Saturday, February 17, 2018

Compulsary Voting, Having more than 2 political parties (sort of) and other quandries

Today I got an email from Landcare Tasmania which organizes volunteer groups around Tasmania.  The email contained their position on their (lack of) funding, what they need, what has been and not been promised from the political parties.
The email included a plea for people to vote, and some links to help people attain the information needed to vote.  This is the first of its kind that I have received.  Apparently there is a sort of unspoken etiquette towards not talking about politics, and specifically not trying to 'sway' people.  This, however, seems to stymie the education of people on the issues.  
While chatting with the limited number of people that I did (say around 50 odd), I was surprised by how few looked into how their representatives voted.  
There was also the straight up hostility towards the party they did not favor, coupled with a mistrust for politicians in general unless they personally knew the candidate (this being a place with a low population was actually almost common). 
Today on a.m. radio there were comments towards people voting for the 'candidates' they preferred not the 'party', which speaks to how I want to vote, and my trying to figure out if by doing this between two parties (neither are in the majority) am I splitting the vote?
If you click the link above you can see that I am perhaps not the only person unable to just do the math of our system. 
I have been here for over a decade but only now do I feel like I have a grasp on the politics.  The state has changed - a lot of changes together with new people moving to state, more people using social media and the internet, more people with 'better than dial up' connections.
There are almost too many 'move to Tasmania' webpages, apps, FB campaigns- it has been about five years that Tasmania seems to have seeped into the wider world, and about three years since I have stopped promoting the area myself.  
When I think of my first five years bewildered that searching on the internet did not find me information, that all government information seemed to be links to large pdf files...that may or my not contain the answer I was looking for. At least my partner is paying a bit more attention to politics perhaps because we are entering our fifth decade as humans, maybe because he is thinking of us being in this home more than our other home.
I get too many pleas for donations from the second largest party...and truly anyone can see that the party in power at the moment (Liberal) has more money, as expressed in advertisements.  But I can't quite see how this improves plaster the city with ads.  I could only see my way to donating my time.  I have heard people express how irritated they are to get calls from the wrong voting electorate...I was not 'phone banked' but I have gotten multiple emails that seem as if the campaigns are not coordinated - but this makes sense when there seems to be a sort of 'throw as many items at the target as possible' strategy all around.
I have also heard that without the Hare-Clark system people are faced with large numbers of choices for the fives spots- so ridiculously large that the numbering of them gets so complicated it puts people off voting.
I have also continued to have conversations about how strange the ideas of 'voting on a weekday' - or the idea of voting being a 'privilege'  -
I am saddened by the idea that the people, the electorate can not make a difference.  I think voting on a weekend is a bit of an insult- I am used to voting being an event- with small rewards, like a break from the work day, and stickers.



Monday, February 5, 2018

...just a Yank...trying to be a Mate...

I have been alone, I have been among strangers- volunteering time to go door-to-door in neighbourhoods near where I live with a candidate that is standing for office in the next election.  
In part I chose to do this because I am learning about the political system and in part because so many people have lived here their whole lives that I feel I will gain insight by listening to them.
Also, the state elections here use a method called 'Tasmania's Hare-Clark Electoral System' which is apparently different from other states (which I of course, do not know about firsthand). 
We list candidates in order of preference.  I have had differing explanations of this, but finally I have found an explanation on the Internet here:

I thought I might be too fearful, but my curiosity seems to get the better of me.  I thought I would be a bit offended when people couldn't be bothered, or are irritated that someone is disturbing them...but mostly that has been okay.
I realize that really, I am the type of person that isn't always very gracious when I am interrupted and I now, vow to do better.
Self-servingly I like to have a legitimate reason to walk up peoples drives, especially to houses I have always walked by and thought 'Gee that looks like a really happy home.'

I am a bit deflated that 'compulsory' voting seems to partially make people feel like they are forced to do something unpleasant like go to the dentist.  There is no fanfare, no stickers that say smugly "I voted!".  People seem un-engaged by the process or worse, completely believe that the whole system is a waste of time.
I want to shout "Sure things are pretty good now, but they could turn badly if you do not pay attention!"
I fear, that I am looking for positive affirmation in these conversations for what I already believe, even though truly, I am trying to listen and learn.

While I had the house to myself for a week I did some repairs that took more time than I thought they would, I was waylaid by a really hot day-
I watched some sappy movies, I did my best to catch friends by phone long distance.
I have this feeling of being behind but I couldn't articulate why.
This tangle of politics will be taking up my month.