Labor party in SA take an Axe to Democracy

The day the government destroyed democracy

By the Australian Alliance

 The south Australian government take to democracy with an axe, having only scraped in to government over the past few terms; the Labor party in SA push though laws to ensure they face less opposition.

New laws passed last night will limit the number of candidates on the ballot. The changes will mean only registered parties or groups with 500 nominees can lodge a preference ticket. Independent candidates will now need 250 nominees, instead of just two.

 

This is a massive change when you add in the fact that our electoral rolls are a mess and electors are reluctant to endure the scrutiny of the electoral commission if they dare endorse a candidate, would mean minor players would need double this amount of nominations, the major parties would need NONE.

The cost to nominate has also increased from $450 to $3,000. And the existing parties that passed these laws will be given preferential placement on of the left of the ballot paper, over independents, undermining any resemblance of fair play or democratic practice.

This massive increase in costs on top of the huge costs of trying to compete with the 2 major parties makes ones candidacy basically out of reach, more so when we add in time of work, petrol and the many other costs associated with running as a candidate.

The massive issue here that goes beyond this attack on our democratic process and the virtue of our constitution is that these very changes were sought by the very party that dared use dodgy tactics to gain power in the first place.

With the major parties also using their political connections with in local councils, to even attack vote one poster placements of minor players, it is all but game set match in their favour.

The upper house is indeed the house of review, the very place that independent voices are needed, and these recent changes replace the fact the government have wanted to abolish it for year, now they just want to make it their own rubberstamp.

 It also takes time to get the true results of an election, well for the people, and even then it is never made public, seems it is best we don’t know what happens in our Democracy.

The last SA state election was in March 2010, some of the true facts were uncovered in the court of disputed returns a few months later, but there remains little to no reporting of the facts. 

Only a year later, facts on the huge multiple voting that occurred were published in a back room article, but the tens of thousands of missing ballot papers and the fact over 77,000 missed out on their vote, because their names went missing of the electoral roll, uncovered within a couple of months of the election is seemingly not newsworthy.

The electoral commission would have been well aware of such a huge mistake, but chose not it appears to make this fact public.

It is also not worthy of exposure that the court confirmed “regardless of the conduct or count of a general election, the results cannot be invalidated, something I find atrocious, let alone the many other hidden facts, like the governments own crown solicitors arguing that our common law rights of elections no longer apply to have my case struck out, even though they bloody well do and parliament had confirmed that! 

So let’s get down to the facts and figures; 

1,093,316 people were enrolled to vote in South Australia by the latest reports, yet during the election the figure was 1,015,386. The AEC confirming that over 77,000 names went missing of the rolls, and many who did vote received fines for not voting, in fact had voted? Was this the result of the introduction of the new I-rolls or simply total mismanagement? 

“I believe the new I rolls being used for the first time, resulted in these 77,000 long term voters missing out on their vote, either way, the amount of people who missed out is unacceptable, and the results of the election should therefore be invalid”.

Multiple voting ran rife, but the figures have not been published, just as the many dead people who voted, or the many registered at addresses that no longer exist. 

For me it was the lack of information on how to vote and who was running, my how to vote website went from 50 hits a month to over 30,000 in a couple of days, the Electoral commissions web services went from 70,000 at the 2006 election to near 250,000 in 2010, coincidently the same year the how to vote booklet was no longer sent out, even though the Act itself demands the electoral commissioner ensures you are well informed.   

“No Person, government department or the media are expected in any way to inform people of their choices, not even the electoral act ensures that” 

Declared institutions were reduced, resulting in many of our most vulnerable missing out on their vote, let alone the many reports of undue influence. Some voters in Hospitals and nursing homes, reported they were asked the question “Labor or Liberal” from their room door, and the ballot filled in for them? 

Postal voting had a major increase due to the major parties sending out hundreds of thousands of postal vote applications, up near 40,000, of which over 6,500 applications were dismissed as dodgy, and over 16,500 ballot papers that were sent out simply went missing, a number far in excess of the winning margins. (25,000 applications failed or ballots went missing, enough to change the results of many seats) 

I note here the state Labor party had registered the name of the opposition leader “Isobel Redman” as a reply paid address, so as to intercept voter information, prior to the election, this it seems is acceptable practice to the Labor party officials, in the same way as dressing up as another party and deceiving voters at the polling booths.

The 2 party preferred counting, a system resulting from the structural biases of letting the 2 major parties control electoral law, resulted in 48% to Labor and 51% to Liberal, despite that fact Labor were elected, against the preference of the South Australian people. (1250 votes the winning margin)

44,100 people failed to vote, 22,807 were excused and 21,293 were fined, add these figures to the missing ballot papers, the invalid votes, the 77,000 missing names and the any other abnormalities, then consider the result votes wise now matches the electors, and something sinister has occurred. (Over 10,000 people were send enforcement orders)

“Consider these figures when we take in the fact, many attended to vote and found their names missing of the rolls, the new I-rolls, and the many reports of those who did vote, receiving letters from the electoral commission saying they did not”?

“Just a note here, the recent bi-election for Ramsay was decided on 70% of the vote, because around 30% of people entitled to vote, either did not show up, their vote was informal or more likely conduct issues arose, the media in this case again ignored the outcome and indeed any other candidates besides the Labor candidate” google and see for yourself, articles in the Ramsay election only covered the Labor candidate!

The political parties themselves handled over 58,632 postal vote applications, remembering the Labor party had the name Isobel Redmond registered as a reply paid address, so information sent to Isobel, actually ended up with in the Labor party offices, so they knew the preference of tens of thousands of voters. 

There was also a 71% increase in complaints received by the commission, plus a vast amount of complaints of an ethical nature, a clear indication, and the election strayed from what we believe to be a democratic process. 

In the legislative council ballot, near 6% of votes were informal, a massive figure even though the Electoral commission made it clear many of these people had tried to cast a valid vote, again in excess of winning margins, and many voters simply didn’t even try to cast a vote. 

Over 20.5 % of informal votes, would have been formal under optional preferential voting, consider; our chief justice Murray Gleeson, confirmed our entitlement “if change be necessary, must be made by the Freewill of an Informed electorate” interesting enough, the Act actually says such votes should be counted, but that would offend the 2 party systems? (38% in the Adelaide district alone) 

The Electoral Act clearly states “if a ballot paper is not filled in a manner required by this act, but the voters intention is clear, then the vote will count” yet the voters intention is able to be guessed by the commissioner, who the hell can guess a person’s intent beyond what they have marked?

“And yes this guess favours the 2 party system”

58,714 upper house ballot papers were informal; with get this a 2.2% Administration error?  34.6% informal votes again were confirmed as attempts to vote formally, enough votes in doubt to change the government is SA in many ways on its own. 

Total costs to us of this debacle 8.9 Million   Labor dressed up as another party, and gave out dodgy information on the day of the election to dupe voters, and this is the party leading our state, deplorable.

I took all this to court self represented to try and restore democracy, not only was my hard work ignored by our media, after I lost on a technical issue, which was later found wanting, some of the media labelled me a nut job.

This raises and question of ethics, if a journo lives in SA, one would think that such abhorrent practices would affect themselves and their family?

 For the next 2 years, I received letters from the court offering me money, even though I supposedly lost, raising another question also ignored by the media.

During the trial I was shown video that would have resulted in jail terms for many members of a particular party, but this was only offered as evidence if I could secure a trial, because the person that had it, feared reprisals.

The Outcome is simple the Labor Party won by a hand full of votes, yet informal votes massively exceeded their winning totals, dodgy postal ballot applications also far exceeded their win, missing ballot papers could have well changed the outcome, let alone a host of other major issues, even the multiple voting standing alone could have changed the result.

I was contacted by Electoral staff on a variety of issues, yet they are signed to confidential clauses, so could not come forward in public, one of those was the checking of the rolls where they found massive issues during spot checks, again this was silenced.

The Labor party were caught red handed impersonating another party to dupe voters, and their registering of the opposition leaders name as a reply paid, also allowed them to intercept voters information, statutory decelerations in the hundreds described a mired of other dodgy practices, which never made court scrutiny, therefore remaining un proven, including undue influence, misleading advertising and many other issues. 

The Electoral Commission is well aware of all these issues, and I can only assume dozens more, the list of departures from ideal and legislated conduct are huge including;

  • People being turned away from the polling booths based on the dress standards.
  • Polling booths running out of ballot papers.
  • People being denied their right to both replacement ballot papers and absentee ballots.
  • Dodgy practices outside the polling booths.
  • How to vote information and preferencing information absent from the booths.
  • The How to vote guide which used to be posted to every home was dropped.
  • Candidate access to other candidates information for Preferencing unavailable in time.
  • Previously declared institutions missed out on mobile polling.
  • People were asked to vote under others names.
  • The list is endless and I mean it

Under Common law the people have certain voting rights, yet this election was not one that was comfortable at law, it strayed so far from the legislated requirements it was not in fact a legal election, so the results should have been invalidated and a new and honest election ought to have been held, while we are at it, let’s debate reforms, so future elections are democratic.

1.   77,000 long term voters missed out on their vote (ask your friends)

2.   16,500 postal ballot papers went missing

3.   6,500 postal ballot applications were invalidated

4.   An unknown quantity of people were turned away for various reasons and many did not receive a ballot paper

5.   Many made mistakes and were refused replacement ballot papers

6.   People who did vote were fined for not voting (what happened to their votes?)

7.   58,714 upper house voters ballot papers were deemed invalid and not counted, even though most tried to cast a vote (if the information was available to assist them what would have happened to their votes and the outcome in general?)

8.   Nearly 200,000 extra on line hits seeking how to vote information, proves the electoral commissions lack of information expected under the Act, had an influence on the outcome.

  “So much for our entitlement to a free and informed vote”  

Compare the results of the election with the above figures:

1.   In the upper house count candidates were excluded by votes as low as 17 in total

2.   In the lower house seats were won by votes of around 2000 in most cases, from 167, many under 1000 votes, so the swing created by a legal and fair election, could change the whole political landscape

3.   There are well over 120,000 votes in doubt.

The state election was not a valid election by way of either the dodgy legislation or our common law right to a vote, even our constitutional entitlement was ignored well in excess of the winning margins, the State Labor party have NO right to lead this state, and the tens of thousands of voters who missed out or had their ballot papers go missing, deserve their right to a free vote!

We now see issues with missing ballot papers finally in the news, albeit minor cases, the 2013 federal election appears to have endured similar diversions from democratic practice, but I note facts and figures for most seats are now NOT BEING RELEASED to the public or the candidates!

All preference flows and final results for the federal election from south Australians federal electoral commission are not to be released, even upon request from the candidates themselves.

So our constitution is now so down trodden, that its values are extinct, to run as an independent or minor party is now out of reach, which results in the genuine voice of the people all but banned from parliament.

This ensures applications to the court of disputed returns cannot be lodged in event of irregularities.

The sad fact is this; if this conduct explained here is to remain covered up, what conduct will we expect to see during the South Australian 2014 state election?

Mark M Aldridge

Independent candidate and spokesperson for the Australian Alliance (electoral reform division)

82847482 / 0403379500

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One Response to “Labor party in SA take an Axe to Democracy”

  1. Jon Fletcher Says:

    Hi Mark, first and foremost, just because they make a “law” doesn’t mean that it is valid. The law is that any state law that is NOT in agreement with our Commonwealth (Federal) law then it is INVALID (criminals at work). Secondly, these fines they send out to people are also illegal under the Imperial Acts Application Act, section 8, clause 12.  It is our right to vote and there is NO valid law that says we have to vote. ‘Legal” advisors to the parliment are supposed to investigate/check wether any law to be tabled for consideration contravenes our Commonwealth law but they are delinquent in doing this. Basically and definitely, legislation means crap all if it contravenes our Commonwealth law. We have a “ILL’ legal system. Keep up the great work 🙂 cheerz and merry xmas Jonno

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