book, not the contents.

Mark Aldridge

Independent and democracy advocate

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