Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] More PG stuff & Stupid Yank Questions

Diana Lindsay diana at zeta.org.au
Mon May 3 18:41:46 MDT 2004

>A stupid yank question.  I keep hearing that the various parties want to run
>Pete for specific seats and I can't help but wonder: do you have to
>physically reside in a district to be elected as a rep for that area?
>In any case, would Pete have to list a legal residence in a district he
>seeks to represent, or is there a free-agent political market going on in

Apologies if this has already been covered, I'm dipping into this thread half way through. 
The minor parties like the Greens and Democrats sometimes field candidates from outside the electorate, but basically if you are voting for the Greens, Democrats or One Nation in the lower house, the House of Representatives, you are not expecting your candidate to win what you are expecting is that your second preference candidate usually Labor or Liberal, will win but be influenced by the number of people who voted for your party. The preferential system has the benefit of making the candidates who are actually elected accountable to all of the views held by their electors. It also means that minority views can speak loudly! This is why as President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Pete is a very well respected political figure in Oz...and it's also why at the opposite end of the spectrum, Pauline Hanson and One Nation were able to have such a big impact on the Oz political scene. The founder of the Democrats, Don Chipp referred to the effect as 'keeping the bastards honest'. 

But back to who lives where! The reason the candidates for the major parties almost invariably live in the electorate they stand for is that they have to be pre selected by the members of that party in that electorate and parties prefer candidates who are already known and established in the area. And you  have to be a member of a party before you put yourself forward for pre selection. If Pete were a member of the ALP, and if he had put himself forward at the pre selection stage earlier this year, he would have been considered eligible on residential grounds because he either lives in or quite close to the electorate that was being discussed, Cunningham. Needless to say, it all seems like journalistic speculation on a slow news day. And in answer to another question, yes it is the party or coalition in power which chooses the timing of the election, unless there is a bloodless coup like in 1975 [when 'Gough was tough till he hit the rough]...but don't get me started on that! Yes it favours in incumbants and is the reason most of our elections are held in summer, cos statistically we are more likely to vote for the incumbants when it's sunny and warm! However the election this year is likely to be in August for lots of reasons, including not wanting to risk going to the polls after Bush in case he is defeated. Hope this has clarified rather than further confused! Did I mention that we *like* compulsory voting? 

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