Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Australian Elections: Who's who?

I will be voting in the upcoming federal elections in Australia and I would like to know something about the candidates in my Sydney area, but I'm living in London so what can I do?

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) have a website showing the name, occupation and party allegiance of each candidate, but nothing there helps me to find out what the individual is actually standing for. Not even any contact details.

I wrote to the AEC asking how I could get contact details for the candidates in my division and got the following:
The information you require is available on the AEC website. All contact details of the candidates has been posted on the website.
Really? I wrote back including a link to the page listing the candidates in my state and also cut and pasted the section for my division. Where, I asked, is this contact information? The AEC responded:
Contact details for candidates are not available to the Australian Electoral Office. You will need to contact the party concerned for contact details. sorry for any inconvenience.
Ooops.

But apart from giving me bad information in the first place, just how am I supposed to make an informed choice in this election if the electoral officials can not, or will not, allow voters to know more than the name, job and party of the candidates? What about independent candidates?

I certainly hope it is not true that the "Contact details for candidates are not available to the Australian Electoral Office". I mean, how would they tell a candidate if they happened to win?

This nonsense does rather seem to favour the position that as a voter you are not really voting for an individual representative, rather you are voting for a party. After all, why would you care which party minion gets the seat in your division?

Well I do care, and I think that the AEC are letting the electorate down very badly in this regard.

4 comments:

chesty said...

vote for a longer and healthier planet, either that, or vote for a party that is strong in space and terraforming.

Bruce said...

The point is, I don't want to vote for a "party" at all. I want to vote for an individual who will do the best they can for the people and the environment in Sydney.

Lindsay H said...

Heya Bruce.

Google Australia are doing a bit of election coverage, specifically though Google maps overlays. You can click through to the Sydney electorate and get a listing of all the candidates, and links to Google searches on them.

I'll be voting for Jenny Leong, though I am a member of the Greens and could be considered biased. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce,
You may want to contact London's ALP Abroad branch (easy to google) and ask them to help you out with the information you seek so that you can make an informed decision.
Most members have their own webpages these days so once you have the name of the people standing in for election in your electorate you can easily google them as well.
cheers and happy voting,
Gina