Vote 1 – then vote 2 and even 3 – above the line to maximise your vote

You can stop Hanson, the Shooters and Fred Nile winning control of the NSW Upper House.

Don’t waste part of your vote in the Upper House

All indications are that the O’Farrell-led Coalition will win a landslide in the Lower House in the NSW elections on March 26.

The blunt reality is that the Coalition plus the Christian Democrat Party, Family First and the Shooters & Fishers Party (and maybe Pauline Hanson) will have a majority in the 42-member Upper House if Labor plus The Greens plus John Hatton don’t win 10 seats out of the 21 to be elected on March 26.

This week a group of people from a broad range of non-government organisations, including unions, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Parents & Citizens Associations, the Rape Crisis Centre, Women’s Electoral Lobby and GLBTIQ groups met in the NSW Upper House Chamber and expressed alarm at this prospect.

This meeting of progressive citizens felt that if the Coalition also wins a majority in the 42-member Upper House, we will see a repeat of the extremism of the last Howard government in Canberra. The Howard government was able to impose vicious measures like WorkChoices because it did not have to negotiate with anyone in the Senate, it could ignore the views of millions of voters.

This group wanted to get the message out that progressives worried about an ultra right wing Upper House can make a difference by making sure they allocate preferences above the line to parties who reject Hanson, the Shooters and Nile.

Whatever the parties say to you on their ‘how to vote’, maximise your progressive vote by voting at least 1-2-3 ‘above the line’ in the order you choose. This way any leftover part of your vote will flow on after your the maximum number of your first preference candidates are elected.

You can also vote ‘below the line’, where you have to vote for at least 15 candidates in a proper sequence to cast a valid vote. You can pick your own progressive candidates to vote for.

Counting for the last one or two seats in the Upper House will come down to just a few hundred votes. Make sure all of your vote is counted by giving a thoughtful preference after your first choice.

Maximise the progressive vote in the Upper House on March 26 – don’t waste any part of your vote – give a thoughtful preference ‘above the line’

 

How we could get an ultra conservative Upper House

Unlike the federal Senate elections, a vote for one party ‘above the line’ in the NSW Upper House does not include a flow of preferences to any candidates of any other party. Parties do not distribute preferences, the voter does.

You the voter have to put numbers ‘2’, ‘3’ or more in boxes for other parties ‘above the line’, if you are to give any further preferences.

For example, if you vote only ‘1’ for The Greens above the line, your vote exhausts after the last Green with a full quota is elected. The ‘leftover’ part of your vote goes nowhere else – it ‘exhausts’.

If you vote only ‘1’ for John Hatton’s Independents ‘above the line’, again, after John Hatton is hopefully elected, any leftover part of your vote is exhausted.

If you vote only ‘1’ for Labor ‘above the line’, again, after 5 or perhaps 6 Labor candidates are elected, any leftover part of your vote is exhausted.

You can also vote ‘below the line’, where you have to vote for at least 15 candidates in a proper sequence to cast a valid vote.

The polls indicate that at best the Greens can win 3 or 4 seats in the Upper House, and Labor can win 6 or 5 seats in the Upper House. That makes a total of 9, out of the 21 to be elected. If John Hatton is also elected – at the expense of the Coalition – it would add to the possibility of a broad progressive alliance in the Upper House.

A progressive alliance is needed as a brake on an ultraconservative agenda that includes privatisation, anti-worker laws, degradation or abolition of national parks, cuts to welfare services, and discrimination against minorities. A progressive alliance can ensure that the voices of millions of voters who don’t agree with everything the Coalition stands for will still have an effective voice in the new parliament.

Of the 21 Upper House members who don’t have to stand for election on March 26, the Coalition has 8, the Shooters & Fishers 1, Christian Democrats 1, The Greens 2 and Labor 9. That makes 10 conservative votes and 11 broadly progressive. In the new Upper House, after electing a President, it takes 21 votes to have a progressive majority. So at least 10 broadly progressive candidates need to be elected on March 26 if there is to be any check on the expected huge Coalition Lower House majority.

Whatever the parties say to you on their ‘how to vote’, maximise your progressive vote by voting at least 1-2-3 ‘above the line’ in the order you choose. This way any leftover part of your vote will flow on after the maximum number of your first preference candidates are elected.

Counting for the last one or two seats in the Upper House will come down to just a few hundred votes. Make sure all of your vote is counted by giving a thoughtful preference after your first choice, so that it is a progressive and not Hanson!

On March 26 give a thoughtful preference ‘above the line’

Authorised by: Peter Murphy, SEARCH Foundation. www.search.org.au

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Search-Foundation/157869720931836

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