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emdashbedotto voting stylee

No surprises in Mr Maurice White's views on this Saturday's choice: in his opinion, the Liberal Party "is considered to be the party of 'order, loyalty, respectability, property, class and refinement'." Those commie pinkos on the other side, however, have "practically no real intellectual philosophy or support, although academics tend to add a slight 'ginger group' effect and cloak it with a degree of respectability."

To counterbalance the deceitfully undeclared partisanship of my mentor, let me direct you to the thoroughly declared partisanship of my friends: Robert, unofficial campaign blogger for the ALP, and Virginia, official campaign blogger for the Greens.

Though I encourage you to take your preferred link out of here, if you stick around I'll stick to my guns. The question you are compelled to answer this Saturday, on pain of a $50 fine, is essentially this: do you want to go straight to hell, or do you want to take the scenic route?

And if you abstain and take the $50 hit, who can blame you?

But if you do decide to run the moral gauntlet and turn out this Saturday, let me present the emdashbedotto-sanctioned guidance I know you've been yearning:

Lower House

The lower house is the House of Representatives. These are the people you mostly see on television, sticking verbal voodoo pins in each other. In the lower house, follow these simple steps:

  • Count the number of candidates (let us call this number n).
  • Decide who you would least like to see elected.
  • Put the number n against this person's name.
  • Eliminating this person, decide again who you would least like to see elected.
  • Put the number n-1 against this person's name.
  • Continue this process until you run out of real numbers.

The important thing to comprehend here is that who you put a number 1 against is far less significant than who you put last. Australia uses a preferential voting system, god help us, and intelligent misuse of it is crucial to our democracy. Ask not who you love, for down that route lies damnation: instead, ask who you hate. Who you hate most passionately.

Upper House

The upper house is the Senate. This is where the official Australian approximation of democracy takes place.

Assuming you are sane, you will put the number 1 against a party's name above the line, and stuff your ballot in its given box. You will not fill out all 64-odd squares below the line; if you do, I salute you and condemn you as one who would waste her few precious hours on this planet for naught.

If you vote Labor in the Senate, start praying for salvation. If you vote for the Coalition here, may the devil take you. There is no room for major parties in this place.

Voting for a major party in the Senate says this: keep your political debates out of our sight, we're not interested. Decide everything behind closed doors, in the party room or caucus. Whatever you do, don't consult us.

If any party has a majority in the Senate, that is what happens. We get no say until the next election. So, in the upper house, vote in such a way that the greatest number of parties share the balance of power. If the Liberals must share their decisions with the Democrats, they will necessarily duke it out in public. If Labor, the Greens, the Democrats, a handful of Independents and (against all our better judgement) Family First determine whether or not a bill be passed, so much the better for us.

Addendum

Having said all that, I entreat you to heed this man's words, and educate him in what you think of those who lock up the innocent, and condemn others to lonely, watery deaths, and prostitute our national defences to the whim of another, and champion the mediocre, and make us, who are more and more in number with every passing day, seem less and less by the hour.

Joseph | 6 Oct 2004

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