Australian Federal Election 2010

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Who will you vote for?

Labor
0
No votes
Liberal/National
1
2%
Greens, preferencing Labor
24
46%
Greens, preferencing Liberal/National
3
6%
Other, preferencing Labor
4
8%
Other, preferencing Liberal/National
0
No votes
I am enrolled but will vote informally or will pay the fine for not voting
1
2%
I am not enrolled/not eligible
19
37%
 
Total votes: 52

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webby
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Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:07 pm UTC

(EDITED TO INCLUDE SENATE PREFERENCE TICKETS)

Julia Gillard is expected to call an election in the next few days, probably for late August. UPDATE: Election has been called for 21st August. Being considered the expert on politics amongst my friends, I've written the following partly as a reference for myself, partly so I can answer their questions by simply quoting what I've written and partly to post here. :P

Important notice to unenrolled voters: The electoral roll closes the day the writs are issued. You should enrol now, or failing that, at least by this Monday, otherwise you will not be able to vote and may be fined $110. Gillard announced the election date earlier than the day of the writs being issued. Labor has tried to change the rule to close the electoral roll one week after the writs are issued, but the legislation was blocked in the Senate.

UPDATE: The elecotral roll has now closed,but you still have until Thursday to update your details if you're a currently enrolled voter.

Long post ahead, here's the summary: For those who don't know much about Australian politics, the two major parties are the Australian Labor Party, which is currently in Government, and the Liberal Party, with the Liberal Party in a permanent coalition arrangement with the National Party (which is very much in decline). These parties combined received 85% of the vote at the last election. The third biggest party is the Australian Greens, who received 8% of the vote last election, but polls suggest 10-15% this time. Current government is led by Julia Gillard, the first female Prime Minister of Australia. She is also an atheist and the first unmarried PM, but lives with her long-term partner. The Labor Party is ahead in the polls, approximately 52-48, which is similar to the margin of the last election. They are considered likely (about 75-80% chance) to win the election. They gained power after the last election in 2007 and it is very rare in Australia that governments are voted out after only a single term. Their stimulus program has been credited with keeping Australia out of recession, they have provided laptops to school children and are building a National Broadband Network. However, they have failed to pass legislation on climate change, they have been seen as weak and indecisive on issues such as asylum seekers and the mining tax and have been dogged by allegations of incompetence in regards to stimulus spending. Opposition is the centre-right Liberal Party, led by Tony Abbott, known for being a conservative Catholic. He has called virginity a 'gift', has called climate change 'crap' and as health minister opposed the legalisation of the abortion drug RU486. As with the republicans in the US, they have been criticised for being the party of 'no' and simply opposing whatever the government does.

How to vote:
In the House of Representatives, you must number all the candidates from 1 to however many candidates standing in the order of your preference. If your number 1 choice is eliminated (by being the candidate with the lowest number of votes at a stage in the count), your vote will go to your number 2 choice, and so on until it reaches one of the top two candidates in your electorate. (EDIT to make the funding issue clearer) Your first preference is important for other reasons though - if a party gains at least 4% of the vote, funding will be allocated to them in proportion to the amount of first preference votes they get.
In the Senate, you have a choice. You can either put a number 1 in a box above the line corresponding to a party and the preferences will be distributed according to their wishes as outlined on their submitted group voting ticket (which I will post here closer to the election when released), or you can number all the candidates below the line in the order of your preference yourself (sometimes up to about 80 candidates).

How the system works:
Spoiler:
Australia is divided into 150 electorates of roughly equal population size. The voters in each divison elect a member of parliament (MP) to the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister is then (by convention - the office of Prime Minister is not mentioned in the consititution) the leader of a party with majority support from these 150 MPs. For example, last time Labor won 83 of the 150 seats, and therefore formed Government, with their leader Kevin Rudd becoming the Prime Minister. Note that this means the ruling party can change the Prime Minister by changing their leader, as occurred a couple of weeks ago, when Kevin Rudd resigned rather than face a vote against then Deupty Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Australia has compulsory voting, meaning that everyone over the age of 18 is required to enrol and to vote at every federal, state and council election. A fine applies for anyone who is on the electoral roll but does not vote. Australia also uses preferential voting, known in the US as Instant Runoff Voting, where for a vote to be counted, a voter must number all candidates in their electorate in the order of their preference. If nobody gains more than 50% of the first preferences, the candidate placed last is eliminated and their vote is counted for their second preference. This process is repeated until someone has more than 50% of the votes. In reality, this means that your vote eventually goes to whichever of Labor or Liberal you place higher (except in Melbourne and anywhere else where the Greens are the second biggest party). Many people place the Greens first and Labor second to make a point that they are not entirely satisfied with the Labor Party, but still prefer the Labor Party to the Liberal Party (I belong in this category). In terms of making sure the Liberal Party doesn't get into government, this is as effective as putting Labor first. Also, distribution of public funding for elections is based on the percentage of first preference votes received at the previous election. The effects of compulsory and preferential voting generally push both major parties towards the centre - they want to appeal to the median voter.

As well as the House of Representatives, Australia has a Senate of 76 members (6 from each state and 2 from the Northern Territory and the ACT). The current composition of this is 37 Coalition (Liberal + National), 32 Labor, 5 Greens, 1 Family First and 1 Independent (Nick Xenophon). The Senate uses a system of proportional representation with preferential voting, leading to more non-Labor/Coalition senators (because you only need to get 1/7 of the total vote in a state to gain one of the six seats). In the House of Representatives, where election requires 50% after preferences within a division, every MP comes from Labor or the Coalition except for four independents. The Greens are considered about a 50/50 chance to win the seat of Melbourne in this election.

Legislation must gain a majority in each house of parliament to pass. This means that the combination of the Coalition and Family First (a right wing party led by Steven Fielding, recently called 'stupider than an earthworm' by Richard Dawkins) have enough votes to frustrate Labor's attempts to pass legislation (and taking their lead from the Republican Party, have been doing so). It is expected that after the next election, either major party plus the Greens will make a majority, a situation known as the Greens having the 'balance of power' (although on previous evidence, Labor would prefer to negotiate with the Coalition than with the Greens for fear of appearing extremist). Only half the Senate is up for election each time, unless it's a double dissolution election, so this election undoes the effect of the 2004 election, which was disastrous for Labor under Mark Latham.

The election date is decided by the Prime Minister, with certain restrictions. Basically, the election must be called within 3 years of the first sitting of the parliament following the previous election and the election must be held within 33 days of being called. The earliest possible date without a double dissolution is 2.5 years after the first sitting of parliament. The exception is a double dissolution election, which can be called when a piece of legislation passed by the House of Representatives is rejected twice by the Senate, at least three months apart. This was the case for the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation, however Labor did not choose to call a double dissolution (likely fearing Abbott's 'Great Big Tax' line). The most likely dates for the election are considered to be the 21st and 28th August.


The parties and where they stand:
Australian Labor Party
Spoiler:
Image
The ALP is the governing party, led by Julia Gillard, the first female Prime Minister of Australia (and also the first unmarried PM, although she does have a long-term partner). Gillard took a secular affirmation, rather than a religious oath, and has declared that she does not believe in God. She took the position recently, as a result of Kevin Rudd's resignation on the 23rd June. Rudd's resignation followed a challenge from Gillard after a series of attacks from the media and lobby groups over a proposed tax on mining, the dumping of the ETS, perceived failures (although note this and this) in stimulus spending designed to help Australia avoiding a recession. Rudd considered his achievements to be these 23 items. The biggest are keeping Australia out of recession, the apology to the stolen generation, getting rid of work choices, giving laptops to school children, forming a national curriculum, beginning to build a National Broadband Network and signing the Kyoto Protocol. Their right-wing critics point to (among other things) the mining tax, failures in stimulus spending and the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat. Their left-wing critics point to such things as the failure to produce a credible climate change policy, the (now delayed indefinitely) policy of a mandatory internet filter, their poor treatment of asylum seekers, their failure to substantially roll back work choices and social issues such as their opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Labor Party is generally considered to be a centre-left party and contains two main factions, the Left, which is socially progressive and economically interventionist, and the Right, which is economically liberal and more socially conservative. The Right faction is dominant, and were behind Julia Gillard's ascension to the leadership despite her coming from the Left faction. Labor party policies are outlined here I may add to this list as policies are announced, but so far, they have announced:
- That they will attempt to build a community consensus on climate change.
- That they are in talks with the East Timor government to form a regional processing centre for asylum seekers.
- That they will provide subsidised school uniforms for poor families.

The ALP is the favourite to win the election, with bookmakers giving them a 76% chance of doing so. (as of 13/7/10)


Liberal Party and National Party (The Coalition)
Spoiler:
Image
The opposition is the coalition of the Liberal and National Parties led by Tony Abbott. (In Queensland, the two parties have merged to form the Liberal National Party (LNP)) The Coalition led from 1996-2007 under John Howard, who resigned as Liberal leader following his defeat in the 2007 election (also becoming only the second ever PM to lose in his own electorate and thus not be reelected as a member of parliament). Following the 2007 election, Brendan Nelson was elected as Liberal leader, but was challenged by Malcolm Turnbull when only 9% of voters preferred him as Prime Minister and polls suggested the 2PP margin to be 63-37 to Labor (compared to 53-47 at the last election). Malcolm Turnbull was deposed by Tony Abbott as a result of his support for the Emissions Trading Scheme. Abbott has variously said he believes in human-induced climate change, that it's 'crap' and that it was warmer when Jesus lived. He is known for his conservative Catholic views. Abott was the Health Minister in the previous government, opposing stem-cell research and the legalisation of the RU486 drug, which is used for abortions in the first two months of pregnancy. He has said that a woman's virginity is a 'gift' not to be given away lightly. Abbott is also known for his pro-monarchy views, being one of the leaders of the negative side of the failed 1999 referendum to make Australia a republic. He has said that he would 'turn the boats back' in reference to the asylum seekers issue.

The Coalition is a centre-right party, being socially conservative and economically liberal. (Liberal means economically liberal, not liberal in the US sense). Policies here. I may add their election policies here as they are announced.


The Australian Greens
Spoiler:
Image
The Australian Greens are a left wing party and are the third biggest party, with polls suggesting they will win 10-15% of the vote. They may win the seat of Melbourne and are likely to hold the balance of power in the Senate. They are led by Bob Brown, an environmental activist from Tasmania. There is debate over what proportion of their voters actually hold their views and how many just vote for them because they don't like either of the major parties. The Greens voted against Labor's Emissions Trading Scheme, claiming that it was in fact worse than no scheme at all. Labor refused to negotiate with the Greens, preferring to instead negotiate with the Liberals. Their policies are here, in general they are environmentalist and socially progressive (support same-sex marriage, abortion, stress the importance of human-rights, oppose internet filter).


The others:
There are several smaller parties, the websites of the main ones are linked to here:
Family First - socially conservative, traditional 'family values'
Australian Democrats - aim to 'keep the bastards honest', once had balance of power in Senate.
Chirstian Democrats

Group Voting Tickets: These say how your preferences will go if you vote above the line in the Senate and can be found here
Looking at the preference tickets - if you're not happy with the preferences of the parties, you should vote below the line and number every box.

Spoiler:
In NSW, looking at the order they've put the three major parties (and grouping Liberal with National as they are on the ballot paper):
Assuming only the three major parties have a chance of getting elected, this is the way your preferences will end up.

Socialist Alliance - Greens, Labor, Liberal
Group B - Labor, Liberal, Greens
Group C - Greens, Liberal, Labor (if it comes down to whether the third liberal/national senator is elected, else Greens, Labor, Liberal)
Group D - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Building Australia - Labor, Liberal, Greens
Senator Online - Greens, Liberal, Labor
Communist - Greens, Labor, Liberal
Group H - Labor, Liberal, Greens
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Australian Democrats - Greens, Labor, Liberal (ticket 1)/Greens, Liberal, Labor (ticket 2) (in practice this means that half their preferences go to Labor over Liberal, other half to Liberal over Labor)
Group K - Liberal, Greens, Labor (ticket 1)/Greens, Liberal, Labor (ticket 2)/Labor, Greens, Liberal (ticket 3) (this means 1/3 of their preferences goes each way)
Group L - Labor, Liberal, Greens (not completely sure about this one - perhaps someone who knows the process better can enlighten me on this - but I believe because they've put Lee Rhiannon last, this is what will happen in practice unless the Greens' second candidate performs unusually well)
The Climate Sceptics - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Secular Party - Greens, Labor, Liberal
Shooters and Fishers - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Democratic Labor Party - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Australian Sex Party - Greens, Labor, Liberal
Group R - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Socialist Equality Party - Labor, Liberal, Greens (ticket 1)/Liberal, Greens, Labor (ticket 2)/Greens, Labor, Liberal (ticket 3)
Group T - Greens, Liberal, Labor (ticket 1)/Greens, Labor, Liberal (ticket 2)
Non-Custodial Parents Party - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Family First - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Labor - Labor, Greens, Liberal
Group X - Labor, Greens, Liberal
Carers Alliance - Labor, Liberal, Greens (ticket 1)/Liberal, Labor, Greens (ticket 2)
Christian Democratic Party - Liberal, Labor, Greens
Liberal/National - Liberal, Greens, Labor
Group AB - Greens, Labor, Liberal
One Nation - Liberal, Labor, Greens
The Greens - Greens, Labor, Liberal
Group AE - Greens, Liberal, Labor (ticket 1)/Greens, Labor, Liberal (ticket 2)
Liberal Democrats - Labor, Liberal, Greens (if it comes down to whether the third Liberal/National senator is elected, else Liberal, Labor, Greens)

Note that this could be different in your state.


Any questions/comments/additions? Any citation neededs?
Last edited by webby on Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:47 am UTC, edited 10 times in total.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Patashu » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:49 pm UTC

(I live in Australia and am of voting age)

Would you say this is correct: If my main interest is social progressivism, I should vote green first, labour second, liberal third.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Hawknc » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:20 am UTC

I voted for Greens preferencing Labor, but only because I would preference Labor over the coalition while Abbott is in power. I'll be voting below the line and plan on putting them both very near the bottom (Stephen Conroy, in particular, will receive the honour of being the very last on my list). Gillard, despite what you might think based on her history, is holding the centre-right line on social issues, which is unfortunate and certainly losing me their vote.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:18 am UTC

Firstly, as soon at the writs are tabled (I have no idea what that means, but it happens at most a couple of days after the election is called) the electoral rolls close. Get your registration correct now if they've changed since your last outing to the polls.

Secondly, yeah, Greens then Labor for me. I'm in Anthony Albanese's seat in the lower house, so my vote there is pretty much irrelevant. In the upper house I do think that the Greens are socially progressive, but I also think they aren't perfect or even close. Still, for most of the issues that are on the table at the moment, their stance is pretty much mine.

My big hope is that Labor wins the lower house, Greens have balance of power in the upper, Gillard governs by cabinet in a measured and considered way and slowly takes us back towards the left regarding social issues. But I was actually just watching David Marr talking about his essay about Rudd on Big Ideas (which is still on the web via the ABC - its /bigideas I think) and he was saying that we are always destined to be disappointed by the political leadership, and I suspect he's probably right. You get your hopes up about whoever, but inevitably they talk one side of the street and tend to walk much closer to the middle of it. And really, my views are pretty far to the left on most stuff, so I'll be disappointed no matter what. Depressing to have to think like that but there you go.

Edit: fixed some doofus spellings.
Last edited by jestingrabbit on Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:33 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:23 am UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:Firstly, as soon at the writs are tabled (I have no idea what that means, but it happens at most a couple of days after the election is called) the electoral roles close. Get your registration correct now if they've changed since your last outing to the polls.


I have added this to the original post.

Patashu wrote:Would you say this is correct: If my main interest is social progressivism, I should vote green first, labour second, liberal third.


Yes, I would agree with this (putting minor parties and independents between them however you see fit).

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby cj-maranup » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:45 am UTC

I would normally vote Greens 1, Labor 2 and probably will this time. Since I'm registered in Wilson Tuckey's electorate, he's going last, but will probably win anyway :(

It's a good point about the senate vote tho - if you guys in Vic could get rid of Conroy, that'd be great :)

I'm not that impressed with Gillard's early moves on refugees, and I'm dubious about her rolling over to the big mining companies over the mining tax, and we've yet to see what they've got on climate change, but ANYTHING is better than a Liberal government run by the Mad Monk!

Oops, I nearly forgot to capitalise Liberal there... :?

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby cj-maranup » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:54 am UTC

Oh, and also - Awesome Post webby :) That's an excellent & thorough description of the whole system.

The other thing is that I understand in the Senate, the major parties vote together about 80% of the time anyway. They're not THAT different - it's just the big disagreements we hear about in the news...

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:48 am UTC

cj-maranup wrote:I would normally vote Greens 1, Labor 2 and probably will this time. Since I'm registered in Wilson Tuckey's electorate, he's going last, but will probably win anyway :(


I have it almost as bad - my local member is Bronwyn Bishop and she wasn't even taken to preferences last time.

It's a good point about the senate vote tho - if you guys in Vic could get rid of Conroy, that'd be great :)


The unfortunate thing is that about 98% of people vote above the line, so there's not really any chance of that happening. :(

I'm not that impressed with Gillard's early moves on refugees, and I'm dubious about her rolling over to the big mining companies over the mining tax, and we've yet to see what they've got on climate change, but ANYTHING is better than a Liberal government run by the Mad Monk!


I strongly agree with this. :P

The other thing is that I understand in the Senate, the major parties vote together about 80% of the time anyway. They're not THAT different - it's just the big disagreements we hear about in the news...


This may be true, and it's certainly true that the Labor and Liberal Parties are far more ideologically aligned than Labor and the Greens. I would say, however, that in this term, the most important pieces of legislation have been opposed by the Coalition. Examples are the stimulus spending and the ETS and I think it's fair to say that they were the two most important pieces of legislation the government has attempted to pass.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby masher » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:52 am UTC

cj-maranup wrote:I'm registered in Wilson Tuckey's electorate, he's going last, but will probably win anyway :(


I don't envy you!

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Minerva » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:46 pm UTC

Oh my sweet compsognathus, you've got to read their policies.

http://www.sovereigntyparty.org.au/

Are you disappointed in the way the major parties are protecting you from chemtrails, Big Pharma, the Rockerfellers, Rothschilds and the New World Order? These guys will look out for you.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby cj-maranup » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:02 pm UTC

Are you disappointed in the way the major parties are protecting you from chemtrails, Big Pharma, the Rockerfellers, Rothschilds and the New World Order? These guys will look out for you.


Um, wow. No tax? That should be interesting... & What's this about the bill of rights & the magna carta? One is American and the other is British (and ancient!).

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:31 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:Oh my sweet compsognathus, you've got to read their policies.

http://www.sovereigntyparty.org.au/

Are you disappointed in the way the major parties are protecting you from chemtrails, Big Pharma, the Rockerfellers, Rothschilds and the New World Order? These guys will look out for you.


But how will they protect me from our lizard overlords in the BIlderberg group?

There's actually a semi-serious point to make though. The major parties often make ridiculous parties up like "pot smokers rights party" and then get a tidy number of votes from uninformed above the line, and sometimes less well researched under the line voters. When the AEC releases their "what my above the line vote means" thing on the web I'll put a copy up here. You can usually pick the front organisations from their Labor/Liberal second, Liberal/Labor last sheet.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby JayDee » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:25 pm UTC

I've got a bunch of literature around from other parties, a decade or so ago, along the lines of that sovereignty party. Characterised by emphasis on Australia becoming a Republic (and usually on a set of things in the constitution they think are important) and by this Land Rent instead of tax thing. Which I will admit looks quite interesting. I don't really think any effort to sweepingly change the fundamentals of how we manage our economy are going to be successful, though.

Oh, this one looks to be a nationalist monarchist version, sort of. Curious.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby jestingrabbit » Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:22 am UTC

Apparently Gillard is right at this moment talking to the GG, which apparently corresponds to an election on the 28th of August.

edit: 12pm and she's back in parliament house.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:52 am UTC

Yeah, a Georgist tax is pretty much the best tax out there; the only real concerns are the transition. I am unqualified to make any other judgments about the ASP, though.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:22 am UTC

Election called for 21st August.

Enrol to vote here - you must do this by Monday 19th July or you will not be able to vote and the law says you can be fined $110.

This is a good guide on voting.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:22 am UTC

I'm already tired of the polls...

Early on the sunday, yahoo was running the galaxy poll taken before the election was called, which was pro Labor. Later on the sunday, they were running with the galaxy poll that happened just after the election was called, which was pro Liberal. Now they're running with the newspoll that was just after the election was called which was pro Labor.

Meanwhile, on Insiders, which is an early morning political comment show on the ABC, they were talking about how the private party polling has the swings being incredibly localised, with, for instance, a seat with a 5% swing against Labor next to a seat with no swing at all. That's pretty bizarre, and removes a lot of the validity of talking about national polls, and yet that's still what they'll be talking about till the election arrives.

Finally, the betting market has Labor winning, with the coalition paying out at better than 3 to 1. The betting market is a very good predictor of the outcome, so, short of a faceplant by Labor that will likely be the outcome.

Hopefully this week will see some actual policy difference being emphasized.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:52 am UTC

I can't, in good conscience, vote for either Labor or Liberal this election. Labor because of the conservative approach to asylum seekers: even if the principle is sound, the way it is being implemented just seems so crude, as if it's being to mark a clear break in policy between Rudd and Gillard. There were other policies that could have been changed that did not involve a swing to the right. But I could never vote for any party led by Abbot, either. He is incredibly socially conservative, and would work against any global warming initiatives.

A vote for the Greens, favouring Labor, is my current preference.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:17 am UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:I'm already tired of the polls...

Early on the sunday, yahoo was running the galaxy poll taken before the election was called, which was pro Labor. Later on the sunday, they were running with the galaxy poll that happened just after the election was called, which was pro Liberal. Now they're running with the newspoll that was just after the election was called which was pro Labor.

Meanwhile, on Insiders, which is an early morning political comment show on the ABC, they were talking about how the private party polling has the swings being incredibly localised, with, for instance, a seat with a 5% swing against Labor next to a seat with no swing at all. That's pretty bizarre, and removes a lot of the validity of talking about national polls, and yet that's still what they'll be talking about till the election arrives.

Finally, the betting market has Labor winning, with the coalition paying out at better than 3 to 1. The betting market is a very good predictor of the outcome, so, short of a faceplant by Labor that will likely be the outcome.

Hopefully this week will see some actual policy difference being emphasized.


The three polls were 52-48 Labor, 50-50 and 55-45 Labor. Typically, the sampling error of such polls is about 3%, so taken in combination they are consistent and show that the current situation is very likely around 52-48 or 53-47 (the result at the last election was 52.7-47.3).

In regards to the number of seats not necessarily following the nationwide picture, it should be noted that the lowest ever 2PP nationwide vote for a party that has lost the election was Labor under Kim Beazely's 50.98% in 1998. There has also never been an opposition who has won power with less than 50% of the 2PP vote (governments have it easier because they can put more resources into marginal seats). Usually, the swing is approximately uniformly distributed about the nationwide average, with a rare exception being the recent South Australian election. However, even in that case where everything aligned perfectly for the party with a lower share of the total vote, they still only just gained government with 48.5% of the 2PP vote.

In other words, given the national vote at the moment, there is no plausible distribution of swings that would see Labor not stay in power. Which I guess is why the betting markets put Gillard as the shortest priced favourite at the start of an election campaign since Holt in 1966.

Also, electorate polls tend to have small sample sizes and therefore margins of error around the 5-7% mark.

And yes, I definitely agree with you on the need for them to outline policy differences - at the moment, between asylum seekers, industrial relations, even climate change to a certain extent, it seems that the parties are removing the points of difference between them. It would be nice to see a focus on where the two parties actually differ - such as with the National Broadband Network, the mining tax, health reforms.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:15 am UTC

Yeah, both of those galaxy polls were from a sample of 800, so that makes the margin of error a little less than 2%. Still though, that the coverage at the moment is all personalities and polls is kinda depressing.

Anyway, more polls here, where there is a large amount of data on what issues are important, all culled from this nearly 1Mb pdf report. The side bar contains stuff that looks a lot like 538, the US poll analysis site.

Two things that were interesting were the issues that people found important
issueimportanejuly19.PNG
the important issues
and who is better at handling what
bettertohandlejuly191.PNG
who can better handle what


I've gotta believe there'll be some announcements soon, but probably not anything big spending from listening to Gillard. Given that she's said she wont spend more than any savings would provide, and that the Libs are seen as handling the economy better than the ALP, Abbot is pretty much bound by Gillard's standard as well or else he loses his one big strength.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:07 pm UTC

You read pollytics and 538 too then? :P

Interesting - look at the first table - how low asylum seekers rate as an important issue for voters.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:08 pm UTC

webby wrote:Interesting - look at the first table - how low asylum seekers rate as an important issue for voters.


Yeah, its way down there, but so is global warming.

The way I see it there are the rusted on issues, and the swing issues. If you prioritise the rusted on issues, economy, industrial relations or service delivery, you identify with a major party, Libs for the first, ALP for the other 2. I'd expect most Lib/ALP voters, and in particular people who would never consider changing their vote except in extreme circumstances, and even then only to the other major option, to put those issues on the top of the list in some order.

The other issues put you in a range of different possible head spaces. Asylum seekers identifies you as a more extreme voter, left (social issues green voter) or right (ex one nation). "War on terror" (I can't believe anyone is still using that idiotic phrase) puts you pretty squarely in the far right camp, though I expect some members of the muslim community are prioritising it for a different reason (ie "why the hell are they still harassing us?").

Population growth is an interesting one. Waleed Aly was on qanda and he said that it concealed the real issue, which was service delivery in the major cities. I think that's probably right, though I think there's also probably a little xenophobia in there as well. Its probably naturally ALP territory when its rephrased like that, but its much more Lib the way its currently presented. There's probably also some Green votes in it too (making service delivery greener).

The only group of issues that I haven't mentioned are those focused on the environment, naturally owned by the Greens.

So the issues that get talked about a lot are the ones where the number of voters interested are smaller in number and more extreme in position, where neither of the majors is doing what they want. Gillard and Abbot are both trying to get the idea that they actually do care/want to act/have a plan etc across, whilst the people who actually care about it are sitting there shaking their heads not believing a damn thing that's said.

And then there's "political leadership" which is personality and "the vision thing". If the vast majority of personality voters are against you, you're screwed. I think that's what is happening to Abbot right now. People just don't like him. All the speedos and contracts in the world wont change that.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:52 am UTC

I was reading a blog post today and it really struck me how negative the Liberal Party is being. Their four priorities (from the campaign ads and website):
1. End the waste
2. Repay the debt
3. Stop the taxes
4. Stop the boats

In other words, they seem to be taking the 'opposition' tag a bit too literally. :P There's no positive vision - no 'education revolution', no 'facing the greatest moral challenge of our time' - it's simply trying to oppose what Labor has done.

The article I linked to also notes how irrelevant all the issues are.
The claims of waste of stimulus spending were greatly exaggerated in the media - I linked to a couple of articles that discuss this in my original post.
The debt is insignificant compared to countries such as the UK, US, Canada and the budget is projected to be back in surplus within three years.
Spoiler:
Image

The taxes is mainly referring to the mining tax, which was hugely watered down and agreed to by the mining companies.
Asylum seekers can be put into perspective by this picture:
Spoiler:
Image

and there's also no evidence that changes in government policy have any impact on numbers of asylum seekers that arrive, even if there was agreement that more 'boat people' was a bad thing.

So I guess it's just a list of slogans that they think the general public will agree with. However, I don't see how they can be elected without at least putting forward some sort of vision - how would they make Australia better?

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby sameveron » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:14 am UTC

It would be nice if one day we have an election where there is a political party worth voting for :(

I still believe Kevin Rudd to a pretty good job while holding the top position, particularly when he came into office as prime minister during some of the toughest times such as the GCF and had to make some pretty hard decisions that were never going to please everyone. Although Gillard is taking over the mantle, I am still unsure whether she can perform as well. Time will tell :)

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby EmptySet » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:35 am UTC

webby wrote:I was reading a blog post today and it really struck me how negative the Liberal Party is being.


Both parties are being pretty negative. Labor claims that if the Coalition is elected, Abbott will immediately abolish hospitals, re-instate WorkChoices, and there will be a plague of locusts o'er the land. Meanwhile, the Coalition is claiming that if Labor is elected, all of society will crumble due to economic mismanagement and we'll be living in a Mad Max-esq dystopia within a year.

Perhaps, since electing either major party will bring about the apocalypse, the only rational option is to vote for the minor parties?

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby webby » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:43 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:
webby wrote:I was reading a blog post today and it really struck me how negative the Liberal Party is being.


Both parties are being pretty negative. Labor claims that if the Coalition is elected, Abbott will immediately abolish hospitals, re-instate WorkChoices, and there will be a plague of locusts o'er the land. Meanwhile, the Coalition is claiming that if Labor is elected, all of society will crumble due to economic mismanagement and we'll be living in a Mad Max-esq dystopia within a year.

Perhaps, since electing either major party will bring about the apocalypse, the only rational option is to vote for the minor parties?


It certainly feels like the forum feels that way - only one vote out of 12 for either major party? :P

Yeah Labor hasn't really been any better than the Coalition in terms of their ads etc. but compare the ALP's agenda to the Liberal Party's. It does seem like Labor is at least making more of an effort to be positive in their policies.

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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Minerva » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:26 am UTC

I won't vote for either of the two major parties, but I won't vote for the Greens either.

The Sex Party, Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, the Secular Party of Australia and the Pirate Party all look like potentially promising candidates for my support.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:03 am UTC

Minerva wrote:I won't vote for either of the two major parties, but I won't vote for the Greens either.

The Sex Party, Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, the Secular Party of Australia and the Pirate Party all look like potentially promising candidates for my support.

Does it bother you where they're putting their preferences, at all?
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby JayDee » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:11 am UTC

Speaking for myself (I'm not comfortable voting Green on the basis of their policy on Nuclear power, among other things) well, no. My vote will be going where I direct it, and the preferences deals of the parties involved don't really factor into that at all. I figure first preference is the most important part of my vote, and I'll be deciding that based on which party has stated policy closest to my own opinions / beliefs.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:24 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:I won't vote for either of the two major parties, but I won't vote for the Greens either.

The Sex Party, Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, the Secular Party of Australia and the Pirate Party all look like potentially promising candidates for my support.


Quoted for the truth. It's disappointing that none of the major parties or even the most major of the minors are any good.

EFN looks good, Sex party too but it's hard to find anything in depth about their policies. If I'm able to then prettymuch any of those 4 will be getting my vote.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:43 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:It's disappointing that none of the major parties or even the most major of the minors are any good.

But, isn't that just, "Welcome to Representative Democracy; Population: all of us."?

I can understand registering a vote with Family First or the Greens, so that the majors realize they're losing votes to the right/left, but to suggest there's a fixable solution just seems to me a fairytale. I mean, voting for a minor that will ultimately throw their votes to a major seems fine, but I don't see anything useful in the alternatives. And, for that matter, I don't see how a democratically-elected party can be much of anything, considering the demos.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby JayDee » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:54 pm UTC

This blog post lays out some of the reasons that a vote for a non-major isn't wasted. First preference votes mean something. Major political parties pay attention to that sort of thing: people voting socialist or green can influence the Labor party in that direction; voting One Nation arguably influenced the Liberal party in that direction. Not to mention the funding thing:
Public funding of election expenditure wrote:In accordance with the Electoral Act 2002, after each State election eligible parties and candidates can apply to be paid entitlements in line with the number of first preference votes they receive.
A link to talk of state elections was easiest to find, but the point is that the party you put first can gain financial support from your vote.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Minerva » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:02 pm UTC

Do the Greens realise that there are so many people out there who are liberal people who agree with the Greens on many areas of policy, but who won't vote for them because of their absurd anti-science anti-reason ideologies concerning nuclear energy, biotechnology, and other similar aspects of science and technology? With a few sensible changes to these kinds of policy areas, the Greens could easily attract many more votes, but these things won't change, because they seem to think that if you don't adhere to certain dogmas, you're not "green", and you're never allowed to question them or ask for the evidence or science basis, because you're just not.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Does it bother you where they're putting their preferences, at all?


If anything, it bothers me that most people are too lazy, ignorant, apathetic or uninformed to embrace below-the-line voting.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:27 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:Does it bother you where they're putting their preferences, at all?


If anything, it bothers me that most people are too lazy, ignorant, apathetic or uninformed to embrace below-the-line voting.

Pish posh. I like to consider myself fairly intelligent, motivated, and knowledgeable (I keep in contact with people who are very politically-minded, and I watch the 7.30 Report regularly), and yet nobody had thought to mention to me that voting for minor parties gives them funds. I am, as you put it, uninformed, and yet you chose to label the public with some rather nastier labels before that.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby JayDee » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:43 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:[N]obody had thought to mention to me that voting for minor parties gives them funds.
I've got to admit, I ran for parliament once and I didn't know this until recently (I knew it was the case in the USA, but not here. Go figure). According to Wikipedia (I'm too lazy to get a better source right now) funding requires being a registered political party (not easy in and of itself) and also getting 4+% of the vote. Honestly, as far as not knowing these kinds of things goes, "ignorant" is a pretty apt label, as is "uninformed". When it only takes glancing at wikipedia to clear things up, "lazy" and "apathetic" seems eminently forgivable. I've spoken with folk who were unaware that they could allocate their preferences themselves; Ignorant seems, to me, a justifiable description of the Australian public when it comes to the political process.
Pez Dispens3r wrote:I keep in contact with people who are very politically-minded, and I watch the 7.30 Report regularly.
Politically-mindedness is one thing, historical-mindedness is another. I'm occasionally (well, rarely, but I am inclined to cynicism lately) surprised by how many people I speak to are unaware of how new the Liberal party, for instance, really are. My grandparents voted in elections before the Libs existed, and yet I'm surrounded by people who think that "Liberal and Labor are the major parties" is how things are and how things always have been. People seem to think that because the political landscape hasn't changed significantly (that they've seen) in their lifetimes, therefore it never will.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:19 pm UTC

It is generally considered kosher to edit someone's words with minor housekeeping when you're quoting them. Capitalizing and such are fine, as long as you're not ruining context. So this would always be acceptable:

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Nobody had thought to mention to me that voting for minor parties gives them funds.

But there are many things on Wikipedia: that does not mean being unaware of them makes one ignorant. I could ask French historians for Napoleon's age when he died, but that wouldn't make them ignorant if they couldn't answer precisely and correctly. I certainly would not call them "apathetic", even if they had admitted they never thought to look up the fact. And "lazy" really is going too far, unless we want to make all these labels meaningless ones. Because, really, this is of a fairly minor significance to the electoral process.

JayDee wrote:Politically-mindedness is one thing, historical-mindedness is another. I'm occasionally (well, rarely, but I am inclined to cynicism lately) surprised by how many people I speak to are unaware of how new the Liberal party, for instance, really are. My grandparents voted in elections before the Libs existed, and yet I'm surrounded by people who think that "Liberal and Labor are the major parties" is how things are and how things always have been. People seem to think that because the political landscape hasn't changed significantly (that they've seen) in their lifetimes, therefore it never will.

Well, recheck your history. Under the name, the Liberal party is relatively fresh, but their precursors have run back to the founding of the Australian state. The Protectionist party and the Free Trade party split their differences to run against Labor, forming the Commonwealth Liberal Party, of which the Australian Liberal Party is a spiritual successor.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby jestingrabbit » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

I think the political landscape has changed a fair bit in our lives. The death of the democrats, the rise of the greens, the rise and fall of one nation. They all appear to be happening at the fringes, but the truth is that what happens there affects how the centre is moving. If one nation wasn't around it would have been a lot harder for Howard to push things as far right as he did. The greens will force a drift towards the left in terms of actual government action, whilst maybe keeping labor towards the centre in terms of policy.

And yeah, the thing that worries me about the greens is their anti-science paradigm. I suspect that Bob Brown will have to retire/be-overthrown for that to come to an end.

In other news, I was watching insight tonight, and people actually like Tony Abbott. wtf?
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby JayDee » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:02 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:In other news, I was watching insight tonight, and people actually like Tony Abbott. wtf?
Having spent time trying to convince people to vote as I think would be wise, at polling booths and such, sentiments such as these never cease to amuse me. Honestly, it really isn't that hard, even if you are just speaking to folk as they exit a Westfield shopping centre, to find regular honest Joe Australians who are happily pro-'whatever viewpoint you can make up'.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:I think the political landscape has changed a fair bit in our lives. The death of the democrats, the rise of the greens, the rise and fall of one nation. They all appear to be happening at the fringes, but the truth is that what happens there affects how the centre is moving. If one nation wasn't around it would have been a lot harder for Howard to push things as far right as he did. The greens will force a drift towards the left in terms of actual government action, whilst maybe keeping labor towards the centre in terms of policy.

I agree the minors have a considerable sway on the major parties, and that if more people vote for Greens favouring Labor this election than last it will tell Labor something about what the country is thinking. But then minor parties are unpredictable, because the right-wing minor will steal votes from the right-wing major, which ends up creating an the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-enemy scenario, like what we got with Labor and Family First. Which is back to my original point, which is why the preferences really do matter.

And, yes, Australian politics have changed, but the same splits from federation are still there: the Nationalist part of the coalition are, naturally, protectionist, while the Liberal party is free trade. And we find the division again when we compare Abbot to Hockey or Turnbull. Hockey, for example, cut his teeth arguing against conservatives, while Abbot embodies conservativity.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2010

Postby Argency » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:20 pm UTC

Hey great thread, Webby. Not that I hadn't already decided how I was going to vote, but having all the info succinctly spread out is nice. Also, very interesting results for the poll so far.
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