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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

voting « Previous | |Next »
March 15, 2008

We had a curious addition to the voting process for the Gold Coast council election this year. A few weeks ago we received letters from the Electoral Commission.

Dear Voter,

"On Saturday 15 March 2008 voters in Queensland will vote to elect their Local Mayoral and Councillor representatives. We want to ensure that you can have your say quickly and easily on the day. We recommend you REMOVE THE PERFORATED SECTION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS LETTER AND BRING IT WITH YOU WEN YOU VOTE. Polling staff will use this card to find your name on the electoral roll." [bold caps in original]

The rest of the letter detailed voting instructions and the locations of polling booths.

During a conversation with similarly curious, or perhaps paranoid, friends a decision was taken to experiment with this card-presenting business, just to see what would happen. We devised various strategies - pretending to have left it at home but realising we had it at the last minute, tearing the card itself, I pointed out my name while fishing around for it in my bag. Being a bunch of cowards, none of us were game enough to front up without it.

We all had similar experiences. No ballot papers were handed over until the card was presented, and a pen stroke through the card.

It was an odd experience. In previous elections I imagine casting multiple votes would have been a simple matter of fronting up to multiple booths, or the same one over and over as long as a different person marked you off a different roll. Duh. Nevertheless, this card presenting and crossing business carries the inference that we can't be trusted which isn't pleasant, especially coming from bureaucrats and politicians. It's been a while since I've had to front up at Centrelink, but the feeling that cheat is the default position on the public is similar.

The other curious thing was the lack of people handing out Liberal HTV fliers. For weeks the place has been swarming with mobile billboards, posters, sandwich boards and all of the other election paraphernalia featuring Team Tate and gushing promises of a fabulous new Gold Coast. Yet there were three people handing out HTVs for one of the independents to a single Tate Liberal one.

Maybe Team Tate figured they had the whole thing wrapped up by lunch time and had all gone home before I got there around 2.00. We'll see I guess. Antony Green is blogging the Brisbane one, but like the masses of people who didn't turn up to watch the debates, and the Liberal HTV hander outerers, I can't be bothered. In the current political climate there's more at stake here for the Liberal Party than anyone else, Campbell Newman being the most senior Liberal in power and all.

Dean Vegas the Elvis impersonator is the most exciting thing about Gold Coast Council elections, but since he's not running (I think he forgot to register or something) we don't even get that small entertainment.

| Posted by Lyn at 4:25 PM | | Comments (24)


I didn't take my card and nobody asked to see it.
Perhaps my devil may care attitude frightened them.

Early figures have Newman romping in with an increased margin in Brisbane.
Ron Clarke leads Tom Tate on the coast. There will be updated info on ABC1 at 8:30 and 10 pm

No fair. Maybe we're just shifty looking people.
Can I ask why you didn't take it?

thanks for the update Les. Newman is no surprise.

I haven't been following it all that closely, but if Clarke gets it I suspect it would be because people don't like the idea of a party run council. Would you agree? I mean, he may be able to light an official flame, but Clarke hasn't exactly set the world on fire.

Well guys,
Newman as Mayor of Brisbane does counter balance Bligh Labor in Queensland. Thank god for local councils and a powerful Brisbane City Council.

Clarke at least has a touch of green and some understanding of ecological sutainablity. You cannot say that for Team Tate.

Live blogging is expected from the Queensland mob.

Newman has been returned as Mayor with the ABC analyst saying that he will pick up the 4 seats to control the council.
They are predicting that it will go to preferences on the gold coast with Clarke narrowly leading Tate and the other bloke close behind.

I think the punters in Brisbane think that Newman has done a reasonable job and are returning him. There would of course be a Liberal vs Labor aspect but its not the whole thing.

I didn't take it because I wanted to see what would happen if I didn't produce it. I wanted to see how they were briefed about those that didn't have it and I wanted to see if they asked for valid ID.

In regards to the party run question we will have to wait till tomorrow to see the big picture but at this point I see no trends across the state that people voted on party lines. The marketing department says that people chose the nice looking product that they know works and ignored the specials.

Those that advocate a national political structure (ie national government, no states, and then super-councils) use the BCC as an example of a super council. When I was living in Virginia, Loudoun County had a larger operating budget than the BCC. The super-councils that the nationalists like to talk of is politically tiny. They would get ramrodded by the national government more than the states would. NSW, WA, Vic and Qld are occasionally strong enough and large enough to tell the feds were to stick it. The BCC would never be, it is smaller politically and economically than a regional US county.

I'm in favour of the three levels of government myself. Local government needs to clean up its act especially in pro-development areas such as the Gold Coast.

I see that Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has taken full control of Brisbane City Council. He also secured a crushing victory in the majority of wards, gaining the power to force through his policies without the "Labor interference" which he said was holding the city back.

So what are his policies that his 'can do' team can implement? More cars in the city? More cars, tunnels and bridges?

and supporting a property developer owned by a foreign private equity outfit being "given the green light" to cover the Brisbane river with an enormous concrete slab measuring more than 40,000sq m – equivalent to 100 house lots.

The developer will be allowed to construct five office and residential unit towers of between 19 and 46 storeys, plus four more exclusive apartment buildings between eight and 11 storeys on the river.

Brisbane needs to grow to cater for the needs of the population. The previous situation with the council worked but wasn't ideal.
The people elected what they saw as a good model for their community. Poo Pooing their decision from the other side of the country just because your political flavor did poorly is pissing in the wind.

So we weren't the only ones curious to see what would happen. I was starting to think we were paranoid.

Reading through the threads at Poll Bludger and Antony Green it seems quite a few people were annoyed that Labor barely bothered in Brisbane.

That's a highly controversial project. I've wondered whether the plans as you've described them are more of an ambit claim than a realistic proposition.

Newman likes big things. He's a robosaurus man. A Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme man. The city is already choking on concentrated population and private cars. Right when people are worried about the environment.

Hockey is talking up Newman's win and gains in the wards as a win for the Liberal Party, which is of course one way of understanding it. But the same thing can't be said of the Gold Coast, conservatives to their marrow, where the Team Tate08 didn't win one division. After the federal election I thought they would.
Did you?

Hockey's argument is defeated by the results of the Gold Coast. I think lots of people see Newman as a hard worker and a reasonable manager.

I thought the gold coast would have a higher Liberal count. Though lots have had the wind knocked out of their sails here with the moving on of Howard and they feel let down by the Libs. Not because they feel the Libs did anything wrong. Its more like a feeling that you have when your old dog dies and you have that period where your thinking about getting a new dog but its just too soon to do it.

I wouldn't make much of the Liberal party aspect in either direction. It was almost entirely absent from all of Newman's campaign fluff, you would never have guessed he was a liberal party candidate other than reading about it in the papers. No logos, no text, no imagery, no reference to the larger party at any point. He just ran as Newman.

I suspect that celebrity personality politcs pretty much sums up where electoral politics is at all levels of government at the moment. It doesn't fit with lofty ideals of democracy or the public sphere, but it's what we've got. At least the elections as Australian Idol model gives the disengaged something to work with.

I thought that 'can do' Campbell Newman won in part because he at least appeared to be addressing Brisbane’s dire transport woes--gridlock. He can do more to solve Brisbane's appalling congestion problems now that he has a friendly council chamber to support him. 'Can do' seems to refer to the North South Bypass tunnel and solving the problem of the currently stalled Hale St bridge proposal.

I would have thought that public transport would have been a more significant part of the transport solution, given environmental concerns. While the state government is bulk buying solar panels to lower the cost for private homes, the council wants more roads for private cars.

I was in Brisbane today and I saw a Newman sign that said 500 new buses.

M.I.A is correct the big L was very small in his campaign

Yes I heard about the 500 buses. Catchy. 500 buses.

Yes I would ride 500 buses and I would ride 500 more, to be the man who rode a thousand buses to fall down at your door. Luckily I don't make a living out of my sense of humour. Apologies to the Proclaimers.

Do we have a mayor yet? Clarke is a mile ahead and the two other big ones swapped preferences, but the HTVs only gave instructions to vote 1.

The person who handed me my slip explained very well that I could number 1-4 on the mayoral slip if I wished to or just put a number in 1 box.
Tate may still get up on preferences.

But I am up for a sing-a-long anytime