Moves by Premier Bligh to make preferential voting compulsory in Queensland are a ploy, and her reasons stated for its consideration are dishonest.
Back in the 1990s then Premier, Peter Beattie changed the voting system from compulsory to optional preferencing. This was a considerable improvement in the system as voters were able to just vote for one candidate or if they wished continue on in order of choices. Preferences if made were counted. Prior to this time ballots with only one choice marked were invalid.
While this move was for the better, the reasons for it were not. In fact it was a ploy to keep Labor in power. At that stage the Nationals and the Liberals were separate parties but had the option of each standing a candidate in some electorates and preferencing each other. By making preferences optional, and advocating, “Just vote one,” this was negated.
As back then there was no major contest for the leftie vote Labor was able to cloak it as a reform and split the conservative vote. It was a slithery move by a slippery premier for the sole benefit of his own party.
In order to stay in power Labor has had to ‘reinvent’ itself as a more moderate party to the point where it has been difficult to pick the differences between them and the opposition. The Liberals and Nationals have amalgamated into a single party therefore three-cornered contests are not an issue.
While in the past the vote from the left could be taken for granted by Labor and was, over the last few years the extreme left to hard-line Marxist, Greens have quietly taken this ground. Labor now relies on their preferences to win.
Bligh has made a number of dishonest statements. She claimed the Australian Electoral Commission had raised concerns after the federal election about the high number of informal votes in Queensland compared with other states.
The AEC has expressed concerns about the high informal vote Australia wide, not just in Qld. Our informal vote was lower than the national average and lower than NSW, SA, and the NT. There is simply no reason for the commissioner to single out Qld, and he didn’t.
She also claimed there was concern raised after the recent federal election that informal voting spiked in Queensland when state and federal elections were held close to each other.
The spike in Qld was virtually the same as NSW, and considerably lower than the NT, and ACT. There was no concern about it, at least in relation to the other states.
The reason it has spiked had nothing to do with the Qld system, or the figures would be substantially higher than both the national average and other states. The reason for the spike is generally considered to be disillusionment with the major parties, which was obvious to anybody, involved with the election.
Now that Bligh has to rely on the parochial Greens to drag her sorry arse over the line, she is determined to make them allocate preferences. As usual there is no principle involved.