8 September 2012

A voting we will go...

Big steps and little steps
Today the local council elections were held, so the village was on the move attending the voting booths in the local Primary school.  In Australia, all voting is compulsory - not voting attracts a $55 fine.
So it is a good excuse for the school's Parents association to sell cakes and have a sausage sizzle, the local village association to sell raffle tickets and for everyone else to go for a walk and meet some of the neighbours.
The sun was shining brightly, but the cold wind dropped the temperature significantly.  Therefore I announced that we were going to walk to the school.  "Get your jackets and hats, we're going for a walk!" I announced and the children scrambled.  Lana rolled her eyes and then shrugged her shoulders, "Why not?" and off we went.
Lana cleverly brought her insulated mug so she could get a hot chocolate from the shop on the way.
Our local elections determine the councillors who are in charge of local services such as maintaining the roadsides, impeding development, waste collection, interfering in local business and so on.  The State government controls schools, police and hospitals.  So the local elections have a direct impact on just living in the area in which you live.
Our local council is famous for having a "development" policy which advocated less development.  This is classic "newspeak" where you call something one thing and then do the complete opposite.  Such as a business committee which makes more red tape to stop business, "Fair Work" Australia which is unfairly run by unions, and the local "Greens" representative who wants to cut down tress he doesn't like.
The general view is that if the ballots had an option "None of the above" that would be the sure-fire winner.
Our ballots are paper based and the system has reasonable checks and balances to ensure fair voting.  We present ourselves to the registration desk and get our names marked off and are given ballot papers to complete.  We then mark down our 1st preference, and then 2nd and so on up to 9 preferences.  When the votes are counted, if my 1st choice doesn't win, then my 2nd choice is counted, and so on, until a candidate gets over 50% of the vote.
It all works reasonably well and gives the local communities a chance to get out and meet their neighbours.