Sunday, September 1, 2013

Federal Election 2013 - Electorate of Grey

Next Saturday - 7th September Australians are voting to elect a new Government.

There are actually two different elections - one for the "House of Representatives" and one for "The Senate".

In the "House of Representatives" voters are required to award their preference from 1 to (potentially) 8 against the names of the candidates whom they prefer.  We must place a number alongside every candidate on the Green coloured Ballot Paper.

There are some interesting characteristics about the "House of Representatives" vote.

* No matter who you actually vote for and who you want to win, usually one of the candidates from the two major parties will get elected - due to our preferential voting system and;

* If any party gets more than 4% of the vote then they will collect $2.48 for every first preference vote that they receive.

I don't like either of these characteristics and will be voting to minimise the effect.  Usually Grey is won by the Liberal Party - last election they got over 55% of the distributed vote and that resulted in Rowan Ramsey being elected.

Here is how I propose to vote in the "Electorate of Grey" - there are 6 candidates - so I need 6 numbers ;-)

 3   Ben Browne - Australian Labor Party
 1   Kristian Rees - Palmer United Party
 5   Cheryl Kaminski - Family First
 2   Alison Sentance - Australian Greens
 6   Rowan Ramsey - Liberal Party
 4   Greg Fidge - Independent

My three key considerations are: first preference to Palmer United Party - because they will be "lucky" to get 4% of the vote - this protects my $2.48.  Put Liberal Party last - because they will win the seat - but not with my help they won't.  And I can't stand Family First - they have no prospect of winning but get my second last spot.

"The Senate" is a different story and it's a difficult ballot to understand - almost as though it was designed to confuse.

The white Senate ballot paper is large and unweildy - with a range of characters trying to become a Senator.  Remember that each state elects 12 Senators for six years with half of those (a Half Senate Election) each 3 years.

There are 2 Liberal, 2 Labor, 1 Independent and 1 Green Senators up for election in 2013.  Of particular interest to me is that Cory Bernardi is one of the Liberal Senators seeking re-election.  This guy is a first class wingnut and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a parliament - and that will be guiding my decision.

Because the Liberal Party will likely win the "House of Representatives" election - I am looking for a party who can work with "The Senate" to stop the Liberals from destroying the joint.  There are essentially two approaches - firstly try to elect as many independents as possible - or secondly to go with The Greens.

I am wary of independents - because we have seen what the Liberals did to them last time.  Should they dominate in the Senate then the Liberals will attempt either to destroy them or to buy them off.  I don't want that - so I will be going with "The Greens in the Senate".  Ok it will cost me $2.48 - but that will be worth it ;-)

So that is my voting strategy on September 7th.  I encourage you all to think about yours and adopt a similar approach - or at least one that makes sense to you.

Good luck to you all.

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