MARK M ALDRIDGE - "voice of the Community" Community Advocate
DEMOCRACY SOUTH AUSSIE STYLE. 

 We would all consider that we live in a modern democracy, but what exactly do South Australians get for their money?   Lets narrow down the system to enable a clear picture, imagine there are 4 candidates in your electorate, at the same time forgetting the concept of party politics, imagine all the voters knew all the candidates and their individual ideals. (For the sake of this example will say there are 100 voters).  

 The people were split as to whom they preferred, and the initial count showed the primary votes split 23, 24, 25 and 28, the way our system works the candidate with 23 votes is excluded and his votes will be passed on to the other candidate/s.   

The problem that arises here is the first excluded may have had all the second preferences, therefore the majority of support, this system in state elections is enforced by the 2 major parties, and as such benefits them. In legal terms this is using the ballot to defeat the franchise.   

Obviously with huge amounts of our money to spend and a strong presence in the media, they will always have the majority of the vote, which in turn ensures that however you mark your ballot paper, it will in most cases end up where they want it.   This system is reliant on we the voter having to have a preference for every candidate, other wise if we had true freedom of choice we may not allow our vote to count for one or the other, or in fact neither.  

 There is a supposed independent Authority called the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which unfortunately for democracy is filled by guess who, funnily enough their findings regularly expose the fact that the voters do not like having to have a preference for those they oppose or do not know, but the 2 parties (Lab/Lib) simply ignore their findings, and we all know why.   

Our Chief Justice of the High Court once said, “ if change be necessary it must be done by the will of an informed electorate”, yet who should perform that task?   Our media are privately owned and there fore not responsible to carry out that task, the electoral commissioner who is also meant to ensure we are informed, must only do so in-regards to the voting system, not the candidates.  

 How can we possible expect to cast a vote in a free and informed manner, if the system doe not let us do either?  

 I tried to fight the system on my own through the courts at the 2006 State Election, but even the rules of the court of disputed returns is written by Guess who?   There are many other devious sections of our electoral act, that deny us our inalienable right to ensure we receive the representation we would prefer and every year they make changes to ensure the bias continues, like the deregistration of minor parties and the like.   

Our electoral act includes many interesting sections, in some the electoral commission can guess your intention, yes that’s right further than what you have marked and make appropriate changes to ensure compliance with their system, and who signs important documents with a pencil?   

If elected I will demand that the electoral system is over seen by a truly independent authority, if other States of Australia can offer their electorate a fairer system in regards to true freedom of choice, then we should aim to do even better.  

 Democracy is the corner stone of our society, and the results shape our long-term future, maybe those of us who do not like our present path, can see why change seems impossible.  

 Making matters worse, if those that both write and enforce the electoral law have very little fear of loosing, they might be able to ignore the will of the electorate, sound familiar?  

 I will also fight for a system that enables us all to become better informed as to our choices and more open, honest and transparent governance in general.  

 I leave you with this conundrum, if you do not like me and there fore do not want to vote for me, that’s exactly why you should, because I am the only candidate fighting for your right not to have to.   

 Mark M Aldridge Independent Candidate for the Legislative Council South Australian State Election March 2010 P O Box 1073 Virginia S.A. 5120 08 82847482 / 0403379500 aldridgemark@bigpond.com  
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