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  #121  
Old 02-13-2007
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tdw,

A question for you on the expectation, and incentive, to vote. Does it result in people being more inofrmed on their vote as a result? This is just an informational question for my data bank on your system.

The idea of incenting people to vote in the US has been floated before. I cannot ever see it happening here based on our freedoms. However, my biggest concern would be the attitude of those that were forced to vote. Not being informed, not caring!

Thanks,


Tom
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  #122  
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Originally Posted by tommyt
tdw,

A question for you on the expectation, and incentive, to vote. Does it result in people being more inofrmed on their vote as a result? This is just an informational question for my data bank on your system.

The idea of incenting people to vote in the US has been floated before. I cannot ever see it happening here based on our freedoms. However, my biggest concern would be the attitude of those that were forced to vote. Not being informed, not caring!

Thanks,


Tom
Tom,
Because this system has been with us for over a hundred years most Australians are quite used to it and is doesn't appear to be viewed with any resentment. Harsh reality is , of course , that most voters cast their vote for one particular party , have always done so and will always do so. It's that bloc of maybe 05 - 10 % of voters who swing (no not talking about apes or the kind of party I sadly don't get invited to) that will decide every election. Generally speaking the swinging voters in this country do appear to be relatively well informed albeit with a heavy bias one way or the other depending on which maniacal talk back radio wanker they listen to or based on whether or not the newspaper they read is owned by the Dirty Digger or not.
In defence of the system , it has to be said that except for one memorable occasion (dismissed by all and sundry as sour grapes) the result of any election down here is unlikely to be questioned re vote rigging. We have had a few instances where electoral boundaries have been so distorted as to virtually guarantee victory for one of the parties but even that is pretty much sorted due to an independent electoral commission that now exists. Sadly for some a sheeps vote is not what it once was.
Final point , Australian elections are always held on a Saturday. Given that Saturday is not, for most of us a work day, very few people have to take time off of work to go and vote and there is postal voting available for those who cannot make it to the polling booth. Perhaps this is also the way it works for the US , I don't know.

Regards

TD

ps - sadly all of the above does not save us from having a pretenious little ******** who wouldn't know how to lie straight in bed , elected to be Prime Minister four times since 1996. Next election is later this year and there is a 50 - 50 chance he will be re elected again. AHHHHH !!!
Bitter ? Me ? No a bit of it.
The wankers name is Howard, I believe he might have made some impression in the US media this week.
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  #123  
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TD,

You are right about Howard stepping in it here this week. We have enough of our stepping in it, so it will not be noticed or commented on for long.

As to the the Saturday vote...no such luck. We make certain that we vote on a Tuesday and it is not a holiday. You can go before and after work at your convenience. We would make it a national holiday, except that under 50% vote anyway and we don't want to penalize the business world for only half the people. Hey, there is a way to raise our percentage. Everybody that gets there ticket stamped gets a paid day off! Nope, they still would not vote.

Thanks for the input on the turnout. We have a great percentage that vote party line only as well. The undecideds, your 5-10%, make the difference.
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  #124  
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Chris-
If you consider that in the US we have probably expanded the franchise to vote to about 3x or 4x the number of people who were originally allowed to vote, even if half our voters stay at home, that means oddly enough about the same percent of people are voting as originally did 200 years ago. Hmmm.

And there's a marvelous book about old style party politics in the US, very well written and quite a good read, called "Speaker of the House" by Tip O'Neill. That was his position in Congress. His reminiscences of old time party politics in Boston (a Democratic party hotbed) may give many folks both here and elsewhere a new insight into all the bitching and moaning that the Democratic Party here has had about elections being stolen, dimpled chads, and other Republican Party "crimes". For instance, before Boston forced all bars to be closed on election day, the Democratic Party ward leaders used to buy everyone a drink. If you were a Democrat--your drinks got bought after you voted. If you were a Republican, you could drink for free all day as the Democratic ward leaders tried to get you so drunk you couldn't go down and vote against them. (Needless to say, both parties played the same game, the same way they play other games today.)

An excellent book for an insider's perspective on American party politics, the way it really has been played. Always played, by all parties.
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  #125  
Old 02-14-2007
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TD
"You are right about Howard stepping in it here this week."

I have to disagree. He has the right to make comment and was right to do so. Pulling the troops out in one go would be a disaster onb a grand scale.

Anacke would break out in Iraq and all the good work would be undone.

I slow withdrawl of troops over a period of time would force the rulling parties to take control of thier own country.

Just my thoughts.
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  #126  
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TD
"You are right about Howard stepping in it here this week."

I have to disagree. He has the right to make comment and was right to do so. Pulling the troops out in one go would be a disaster onb a grand scale.

Anacke would break out in Iraq and all the good work would be undone.

I slow withdrawl of troops over a period of time would force the rulling parties to take control of thier own country.

Just my thoughts.
Simon,
It's a simple fact that it is out of order for a foreign politician to comment on the internal politics of another country, particularly in the lead up to an election. Howard of course knows all to well that if Barrak Obama does ( and it is a long shot at this stage) become President then it won't be until 2008 and Howard will have retired before that. Nonetheless, he was well out of order. Quite frankly, in much the same way as Latham was out of order criticising Bush in 2004. Remember that Australia is an ally of the USA and not simply the Republican Party in general and Bush in particular.
TD
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  #127  
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Chinese girls rule!

I have a good friend that adoped a chinese girl. I have often thought that when all the chinese have their baby boys the girls would become a very valuable commodity--seems like that is the case now or will be soon. Kathy
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  #128  
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An interesting point. I guess he was saying if you are fighting for a principle you don't walk away. Is oil a principle?
The other side is Americans wage their own elections and vote or not accordingly. Certainly one should not try to influence the "people's" choice, at least as a foreign politician, or perhaps more correctly should respect their choice.
Since the issues have wider implications perhaps there might be reason to debate them, even if views differ. As a Prime Minister one has to hold the line.

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  #129  
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Originally Posted by chris_gee
An interesting point. I guess he was saying if you are fighting for a principle you don't walk away. Is oil a principle?
The other side is Americans wage their own elections and vote or not accordingly. Certainly one should not try to influence the "people's" choice, at least as a foreign politician, or perhaps more correctly should respect their choice.
Since the issues have wider implications perhaps there might be reason to debate them, even if views differ. As a Prime Minister one has to hold the line.
I don't think it's really to do with influencing the way people in the US vote. Look at the situation now. If Obama wins next year (and I admit it's a long shot) and Howard is still PM how on earth can he have any meaningful dialogue with the incoming President ? A similar situation arose way back in 1972 when the Whitlam government was elected. So strong had the Labor Party's criticism of the then US government been that the alliance itself was in major jeopardy. So bad was the ill feeling that many people believed then that the US actually undermined the Aust Govt in order to see a return to life under the conservatives.

It is one thing to criticise aspects of an allies foreign policy it is quite another to take sides over who should be the next leader of that ally. As such, the criticism of Howard by both Democrats and Republicans shows how unacceptable was Howard's comment.
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  #130  
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Simon,

TD is correct on my context on Howard. Certainly he can weigh in on our foreign policy...everyone does that. Look at the lenght of this thread to see how much. My reference was to his political party stance, and specifically the Obama comments. They might have been correct comments, but not for a PM to make about our political process. John Kerry tried to use the fact that leaders of of countries had thrown their support behind him in 2004. They may have behind closed doors, but JK got into trouble when he had to prove their backing and nobody stood up.

Based on our field of candidates of both parties this is going to be one hell of a primary season and election. With Clinton, Obama, and a field of also rans on the Democratic ticket the dems are already making statements that they hope the Republicans will not make this an election about race or genetalia. Interesting from a party that has always tried to split the population into sectors as part of their political process. I think that the Democratic primaries will see some of the roughest mud slinging in the last 50 years.
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