MARK M ALDRIDGE - "voice of the Community" Community Advocate

By Elections in SA.....Ramsay by-election information  

After some 14 years now in the political arena, one would have thought I would have a firm grip on how elections are run, the pro’s and con’s, and at this stage of my life, be able to put up a capable campaign. 

The first lesson I learnt back when the wife and ran as Independents for the Senate, is once in a good position to win, that is when a truth about the process becomes evident, junior journo’s making us aware that with such good preferences, we would receive no media whatsoever, our names being left of the ballot paper, and our vote on posters being torn down faster than we could put them up, part of the supposed democratic process in my state at least. 

Over the next decade, the inadequacy’s of the electoral system, the structural biases of the electoral system due to the self interest of those writing the legislation and the media’s preference for the leaders of the two major parties ensured our nominations were more about a voice to help those in need, rather than any hope of being elected. 

The Advertiser have the power still to make and break any candidates dreams in SA, and no longer by the publishing of detrimental articles but more so ensuing the silencing of their voices, even the major party candidates themselves, need do very little, as in the most it is all about their party’s leaders, further disenfranchising their electorates, and empowering the medias own agenda.

It becomes very evident when I travel outside my state and country, with people knowing who I am and having read my articles, which never occurs in my home state, speaking in Canberra recently on Democracy, more people in the audience knew of me, than I could ever hope to be the case in my home town.

So when I heard there was to be a by-election in my own community and the Liberals had chosen not to run a candidate, I couldn’t help but put my hand up, I am well known in the area, my family name is well known, and with my mother as the mayor, just this once I might get a fair go, and the decision would be that of an informed electorate, something I had dreamed about and had fought to see for many years.

I have the ground support I need, the ability to debate any candidate on their choice of topic, the ability to cover the area with information and vote one posters, and many friends in the political arena, also not running, so the support would be enough to create an informed electorate. 

I well know dodgy practices of the Labor party and the electoral bias, would hand them around 10% of the vote, and that they would have massive resources to combat my every move, including the support of their powerful media machine, but just this once my name would at least rate a mention, and those I have helped over the years would be reminded and jump in to support me.

Well was I wrong, the Advertised journalists articles in the most, were Labor only, as if the election had already been won, the Labor candidate so far is just a face on a poster, and the information provided to the public by the media, had so much spin on it, my eyes had trouble reading them. 

My posters were torn down the same night they went up, something I was ready for, putting up cheap cardboard ones and keeping the best till last, even finding and photographing the offenders, was of no use, the Labor party sent out thousands of postal vote applications addressed back to them, again something I was expecting, but not to such a huge degree.

I have at every local event, the Salisbury soap box, the candidate photo shoot, the ballot draw, the Northern Adelaide Investment launch with the premier,  to name only a few, yet Zoe Bettison the Labor candidate, simply nowhere to be seen, and in her absence, no media coverage of the events.

My many supporters did everything they could to help, radio talk back with Bob Francis and Leon Byner was not to cover the election, on line comment on media articles was not allowed or published, and the TV stations have ignored the election as if it wasn’t even happening.

We waited until this last week to hit the power poles with our vote one posters, and had them made up with slogans in their hundreds, so we have more to put up than they can pull down, and hundreds in the area, keeping an eye on them, not that the police had any interest in following up reports of their theft and destruction.

We have hand delivered thousands of information pamphlets, and will continue every night until the election date, we have left a little up our sleeve for the last week, as it is apparent their will be no media coverage, and we already know Labor will start with their false promises and vote buying starting this same week. 

The LDP have put their hat in the ring, and are there to preference Labor, and they already have dodgy how to vote cards, that are in the Liberals colours with the word LIBERAL in large, to dupe a few uneducated Liberal voters, and have secured preferences from the minors using similar deceit, so as to ensure Labor win, leaving little old me to try and secure over 50% of the primary vote, in Labors safest seat, a very exciting thought.

Not even the Liberals themself dare speak up, on even that point, in fact they remain as silent as the Labor candidate on all matters to do with the election, and even the Labors letterbox pamphlets are full of misleading information, so the odds are truly stacked against me and my many supporters.

The Liberals promised to support me, Family First, D4D and the Democrats I have worked with and supported for many years, refuse to speak up, as they are well aware of the campaign against me, as if standing behind a mate is less important than wearing a dig at them by Labors media machine. 

This insulting attack on democracy is one thing, but it proves to me and my many supporters how self interest is destroying any chance of our vote having any meaning, let alone the ability for we the people to use it to send a clear message to those who take it for granted.

The end result for me at the very least, is that there are even fewer budding candidates and political representatives that deserve to wear the title of honourable, meaning the future for my wife and I will be one of supporting only the electorate and the people in need, in the absence of political aspirants of any virtue. 
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No polls, no media, no talk back and no comments allowed, must mean we are doing very well, so I intent to up the ante for this last 6 days, my supporters and I will be everywhere, to ensure we bypass the media, we will use the truth to empower change, and ensure the people know they have an alternate and credible choice. 

Should I ever again enter into an election race, I will be even more prepared in the future, the message out of all of this is a sad one indeed, there is no honest democracy within our electoral system, none in fact at any level, and genuine grass roots has all but lost its place where it deserves to be as the true voice of the people, or can we prove it has a place? We find out next Saturday.

Mark Aldridge “Independent for Ramsay” The voice of the community 

My article regarding the outcome of the 2010 election should be read with this note to provide an over view of our electoral process and providing even more reason to back me into parliament, as without our vote, we are left with.....................

FREE AUSTRALIA, ONE NATION ARE ALSO PREFERENCING LABOR THROUGH SUPPORT OF THE LDP, SO CHECK WHERE YOUR VOTE MAY END UP
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