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Tue, Aug. 10th, 2010, 08:12 pm
[politics] By their preferences, ye shall know them...

The French have a saying, esprit d'escalier, that, loosely translated into English, means "the spirit of the stairs". It's the moment when you realise what you should have said in a certain situation, but too late to be of any use to you. I had an argument on this blog during the last election with a rather committed Liberty and Democracy Party member (now misleadingly rebadged the Liberal Democratic Party) over their decision to preference Family First ahead of the Greens. He said they had to choose one or the other based on the alignment of policies with them. I should have challenged him to show where the LDP's policies mesh with FF's, but ristin has found a spreadsheet that does it for me. You'll note that LDP have a strong alignment on their stated policies with the Greens on gay, lesbian and transgendered issues (which puts them directly at odds with FF), not much correlation with FF elsewhere. Supporters of LDP would be justified therefore in asking them why their preferences in every state are going to the Family First ahead of the Greens. I fear they won't have any answer beyond cynical political expediency. The Liberal Democratic Party has no serious prospect of getting a Senator elected in any state, whereas we have seen from Victoria's example that Family First does. Whatever policies the LDP claim to uphold, in reality they are acting as a more respectable front for the bigots at Family First.

Tue, Aug. 10th, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)

The way I understand it, party preferences only come into effect for people who vote above the line. If they actually care, they can vote below the line and state their own preferences, no? If this is the case, it's unfortunate that anyone not voting for one of the two major parties are too lazy to allocate their preferences.

It's still 3.5yrs until I'm even eligible for citizenship, but I've been keeping up on things here as best I can.

Tue, Aug. 10th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)

You are correct, but the allocation of preferences by the major parties matters too, because after their primary votes have gone to gaining them Senate seat(s) the percentage of their votes that are left over go to electing other candidates. Labor party preferences helped to elect the only Family First senator in the federal parliament in a cynical preference swap deal which I think the ALP later regretted. It's true that only a small percentage of voters actually number below the line in the Senate, but I don't blame the uninvolved voter for it--there are 84 candidates on the NSW Senate ballot paper and you have to number every square without making a mistake. Antony Green, the ABC's election analyst, advises that you can number one square above the line and then number all the squares below. That way, if you make a mistake numbering below the line, your vote above the line will still be valid. The system for allocating preferences in the Senate needs to be reformed (and I of course have some ideas on how to do it) but that's another issue.

Wed, Aug. 11th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)

95% of people vote above the line.

Tue, Aug. 10th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)

This is the first election I've been in where I'm just really not sure who to vote for.