It was one of the best launches I have ever been to and was filled with both new and familar faces. It was fantastic to have all our current senators nationwide present at the event and all contributing to the message of how much we are still needed in Australian political life. Parliamentary Leader Senator Lyn Allison gave an empassioned presentation on the issues we champion and on how much they have been neglected since we lost the balance-of-power. Deputy Parliamentary Leader Senator Andrew Bartlett told us how the role of a 'centre-party' is something very different from simply seeking to fit into the tiny cracks left between the two major parties and how it is more defined by a willingness to assess all perspectives and all proposals on the basis of merit and evidence. A helping hand was given to procedings by retiring Senators Natasha Stott Despoja and Andrew Murray as well as by Senate hopefuls Lyn Shumack and Ruth Russell.
The whole event definitely energised those members and supporters present and was indicative of a recent resurgence in interest in the Australian Democrats at a grassroots level and even (amazingly) from the mass media. Ironically such events also take time away from the more mundane aspects of campaigning (for a few hours anyway) but are worth it for both the morale-boosting and renewing of bonds with old colleagues.
The Campaign Continues...
The more I get stuck into campaigning the less time I have to report on it on-line. Prioritising between the different aspects of campaigning always involves judgement calls and I am spending more energy on those things that focus specifically on my own electorate of Chisholm. I have written in other posts on the topic of forums and interviews. I have also been letterboxing, writing statements to the local media, and contacting members and supporters to help me in these and other tasks. Soon we will be offering pamphlets to passers-by at local stations and shops. We will also be offering How-To-Vote (HTV) cards at early voting centres and (naturally) at polling places on Saturday 24 November.
I am happy with the preference recommendations we will be making in Chisholm and indeed in the Victorian Senate contest. We preference like-minded parties such as the Australian Greens.
We next go to the major parties. In the case of House or Reps HTVs we inform the voter that they must decide which major party candidate they prefer. In the case of the Senate our above-the-line votes go in even portions to both majors. We do this because we feel that there is barely any difference between the Government and Opposition on so many issues important to us. We also do it to remind them and those who vote for them that we are independent of both and that they cannot take us for granted.
We then put non-like-minded parties behind the major parties. These include both religious parties like Family First and other nonsensical parties like the Citizens Electoral Council. And finally we put One Nation candidates last.
Anything could happen in this election so it is worth taking a close look at how the different contenders are preferencing one another. You can see all Senate preference flows lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission here.
Now back to the campaign...