Submitted by Troy Rollo on Fri, 23/03/2007 - 11:15am
With the polls showing Labor with an apparently unassailable lead for tomorrow many people will no doubt be considering casting a protest vote for the Liberal or National candidate in their electorate. If you are thinking of this you should think again &emdash; Jeff Kennet seemed unassailable in his last election campaign and then lost office on a protest vote lodged by voters who believed it would not elect the opposition.
The opposition is aware of this, which is why in the last days of the campaign they started admitting they could not win the election and have started suggesting people not let Labor win by too much &emdash; they are hoping enough people will lodge a protest vote to accidentally change the Government.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Thu, 22/03/2007 - 10:39pm
With the election two days away it seems unlikely anything will happen to change circumstances, and it has been a fairly quiet week anyway, so it is time to post my ordering of candidates.
In the lower house the number one spot, taken solely on the merits of the candidates, would be a dead heat between David Havyatt for the Democrats and the independent Martin Levine. Both have solid liberal policy positions, and both are capable in public speaking and debate. Havyatt has a great depth of policy knowledge, and Levine demonstrates an ability to bring a fresh perspective and come up with novel ways of looking at an issue. This leaves me looking at the question of which is the better strategic vote, and that means, in Epping, who has the best chance of holding a decent swag of votes that would otherwise be destined for the Liberal Party candidate.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Mon, 19/03/2007 - 8:39pm
In the legislative Council election this Saturday we have the option of voting for groups (above the line) by numbering one or more groups in order of preference, or voting for candidates (below the line) by numbering at least 15 candidates in order of preference.
When voting "above the line" you cannot cast a vote for an independent candidate. To vote for an independent at all you must vote below the line. There are over 300 candidates below the line, and while you only have to number 15 candidates, doing so runs a risk that your votes exhaust and so do not count towards anybody.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Mon, 19/03/2007 - 8:05pm
In an opinion piece in The Australian today, anti gay marriage campaigner John Heard lets rip with this:
Indeed, gay marriage creates a perverse incentive for heterosexual couples to either reject marriage outright or dissolve a marriage already contracted.
What incentive to get married would government policy provide if Joseph and John down the road get all the benefits and have none of the setbacks (school fees, increased shopping costs and so on) that marriage often brings?
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Mon, 19/03/2007 - 7:44pm
Greg Smith, the Liberal candidate for Epping, has still not mentioned his past as president of Right to Life to constituents, and the local newspapers seem content to let him get away with it. One candidate likes to privately refer to this as "the elephant in the room" because in political circles Smith's past is notorious, but it is not being discussed in the open so that most voters in Epping are unaware of this fairly important piece of information.
Perhaps Smith believes that if he leaves this alone people will think his past is indeed in his past and he will not seek to introduce new anti-abortion legislation when in Parliament. If that is the impression he was trying to create then he really ought to have stayed out of the RU486 debate recently &emdash; submission 483 to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee's Inquiry into Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of RU486) Bill 2006, which appears on pages 165 to 175 of the report, was authored by Smith in his personal capacity and sought to discourage the Federal Parliament from its recent decision to, in effect, remove the ministerial ban on approving the abortion pill.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Fri, 16/03/2007 - 9:27pm
With two Federal Ministers gone in two weeks, each for infractions that are, in the scheme of Howard Government misfeasance, trifling in nature, the Government must be having second thoughts about their choice to put accountability in issue. There have certainly been Howard Government Ministers who have committed much greater breaches of the trust of public office than Campbell and Santoro &emdash; the only reason the latter two are gone is that it comes at a time when the Government has tried to hold the leader of the Opposition to a standard so high that it is doubtful anybody could meet it.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Fri, 16/03/2007 - 7:04pm
It now seems that both of the major parties are determined to trot out their attacks on the Greens drug policy every election. Today Barry O'Farrell, the deputy leader of the opposition in New South Wales, has told the ALP to drop their preference deal with the Greens because Iemma ought to:
stand up for himself, for his party, for families and for people who are against drugs in society...
The implication is that the Greens policy is pro-drugs, but that is simply not true. The Greens policy is about taking a new approach to combatting the problem &emdash; it is as much about eliminating drugs as any other policy.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Thu, 15/03/2007 - 10:41pm
While most candidates in the election have given some explanation of their background, others have not. This is unfortunate since the background information is important to many voters in making their decision.
The Christian Democrats' candidate for Epping is John Kingsmill, a self-employed electrical contractor from West Pennant Hills who has held a number of positions on the committee of the West Pennant Hills toastmasters. Given the practice he presumably had over the years at toastmasters, his public speaking presentation at the candidates formum was surprisingly poor. Perhaps he only has strong speaking skills when speaking to groups of people he already knows.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Wed, 14/03/2007 - 11:54pm
The image on the left appears on the front of the Christian Democratic Party's brochure that is causing so much controversy right now. While the brochure tries to make out that militant Islam is a threat to Australia, the use of this photo on a page that is otherwise black save for the title &emdash; "Aussie Values versus Radical Islam" &emdash; gives away the real motivation.
The sign being held up by he woman in the photo says "Jesus is not son of God. He is a Prophet of Islam". There is nothing radical about that statement &emdash; it is a mere statement of the the religious belief of the person holding up the sign. While Islam, having no central authority, is a diverse religion where it is dangerous to make blanket statements about the beliefs of all adherents, this view is fairly consistent throughout the whole religion. To use that photo as the lead in a brochure about "Radical Islam" is to paint all of Islam as radical. The real beef of the Christian Democrats is that Islamic belief offends their own sensibilities.
Submitted by Troy Rollo on Mon, 12/03/2007 - 12:58pm
Today there was a forum held at the Cheltenham Recreation Club for candidates for the seat of Epping. Eight candidates turned up, the only absentee being Michael Bergman (Australians Against Further Immigration). As it turned out all four of the Bennelong candidates for 2004 who actually resided in Bennelong were there as well, so it doubled as a reunion of sorts.
The first thing to get out of a forum like this is to get a sense of each candidate's ability to present their case in public - their public speaking skills. These skills are important in politics since a stronger public speaker will have a better chance of persuading others on the floor of Parliament and will normally have stronger skills in presenting arguments in back room forums.