It's Time

Jul. 10th, 2015 11:08 am
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I'm not usually "political" in the classic sense, but I think I need to be ON THIS ISSUE. I know too many people who are arbitrarily denied happiness over this issue. And it's an issue that won't cost a lot of money, or lose anyone their existing rights, so THE TIME HAS COME.
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One of our ex-Prime Ministers has died.

So the big guy's gone. My father used to look a lot like him, way back when (mostly the hair style).

Back in 1975 I had a 'Forest Gump' moment with Gough. I was working at a warehouse in Perth and had lunch at the GPO. I was reading a book and failed to notice a crowd gathering outside and the next thing I knew he was giving a speech in Forest Place! I met him once back in 1996 when he opened a Seaman's hostel in Carrington, Newcastle. I'd just moved into a flat around the corner.

He had a good innings...

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I think we need major voting reforms for Federal elections in Australia. This is not because of the election's result on the weekend, but because the system's misleading and confusing as is.

Currently at a Federal election you get two ballots - one for the lower house (House of Representatives), and one for the upper (The Senate). The House of Reps has candidates based on a regional electorate and seldom has more than a dozen candidates. Currently a vote must enter a unique number for each candidate, from "1" to "x" (where "x" is the number of candidates). If a candidate has an absolute majority of "1" votes then they win outright. But if that's NOT the case (and usually it isn't) then the candidate with the fewest "1" votes is eliminated, and each vote is then added to the candidate that was marked "2" on the ballot. If there's still no clear majority then the lowest scoring candidates continue to be eliminated one by one, with their votes going to the the next preference on the ballot. This means at some point there WILL be a candidate with a majority of votes (extremely rare to have ties). A ballot might be deemed invalid if it's unclear about the order of voting, like missing numbers, or duplicated ones.

Now that seems a reasonable way of doing House of Reps ballots, because there are seldom too many candidates Even so, when it comes to State elections, there are variations on this. Both Queensland and New South Wales have an Optional Preferential Voting System, where the voter only has to mark at least one box with a "1". They can add "2", "3" and so on, but that's not compulsory.

The bigger issue is the Senate which has "State Wide" representation. Each State has the same number of seats (10 at the moment) and normally at each election 1/2 of these are up for re-election.  That seems reasonable, but at the last election in NSW there were 110 candidates for just five seats!!! The other States had roughly the same numbers of candidates as well. Currently the voting for the Senate uses the same rules as that for the House of Reps - with one addition. You can either vote "1 to x" by placing numbers in the boxes of each candidate, or you can "vote above the line".
The parties, and even independents, are grouped in columns and there's a line above this with boxes above each column. Instead of placing a number in EVERY box (which for me last election was 1 to 110!) with the chance of invalidating your vote if you make a mistake, you can place a "1" in one of the boxes above the line. What this means is that you have decided to vote in a manner that party has predetermined (which undoubtedly means voting for their candidates first). But there are issues with this - it gives the parties a lot of power in deciding how they swap preferences with other parties and candidates. It's not really a "fair choice" because voting below the line seems tedious and confusing. There are however, two ways this could be reformed.

The first is mentioned in this article by LifeHacker:

"In the long term, we need to change the rules of elections. This should be done by first abolishing above the line voting and the Group Voting Tickets. In its place, Partial Optional Preferential voting below the line should be introduced. Voters then only have to vote for as many candidates as there are positions to be filled for your vote to be formal."

The second is to actually extend the above the line voting system:

"NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said the Greens would talk to other parties about introducing an optional preferential above the line vote for the senate, saying the current voting system could deny the Greens a seat in the ACT. Under the proposition, voters would be able to rank parties in order of preference above the line, similar to lower house ballots, instead of just putting a '1' before their preferred party. 'It's actually a very simple way to give the preference decision back to the voters,' she told reporters in Sydney on Sunday. 'It removes the incentive for the preference deals that are now doing so much damage.' "

Maybe BOTH could be implemented. It's often said that a people gets the government it deserves, but if a system's so complicated that folk either don't understand it, or vote a pre-determined way because otherwise is too frustrating, then it's time to change.

laura_seabrook: (Default)
Was watching the news shows this morning, who all had reporters in Canberra this morning after the leadership change last night.

One said "And we'll be talking with Tony Abbott (leader of the opposition) who'll be telling us if he can beat Kevin Rudd and Labor in the election". Like he's going to say "NO"???!!!!

And another was "We'll have to see if the events of the last few years (internal faction fighting in Labor) have 'DAMAGED THE LABOR BRAN' or not". I immediately thought of an old episode of The Goodies, where Tim Brook Taylor was marketed as a brand of soap.

AUSTRALIAN POLITICS IS RIDICULOUS. It focusses on meaningless personality conflicts and avoids hard questions like Marriage Equality and real changes to refugee policy.

Finally -

May. 26th, 2012 03:26 pm
laura_seabrook: (tired)
FRINGE is back!


Neither Here Nor There 10.30pm - 11.30pm GO! (88)

laura_seabrook: (cheerful)

The House of Reps is asking for your (that is, if you're Australia) opinion on two Bills in Federal Parliament RIGHT NOW. You can tell themn what you think by taking an online survey. This is no bogus net petition that won't be noticed, this is the House of Reps wanting to know just how much support or dissent on this there is out here!

HAVE YOUR SAY by going to and completing the survey there.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

My view:

This is what it seems like to me. Am just so sick of "Personality Politics" in Australia where the assumption is that a government or party is different with a different PM or leader. Australians don't vote for these idiots directly (unless they are standing in our electorates), it's the so called  "faceless men" (and women) within the party caucus that do.



Aug. 12th, 2011 03:27 pm
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I don't think I've cried so much, or been so pleased with a film like this for a long long time.

RED DOG is the story about a real dog that was given the same name. He was adopted by the Dampier community and became famous locally when he travellied the North West of the State. As this excert from the wikipedia shows...

Red spent a lot of time travelling on his own, although he was taken in by many members of the community and a veterinarian who treated him.[6] Red was made a member of the Dampier Salts Sport and Social Club and the Transport Union. He was also given a bank account with the Wales Bank, which is said to have used him as a mascot and sales tool with the slogan "If Red banks at the Wales, then you can too."

...he was much loved as well.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

It seems that the Liberals are now the new government in NSW. The Liberal candidate (Barr) won in my electorate. Labor went from 46 seats to 17 (so far). A certain indication I think that many thought it was time for a change of government. I certainly did, though I know I won't be popular with some of my friends. How long the Liberals will stay being government in New South Wales is another matter.


Aug. 21st, 2010 10:42 am
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Voting is TODAY. I just voted. There were 6 candidates locally, and 84 for the senate (for my state New South Wales). Six is easy to sort out - 84 not so easy (and I refuse to vote "above the line"). Never knew there were so many wankers standing for the senate.

The women I stood next to in the queue to vote said that if Liberals get back in, her family's moving to New Zealand. My prediction is (and has been for a while):
    Labour returned with a much reduced majority in the lower house; and a senate controlled by the Greens/Independents.
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I was on OTAKU and came across this on one of their forums. It's a "one-off anthology for women in the Australian Comics scene". Are you a woman in the Australian  Comics scene? Then why not contribute?

The deadline for contributions is DECEMBER 2010 and the web page for it is here.

Doc Rat

Dec. 16th, 2009 05:34 pm
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Doc Rat is a "furry" strip by someone I vaguely knew a long time ago in Perth Fandom:

laura_seabrook: (Default)

From the Herald Sun:

SAME-SEX couples will be allowed to marry if a Bill introduced in the Federal Parliament is passed.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced her private member's Bill, proposing to grant gay couples equal marriage rights, into the Upper House on Wednesday.

The Bill seeks to remove all discrimination based on sexuality and gender from the Marriage Act.

It will also allow same-sex marriages legalised abroad to be recognised in Australia.

Senator Hanson-Young tabled a petition of more than 30,000 signatures supporting gay marriage rights, saying: "The Rudd Government can no longer hide behind the lame excuse of the community not being ready for same-sex marriages in Australia."

Debate on the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 was adjourned.

I don't know how much chance this has of succeeding, but at least they're giving it a go.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

The song by Eric Bogle:

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I just discovered the Dictionary of Australia Artists while looking for a photo of Carol.


Mar. 26th, 2009 10:57 am
laura_seabrook: (Default)

australiaI recently applied for Pensioner Education Supplement, but got a one line letter that said I wasn't eligible because such wasn't paid for Masters or Doctorate studies. However, on the instigation of Kevin this morning, I checked my bank balance and found an extra $950 in it - presumerably because I've started studying again.

Hey, that's great, that's helpful, but I'm confused.  I can't find where I am on the Household Stimulus Package page. I've heard from one LJ friend that they may not be eligible for this, but this is not altogether certain to me. I used to work for Social Security years ago and know that "when in doubt, put in a claim". Either you're eligible or not but if you don't apply, you wont get it. And sometimes (like me) you might not be eligible for one thing, but get another.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

Brian Naylor, retired Australian TV presenter, died recently in the Victorian bushfires. Naylor and his wife Moiree were found dead after fire destroyed their property at Kinglake.

He presented the Melbourne edition of National Nine News from 1978 until 1998, and also hosted Carols by Candlelight on ten occasions.

Over a hundred others have died in these fires as well, but I don't know their names or faces.


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