Monday, 2 September 2013

What your letterbox reveals about politics.

My letterbox at home is not where I receive my mail.  For that I have a post office box.  I do have a "no junk mail" sticker on there, but was unsurprised to open the letterbox this afternoon and find various pieces of political propaganda, election related information, an ad for some local cleaners and an invitation to join a gym.

Of the political propaganda one comes from Family First (a how to vote card with no policy information), one from Palmer United Party (a one page 7 point policy statement) and one from the Liberal party.  This one is interesting because it does not mention the Liberal party at all.  It's a slag off against Labor.  The only way I know it's from the Liberal party is that it is authorised by "D. Mantach".  I had to google that to discover that he's Liberal party director.  Sneaky.

So based on the information I've received, PUP is by far, the most helpful.  But I won't be voting for a big kid who has lots of money and makes no sense.  And the negativity of the Liberal campaign is very unappealing.  Maybe that's why they didn't overtly put their name to it.

Family First's how to vote instruction is scant on detail.  I've gone hunting to find how they are preferencing in the Senate election.  This is really hard to do.  For any party.  People who receive postal votes have told me that the Senate's ballot paper is as long as the kitchen table.  I don't like voting above the line without understanding the way the parties have organised their preferences, but the thought of voting below the line fills me with trepidation.

The real information is from the Australian Electoral Commission giving information about voting requirements.  It's easy to identify the real stuff from the guff because the real stuff is wrapped in plastic.  They explain how to complete the ballot paper.  You can even practise voting on their website.

A quick visit to the AEC website reveals the list of registered political parties.  Well that's an eye opener.  There's a party for everything it seems.  How about the Stop CSG Party, the Pirate Party, the Smoker's Rights Party (their website is all about asking for money...maybe they could donate the price of a pack of ciggies)?  The best name must go to the Coke in the Bubblers party.  They have a nice looking website, some appealing headline positions, but no substance.  According to their website, they're still looking for candidates!  Um, someone should tell them the election is on Saturday.

It must be tricky if you're undecided, but I think undecided voters are generally also the politically disengaged.  I've completed the Vote Compass and received the same result as last time.  It's an interesting exercise in thinking about the various policy issues and how you stack up when compared to the various policies of the major parties.  Why not head over and see what you discover?

There's a referendum on with this election too.  It's about whether local government should be recognised in the constitution.  I've received nothing about this and don't really know why it's a good or a bad idea.  If I can't find out something easily before Saturday, I'll be conservative and stick with the status quo.

The Greens and the Australia Labor Party are absent from my letterbox.   I live in a safe Labor seat, but that's no reason to ignore me.  Or maybe they are the only parties to respect my request for "no junk mail".

I'm off to fall asleep in front of a political interview now.


  1. I found a bunch of information at Below the Line. I could look at where the preferences would go and look up each party to find out what they were about.

    I helped a friend do letterboxing for the Greens in the last election. According to their instructions election pamphets are seen as public information and are therefore not junk so we were instructed to deliver to all postboxes. Therefore, the lack of information from a particular party would suggest that they haven't got a volunteer down your street yet. Or they could have decided to save their money. I expect it's the former. The parties spend stupid amounts on advertising lies prior to elections.

    The people in my street have no respect for No Junk Mail stickers. Well at least until recently. I had a terse word with a fellow who I caught putting junk in my postbox a week ago and I've send emails of complaint to the few businesses who have delivered junk since then. The junk mail flow has almost dried up. I expect this is just a confused pause by the delivery people but perhaps making a noise has worked. A least a little.

  2. Thanks for the tip about very handy.

    "Confused pause" - I love that imagery. I've never actually taken the step to write to the businesses who ignore the sticker, but I wonder every time why they think I would use their business when they ignore my wishes. Dumb.