iSenator

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by awmazz, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. awmazz macrumors 65816

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    #1
    As you may (not) all be aware, Australia is holding its national elections tomorrow Saturday 21 Aug. What a long drawn out 6 weeks, or was it 4, of campaigning..

    Anyway, I was just perusing the candidates for Senate from the state of NSW and I came across an interesting concept. An unemployed fellow and a female paralegal student are running as candidates for the Senate under the party name of 'Senator On-Line'. This caught my eye so I looked it up and they have a website - senatoronline.org.au.

    Basically if they win a Senate seat or two, they will cast their Senate votes on every bill as per how everyone and anyone on Australia's official electoral roll votes on their senatoronline website if they wish. They will literally be a representative of the people with no personal vote for themselves, just cast their votes as directed by the people voting.

    Interesting concept I thought. What say you all? Would it work? Is it worth trying elsewhere too? Could it even replace the current system?
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    California shows what happens when you allow the population to vote on just about everything. Nothing of substance can move forward. It may work if a few senators do this but not if its taken to its logical conclusion.
     
  3. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Reading the title I thought at first Steve Jobs came up with the technology to put a senator in his pocket.:D
     
  4. awmazz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    PS. Here's a list of all the registered parties running Senate candidates. Who would you vote for just based on the names?

    Quite an eclectic bunch. Some of these names would make US talking heads on Fox News blanche, even the Liberal party which is of course the right wing conservative party here:

    Socialist Alliance
    Building Australia
    Senator On-Line
    Communist
    Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
    Australian Democrats
    The Climate Sceptics
    Secular Party of Australia
    Shooters and Fishers
    Democratic Labor Party
    Australian Sex Party
    Socialist Equality Party
    Non-Custodial Parents Party
    Family First
    Labor
    Carers Alliance
    Christian Democratic Party
    Liberal
    The Nationals
    One Nation
    The Greens
    Liberal Democrats (LDP)
     
  5. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #5
    Ideally, that's a great system. Realistically, it will only be representative of the people who choose to make the effort to vote on their website.

    Don't y'all have mandatory voting in elections? What's the penalty for not voting in an election? And how often do people get caught not voting? (This fascinates me, as I'm from a country where less than half of the people show up to vote at the polls).
     
  6. awmazz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #6
    I myself refused to vote in a local council election 8 years ago. Couldn't be bothered as I didn't know one candidate from the arse end of another so I would have just voted 'informal' anyway. They fined me $60. I refused to pay it. Four years later I got a final demand court notice threatening to suspend my driver's licence, so I paid it. And I still don't know the name of a single person on the local council.

    While reciting my credit card number to them over the phone I asked them what of those people who don't have driver's licences, what do they threaten them with? They said they just go down the list until they find something else the govt has control over you with that they can take away. If that comes to nought they just send the bailiffs around to take your furniture or computer or something.
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    Uhhh... that "technology" has been around a long, long time. ;)
     
  8. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #8
    Yup. This kind of move would have wonderful transparency, but any time the person felt it was a moral imperative to overrule the people on a dumb decision like prop 8, all its allure goes out the window.
     
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #9
    And who watches over the Web Guru on their site?? :rolleyes:
     
  10. awmazz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Assuming they stick to their advertised intentions and there's also no funny business in counting the online votes, what would actually make for an interesting scenario would be if they held the deciding vote in an otherwise equally balanced Senate between the two major parties.

    Every bill that needed to pass through the Senate would need this one Senate On-Line vote, so it would basically come down to a referendum every time with either or both of the major parties having to rally their voters to swamp the website to win that vote. It would be more of a democracy than it is now I reckon. But also a non-compulsory one so only people who actually cared about the specific bill would bother voting.

    It would actually make all the other Senators who vote along party lines (they all do) redundant as this one online vote would be the decider every time. If it actually works as an experiment, it would be the equivalent of doing away with the Senate entirely...

    But that would only happen if it was a balanced Senate. If one party has a clear majority then the online vote won't matter so it would be a pointless exercise...
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    Hello tyranny of the majority. There are times when the masses are just wrong. I often wonder how far back the Civil Rights movement in the US would've been set back if the federal government didn't basically force integration on the nation. How many more years (decades?) would it have taken to have integrated schools in Little Rock, Arkansas?

    As someone else mentioned, California's propositions system just shows how dangerous and misguided direct democracy can be. Lobbyists can sway the masses just like they can sway politicians but at least politicians can be voted out.


    Lethal
     
  12. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #12
    What's to prevent someone from pulling a /b/ and making a program to vote a certain way thousands of times per second?
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #13
    I don't know why direct democracy fails so badly in California, it works pretty well in Switzerland (though they did have some nonsense about minarets fairly recently).
     
  14. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #14
    This is what I thought too. The internet is too wild and uncontrollable for this to work at this point.
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    Well, a big part of the reason is how you qualify for the ballot. You have to collect a large number of signatures in a short period of time. This leads to it being necessary to be able to hire staff to collect the signatures. Which leads to abuse of the process by the well-funded groups, and a virtual lockout of groups of modest means.

    This last election in June, we had five ballot initiatives up for a vote. Two were straight up industry attempts to stick it to the little guy. In both cases, the business in question were far and away the biggest contributors to the respective campaigns. Thankfully both failed, but it's resources wasted having to fight it, and they'll just try again in a different way next time.

    This fall we will have nine initiatives on the ballot.

    Another problem is that we have allowed a majority vote be an acceptable standard for raising a vote threshold from a 50% +1 requirement to a 2/3 majority requirement for some pretty important things. In reality, a 2/3 requirement is nearly impossible to meet -- by design. Seems to me if you're going to raise a vote threshold to 2/3, you should have to meet that standard yourself in order to enact such a law. In the current incarnation, it allows a minority to thwart the will of the majority, and it promotes legislative gridlock and an inability to raise revenue despite voters being able to vote for new costs with simple majorities.

    We've also decided that it's ok to allow a majority to strip civil rights from certain groups of citizens. It takes a 2/3 majority to raise taxes, but only a simple majority to strip marriage equality from gay people. How effed up is that?
     
  16. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #16
    Just wanted to correct this as it is a bit of a misconception. We have mandatory attendance/participation in elections only. You don't have to vote. You can turn up, get your name signed off and leave. Likewise you can fill in a postal vote if you don't want to attend a voting booth (and again you don't have to fill out the ballot paper). It is not compulsory to vote per se.
     
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #17
    Excellent, another vote for "None of the above". ;)
     
  18. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #18
    Or the great aus tradition of drawing a large phallus. When I've worked in elections I have always been surprised how many people do this. It usually has a pile of it's own as the votes are tallied. The penis party would do well.
     
  19. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #19
    And let's not overlook the petition fraud. Many people have had the experience of running into the friendly person with the stack of petitions: save the whales, discount bus passes for war widows, free puppies for orphans, and you get to the bottom of the stack and the very last one is "Constitutional amendment to mulch the gays and give away the result to PG&E's new subsidiary, Soylent Power."
     
  20. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #20
    This in an excellent amendment, but will not bare fruit in areas not habituated by Gays.
     
  21. awmazz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    I heard tales of one polling station in Queensland where the guy crossed off the peoples' names and after they left filled in their ballots himself.
     
  22. awmazz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Equal rights for Soylent Green. Soylent Green is people too. ;)

    Right to Life for Soylent Green. Every human cell is a precious person. ;)
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    If there's gays involved, there will be bare fruit.

    Wait, not gays. Guys.

    Besides, haven't you heard? The gays are (cue spooky music) everywhere!
     
  24. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #24
    Thank you for participating.

    Yes, "they" are everywhere men gather. ;)
     
  25. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #25
    Was it Archie Bunker who spoke of "California Granola"? Where you mix up a bunch of fruits, nuts and flakes?
     

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