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     Sunday, October 10, 2004 | Howard wins place in history (October 10, 2004) | Howard wins place in history (October 10, 2004):

    "The outcome was a disaster for the Democrats, who look like they will struggle to hold any of the three Senate seats they were defending, which would deny them party status.
    The Greens are set to pick up two or more Senate seats while Pauline Hanson failed in her Senate bid. "

    Well, at least the Greens did alright. Democrats will hopeully pull their shit together again by the next election (maybe put Natasha Stott Despoja back in charge?). I wish for an Australian election where we our two major parties are Democrats and Greens. I'd love to see Bob Brown and Spott Destroyer fighting over Prime Minister. That would be great!!

    I can't believe after all this crap Howard got elected again. Not that Labour are that far left of Liberal or anything, but when are the Australian people going to say "Enough! No more lying!"?

    I'm going to end up having to become a political activist if this keeps up. I'm very worried that lots of people had no idea what their votes meant. I'm still a tad worried that *I* have no idea. Why do people believe that voting for the same mob they voted for last time is the best way? Why aren't people investigating the options and evaluating their beliefs against the policies? Oh that's right - because the parties like to keep actual policy information (and facts) as far away from the election campaign as possible.

    "Premier Peter Beattie blamed the ALP for being 'too nice' in its campaigning. 'If you look at the Liberal Party advertising . . . I am not trying to make excuses at all, but their negative campaigning worked,' he said. "

    I know of one person who isn't really sure if they voted right. They voted for the Liberal candidate, figuring that the Liberal candidate would do a better job for that local area. They didn't see it as an outright vote for Liberal overall. This person did not want Liberal to be elected. They just liked that particular member. This is a *very* marginal seat. How many other people voted like that? It looks like Labour has won the seat, but it was still very, very close.

    It makes me wonder how many people are actually making educated votes. I know of people who vote for whatever their parents vote for. I know of older people who vote the way they do because that's the way they've always voted. I know of people who donkey vote. I even know one person who is 27 and hasn't enrolled to vote yet. I don't want to hear that person bitch about the Liberals ever again. They threw away their chance to make a difference.

    (Side note: I have had one friend complain that this comment is unfair. I would like to clarify that people who aren't enrolled to vote because they aren't actually citizens are an entirely different point - and I can see that becoming an Australian citizen at the moment might not be too appealing. As this person very succinctly put it "It's not the same thing as political apathy and ignorance, which is how you make it sound - like I just can't be fucked enrolling to vote." My original comment was actually made about someone who could have enrolled to vote just by filling out one lousy form and they haven't yet. So yes, that person just can't be fucked to vote. Non citizens, please relax now.)

    It would be nice to ban advertising about campaigns. Or at least ban negative campaigns. Wouldn't it be better to see key topics debated? Ad's on TV that merely said "The election will be on 9/10/04. Please visit your local post office/the AEC website for information on enrolment forms/various parties/a full list of candidates/polling booths/understanding how the voting process works. We encourage you to visit your local members and speak to them about their policies". To have actual policy information delivered to your door instead of "Don't vote for Latham - He's never been prime Minister before and therefore he will suck at it". And really, I am sick of seeing pictures of politicians having cups of tea with old ladies or reading to school kiddies. Don't they have anything better to do? Like run the country? They don't need to chat to old ladies to find out what the old ladies want. They've done their market research. I just want them to tell us what they're planning to do!!

    But, no. It's all negative marketing and scare tactics. Why are we allowing the country to be run like this? Oh, I remember. Because no-one knows how to vote.

    You know, I'd never heard of (or never noticed) the Democratic Socialists Party before I voted yesterday. When I did the Political Compass test that matched you up with parties (after I voted - yay Ange) I found I was quite close to them on the scale so I checked them out. Sure, they may be too far towards the loopy end of the scale (but that's where I am, anyway), but I would have rated them higher had I known anything about them.

    I don't think I am a very informed voter. I try to find out. I don't think I've tried enough, but I think my vote counts for what I really believe in. The election campaigns should be about informing the voters, though. We shouldn't have to sift through crap to find actual information.

    I don't think I need to be politically active as such, but I am going to try to make changes so that people will find it easier to make an educated vote. Seriously, I don't care what way people vote as long as they know exactly what they are voting for and how their vote works. Not understanding the system is exactly what the major parties want so they can run negative campaigns and win votes with it.

    If you read this far, can you please make a silent promise to yourself (or me) that you will strive to better understand the nation's political system and all of the party policies. Also strive to understand your own values more. And don't just do it the once. People change. Parties change. The name of the party doesn't necessarily explain what they're about. And please, do as much research as you can in times where there are no campaigns.

    Find out what you really think:
    Political Compass
    Australian Political Quiz - Gives Graph
    Australian Political Quiz - Gives percentage compatibility with Parties
    Generic Political Quiz

    Info on Australian Politics:
    Australian Electoral Commission
    ANU site with lots of useful links
    Guide to Electoral System
    Australian Parliament
    Australian Government Site
    World Parliaments
    Australian Politics Education
    Overview of Australian Politics - Trinity College, Perth
    Australian Policy Online
    Inside Politics
    ABC list of Australian Politics links
    AEC Virtual Tally Room

    Info on How to Vote:
    How votes are counted
    House of Reps Vote Counting
    Senate Vote Counting

    Pages with comprehensive Links to Party Sites:
    AEC list of current registered political parties
    Links to current registered political parties and political organisations

    Party Sites:
    Democratic Socialist Party
    Labour Party
    Liberal Democratic Party
    One Nation
    Liberal Party
    National Party
    Christian Democratic Party
    Liberals for Forests
    Family First Party

    Other interesting stuff:
    How to register a political party
    Learn about past prime ministers
    International Affairs Resources
    UN website

    Think Tanks & Discussions:
    Green Think Tank
    Free market think tank
    Strengths and weaknesses of Australian Democracy
    Social Democratic Think Tank
    Social Democratic Think Tank
    MSN Australian Politics group

    Volatile Topics:
    Gay and Lesbian
    Australian Forests
    Wilderness Society
    Free Trade Agreement with US - Whitehouse Story
    Free Trade Agreement
    Slashdot - Free Trade Agreement
    Public forum for Free trade Agreement
    No War on Iraq - dedicated site
    War on Iraq Article
    War on Iraq Discussion
    War on Iraq Media Study

    Melbourne Indy
    Sydney Indy
    The Australian
    The Australian Financial Review
    Green Left Weekly
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation
    Independent UK

    Posted at 2:03 AM #

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