Thank you, preferential voting and ‘compulsory voting’!

smile  As you’ve probably heard by now, there’s  massive change afoot in Australia. As my brother said this morning (Sunday), we’re all waking up with a glimmer of hope. 
The party previously in Opposition, the ALP (Labor), has 72 Seats to the Coalition’s 55.

They need 76 to govern outright. The closer to 80 they get, the stronger their hold on daily govt business. What has surprised everyone except the ordinary voters is the huge swing to Greens, to so-called ‘teal’ Independents, other Independents  and various minor parties. This effect is HUGE. Even where the sitting MP has retained their Seat, mostly there’s a swing against the conservatives of 5-10% or a little more. And mostly on the east coast,  they’re replaced by ‘teal’ Independents or Greens. 

We have ‘compulsory voting’: nearly every adult citizen must show up to vote. You can’t vote if you’re bankrupt or a prisoner, not competent to vote (dementia etc), or something unexpected like a cardiac event stops you - but you have to prove these. Once you have your ballot papers you can choose not to complete them (not vote), but most Aussies mark the paper. 
yep: paper ballots, pencil marks.  If you’re really worried about covid, these days you can bring your black pen. Every ballot is counted by hand, in front of scrutineers from the Electoral Commission and from every candidate. People with vision impairment can vote by phone, and we also have postal voting and pre-polling from two weeks before Election Day.  People who are outside Australia must ensure their votes are recorded by close of polls at 6pm. 
We usually allow until C.O.B. the following Wednesday to ensure all votes are in for counting, so some close counts might change.  

Stats of interest:  biggest number of voters ever, including over 440,000 new citizens. Also, over 5.5 million pre-poll voters (I’m not sure if that includes people overseas); over 16, 200 candidates nationally (only 8% from diverse backgrounds,  LOL )  And almost 3/4 of voters are in the 3 States on the east coast. 

So what we’re learning from the preferences breakdown  in each polling place tally is the 2 major Parties are so caught up in their own antics that they have forgotten what affects modern women at all levels of society, young people voting for the first or second time, young families in uncertain employment who may never save enough for a house deposit (priced too high, also no stock) … and we’re sick of chaotic ‘just in time’ crisis management that doesn’t work. 

Our new PM grew up in public housing, went to an ordinary State-funded school until he won scholarships for more exclusive high schools and then university. He has an Economics degree, he was (I believe) Finance Minister and (I know) Deputy PM in the Rudd and Gillard governments (2007-12). He’s consultative. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Albanese


joanne said:

smile
 As you’ve probably heard by now, there’s  massive change afoot in Australia. As my brother said this morning (Sunday), we’re all waking up with a glimmer of hope. 
The party previously in Opposition, the ALP (Labor), has 72 Seats to the Coalition’s 55.

They need 76 to govern outright. The closer to 80 they get, the stronger their hold on daily govt business. What has surprised everyone except the ordinary voters is the huge swing to Greens, to so-called ‘teal’ Independents, other Independents  and various minor parties. This effect is HUGE. Even where the sitting MP has retained their Seat, mostly there’s a swing against the conservatives of 5-10% or a little more. And mostly on the east coast,  they’re replaced by ‘teal’ Independents or Greens. 

We have ‘compulsory voting’: nearly every adult citizen must show up to vote. You can’t vote if you’re bankrupt or a prisoner, not competent to vote (dementia etc), or something unexpected like a cardiac event stops you - but you have to prove these. Once you have your ballot papers you can choose not to complete them (not vote), but most Aussies mark the paper. 
yep: paper ballots, pencil marks.  If you’re really worried about covid, these days you can bring your black pen. Every ballot is counted by hand, in front of scrutineers from the Electoral Commission and from every candidate. People with vision impairment can vote by phone, and we also have postal voting and pre-polling from two weeks before Election Day.  People who are outside Australia must ensure their votes are recorded by close of polls at 6pm. 
We usually allow until C.O.B. the following Wednesday to ensure all votes are in for counting, so some close counts might change.  

Stats of interest:  biggest number of voters ever, including over 440,000 new citizens. Also, over 5.5 million pre-poll voters (I’m not sure if that includes people overseas); over 16, 200 candidates nationally (only 8% from diverse backgrounds, 
LOL
)  And almost 3/4 of voters are in the 3 States on the east coast. 

So what we’re learning from the preferences breakdown  in each polling place tally is the 2 major Parties are so caught up in their own antics that they have forgotten what affects modern women at all levels of society, young people voting for the first or second time, young families in uncertain employment who may never save enough for a house deposit (priced too high, also no stock) … and we’re sick of chaotic ‘just in time’ crisis management that doesn’t work. 

Our new PM grew up in public housing, went to an ordinary State-funded school until he won scholarships for more exclusive high schools and then university. He has an Economics degree, he was (I believe) Finance Minister and (I know) Deputy PM in the Rudd and Gillard governments (2007-12). He’s consultative. 

Joanne, not being familiar, does this reflect a third party victory? Your comment about the “2 major parties caught up in their own antics,” leads me to believe maybe that is so.


Didn’t mean to go on so long, sorry. 
The ballot papers were very large this time, with the House of Reps ballot (green paper) taking up most of the counter space in the individual booth. We have to number each candidate from 1 (favoured) to the highest for least favoured. 
The Senate ballot is affectionately called ‘the tablecloth’ and is split into numbered groups of candidates above a bolded line, and underneath, columns of numbered candidates. This is where the beauty of Preferences comes in: 

- various Parties and candidates have traded preferences and agreed to act as blocs in they’re elected. They let us know this in the How To Vote cards

- other candidates will trade preferences but might not always act as a bloc, so they are listed under the line. Again, this is in How To Vote cards. 
-We can select one group above the line (just mark 1) OR Select any 6 individuals above the line OR Select any 12 individuals below the line OR number EVERY square in order of our preference below the line. Once I numbered over 163 squares… this time I settled for 12, making sure my very least favourites were 8-12.  
I should mention that this year the tablecloth needed to be folded to fit on the voting counter. 

We don’t tally Senate votes on election night. They’re double-counted against the issuing records, then sealed and signed, and sent to the AEC for tallying. Every step is done under scrutineers’ eyes (except the voting!)


question my nephew, who turned 18 last Tuesday, voted for the first time yesterday! question  So proud of him! He also worked at a polling place, helping with the tally and the tidying up. 


We’re not sure yet - so far the majority vote is for Labor, one of the major 2, so it might be a ‘minority government’ with Labor in coalition with someone. 
They’re not counting today, so no real news.

jimmurphy said:

Joanne, not being familiar, does this reflect a third party victory? Your comment about the “2 major parties caught up in their own antics,” leads me to believe maybe that is so.


Oh! ‘Antics’ includes bending the rules about eligible candidates. PHON had a lot of ‘ghost’ candidates; Labor ‘parachuted’ a former Senator into an important Seat and lost it to a local (!) (also losing a very capable female politician), and Coalition just kept moving people around as ‘Captain’s picks’.  All seen as White Male Privilege. 


Ok.

66.3% of the vote counted.

When I went to bed last night,  they were still counting for Western Australia. If you quickly check out this clip you’ll see that Labor (ALP, the red seats) have won. We just have to tidy up preferences to sort out the Crossbench, and extra support for them. 


And just in case you’re wondering what this government stands for:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-22/labor-won-federal-election-albanese-policies/101088720   
Some very interesting inclusions are the Integrity commission (former government promised but failed to deliver), universal dental care added to universal health care (this is extending the schools’ dental program to adults as well - not socialist, because we all pre-pay in our taxes); new University places (unis had reduced funding under Coalition); increased wages for low & middle income earners (most wages stalled  for around 10years) - Labor believes we have to have safe secure housing & employment to participate in local and regional economy, which helps national economy. 


And a quick note on why voter behaviour is turning so strongly away from the 2-Party model always seen in the past: 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-22/antony-green-answers-questions-about-historic-election/101089010
 
It’s been really fascinating to see the reactions of long-time politicians and party analysts to these results - so many (mainly white males) are acting like spoilt indulged children hearing ‘No!’ For the first time. 

This result represents a more active democracy in action cheese


Our Republicans are a real disgrace. But the Democrats aren't a bargain.

I wish we could get around the two party system. Ranked choice voting might help instead of our first past the post election system. We are tied into a permanent two party system.

They are both heavily invested in the welfare of big business, the very rich and while being bought and paid for by lobbyists. Our Democratic party would be considered in Europe as very conservative.

Which is why we will never see things like real healthcare reform or a tax reform that won't cater to the .1%.

Whenever Democrats want to get into power its promises of we'd like to give you this. But when they are in power they just can't manage to get the votes.


here's how the NYT described the election:

Australia’s ‘Climate Election’ Finally Arrived. 

Will It Be Enough? Voters rejected the deny-and-delay approach that has made Australia a global laggard on emission cuts. But how far the new government will go remains to be seen.

This sort of election that reflects the will of the majority of Australians is just not possible in the U,.S.  And not just because of the two-party system. Congress is not designed to reflect the will of all people in the U.S. Which means the places where most people live end up being beholden to a fair number of states where very few people live. It's hard to be optimistic about our politics. But I'm happy for the countries where their governments reflect the will of the people.


RTrent said:


They are both heavily invested in the welfare of big business, the very rich and while being bought and paid for by lobbyists. Our Democratic party would be considered in Europe as very conservative.

Which is why we will never see things like real healthcare reform or a tax reform that won't cater to the .1%.

Whenever Democrats want to get into power its promises of we'd like to give you this. But when they are in power they just can't manage to get the votes.

And yet the Right attacks the Dems for being "socialist".


Yeah, that always makes me laugh. Plus the mis-labelling of universal healthcare etc. It’s the same as maintaining roads etc: vehicle registrations and fuel purchases contain taxes that go toward roads. But if you don’t drive, and therefore don’t pay the taxes, you’re not prevented from using the roads… 

A couple of people have commented  off-list that it’s amazing Aussies have accepted the results, no outcry of voter fraud etc. Yeah-nah, a) that’s way more effort than we’re prepared to put into elections especially this time. And b) I think you could count the instances of voter fraud since Federation on your hands and toes (that is, barely a dozen and mostly by accident or misunderstanding). 

Re the environmental/climate change issues, it’s useful to look at the Seats that voted Green or Independent on these. Most are deeply affected by intense drought, repeated fires, extensive floods that insurance won’t cover - and the previous federal govt was hopeless about supporting State and regional govts to recover. It suited that govt to question the science behind global patterns in environmental changes; they refused to consult First Nations for their knowledge and belittled their management techniques. Beholden to mining billionaires. 
Albo & Penny Wong off to Quad (Japan) meeting this morning, so some changes should be announced. 

Remember, this change is about so much more than big-picture Green issues: environment also means Brisbane’s constant airport noise that should be curfewed (but couldn’t because of Business); announced home-buying and building schemes but lack of stock - so, clearing farmland and reserved bush? What about retaining native fauna and flora corridors?? Etc. 
Also, it’s about time we listened to indigenous people and set a place in Parliament House for a Council (the Voice). There should be a Treaty too. 

STANV said:

And yet the Right attacks the Dems for being "socialist".

I was grocery shopping early this morning: most people were smiling, not really grumbling about the high prices, the staff said they were crowded yesterday. I spent double what I usually would, but hey, at least I have a roof & blankets… (starting to get cold at night now, and it hasn’t stopped raining since Saturday morning)


Ugh. There’s always one ‘Richard cranium’ trying to spoil a celebration.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/may/24/zero-evidence-to-back-clive-palmers-claim-of-staff-taking-ballots-home-aec-says
If you see/hear any reports of this nature  - especially via Murdoch media or via social media - please tell your friends it’s untrue. 
Firstly, after tallying with the scrutineers, the ballots are sealed in their boxes with tamper-proof tape. This tape ruins wooden floors, painted walls, concrete paths, skin (hubby lost some off his wrist and needed First Aid attention) - once on the box, there are seals and signatures. You can’t easily hide evidence of tampering or resealing. 
Secondly, even though it seems easy to over-write a marked ballot, it actually isn’t. Penmanship differs, the pencils and pens differ. You can’t remove/destroy ballots because issuing officers have reconciled and signed their stubs against the voter rolls so the numbers balance - how would you know ‘who’ committed (allegedly) since the actual ballots are unnumbered and unsigned?? And how could anyone trace a tampered ballot back to the issuing officer’s records, if you’re removing the ballot? (Missing votes have to be accounted for)

Clive Palmer will sue anyone over anything, at the drop of a hat. Usually he’ll drag  out the proceedings, then lose the case. He’s just angry  he spent $100k on advertising on this election and got no return.


And another quick point: our new Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong, has the broadest ‘Ocker’/Aussie accent you’ll ever hear and comes from Asian heritage, is an openly gay mum, is her Party’s leader in the Senate, stands for strict ethics and Standards, and is respected by most of her colleagues from all political backgrounds. No cartoonist would here would ever dare to highlight or mock her skin colour.


Thanks to joanne for (1) cheerful election news, and (2) expanding vocabulary again!  Rort AND Ocker in just 2 or 3 days.  The Wikipedia entry for Ocker is a pleasure in itself.  : )


@mjc, you’re so welcome! 
I find the differences in our voting behaviours so fascinating -especially in recent years - and this one is such a shining example of why I’m so proud and thrilled with our basic system. (Yes, there’s lots to update; we need a few referenda for Constitutional changes)

A couple of fun points that differ from your current election reality: Labor, and a few Independents (and I think the Greens) ran with a policy to increase wages including the minimum wage - by 5.1%! And won!!! 
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-24/business-reaction-election-wages-inflation-labor-albanese/101092578

They disclosed their costing plans late last week, adding $7.4 billion to the budget  - and won!!!

They promised to fund more nurses for residential aged care homes, especially night shift, so residents won’t be left unattended if unwell (and were blasted for the costs) while also reducing costs for medicines - and they won!!!
weird, eh? cheesecheese


Woohoo!! They’ve got another 2 seats - 74 out of 76! 
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-24/election-blog-may-24/101093332#live-blog-post-1211576772

Senate votes still being counted.


Alright, we’ve covered the House of Representatives pretty thoroughly. What about the Senate?

Every three years we hold elections to refresh half the Senate, so there’s always a mix of experienced and new Senators. Our Senators represent their States (I think there’s a formula according to the population as to how many senators each state gets; territories have far  fewer).

Here’s the latest count: 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/elections/federal/2022/results/senate  It appears Labor are ahead there too. For the first time, the Greens have a decent showing and finally we appear to have lost Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer. *cheer* I’ll need to double-check those two, tho’. 
Someone asked about Electoral College-type institutions? Nope, it’s direct voting here and EVERY vote counts as you can see from the Seats where maybe 15 votes separate the winner from the runner-up.


So, we’re still counting some electorates to determine the winner, and that will confirm how the ALP will govern. Remember, this is normal under our system no matter what confected outrage you might read or hear - some votes are still arriving from overseas and from remote regions, and some electorates are very very close:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-28/federal-election-live-blog-anthony-albanese/101107452#live-blog-post-1211675161

In the meantime, excellent news about the Tamil family with 2 Australian born girls, who were in deportation-detention for 4 years: they’re going home to the country town that claims as Aussies!! ‘Home to Biloela!’ (The previous govt swore they’d never be allowed to settle because the parents had arrived, separately, by ‘unlawful marine travel’)

ETA after 4 hours: well, the Greens have won another Seat in Brisbane:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-28/greens-win-brisbane-seat-electorate-federal-election/101104170


joanne said:

So, we’re still counting some electorates to determine the winner, and that will confirm how the ALP will govern. Remember, this is normal under our system no matter what confected outrage you might read or hear - some votes are still arriving from overseas and from remote regions, and some electorates are very very close:

The "confected outrage" is America's "gift" to democracies everywhere.


Nohero, you all have our sympathies cheese

You’ve possibly all heard that Labor have won outright. Still some tidying of absentee votes to do, but Labor have 76 seats. Wahoo!!

The Liberal Party (our conservatives) voted for new leadership: Peter Dutton (ex-cop, often referred to as the Dark Lord) and Sussan Ley as Deputy. Dutton had said he would change, would show us all his softer, more friendly side - at his first press conference after being declared leader, he said nope, he’d never change.  grrr Sussan was previously Minister for killing off precious things in the environment. 
The National Party (the farmers’ party - used to be called the Country Party) have also decided on new leadership. Pretty much, neither party has learnt much from the radical turn of events. 
There are more First Nations MPs this time, I gather mostly women; more women generally; more people of diverse backgrounds. I am eager to see how Labor restores our values.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-31/federal-election-voting-trends-climate/101111930

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/30/congratulations-to-the-greens-political-party-they-have-finally-done-something-useful-finally-yeah


joanne said:

There are more First Nations MPs this time, I gather mostly women; more women generally; more people of diverse backgrounds. I am eager to see how Labor restores our values.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-31/federal-election-voting-trends-climate/101111930

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/30/congratulations-to-the-greens-political-party-they-have-finally-done-something-useful-finally-yeah

They seem to be making progress.  



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