Monday, September 17, 2007

Moving on from Howard?

The Hon John Howard MP has spent eleven years as Prime Minister of Australia as leader of the Liberal/National Coalition. In the 2004 federal election, Howard's Coalition won by almost six points in a two-party preferred vote over the ALP. But now, with about six or eight weeks until the election (the date has not yet been set), he trails opposition leader Kevin Rudd by somewhere between fourteen and eighteen points, according to the latest polls. Some polls even predict he could lose his own electorate of Bennelong. With over twelve million people eligible to vote out of Australia's population twenty-one million, that's well over a million people who have changed their preference since 2004.

If you are one of them,* I'm curious: what has been decisive in your change of mind?
*That is, you voted for Howard's Coalition in 2004 (or placed them ahead of the ALP in your House of Representatives (lower house) vote), but if the election were held today, would give your lower house preference to Rudd's ALP. I'm happy for others (who have not changed their mind) to comment, but I'd really like to hear from those who have. You may comment anonymously if you like. However, please observe 1 Peter 2.17.

NB In case you haven't heard, there are new laws regulating enrollment deadlines. If you are over 18 and an Australian citizen, it is compulsory to vote. If you have changed address since the last election, you need to change your enrollment. There is now less time to do either of these than previously and if you don't, you will miss out and may be fined. You can enrol or change your details at the Australian Electoral Commission.
Image of John Howard at the recent APEC conference from Epoch Times.

6 comments:

Drew said...

Hmmm... did none of your readers vote for Howard last election?

I did.

And I don't think I will this time.

I think the change is down to political education. Barely out of university at last election, I think I was too naive to evaluate Howard's politics. I now know enough to think I don't like them.

That is not the only reason, but a big one.

Jonathan said...

I haven't changed my preference concerning the ALP and the Coalition since I last voted, so don't have any response to the point of this post.

However, I don't think the new laws make that much difference. The electoral system is designed so that people enrol/transfer their enrolment as soon as they move/become citizens/turn 18 (it is posible to submit the forms once you are 17). Technically, you may be fined for not doing so within 21 days of becoming eligible to vote in an electorate.

In practice, this isn't enforced, and so it is possible to leave it until an election in near, but the rolls are used in the meantime for jury selection. The new laws might make it harder for people who move around the same time as the election, but it doesn't seem right to imply that there was ever a reason for anyone else to wait until an election is near. At any rate, if, as some cynics suggest, the government was intending to catch out people who haven't enrolled, through ignorance or laziness, maybe the plan has backfired now that there has been so much of a response to the changes.

byron smith said...

I don't think the new laws make that much difference. The electoral system is designed so that people enrol/transfer their enrolment as soon as they move/become citizens/turn 18
Yes, it is an offense to not do so within 21 days, yet (as you opint out) this is very rarely, if ever, prosecuted. And if you haven't enrolled in time, whenever you do enrol, you are by law granted an amnesty from the day you submitted your papers (so they can't fine you for failing to register up to that point). Nonetheless, the new laws are still a problem, because in practice many thousands of people are not correctly enrolled (esp young people, since they may have turned 18 since the last election, often move, and are generally most ignorant/apathetic about the political process).

but it doesn't seem right to imply that there was ever a reason for anyone else to wait until an election is near.
No good reason, just ignorance or apathy, which unfortunately happen to be very effective reasons.

At any rate, if, as some cynics suggest, the government was intending to catch out people who haven't enrolled, through ignorance or laziness, maybe the plan has backfired now that there has been so much of a response to the changes.
Whether or not it was a deliberate plan, I don't think the response has been sufficient to prevent it catching out many thousands of people, since the very people most likely to be affected are also those least likely to have noticed the response.

One Salient Oversight said...

Me? I advocate Demarchy

byron smith said...

Yes, and it's a fascinating idea. I'm guessing, however, that your vote hasn't changed since last election...

byron smith said...

SMH: Howard most profligate spending PM, says IMF.