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01-10-2018, 03:26 PM
131

Re: Had enough of the UK

Originally Posted by Bruce ->
Your vote would be informal ie not counted. You must number each candidate (Unless it is a NSW state election where it is an optional preferential system where you can number as many candidates as you like). In the senate I think you only have to number up to 17 candidates below the line for a formal vote or you can place a single one above the line and rely on the party's preferences.

However with a preferential system in reality you would have a lot more choice because other candidates would stand because people would know that voting for a minor party is not a wasted vote. In my seat - the safest Labor seat in the country - there are never less than 10 candidates even though the count rarely even goes to preferences.

You asked about the compulsory nature of the vote. all you have to do is turn up at any polling station and get your name marked off, if you don't the electoral commission will write a letter asking why you didn't vote and there is a fine if your reason is not satisfactory (though if you actually get fined you must be mad). I think the actual turn out is in the order of 98% and there are plenty of opportunities for a pre poll or postal vote. Australians like voting.

The advantage of a compulsory vote is that you don't get the party members snatching old ladies off the street to take them to a polling booth. All the party faithful do is stand outside the polling booths handing out "how to vote cards" (to get the best preference flow for their candidate)
Thank you for providing an answer that a couple of other people appear not to have been able to!

On the first point, I hadn't realised that there are usually so many on the list. I think that's a very different matter, and a reasonable way of making your vote really count. For example, if I gave the Conservative candidate position 1, 2 for the Monster Raving Loony Party, 3 for the Greenies, 4 for the Limp Dems, 5 for Plaid Cymru, and 6 for Labour, that would be a suitably great difference between my preferred party and the one that would be absolutely dangerous for the country as a whole, the other four being nonentities with regard to importance!

On the second point, yes, such an action would convince most people to take the trouble to at least visit the polling station. In practice, however, if one were sufficiently intent on defying the rules, one could easily make the mistake of duplicating one or more of the numbers or some other such means of making the paper inadmissible!
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02-10-2018, 12:32 AM
132

Re: Had enough of the UK

On the second point, yes, such an action would convince most people to take the trouble to at least visit the polling station. In practice, however, if one were sufficiently intent on defying the rules, one could easily make the mistake of duplicating one or more of the numbers or some other such means of making the paper inadmissible!
I see you are VERY uptodate with the voting practices of ozzies - well done - you have contacts on the ground or just guessing as usual?

what's the turn out in UK 30-40% - apathetic voters who say they are democratic but don't practice it - oh wait a minute yes they do " it is my democratic decision not to vote' pillocks!
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02-10-2018, 03:50 AM
133

Re: Had enough of the UK

Originally Posted by JBR ->

On the second point, yes, such an action would convince most people to take the trouble to at least visit the polling station. In practice, however, if one were sufficiently intent on defying the rules, one could easily make the mistake of duplicating one or more of the numbers or some other such means of making the paper inadmissible!
There is the 'donkey' vote where people just number 1 to whatever straight down or up the paper and there are those who get their name crossed off the list and just put blank papers in the box or just write something expressing their displeasure.

The position on the ballot paper is determined by drawing names out of a hat; obviously candidates hope they are number one position because they benefit from the donkey vote. I think I read somewhere the donkey vote can be as much as 1% of the vote though it is usually a lot less. Personally I think such a vote is a valid as any other and you end up with the government you deserve.

They changed the senate voting because the senate paper is the size of blanket (almost) and if you vote 'below the line' you might have to number up to 80 or so candidates at the last election it was changed so that over 17 was all that was required for a valid vote. Personally I have always voted 'below the line'.
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02-10-2018, 11:37 AM
134

Re: Had enough of the UK

Originally Posted by Bruce ->
There is the 'donkey' vote where people just number 1 to whatever straight down or up the paper and there are those who get their name crossed off the list and just put blank papers in the box or just write something expressing their displeasure.

The position on the ballot paper is determined by drawing names out of a hat; obviously candidates hope they are number one position because they benefit from the donkey vote. I think I read somewhere the donkey vote can be as much as 1% of the vote though it is usually a lot less. Personally I think such a vote is a valid as any other and you end up with the government you deserve.

They changed the senate voting because the senate paper is the size of blanket (almost) and if you vote 'below the line' you might have to number up to 80 or so candidates at the last election it was changed so that over 17 was all that was required for a valid vote. Personally I have always voted 'below the line'.
Sounds interesting.

Do you have, effectively, a 'two party' system like us, or is there the possibility of three or more parties having a reasonable chance of forming the government?
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04-10-2018, 01:07 AM
135

Re: Had enough of the UK

two party generally with smaller parties in the senate playing hard to get to pass the bills and the major govt having to bargain with them
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04-10-2018, 05:52 AM
136

Re: Had enough of the UK

Originally Posted by JBR ->
Sounds interesting.

Do you have, effectively, a 'two party' system like us, or is there the possibility of three or more parties having a reasonable chance of forming the government?
We have two major parties Liberals and Labor but there are a number of minor parties in the both houses.

In the House of Reps (lower house) there are:

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliam...epresentatives

Liberals
Nationals (without whom the Liberals would never be in power)
Labor
Greens
Katters United Party
Centre Alliance
Independent

In the Senate:

https://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/senate

Liberals
Nationals
Labor
Greens
Centre Alliance
One Nation
Hinches Justice
Katters Australian
Liberal Democrats
United Australia
Conservatives
Independents


Some of these parties might have only one member elected. In the lower house the Liberal/National coalition has only a one seat majority (reduced to nil with the resignation of the last PM)

This came about because they took the unwise step of calling a double dissolution election (election of all members of both houses) when two bills were blocked in the senate - they almost lost power over it.

In the upper house only the Howard government for one term had an absolute majority and what a disaster that turned into with their "Work Choices" legislation virtually wiping them out at the next election (the PM Howard himself lost his seat)

I hope they never get a majority because the Senate is a moderating influence on government as they have to negotiate with the cross bench to get contentious legislation through (over 90% just goes through on the nod with the support of Labor).

For example the current government has abandoned plans to raise the retirement age to 70 because there is no prospect of it getting through the upper house likewise they abandoned tax cuts for big business.

It works very well, as I say personally I hope no government ever gets a majority in the upper house again because they can't be trusted to use power wisely.
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04-10-2018, 12:26 PM
137

Re: Had enough of the UK

Originally Posted by Bruce ->
We have two major parties Liberals and Labor but there are a number of minor parties in the both houses.

In the House of Reps (lower house) there are:

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliam...epresentatives

Liberals
Nationals (without whom the Liberals would never be in power)
Labor
Greens
Katters United Party
Centre Alliance
Independent

In the Senate:

https://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/senate

Liberals
Nationals
Labor
Greens
Centre Alliance
One Nation
Hinches Justice
Katters Australian
Liberal Democrats
United Australia
Conservatives
Independents


Some of these parties might have only one member elected. In the lower house the Liberal/National coalition has only a one seat majority (reduced to nil with the resignation of the last PM)

This came about because they took the unwise step of calling a double dissolution election (election of all members of both houses) when two bills were blocked in the senate - they almost lost power over it.

In the upper house only the Howard government for one term had an absolute majority and what a disaster that turned into with their "Work Choices" legislation virtually wiping them out at the next election (the PM Howard himself lost his seat)

I hope they never get a majority because the Senate is a moderating influence on government as they have to negotiate with the cross bench to get contentious legislation through (over 90% just goes through on the nod with the support of Labor).

For example the current government has abandoned plans to raise the retirement age to 70 because there is no prospect of it getting through the upper house likewise they abandoned tax cuts for big business.

It works very well, as I say personally I hope no government ever gets a majority in the upper house again because they can't be trusted to use power wisely.
Thanks for a very enlightening explanation.

If numbers in government and opposition are so close, and I assume this is not unusual, it must be difficult to pass laws quickly and efficiently. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing!

I was somehow hoping that there might be three (or even more!) parties capable of becoming the majority in parliament. To be honest, I don't know how well that would work, though, because it occurs to me if one party was in power, the other two would be likely to unite to overcome anything they did! Perhaps a two-party system is the best way after all.

Incidentally, in the UK the Labour and Liberal parties are both left wing (Conservatives being right wing). Your two main parties - Labour and Liberal (and of course National) - sound to us to be left wing. Surely, one of them must be right wing?
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04-10-2018, 11:31 PM
138

Re: Had enough of the UK

Originally Posted by JBR ->
Thanks for a very enlightening explanation.

If numbers in government and opposition are so close, and I assume this is not unusual, it must be difficult to pass laws quickly and efficiently. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing!
As I said most bills go through easily on the nod it is only contraversial bills that can have trouble but again most bills are improved by negotiations with the crossbench.

Originally Posted by JBR ->

I was somehow hoping that there might be three (or even more!) parties capable of becoming the majority in parliament. To be honest, I don't know how well that would work, though, because it occurs to me if one party was in power, the other two would be likely to unite to overcome anything they did! Perhaps a two-party system is the best way after all.

Incidentally, in the UK the Labour and Liberal parties are both left wing (Conservatives being right wing). Your two main parties - Labour and Liberal (and of course National) - sound to us to be left wing. Surely, one of them must be right wing?
Liberals like to characterise themselves as a broad church but they tend toward the right though not right enough for the extreme right like Tony Abbott (an ex PM) and some of his mates (could give you a list but it would mean nothing to you)

The Nationals come almost exclusively from the bush and represent the agricultural sector and tend toward the right.

Both major parties are fairly centralist but have left and right factions the Liberals tending toward the right, Labor toward the left. Speaking very generally the Liberals stand for business and economic management (the latter is debatable) while Labor stands for social justice, health and education.

In the lower house the government normally has a workable majority - before the last election the Coalition had a majority of about 17 but needed to persuade 6 cross benchers (from memory) to get controversial legislation through the Senate. Calling a double dissolution was an attempt to break the power of the cross bench in the Senate which backfired badly.

The cross bench ranges from the extreme right (One Nation, Australian Conservatives) to the Right (Bob Katter's Party) to the centralists and left (Greens) so any government has part of the cross bench on side automatically.

I think most Australians like the way the Senate works in practice as a brake on extremism.

BTW the Lower house is 150 members the Senate about 75 (I forget exactly but that is about right)
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04-10-2018, 11:47 PM
139

Re: Had enough of the UK

BTW I suspect that compared to the UK both our major political parties are to the right of their UK equivalents perhaps not by much but I think the centre is to the right of yours. I couldn't prove that but that is my feeling/memory of UK politics and the fact that this is a small 'c' conservative country.
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05-10-2018, 10:18 AM
140

Re: Had enough of the UK

Originally Posted by Bruce ->
As I said most bills go through easily on the nod it is only contraversial bills that can have trouble but again most bills are improved by negotiations with the crossbench.



Liberals like to characterise themselves as a broad church but they tend toward the right though not right enough for the extreme right like Tony Abbott (an ex PM) and some of his mates (could give you a list but it would mean nothing to you)

The Nationals come almost exclusively from the bush and represent the agricultural sector and tend toward the right.

Both major parties are fairly centralist but have left and right factions the Liberals tending toward the right, Labor toward the left. Speaking very generally the Liberals stand for business and economic management (the latter is debatable) while Labor stands for social justice, health and education.

In the lower house the government normally has a workable majority - before the last election the Coalition had a majority of about 17 but needed to persuade 6 cross benchers (from memory) to get controversial legislation through the Senate. Calling a double dissolution was an attempt to break the power of the cross bench in the Senate which backfired badly.

The cross bench ranges from the extreme right (One Nation, Australian Conservatives) to the Right (Bob Katter's Party) to the centralists and left (Greens) so any government has part of the cross bench on side automatically.

I think most Australians like the way the Senate works in practice as a brake on extremism.

BTW the Lower house is 150 members the Senate about 75 (I forget exactly but that is about right)


One impression I get is that your parliament seems to work together far better than ours, which spends its entire time arguing and name-calling.

The other thing I admire is that your parliament is much lower in numbers than ours, and your upper house is democratically elected!
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