A better democracy

One of the frustrating things about voting is that I don’t know what all the independents and small groups stand for. And I reckon I’m not alone in this – otherwise Antony Green would be out of a job.

After all, the name Democratic Labor Party sounds reasonable enough, but they want to get rid of the Family Court, make abortion illegal, stop single women and lesbians having kids through surrogacy, IVF or adoption, and they’re against legal recognition of non-heterosexual relationships:

Absolute opposition to legislative or administrative measures that undermine or degrade marriage by conferring on homosexual, lesbian or transsexual pairings any form of legal recognition of their relationships, per se, whether through “civil unions”, “relationship registers” or other legal device.

On the other hand, the Liberal Democratic Party supports assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, motorcycle and scooter riders using public transport lanes, and the decriminalisation of activities in which you only hurt yourself (eg, BASE jumping, personal marijuana use). But they’re against affirmative action and want to abolish the Anti Discrimination Commission and Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia.

I didn’t know this before I went to vote, and so had to make a judgement about their policies based on their names alone. Likewise with all the independents. How does this help democracy?

We need to make it better. Parties and independents should have to come up with one meaningful sentence – not “stop the boats” or “moving forward” – that will appear on the ballot paper below their name, so that people can make an informed vote about the smaller parties and independents.

26 responses to “A better democracy

  1. What a great idea! I was felt similarly frustrated by the unidentified groups on my ballot paper, the ones that weren’t listed as independents but gave themselves no group name. I put anyone whose politics I couldn’t identity very low down in my preferences, as I was thinking at the time I wouldn’t want to be inadvertently giving my vote to the *bestiality party or some other objectionable single issue party.

    *Not a real political party – as far as I know.

    • Maybe by the next election they will have organised themselves into a political party…

      I put the Liberal Democratic Party lower than the Democratic Labor Party simply because I always put the Liberals near the bottom, but I now realise I should have switched them because the DLP is pure evil.

  2. I could never tell the difference between the Peoples Front of Judea and the Judean Peoples Front although the Popular Peoples Front were quite a straightforward bunch…splitters!

  3. On a more serious note…., did you know that Tony Abbott’s roots are in the DLP and his ‘hero’ is its leader, the now disgraced, SantaMaria. The DLP is a bizarre Catholic split from the Labor party in the 1960s based on a Catholic agenda and an anti-communist stance. They still go on about Communism……..yeah cos Australia is about to be overrun by Trotskyites…the invocation of whose name got the Socialist Alliance party laughed out of the Marrickville (lefty electorate) candidate debates last week!

    The problem for independents and minor parties is that they cant afford a lot of publicity and ads, so its a bit of a user pays system and the voter has to do their own research How many bother to do that. Consequently, except in a few key seats (like Andrew Willkie), they don’t do very well.

    re the bi-line for the ballot paper – can you imagine how many many meetings and arguments they will have deciding what this snapshot is…probably cause some party splits!

  4. There was bucketloads of info online, both on the AEC and on each parties websites. I reckon it is up to everyone to understand who they are voting for!

    I am an enormous election nerd though.

    • Ah, but Phatmaniac, now we’re getting into areas of privilege. What if you don’t have internet access? What if your literacy levels aren’t very good? What if you went to a school that didn’t help you understand the political system? Surely, as a democracy, it’s our duty to help people of all economic/social backgrounds vote in the most informed way possible? Hence, a sentence on the ballot paper outlining what each party stands for. (Yes, I know there are literacy problems with this too, but we have to start somewhere, right?)

  5. not sure I’m down with the ballot statement concept….too soundbite and simple for me – a party can represnt so many things that you cant just say, for the Greens for example, ‘climate change’ cos they represent much more than that and most minor parties are trying to throw off that “single issue’ tag.

    • Not a slogan, but a sentence: We believe in this, and this and this. It would be more honest than what we have now. If you didn’t know about One Nation, just from their name you’d assume they were about being united, about how it doesn’t matter where you came from, once you’re here we’re all one nation.

  6. Isnt that what the MSM is there to do ,give us the information .the bastards !

    • Hi tredlgt, welcome to the Nipples. Yes, that’s exactly what the MSM is for, and they’ve been failing for a while. They write for each other, not their audience, so no wonder people don’t want them anymore. (And I say this as part of the MSM…)

  7. sorry, no offence meant with last two words , lower case,just meant they didnt try.

  8. What I would really like to see is a reform to the electoral process whereby if a party cannot outline not only what they would like to do but how it can be achieved, how it will be paid for etc, they cannot run. Of course we wouldn’t have any Greens then hmm…

    • Oh, kimsononf, you do like to dig at the Greens, don’t you? But it’s a great point: no plan, no place on the ballot paper.

      • I do it’s kind of a hobby. But the Greens aren’t the only ones, for example Labors defence policy document is 33 pages long, the Liberal party’s is 9 pages and the Democrats 1 page (the greens policy on ‘peace and security’ is 2 pages)

        • Kimsonof, your talents are clearly wasted on the night shift.

          • Why thank you. I just checked out the LDP Defence Policy which essentially says that they are aiming for exactly what exists already with a few notable exceptions including canceling the order for a joint strike fighter and replacing it with a bomber (that’s like replacing a journalist with a childrens author), replacing the surface fleet with nuclear submarines (as ships would be sunk at the beginning of a war anyway), ‘The LDP supports the maintenance of a nuclear reactor and nuclear expertise’ and ‘ The LDP would repeal the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978, thus allowing Australians to voluntarily engage in efforts to overthrow authoritarian and oppressive regimes.’ The DLP, Sex Party and One Nation don’t have a Defence Policy at all in fact One Nation doesn’t appear to have any policies at all.

  9. One nation do have policies 1) try and win a get out of jail free for Pauline next time 2) try and make it in the UK with the BNP and if that fails come back and re open the fish n chip shop 3) raise profile via channel 7 dance shows 4) demand a ‘please explain’ on all ballot papers 4) blame the asians

    v comprehensive if you ask me.

    • Awesome Lexy. Although what I meant was that their web page doesn’t have any policies on it…oh and you forgot 5) help ‘cure’ homosexualityhttp://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/one-nation-backflip/ 6) Promote xenophobia

  10. I am in putting data for the senate count. There are a significant number of people who voted greens and then DLP. I did the same myself at a previous election and then was horrified to find out what the DLP stand for after all my friends who did know told me off and I went to find out.

    I really do think that anyone who stands for the senate should put out public info on themselves or that the newspapers should do a big spread so we can all read about them before the vote. I am a much wiser woman after putting in the data…..perhaps everyone should do a stint of that and gain more insight about how a below the line vote can be best utilised.

    • Hi Jayne, welcome to the News wtih Nipples. I guess I’m not the only one who thought, on name alone, that the DLP sounds reasonable. There needs to be a better way of getting info to voters about the minor parties and independents, so we can make more informed votes.

  11. The newspaper article is a good idea actually. They could do it like they do the Melbourne Cup – a double page easy to follow spread with a little picture of all the runners and party names and a small synopsis aka ‘a form guide’ for each minor party or independent. Voters can then back a winner and have an each way bet on a ‘roughie’.

  12. what do you think about getting rid of “parties” and just voting on the issues? That way public majority would vote for what they want and then candidates would vie for position on who would represent the people? Just a thought…………………..

    • Hi kelley3, welcome to the News with Nipples. That’s an interesting idea, and kind of like GetUp at the moment – it’s not a party, but a collection of issues that people support. But how would a PM be chosen?

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