Matt Hrkac's Blog
Friends don't let friends vote above the line
By Matt Hrkac, 16 November 2018
The Victorian Legislative Council has produced a remarkably consistent list of candidates between each region. This consistency, with pretty much every party contesting every region, is no doubt the work of Glen Druery - the 'preference whisperer' who orchestrated a series of complex preference deals that got Ricky Muir elected to the Senate at the 2013 Federal Election on just 0.51% of the primary vote.
These same complex preference negotiations got two Shooters and Fishers Party MPs, a Democratic Labour Party MP, Fiona Patten of the Sex Party as well as James Purcell of Vote 1 Local Jobs elected on a minuscule percentage of the primary vote in their respective regions,
Druery, now a staffer for Federal Senator Derryn Hinch, has struck again. Reports are that Druery charges a fee of $5000 for each minor party to be involved in his alliance. He then charges a stipend of $50,000 if a candidate he engaged is successfully elected.
The system of Group Voting Tickets, whereby parties can dictate where their preferences go to if they are eliminated from the count, has been thoroughly discredited and has become nothing more than a farce - especially if it can become a nice little money-kicker and business model for preference whisperers such as Druery.
This was the system used for the Federal Senate prior to the 2016 Federal Election, until it was rightly reformed to allow above or below the the line semi-optional preferential voting. Group voting tickets are still in use in Victorian State Elections for the upper house.
The conservative parties have kept their preferences largely as a block. However, the progressive parties have not been so disciplined. In a number of regions, the Labor Party have directed preferences to a combination of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party and the Aussie Battler Party ahead of the Greens.
On the contrary, despite their bellyaching on social media, the Greens have directed preferences to a combination of Sustainable Australia, Health Australia Party, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party and the Aussie Battler Party ahead of the Labor Party in most regions.
The Transport Matters Party as well as Hudson for NV also appear higher than the Labor Party on the Greens group tickets for some regions; likewise, they appear higher than the Greens on the Labor Party's group tickets for some regions.
The Reason Party have also directed their above the line preferences to Derryn Hinch's Justice Party, Transport Matters, Sustainable Australia and hard-core libertarian Liberal Democratic Party ahead of both Labor and The Greens.
The Animal Justice Party are also directing preferences to the above mentioned Right-wing minor parties ahead of both Labor and the Greens.
All of this means that a 1 above the line vote for any of these parties risks parties of the Right getting elected, thus helping Druery to make his living, rather than a progressive of one stripe or another getting elected.
Would a voter of the Greens be pleased to know that vote would potentially be contributing to the election of nationalists into the state parliament? Would a voter of the Reason Party be pleased to know that their vote could potentially deliver a seat to the tough-on-law and order and right-wing reactionary populists Derryn Hinch's Justice Party?
Would a voter of the Labor Party be pleased to know that their vote could contribute to Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidates getting elected?
No, neither groups of voters would. They would infect be mortified if they were to find out that the party they are voting for could deliver a seat to someone of the complete ideological opposite.
None of these parties can take the moral high-ground here. As they have all done deals with parties of their ideological opposite.
In fact, the only party that can rightly and legitimately take the moral high-ground is the Victorian Socialists - who have directed preferences in an order, in every region, that their voters would likely go with anyway. They have directed preferences to The Greens, followed by Reason and Animal Justice Party, followed by Labor in most regions.
However, there is a way to completely break the back of Druery's business model. That is by voting below the line.
In Victorian State Elections, you only need to number in sequence from 1 to at least 5 below the line to cast a valid vote. However, it is recommended you go beyond that, numbering as many boxes in sequence as you can.
This means you can vote for Labor, or the Greens, Reason and Animal Justice Party and ensure you preference other progressive parties, without unwillingly directing your preferences to right-wing parties - you can leave them unnumbered completely.
If you intend to vote for any of the Right-wing parties, voting below the line is helpful for you too.
The point being, regardless of which party you vote for in the upper house, in this state election; voting below the line takes control of your preferences away from the preference whisperers and gives it to you, the voter.
However, it probably isn't the readers of this blog who have to be convinced. Most people who avidly follow politics are already well informed and educated as to how voting and preferencing works. At the last state election, 93.8% of Victorian voters placed faith in their party of choice to direct preferences by just voting 1 above the line. It is these people that need to be convinced and informed.
So get the message out there. Tell your friends, your neighbours, your coworkers and your family: in the upcoming Victorian State Election - vote below the line and explain to them how easy it is. This is the way, and only way, we can bust the business model of Druery and ensure an upper house that is representative of the voting population.
With group ticket voting, it has become clear that voters can no longer trust parties to direct their preferences in good faith. Take the power, and your vote, back.
Victorian Election 2018: Indicative primary vote for the three main parties
By Matt Hrkac, 15 November 2018
I have had polls up for about a week now, asking website viewers what percentage of the state wide primary vote that they think each of the three major parties will get.
Here is a visualisation of the results so far.
For Labor, a large majority of respondents believe that the party will get between 35% and 45% of the state wide primary vote.
In 2014, Labor achieved a primary vote of 38.1%, indicating that the party will hold its ground at worst or at best, improve its vote by a few percentage points.
Of particular note is that a significant minority of respondents are optimistic that Labor could get a primary vote of more than 50% in the upcoming state election, while very few respondents think that the party will get less than 35%.
The results for the Liberal Party are a little more mixed. Like with Labor, a similar large majority of respondents believed that the Coalition will get between 35% and 45% of the state wide primary vote.
However, in contrast to the Labor Party, a significant minority of respondents believe that the Coalition will get less than 35% of the state wide primary vote, while very few think that they will get more than 45%.
In general, most respondents believe that the Coalition will get a lower primary vote than Labor in this election at worst and will lose further ground compared to their 2014 result.
The Liberal and National parties got a combined primary vote of 42% at the 2014 State Election.
For The Greens; an overwhelming majority of respondents agree that the party will get less than 12.5% of the vote and little over 50% contend that the party will get less than 10% of the primary vote.
The Greens got 11.48% of the vote in 2014, indicating that at best the party will hold its ground and at worst, will go backwards, compared to 2014.
Very few respondents believe that the Greens primary vote will improve in any significant way - which is indicative of the trend for the party over the last decade where it has held its ground or gone backwards in state and federal elections over that time period.
*Disclaimer: the above poll results are in no way scientific and merely serve to provide an indication of what primary vote each party may achieve.
Photos: Nauru and Manus In Crisis - Bring Them Here Rally
By Matt Hrkac, 28 October 2018
Photos from the refugee rally in Melbourne on Saturday, October 27, organised by the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) calling for the closure of the Manus Island and Nauru off-shore detention centres and to settle asylum seekers in Australia.
Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association (VAHPA) Secretary Craig McGregor.
A couple of opponents gatecrashed the rally and attempted to intimidate the attendees by filming them. They were however soundly outnumbered and the rally proceeded undeterred.
The rally was attended by at least 2,000 people calling for the closure of the Manus Island and Nauru off-shore refugee detention camps.
Photos: March on Esso
By Matt Hrkac, 17 April 2018
Following a huge mass union delegates meeting which saw attendance in excess of 2,000 delegates; the unions marched on the Esso Australia offices in Southbank, Melbourne to stand in solidarity with picketing workers participating in the Esso Longford UGLy dispute. As of publishing, this dispute has been ongoing for more than 300 days. Here are some photos from the march and rally:
Never Tweet, Cr Trent McCarthy
By Matt Hrkac, 06 April 2018
This was a tweet in response to mine that outed City of Darebin Greens Councillor Trent McCarthy as being one who was responsible for the undermining of Alex Bhathal's by-election for the seat of Batman:
If you support @Greens pls don’t feed this rubbish. Here’s what the party said: https://t.co/nCc91b2phW— Trent McCarthy (@trentmccarthy) March 1, 2018
I was on 774 on Tuesday affirming @alexbhathal as our endorsed candidate & arguing why Greens can win Batman. Whoever leaked has breached rules, put people at risk.
Yet, this, courtesy of The Age, drops today:
"Four Greens councillors in Melbourne’s inner-north, including the Mayor of Darebin, have been confirmed as among the 18 party members who tried to take out their own candidate for the recent Batman byelection before the race had even started. Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf and councillors Trent McCarthy, Steph Amir and Susanne Newton face calls for their expulsion from the Greens over their alleged roles in the sabotage of the failed campaign of candidate Alex Bhathal."
When I tweeted calling out McCarthy as one of the possible perpetrators of the leaks against Alex Bhathal - I knew I was right about my assumptions. This merely confirms it.
Never tweet, McCarthy. Never tweet.
#LibSpill is on: Peter Dutton, Prime Minister?
By Matt Hrkac, 05 April 2018
If you thought that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was bad, it could be about to get a whole lot worse.
BREAKING: A L/NP party member says a meeting has been called for 10am Monday. Julie Bishop will re-nominate as Deputy. Reports are Peter Dutton’s staff are working numbers to take the leadership #auspol— Andrew Jaffrey (@AndrewJaffrey) April 5, 2018
(A reminder too that Malcolm Turnbull hasn't even lost his 30th Newspoll in a row yet; but that will come next week)
Abbott was a bumbling idiot. Peter Dutton is actually a smart and conniving political operator who knows what he is doing. I think we can all determine just who is more dangerous.
God help us if Peter Dutton becomes Prime Minister. God, help us.
More Australians than ever identify as Left
By Matt Hrkac, 05 April 2018
According to the latest Australian Election Study, which has been conducted following every Federal Election since 1987, more Australians than ever are describing themselves as on the political left. Since 1996:
Granted, more still identify as being centrist, but that figure is in decline - give it a couple more election cycles and those identifying as left will outnumber those who identify as being in the centre. Those who identify as 'right' has not changed at all over the years.
Granted, also, those identifying as "left" could very well range from your more liberal Liberals right though to Marxists - however, it is now becoming very apparent that people want more progressive politics.
This is arguably reflected in Labor's left-ish lurch in recent years from their slump to the right pre 2013; but it boggles the mind that there are still some who insist on pandering to centrist positions.
Di Natale 'not Bob Brown', Batman voters say
By Matt Hrkac, 01 April 2018
Granted, it was a Labor commissioned survey, but it is none the less quite telling:
... responders in the Melbourne [Batman] electorate describing the Greens leader in negative terms such as “aggressive”, “disappointing”, “arrogant”, “smarmy”, “confused” and “not Bob Brown”.
... with some responders associating the Greens leader with “disunity”, “infighting”, “complaint”, “bullying” and “secrets”.
I said in the aftermath of the Batman by-election that Di Natale's pitch to right-wing voters over dividend imputation is what cost the Greens the election. This merely confirms my analysis.
The response from Di Natale's spokesperson is also very telling:
“This so-called ‘polling’ says far more about the Labor Party’s growing anxieties about the Greens in the inner city than anything else.”
Dismiss it as they will as some sort of 'Labor conspiracy', but they should know this: there are numerous people on the left; not just within the Labor Party but many non party aligned, members of smaller left wing parties and even people within the Greens who feel exactly the same way about Di Natale's leadership as this polling indicates.