Preferences bamboozle punters, again


The idea is that no-one’s vote should be wasted. Even if you vote for the guy from the Free Money party and he only gets three votes, you still deserve to have a chance in electing the government of the day.

If your number one choice does not get up your vote lives on, at full value, and goes to your second choice.

That simple, honourable idea gets so complicated in practice that it drives some voters mad – causing them to write rude things on the ballot paper, like Bring Back the Train, in an attempt to pass the madness down the line.

It gets most complicated in seats like Richmond that have four parties splitting the vote in various size pieces. Even though every voter has complete control over who gets their number two or three spot, most voters fill in the numbers the way that their party suggests on their how to vote card. Those suggestions are referred to, in the business, as directing the preferences.

If the National party, for example, decided that the Libs were selling farmers down the drain and they were better off with Labor they might direct their voters to put Justine ahead of Joan. Unlikely as that scenario is, it illustrates the point.

That scenario is unlikely because the Libs and Nats have a coalition agreement. The problem for Labor is that The Greens are independent. It is the members of the Greens party in each electorate who decide what goes on the local how to vote card.

Green members will meet to decide the first stage in that process in the next three weeks. Justine, Joan and Alan keenly look forward to the results of that meeting.

Watch this space.

Joe Ebono is the Greens candidate in the forthcoming Federal election


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