Friday, August 16, 2013

Stay on message - say nothing

The result will be closer than it would have been but it still seems that we'll have Tony Abbott as our Prime Minister after September 7.

It'll be by default though, with people voting against Labor rather than for the coalition. That's been their strategy all along with the relentless negativity that everything the government has done is wrong. And it's worked.

Coalition it may be, BTW, but we're hearing less than nothing from the Nationals, we're hearing only the Liberals.

Not that we're hearing anything of substance from them, just the usual parroting of stop the boats, carbon tax, economy in crisis.

I live in one of the marginal electorates, held by Labor but only because of our shonky preference system of backroom deals. But more of that later.

The Big Two candidates were on radio this morning. The incumbent listed things Labor, and she, have achieved in the last term.

The Liberal candidate was on message and said nothing about policies, costings, vision. Ignoring the questions she insisted that what was important was what local businesses are telling her - that the carbon tax and red tape is killing them.

Only last week, she told us, a local business told her that they had to lay off 30 staff because of the carbon tax and red tape.  They're two of the big items for the Libs of course. Most of their tax cuts and spending they tell us is going to be funded by savings coming from cutting red tape.

So last week one company blamed the government for all their woes. So what. Management default position is always that someone else is to blame for the company having a tough time.

The Lib's strategy is clear. Get people to vote against the government and they win without having to commit to anything.

Quality candidates

We have another fine example of the quality of candidates being served up too, with the story today that the Liberal candidate for a Sydney seat is an ex-policeman with a questionable past.

Back in the nineties we had the Wood royal commission into corruption in the NSW police force. Ray King, the Libs candidate for McMahon electorate, was among a group of detectives exposed as having provided 'informal security arrangements' to the Marconi Club in return for meals, booze and cash. King also admitted to the commission that he often socialised there with a well-known drug dealer and brothel owner, who's in the slammer for a twenty stretch.

Still, as with  Jaymes Diaz  it won't affect people's voting patterns, up to half the electors will vote for him anyway. The vast majority of the votes for  the Big Two parties go to them automatically, regardless of anything.

Shonky system

And now back to my electorate and our voting system that I so often complain about.

Labor won last time but, naturally, more people voted against the winner than for her, 51,406 against and 33,935 for. That's something which to my mind is very wrong, but it's not unusual in western democracies.

What is different here in Oz is that the second place candidate got 3,216 more votes than the eventual winner. But after the shonky preferences deals were taken into account, Labor ended up with 1,599 more than the Libs.

So this time around it only needs a different set of preference deals or a few people changing their votes, and the Libs will win.

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