Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sadly, a byelection will be held at the state level in the Dubbo electorate. The local paper pays a hearty tribute to a man who had a soft spot for Chinese culture an Independent MP, Tony McGrane

Elections: Rubber can be mightier than the pencil: Pen Is, in fact, Mighty!
A concern that has been regularly raised by political parties, members, Senators and candidates is the level of mail returned unclaimed from mailings to electors.
Significant levels of returned mail from mailings, if generated from the most recent AEC-provided enrolment data, is rightly of concern. Alleged levels of mail returned unclaimed from mailings to electors prior to the election have also been subject to some public comment as indicative of gross inaccuracies in the roll used for the election or of possible attempts to place significant numbers of fraudulently enrolled persons on the roll for particular target Divisions.
One wonders what the percentage of unclaimed mail really is in 2004. I had a brief contractual affair with the AEC in mid 90s and I must admit I was impressed by the administration of the electoral roll.
It also seems that the vote early and often method would almost be impossible to implement in practice. In order to verify the integrity of the electoral roll, the AEC has a regular army who knock on doors (even on doors of houses of ill reputations - smile). I enjoyed the opportunity to observe the voting on the election day at the booths of the Wentworth electorate.
While the chances of anyone fiddling with the ballot papers were minimal, my instinct tells me that supplying booths with a pen rather than a pencil would be more rubber-proof. (Ach, that idea for many reasons does not go down too well). However, most professional locksmiths know that pen is mightier than the lock. To boot, who would know whether a cleaning contractor is active in any political party. The suggestion that real estate developers (or landlords of some kind) might be tempted to be involved in the mischevious opportunities is often dismissed. The seal on the electoral boxes are not that hard to replace. I somehow doubt that anyone less paranoid than a good old Eastern European would actually detect anything unusual even if the seal was not replaced....
Political Party Rubber might be be mightier than the electoral pencil or unclaimed mail

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Street Fighting Men: Delving Into Democracy's Shadows
The sociologist Michael Mann took a detour from his epic study of power in human history. It led him straight to the horrors at the center of modern life.
In Fascists, Mr. Mann contends that the rise of right-wing authoritarian movements between the world wars can best be understood as, in effect, nation-statism forging not a cage but a concentration camp.
The culprit in genocide is not democracy, but a form of politics that uses words similar to [those employed by] democrats, but in a different semantic sense.

The Grid and the Cage [Everywhere the S-word wreaks havoc. Iraqi terrorists kill hundreds of Americans and Iraqis to protest infringement of sovereignty by the Great Satan. Africans massacre other Africans because European-imposed "sovereign" borders clash with tribal allegiances. Violating 'Sovereignty': Questioning a Concept's Long Reign ]
• · Canterbury tales: Young Howard travelled to Kommunist Poland in sexy sixties where he had an interlude with a young Catholic woman in Warsaw Stubborn, methodical and always strategic, there would only ever be one career for John Howard ; [ Some of the juicier election snippets courtesy of Crikey]
• · · Sunday with Janka Wendt: Interview: Mark Latham ; [ Webdiary: Future shock: the ideology of Mark Latham ]
• · · · Sunday continues: Swinging voters: week 3
• · · · · Carr's history-making date with ICAC ; Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers Mr Merritt, who has been seen behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce bearing the number plates THANKU, formerly ran Merritt Madden printing in Alexandria before retiring to the high life of the Southern Highlands. That company is now managed by the wife of the NSW Premier, Bob Carr, who by all accounts prefers to be known as Helena
[Members were given back-of-the-envelope calculations Belmont Golf Club and the developer, Terrace Tower ]
• · · · · · The first is our history. Czechs have always been subjects of a larger multinational structure, be it the Roman, Habsburg, Nazi or communist empires. The fact that we have always been subjugated meant that we never learned the art of self-rule. Furthermore, when we did try to strike out on our own (as in 1938 and 1968), the world looked the other way and we paid a heavy price. That's why in 1989 we chose the easy way out. Instead of confronting the past, our dissidents drafted a compromise with the ruling communists, in which the latter merely transformed themselves into a capitalist mafia without relinquishing control. There was no true revolution, since freedom doesn't equal true democracy. This simple but ignored fact explains comments such as Nothing has really changed.
Czech Kommunism Revisited? In the wisecracking words of comedian Jay Leno, politics is just show business for ugly people: Gross’ Political Advertising and Gross' dubious sex appeal; [Gross’ Police in new scandal as anti-mob officer accused of gang links ]