[Linux-aus] The federal election - what ICT policies have been announced? (fwd)

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Mon Oct 4 00:42:01 UTC 2004

On Sun, 3 Oct 2004, Paul Dwerryhouse wrote:

> Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2004 10:11:16 +0200
> From: Paul Dwerryhouse <paul at dwerryhouse.com.au>
> To: linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] The federal election - what ICT policies have
>     been announced? (fwd)
> On Sun, Oct 03, 2004 at 09:53:51AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > Albert Langer, 1996. He was advocating voting the candidates you don't
> > like equal last, as a moral stand / form of protest. Which isn't to spec,
> > but the vote counters will still use your vote as much as possible, so
> > your vote won't actually get thrown away. 
> This loophole has since been closed, however, so anyone intending to try
> it out next Saturday will find themselves having voted informally:
> http://www.aec.gov.au/_content/what/voting/research_2001elections.htm
> : "At the 1996 elections Mr Langer indicated that he intended to encourage
> : electors to use a form of optional preferential voting. As a result of
> : an advertisement published by Mr Langer encouraging the above style of
> : preferential voting, the AEC obtained an injunction, preventing him from
> : continuing the campaign. Mr Langer defied the injunction and was
> : sentenced to jail for contempt of court. The term Langer Styler voting
> : arose from Mr Langers high profile campaigns of encouraging electors to
> : vote in a form 1,2,3,4,4,4 or similar. In 1998 the CEA was again amended
> : so that it was no longer an offence to encourage voters to vote other
> : than in accordance with full preferential voting. However Langer-style
> : votes would no longer be counted as formal.
> : 
> : In the 1998 and 2001 elections Langer-Style votes were counted as
> : informal. Prior to 1998 these votes would have been counted up to the
> : point that the numbering became non-consecutive at which time they would
> : have been classified as exhausted. Consequently this type of voting has
> : contributed to the rise in informality at the 1998 and 2001 elections."
> Paul.

Correction - he was not advocating the people should vote the 
particular way; he merely advised that people could vote that way, if 
they wanted to vote first past the post instead of preferential.

It is a bit like the misrepresentation that australian voters voted 
against becoming a republic - the australian voters were prevented 
by feral parliament, from voting on the question as to whether australia 
should become a republic. That question was not put to the australian 
voters, and australian voters were prevented from voting on that 
question, by the feral parliament.

Langer was stopped, and so the feral method of voting violates Article 
25(b) of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
"Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity without any of 
the distinctions mentioned in Article 2 and without unreasonable 
restrictions: to vote and be elected at genuine periodic elections which 
shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret 
ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors.".

Thus, the article more or less requires first past the post voting, 
where a voter chooses for whom the voter wants to vote, instead of being 
required to vote for candidates that the voter does not want, as is 
required by the preferential voting system, in which it is not the 
person who gains the most votes for the candidate, that wins, but, it is 
the candidate that gets the least votes cast against the candidate, that 

To cast a valid vote, in the australian preferential voting system, a 
voter is required to vote for candidates that the voter does not want 
elected, and, therefore, the election is clearly not the "free 
expression of the will of the electors", and, is clearly in 
contravention of Article 25(2) of the UN International Convention on 
Civil and Political Rights.

But then, that is not really surprising in a country where the 
government gave the one finger salute to the UN, unlawfully invaded 
and overthrew the government of a foreign country (I understood that 
it was an offence under australian law, to commission a military 
force to overthrow the government of another country, apart from the 
invasion being unlawful under international law), and, violated 
Article 20 (1) of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political 

Maybe, one day, we will get basic human rights in this country, and free 
and fair elections, but, I suppose that is like expecting members of 
parliament to be honest and to represent the people.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
  Chapter 28 of 
  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
  A Trilogy In Four Parts",
  written by Douglas Adams, 
  published by Pan Books, 1992 

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