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Dear UK anti-AV campaign: Shut up, immediately, about Australia. Mar. 22nd, 2011 @ 09:44 am
You know, Australia, as a rule, isn't generally much of a factor in the politics of other countries. We're just not.

But the approaching referendum on the Alternative Vote in the UK has the anti-AV campaigners launching a quite amazing quantity of scurrilous lies, ridiculous misunderstandings and outright smears towards our nation, and it's a tiny bit insulting.

For a full breakdown of both what they're saying about us and just how wrong they are, you can go straight to Antony Green's blog. It's worth noting that the smears extend to the No2AV campaign's website having described him as a "self-styled 'Australian Elections Expert'", which is almost, in and of itself, a sufficient basis for war.

Antony Green isn't a self-styled expert. Antony Green is the national public broadcaster's election expert and has been for many years, and his knowledge of Australian elections is without parallel. He is spectacularly knowledgeable and accurate, and also unbelievably scrupulous in his non-partisan status. No-one knows how Antony Green feels about politics. He has never evinced anything even approaching a bias towards any party or candidate. He is one of the most respected people in this country, and he is loved nation-wide every time we have an election.

Impugning Antony Green is something you just don't get to do, dammit.

I'm also particularly irked by criticisms based on the fact that Australian elections don't get a formal result declaration for a couple of weeks after the election itself is held. This keeps being offered as criticism of the AV system.

News flash, you ignorant Pommie bastards: Australia is a bigger country than the United Kingdom. We have INDIVIDUAL ELECTORATES that are bigger than the United Kingdom. And because we are a proper democracy, it is important to us that everyone gets to vote.

This means that postal votes are counted, and postal votes don't close off for 10-14 days after the election, because some citizens of this country live a very long way from pretty much anywhere.

Even if that weren't the case, the election can't be final until the ballot boxes have been taken from polling stations to the returning officers, which also takes longer when, for example, you have a single electorate that is six times the size of the UK.

But really the delay is about postal votes. Because postal and absentee ballots are given sufficient time to get there, because in Australia, everyone gets to vote.

Frankly, a country that mismanages the basics of democracy so badly that some people don't get to vote because they were still waiting in line at a polling station when the polls closed doesn't get to say ANYTHING negative about Australian elections. Because ours work.

A comment on British politics and siblinghood Oct. 2nd, 2010 @ 12:30 pm
So, the Miliband brothers were in competition for the British Labour party's leadership.

I don't know enough about them to say which I think should have won, my comment is on some of the media commentary.

This was this running theme in a lot of the coverage I saw: that Ed Miliband was, somehow, undertaking some kind of uprising to contend for the leadership against his older brother. A sense that because David is the older brother, it would be natural for Ed to leave the leadership to him.

As a younger sibling, let me say this: fuck that noise.

There is something wrong with all of society that thinks that older siblings have some kind of natural right to take precedence over younger siblings. This only applies to monarchies, okay? There's no ethically or morally defensible argument I can think of to explain why "you were born earlier" should grant someone a higher state of privilege.

I have an older sister. We don't exactly have a great relationship - in fact, at present, we don't have any kind of non-biological relationship at all. I think the last time I saw her was last Christmas, which was in turn the first time in a number of months, and in all likelihood the next time I'll see her will be in the vicinity of Christmas - if then.

So obviously I'm going to have some bias against the idea that she has some kind of inherent superior Rights to mine because she's older.

On the other hand, I have friends who don't hate their older siblings whom I know agree with me. (Note least because of a conversation with one about this very topic that started with the Milibands.)

The point is: Ed Miliband had every right to contend against his older brother for the leadership. This wasn't some kind of usurpation, David had no greater claim to it than Ed just because he's older.

And, like all the other privilege mechanics of the kyriarchy, the assumption of power and authority of older siblings can fuck right off right around the time all involved parties achieve parity in their ability to cross the road by themselves.
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