Power, passion and porkies?

I haven’t until now entered the general blogosphere discussion about the imminent federal ALP preselection of Peter Garrett, which seems already to have degenerated into a predictable left versus right slagging contest. Garrett’s political views are quite a long way to the left of mine on numerous issues (at least judging by Midnight Oil’s song lyrics). However, as a believer in democratic pluralism I think it’s important to have a wide variety of policy positions represented in Parliament.

Garrett is a credible, persuasive advocate on a range of green and indigenous policy issues, and his presence in federal Parliament may enhance the quality of public debate (although if he ends up in Cabinet or shadow cabinet his ability to do so will be severely circumscribed).

Moreover, Mark Latham presumably calculates that Garrett’s presence on the Labor side will be a short-term electoral plus by shoring up the support of soft lefties who might otherwise desert Labor for the Greens. He’s probably correct. Very few of the sorts of people who’d be alienated by Garrett are likely to vote Labor in any event.

It was predictable that some local branch members, aspiring candidates and factional warlords would oppose the imposition of a high profile candidate by the ALP National Executive, and equally predictable that they won’t prevail. Major political parties need to be able to preselect high profile candidates for safe seats in order to ensure the necessary talent to form a competent Ministry, and they can only do that by overriding entrenched local hacks on some occasions. The Cheryl Kernot saga showed that it isn’t usually a sensible idea to preselect a quality high profile candidate for a marginal seat, and Party hacks generally position themselves years in advance for succession to a safe seat. The only effective way of successfully preselecting a high profile candidate for a safe seat is to have rules allowing a body like the National Executive to override local pre-selection procedures in some circumstances.

On the other hand, that power needs to be used sparingly to avoid terminal alienation of rank-and-file Party members. I don’t see Garrett’s pre-selection as the thin end of the wedge in that respect, and I doubt that he’ll have too much trouble winning local Branch support in Kingsford Smith over time. In any event, even grass-roots support in the ALP tends to be generated and organised along factional more than local lines. If (as I assume) Garrett aligns himself with the Left, that faction will ensure that he has the local campaign workers he needs to get elected, even if many of the local NSW Right troglodytes around Kingsford and Maroubra boycott his campaign in the short term.

One aspect of the Garrett affair that will bear watching, however, is the question of his electoral enrolment. The most recent update claims:

Environmentalist and former rock star Peter Garrett today rejected claims he had not voted in elections for 10 years, saying he had cast his vote but was not aware he was not on electoral rolls. …

Responding to the reports, Mr Garrett said he had voted but that he was not on the electoral roll, even though he thought he was.

“My understanding was I thought I was on the electoral roll. I thought I had a silent enrolment. I have voted in previous elections, I have voted in referenda, I have even voted when I was overseas,” he told reporters.

“I have received no communication from the Electoral Commission that I’m not on the roll, no communications that I’m aware of, to tell me I’m not on the roll.

“As of yesterday, I’m on the roll as a regular enrolled candidate and that’s where I’ll stay.”

However, this explanation raises many more questions than it answers. If Garrett really has voted at all elections and referenda over the last decade despite not being enrolled, then on every occasion he would have been required to make a “provisional” vote and sign a declaration that he was regularly enrolled. As the Australian Electoral Commission website explains:

What do I do if my name is not on the list at the polling place?

People whose names cannot be found on the list of voters for the division in which they believe themselves to be enrolled, or whose names have already been marked off the list but who claim not to have voted, may cast a ‘provisional vote’. These votes are not counted until a careful check of enrolment records has been made.

What is a ‘Declaration Vote’ ?

Absent, postal, pre-poll and provisional votes are also known as ‘declaration votes’ because each voter has to sign a declaration stating that they are eligible to vote. Declaration votes are also given to people who have silent enrolment listings.

The only ways Garrett could have failed to receive notification from the AEC that he wasn’t enrolled (contrary to his claimed belief) would be if either (a) he’s changed home address so frequently that successive AEC correspondence has failed to reach him for an entire decade; or (b) the AEC has repeatedly been guilty of clerical oversight by failing to follow up his (numerous?) declaration votes by writing to him to advise that his claimed belief is mistaken. The AEC occasionally makes such errors, but it’s more than a tad hard to believe that it would fail to do so multiple times in a row.

If Garrett is telling porkies (and I reckon there’s a fair chance he is), he might just have torpedoed a promising political career before it even starts. ‘Fessing up to failing to vote for 10 years would have been no more than a momentary embarrassment, but lying about it raises integrity issues that could potentially cripple his political future by making him a bald, macho version of Carmen Lawrence.

Update – here’s a more comprehensive ABC story (although it doesn’t tell us anything additional about the enrolment question).

Update 2 – This ABC AM interview with Garrett from earlier this morning (Friday) rather tends to reinforce the suspicion that he isn’t being entirely candid about his enrolment and voting record. There’s more mileage in this story yet, methinks.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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cs
cs
2022 years ago

Ken, Brian Bahnisch comments over at my place that Peter G was reportedly on a ‘private [electoral] list’, from which he slipped off. Not that I know about these things, but you seem interested.

abbaitoirdiscotheque
2022 years ago

Eat shit and die electors of Kingsford Smith, now that you’ve been shown that your veiws don’t count in who we at Labor HQ decide will represent you, we expect you to trot out loyally at the next election and say clearly you like taking it up the arse.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

The abbaitoirdiscotheque nom de blog has taken me back to 1974 and a skit about a buck’s night held at the Port Kembla Steelworks Revolving Canteen and dis-coth-a-kew. The feature band was not Midnight Oil but none other than the Mighty Mighty Kev Kavanagh and The Kavemen. Kev was a butcher by day and rock star by night.

Ahh, The Aunty Jack Show…

TJW
TJW
2022 years ago

“Major political parties need to be able to preselect high profile candidates for safe seats in order to ensure the necessary talent to form a competent Ministry, and they can only do that by overriding entrenched local hacks on some occasions.”

Is that necessarily the case? I’m not saying that is, I just can’t think of when the Liberal Party last did that. Here is what Gred Sheriden said (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,9795051%255E25377,00.html):

“It is interesting that the Liberal Party is now much more democratic than Labor in this respect. When it has wanted to get high-profile people into parliament – such as the then leader of the pro-constitutional monarchy campaign, Tony Abbott; the former head of the Australian Medical Association, Brendan Nelson; or the former leader of the republican movement, Malcolm Turnbull – they have had to go through normal party preselections.”

TJW
TJW
2022 years ago

Although, just having re-read the comment I posted, I wouldn’t say that branch stacking a candidate is any more democratic than imposing them from above – maybe the journalist is going a bit far in using that language.

Graham
2022 years ago

Huh? If the voters of Kingsford-Smith don’t want to vote for Peter Garrett, they can always vote for someone else.

I’m just amused at people getting outraged because the local ALP kingmakers have been overriden by the ALP’s uberkingmakers.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

To be fair to Garrett the Electoral office does make cock-ups. To use the Pollyspeak of our latest recruit-“My understanding was I thought” I last voted in the 87 election, which saw the return of a Hawke Govt. Why did I “understand” this? Because I was a member of the labor Party at the time and manned a polling booth at the time, handing out how to vote cards. I had to be relieved to vote myself. With a common Anglo name, rather than Papadopoulos, they make a great fuss of making sure you are the right Anglo on their list. Subsequently I received a letter from the Electoral Commissioner asking me to explain why I didn’t vote. I simply wrote ‘I voted’ across the form and posted it back, knowing full well that it would naturally be filed in the too hard basket. After all, no public servant wants to pursue a public circus cock-up, unless absolutely forced to. After experiencing the Left/Right factionalism in the Canberra North Branch, I was cured of politics and decided not to vote again after returning to Adelaide that year. I have not registered to vote since and am happy to leave the choice to you lot.(When did you ever get it wrong given your choices?) To again quote the rapidly adapting Mr Garret, since 1987 I have had “no communications that I’m aware of, to tell me I’m not on the roll.”, or on it for that matter. Of course if I do receive some nasty communication in future, it will be “My understanding that I thought”..I voted your Honour, for all these years. Streuth, unlike Howard who’s had thirty odd years to learn the lingo, this new kid on the block, without a seat, sure is quick off the Mark!

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

What Graham said. There is an inherent absurdity in referring to an ALP pre-selection process in a safe seat as “democratic”. In reality, the vast majority of the members on the books of all of the branches in that electorate are people who have been “stacked” by one or more of the local powerbrokers, who have been jockeying to get their hands on this seat when Brereton retires for years.

As for the minority of branch members who are members because they want to assist the ALP, well, they weren’t going to have much of a say anyway, and even if they were, what’s so democratic about such a tiny group of people decide on a candidate to be voted on by the public at large … or at least, why is that less democratic that the executive doing so?

bargarz
2022 years ago

I guess at least branch stackees can claim a modicum of legitimacy over an appointee from head office by actually living in the electorate (usually).

Silent roll. Whatever.

According to gnuhunter, you can only get on the silent roll under special circumstances – and need for privacy aint one – and that even so, only your address is excised – your name will still appear on the roll. Wait and see I guess.

And yes, Greg Sheridan’s piece is all over the place like a mad woman’s shit. Maybe he’s trying to outdo Peter Fitzsimons for most infantile piece of the week.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Oily Pete is too smart to lie about this particularly since it is pretty easy for the AEC to check out his story.
It sounds more likely to me of a stuff-up at the AEC.

He isn’t my idea of a candidate that I would vote for but look at some of the strengths he would bring to the ALP:

He is a self-made millionare,
He is a canny investor,
He is a shrewd investor,
He is an inspiring Leader and Manager ( The Oils was a big Business afterall),
He is quite bright and articulate but most important he had deprived the ALP Headoffice bruvvers of a hack in Caucus who wouldn’t support Iron Mark.

We should think about Iron Mark stamping his authority by putting Oily into Kingsford Smith.
As a back-bencher or even shadow Treasurer he wouldn’t have abar of Oily yet as Leader He has embraced him. A changed man.

Oh yes Iron Mark will say to Bob Carr remember Liverpool!

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“As for the minority of branch members who are members because they want to assist the ALP, well, they weren’t going to have much of a say anyway, and even if they were, what’s so democratic about such a tiny group of people decide on a candidate to be voted on by the public at large … or at least, why is that less democratic that the executive doing so?”

LOL! That’s the stuff of the next Party celebration speech I want to hear from Gough, Mork. I don’t disagree with Mork’s assessment of ALP pre-selection. But….(and it’s a big one)….the more fundamental point for me is that Labor constantly evokes “the Party” – specifically membership of it – as the great beating heart of the Labor movement. From now on, every time Gough and Bob embark on one of their teary paeans of praise to Party loyalty, I’ll be hearing the expedient depiction of the Kingsford Smith party membership (and seat contenders) as a bunch of self – and time – serving losers. To oppose the imposition of a non-member celebrity as a safe seat candidate is apparently the new ALP standard for an unreasonable act of small-minded, rat-faced truculence as opposed to being seen as the act of those who might be understandably, a bit pissed off. Were it not for the Garrett profile and parachute and a Brereton/Latham intra-factional payback sub-context this might just have been a fairly typical pre-selection factional stoush. It’s just that they would have kept the blinds drawn and mopped up most of the blood…

If Garrett was on the Silent Roll, it appears to be at odds with the Australian Electoral Commission’s statement about eligibility for it. On Radio National’s ‘am’ show a couple of days back, I distinctly heard a representative of that agency refer to the grounds for inclusion as ‘security’ related. You apparently have to be in a witness protection program or some similar circumstance. He responded to a question about “celebrity” eligibility by stating quite emphatically that celebrity alone wouldn’t be acceptable grounds.

Even before Garrett’s shift on Pine Gap, I was a bit puzzled as to this automatic assumption of his copybook Left credentials. Commitment to conservation and indigenous wellbeing aren’t confined to the Left any more than being rich and a committed Christian is confined to the Right. I’m pretty certain however that a 51 year old “Youth icon” is pushing it uphill bigtime.

I think that a more nuanced understanding of Peter Garrett is bound to emerge along with an indication of his value as a parliamentary performer – though this is presumably much less important at this point than is his perceived electoral value.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

So now we know. All his life Peter Garrett has been on a witness protection program. Maybe his parents were neighbours of Petrov and alerted ASIO.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

It’s quite possible (and relatively frequent) for a person’s name to “fall off” the electoral roll for a variety of reasons. If that person then doesn’t bother to vote at subsequent elections, it’s quite likely that this omission won’t be discovered, because there’s no event or piece of paper to signal that the person exists and so trigger a search or enquiry. I have a close friend in exactly that position, who hasn’t voted for years. Our frequent pseudonymous commenter “observa” ‘fesses up to the same thing above.

However, if a person whose name has slipped off the roll DOES vote (as Garrett claims to have done), then every time he does so there IS a piece of paper to trigger an AEC enquiry. A ‘provisional’ voter who turns up at a polling place and claims he should be on the roll, but whose name doesn’t appear (including one who claims to be on the silent roll), will be given a ballot paper and required to complete a declaration (that they were entitled to vote). That includes listing his current address. The AEC then checks the claimant’s eligibility to vote (before admitting it to the count).

If the AEC assesses that the claimant wasn’t eligible, then not only is his vote excluded, but I understand that the normal AEC procedure is then to write to the claimant about his enrolment. It’s conceivable that the AEC might have neglected to write to Garrett once, or maybe even twice, due to clerical oversight, but I doubt that the AEC is so hopelessly inefficient that it would have committed the same clerical oversight four times in a row since 1994 (three successive federal elections and the republic referendum in 1999).

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Actually, I note that he’s quoted in the SMH saying that he applied for Silent Roll inclusion during his time with the Nuclear Disarmament Party after threats were made to his family. Sounds plausible. I assume that info on Silent Roll inclusion would, logically, be confidential and not subject to FOI requests. We might never know the truth about his relationship with the Petrovs, David.

James
James
2022 years ago

Actually, Pete is now suggesting he went on the silent roll in the early 1990s, long after his run with the NDP:

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2004/s1129667.htm

He also seems to be a little confused about the effect of moving to another region would have on his enrollment. I wonder what electorate he thought he was voting in?

I think Ken is spot-on: it’s hard to understand that if Garrett voted, the AEC wouldn’t have communicated with him about not appearing on the roll. Ken only mentions federal elections – but including state and local elections (compulsory in NSW) he would have been required to vote, what, eight times since 1994?

Not voting, not being on the roll, while embarrassing, are not really big issues. But if he’s fibbing, he’s in deep trouble.

bargarz
2022 years ago

I wonder if cs would still say, “so what?” if that were the case.

Gianna
2022 years ago

my name fell off the roll recently when i moved, even though i completed the change of address form. so when i went to vote in the local council elections i had to do some special vote/declaration/section-something or other. at first the polling official suggested i just don’t vote, because he hadn’t done one of these special votes before, and it was apparently all a bit too hard. but having carted myself there with the baby, i wasn’t about to leave without having my say. he ended up having to read the instructions as we went through it, and i even had to help him out with a few things that he filled in wrong.
so i don’t doubt Garrett’s story.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“The only ways Garrett could have failed to receive notification from the AEC that he wasn’t enrolled (contrary to his claimed belief) would be if either (a) he’s changed home address so frequently that successive AEC correspondence has failed to reach him for an entire decade; or (b) the AEC has repeatedly been guilty of clerical oversight by failing to follow up his (numerous?) declaration votes by writing to him to advise that his claimed belief is mistaken. The AEC occasionally makes such errors, but it’s more than a tad hard to believe that it would fail to do so multiple times in a row.”

Ken, I’ve listened to local (Brissy) ABC radio the last few mornings and there were quite a few people saying they had been unenrolled multiple times. I think the confusion came when they made a “declaration vote” and then were told, incorrectly, that this would also fix up their enrolment.

If Garrett was on, or thought he was on a private roll then he would get no signal that anything was amiss.

As to cock-ups it would presumably only take one letter going amiss to break the chain, wouldn’t it? How do letters go amiss? Not usually by Australia Post in my experience. It is possible, being away a lot, that something fell through the net in PG’s pending basket. Also I know a woman whose neighbour steals all her mail every day. She has a PO box and is too nice to make a complaint. Would the AEC send anything to a PO box? I suspect not.

Given that the circumstance of sticky-fingered neighbors is probably rare, I can also relate that I know a community of rich-ish folk who live on an estate with letter boxes out at the front entrance who repeatedly have their letter boxes vandalised and their mail stolen. Why? I don’t know.

I find that reality is often stranger than we imagine. Why then do we have a tendency to judge people adversely when we don’t in fact know what happened? Can’t we live with a bit of uncertainty and be a bit generous?

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I wonder if cs would still say, “so what?” if that [i.e. fibbing] were the case.

Wonder no more bargs. I’d go tsk tsk (and *bugger* because of the political consequences due to so many people having your assumptions).

Take this towel and dry yourself off ol’ son, concentrating on the bit behind the ears. Trivial lies happen every day all day in politics. Who likes it? No-one, but that’s that. If, however, Peter lied about his promises to the electorate (say, drew a convenient division between core and non-core to escape the pledges upon which he’d been elected), or if he lied in a way that maligned and damaged innocent others for his own black-hearted political purposes (such as those on the Tampa), or lied to take the whole country to a war for christsakes (!!!), I’d want to bbq the bastard on a stick.

If you are perchance interested in that I think provides a substantive starting point for a grown-up discussion of politics and lying, I recommend this series over at Back Pages.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Geoff, re

the more fundamental point for me is that Labor constantly evokes “the Party” – specifically membership of it – as the great beating heart of the Labor movement. From now on, every time Gough and Bob embark on one of their teary paeans of praise to Party loyalty, I’ll be hearing the expedient depiction of the Kingsford Smith party membership (and seat contenders) as a bunch of self – and time – serving losers.

I think this completely misunderstands the meaning of ‘loyalty’ in this context. I hope you won’t mind if I just link to a thread, where I’ve just rabbitted on about this.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

The whole “name has fallen off the roll” theory would only work if Garrett had never attempted to vote during the period in question.

However, he claims to have voted several times. So it doesn’t wash.

Some public figures have their names recorded on the roll, but their addresses suppressed. If this were the case with Garrett, his name would appear on the roll. It doesn’t.

This is an issue that won’t go away. His first day as the anointed candidate, and to me it looks like he’s telling porkies. Unconvincing and easily disproved ones at that.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“I think this completely misunderstands the meaning of ‘loyalty’ in this context. I hope you won’t mind if I just link to a thread, where I’ve just rabbitted on about this.”

If you’re actually saying that my depiction of ‘loyalty’ – in terms of it’s reverential Labor iconography – is at variance with the the actual practice of ‘loyalty’ in the ALP, then we’re in total agreement.

I suspect that the “variance” is the problem.

bargarz
2022 years ago

Wonder no more bargs. I’d go tsk tsk (and *bugger* because of the political consequences due to so many people having your assumptions).
— SNIP soapbox —

I guess that’s a no then. :P

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I’m lost bargs.

Geoff, the party is a great beast, with many levels and dimensions, and rat fucking galore. But I don’t think that means that leaders are not sincerely grateful to the rank and file who supply all the hard work for elections and keep the thing live between polls at the grassroots level. I’m sure they are. Local branches are the best but horribly imperfect means of selecting a local candidate for a local seat. The party executive is the best but horribly imperfect means of selecting a national figure for a local seat. All the rest, imho, is crap.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Evilpundit, you are determined to think ill of Peter Garrett, aren’t you? The way I’ve heard it from people’s actual experience is that you go to the polling booth, find your name is not on the roll, then you do a “declaration vote” and leave. Unfortunately you have no idea whether your vote was counted or not.

Suppose you are Peter Garrett and you don’t EXPECT your name to be on the roll. You front up and ask to do a declaration vote. The officiating personnel oblige and you leave. He has no idea whether he is on any kind of roll or whether his vote has been counted.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“Geoff, the party is a great beast, with many levels and dimensions, and rat fucking galore”

I think we may have the “Kingsford Smith Balm” content for Gough’s next speech, Chris. I’d also like to see your erudite exposition on the logic of celeb parachuting incorporated into all future “light on the hill” exhortations :)

Russell
Russell
2022 years ago

NOTE FOR Brian Bahnisch:

In spite of the way a number of posters above have described it, there is no “private electoral roll” – there is a silent electoral roll – your name is still there but your address is suppressed. None of this is hard to look up, it is clearly given on the AEC site (http://www.aec.gov.au/_content/what/enrolment/elig_special.htm#2). If he actually was on the silent roll he would be used to finding his name on the roll, but having the AEC officials freaking out because there was no address to check.

It is easy to fall off the electoral roll – but you only stay off of it if you don’t attempt to vote. I don’t give a rat’s a*** if Garret voted – not even that he lied about it – but if he was going to lie about it he should have at least put in the effort to make it realistic. Garret is lying and has such contempt for the punters that he didn’t even bother to make the lie plausible.

I have nothing but contempt for either side of politics (though I have always been puzzled by how far beyond contempt some people are willing to go). There are some pollies I have liked on both sides (Button and Reid are the only two I can think of at the moment) but most of them I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire.

observar
observar
2022 years ago

Russell should care if someone in power deliberately and calculatingly lies, because they are scared of being found out and/or the consequences. We cut children slack for this, because they work on the childlike theory that you should always put off until tomorrow, what you could cop a whack for today. Adults must function on the adage that a stitch in time saves nine. Honesty is not negotiable. It is the fundamental premise of all business and contract law. Adults who deliberately lie in a bare faced way, cannot be trusted as they are pathologically still children. They should never be in positions of trust or power.

Lying is of course the reason why infidelity in marriage cannot be condoned. Like business partnerships, marriage relies fundamentally on trust. The cuckolded spouse will always doubt the cheater thereafter. Now here we should differentiate between barefaced lies and what may be termed unintentional or white lies. Unintentional lies can occur with genuinely faulty recall. In actual fact this has occurred with myself in referring above to the reelection of Hawke in 1987, when it was in fact 1985. Thank goodness an attack dog media were not on my hammer over this ‘lie’. Also in this class is a bit of- the older I get, the better I was, or the size of the fish in the fishing yarn. As well there is the matter of interpretation, where the glass is half full or half empty, depending on your perspective. The left/right perspective of events. As far as white lies go, they can be justified on a subjective basis, so as not to hurt another’s feelings. What husband worth his salt would tell an enthusiastic wife with a new dress, that he thinks it’s a shocker when she asks for his opinion?

The question at hand, is whether or not a Peter Garrett, about to embark on a career of trust and representation, was engaged in a bare faced lie like Clinton- ‘I did not have sex with that woman’. Now we have to recognise that events that occurred many years ago can fade from memory. However, I would suggest most strongly, since I have been in a position of not voting, since 1985, that Garrett would know if he did. If he deliberately lied about it to avoid some perceived consequences, as far as I am concerned,I will not trust him again. Nor should you. In the meantime, I’ll take his word for it, until the evidence says otherwise.

Russell
Russell
2022 years ago

G’day observer,

I agree that lying is a bad thing – I just note that the problem in this case is that he had such contempt for the punters that he told such a stupid lie.

As to giving Garrett the benefit of the doubt, that would only be tenable if there was a doubt. He has not been on the electoral roll for 10 years (that is a demonstrable fact), silent voters are on the roll (that is a demonstrable fact), Garrett was not on the silent roll (that is a demonstrable fact). Garrett is relying on a compliant press failing to put it as simply as that. The evidence already “says otherwise”.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Russell, Thanks for the info. I’ll take your word for it without looking it up. I had heard the ‘no address’ bit but not from a person with direct experience or any authority.

I must say, though, if I’m ever in the dock I hope you’re not on the jury. I heard quite a few people ringing up on ABC radio telling of their experiences. The first was a cop who got himself put on the silent roll for obvious reasons. He said the AEC posted a form out to him a couple of weeks before the election. He then filled out the form with some-one witnessing his signature each time, then posted it back with his vote. He reckoned he didn’t need to go anywhere near a polling booth. Why should this cop lie?

He was followed by others who had a variety of stories, but all seemed to go to the booth and do the ‘declaration vote’ routine. None of them mentioned the routine that the cop followed. Why should these people lie? As I recall, none mentioned the name but no address on the roll. That was only mentioned by some-one, like you, who was more than ready to accuse Garrett of lying.

Peter Garrett is away a lot. Maybe the first time he voted after getting himself on the silent roll he was away and did a ‘declaration vote’ and thereafter thought that was what you did. Meanwhile if he had slipped off the roll he would never know as per my comment above. I thought of 8 ways that could happen which I listed at Back Pages. I’ve thought of another. PG is almost certain to have a secretary at least part time. Maybe his secretary stuffed up and filed a routine letter from the AEC in the WPB.

There is also the thought that he could have shifted house into a new electorate, in which case he might have done a “declaration vote” without verifying his name on the roll, and then never gotten around to changing his enrolment, being a busy lad and all. At that point he and the AEC would have parted company missive-wise.

I don’t think it’s any big deal, but I’m a bit sick of people not giving others the presumption of innocence and then imputing all sorts of foul motives and dastardly behaviour, which may only exist in their own fevered imaginations.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

He Russell, you haven’t demonstrated that Peter Garrett KNEW he was not on the electoral roll.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Oops that should be “Hey Russell”

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Brian, you are determined to exonerate Peter Garrett, aren’t you?

I’ve never made a declaration vote myself, but as I understand it, it involves giving your name and address to the AEC. Presumably the AEC would then follow up, and ensure that the declared voter was properly enrolled.

Peter Garrett is asking us to believe that he did this not just once, but several times over a ten-year period, and that every single time the AEC failed to follow up his declaration and put him on the roll.

I don’t buy it.

The only people who believe this contradictory concoction are Garrett’s supporters. We can also see where the sympathies of the media lie in their failure to follow up the story.

Russell
Russell
2022 years ago

G’day Brian,

I am willing to impute the worst of motives to pretty well all pollies – not just Garrett.

You can check the details of the arrangements for the silent roll yourself (that was the point of giving the link). I am not trying to tell you what your opinion should be, I’m just stating my opinion. All of the discussions I have heard from people who have been dropped from the roll or were on the silent roll have a simple unifying thread – people who aren’t on the roll can’t vote. If you make a declared vote when you aren’t on the roll they send you letters about it – they might (conceivably miss you once – four times is reaaly pressing credibility.

In my personal experience it is hard to stay off the roll. I lived in Europe for a large chunk of the 1990s – I got dropped and put on the roll everytime I sold an Australia property while I was gone. When I finally moved back I was put on the roll when I paid my rates and put in an owner occupier land tax exemption – I haven’t applied to be put on the roll since the first time I bought a property.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Evil and Russell. That’s interesting. But I did hear one lady say she had herself put on the silent role and had all sorts of problems staying on it.

As I said way back reality can often be stranger than you could imagine, so I feel no compulsion to make a judgement.

Russell
Russell
2022 years ago

G’day Brian,

Did the lady happen to say that she had successfully voted after being dropped from the roll?

Russell
Russell
2022 years ago

G’day Brian,

I am not even trying to suggest Garrett knew he wasn’t on the electoral roll. The lie he told was that he voted repeatedly while he was off the roll – the contempt came from making his lie so unrealistic. The contempt is what got up my nose.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

One thing this issue has made patently clear, from the tales about the AEC, is that our electoral rolls and their policing are in a less than perfect state. I think we have to put this down to the requirement to compulsorily vote, in a mobile society. Perhaps it is time we addressed whether or not people should be forced to vote, or at least strike their name off a roll on polling day. Motivated people, who wish to vote will presumably register properly and the problem should solve itself. I would advocate personal choice about registering and voting.

Russell does make a good point that it seems unlikely that Garrett did not receive some correspondence from the AEC over 4 occasions. However my experience and others with the AEC, suggests Garrett should still be given the benefit of the doubt. However, we should be on our guard with Mr Garrett, for any pattern of such incidents in future.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Russell, the lady filled in the form and cast her bread on the waters, but I don’t think she ever knew whether it was counted.

Prof Bob Montgommery (?) says that every time you revisit a memory you can actually change it. This is important in rape cases and one reason why they seldom bring convictions. To be honest I think mine, on the question of what I heard on the radio, may have past it’s use-by date and anyway I’d be glad to move onto other things.

I’m not anxious to exonerate Garrett, I just don’t want to ping him prematurely.

When he filled out a form I daresay he had to fill in his current address. There is a possibility that if he thought his enrolment pertained to the previous address, then that’s what he would put on the form, and the AEC would then send any correspondence there, which would then end up in some-one’s bin or the dead letter office.

There is also the possibility that PG’s vote was put aside as a dud and no action by was taken by the AEC on it. It would require a human in the AEC to do something, wouldn’t it?

The lady did say, I think, that her “declaration vote” had no impact on her enrolment. That had to be initiated separately by her. She did complain that the AEC did not instruct her properly, even in the fine print, as to what she had to do (that I’m sure I do remember properly.)

Russell that stuff about pulling info from other files is persuasive, but I do my tax through an accountant and I’m not sure the Tax Office know where I am. They know my TFN and my ABN and my GST exemption for sure.

Concerning the rates, and the tax, PG may have corporate entities and family trusts that do the owning and paying, may he not?

I’m just chucking out a few possibilities, but it’s no big deal. Observa, no-one likes lying but every-one does it at some time. Wouldn’t you lie without hesitation to save a life? If PG panicked and lied, maybe he pressed the wrong button and that is human and understandable. OTOH his 7.30 Report interview with Kerry O’B showed him very balanced and composed. His brain seems to work faster than his lips. That means, of course, if he wanted to lie he’d do it well! Whether that bespeaks contempt or dispatching an issue that is a red herring and no-one’s business we can contemplate and argue about if we’ve nothing better to do.

If PG really is a bad man, he’ll be under such scrutiny that we’ll know soon enough. I hope they don’t go publicising legally privileged information as the Courier Mail did with dear Cheryl in the end though.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Evil – your exaggerated concern over Peter Garrett’s enrollment is transperantly false.

The only sincere sentiment that you’re communicating with your posts is that you’re apprehensive about what Garrett’s candidacy means electorally.

Russell
Russell
2022 years ago

G’day Mork,

While I can’t speak for Evil, the most common reaction I have noted from people on the Right is an amused contempt. Garrett will appeal to people who buy his schtick – these are not going to be people who will vote coalition in any event. He might win votes from the Greens or Democrat, in that more power to him.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Mork, your puerile attempt at guessing my motives is patently absurd.

Far from being concerned over Garrett’s candidacy, I’m delighted. When the media honeymoon is over, Garrett’s own faults will rebound on both him and his adopted party.

It hasn’t even been a week yet, and he’s already sunk his credibility.

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a Newspoll out.

I think the Garrett choice is probably going to work out for the ALP. Probably because, as Russell suggests, it will stem the Party’s loss of votes to the Greens, with no attached electoral risk to the seat in question.

Peter Ransen
Peter Ransen
2022 years ago

Very interesting debate here regarding the electoral role issue. For mine, I’ve enrolled when moved to a new location, rocked up to vote, and my name wasn’t on the list.

But what does it matter? It’s a personal attack/integrity issue which will lose itself (quickly) in the heavy issues Garrett wants to address in parliamentary life.

And the allusions to Kernot are not valid. These are two entirely different people and two entirely different public forces.

I spoke today with a young friend, she’s 27, and for the first time in her life she has taken an interest in politics – and is enthused and inspired. She would be, I imagine, younger than most to even know intimately Garrett’s musical work (guessing on that), but the mere fact Garrett is who he is has cut through into her group of friends’ interest in national events.

Remember, she would have started to vote when Howard took the tiller: so she and her ilk know only of Howard and this government in terms of her government dealings.

I don’t believe Garrett will catalyse the young that much: I think it’s the mature thinking people who will watch him. But I’m prepared to be enlightened if the young are as impressed as my young friend.

These are terribly early days to try to squash the energy that is Garrett. Let’s not throw aspersions to future effects on the basis of things we are even not sure of.

More, let’s perhaps consider the effect he is going to have with the public heart and mind. After all, whatever your persuasion, or uncertainty, that is what is going to matter to the party alternatives being offered.

There’s a very sensible and real debate to be had about Peter Garrett. To limit it to his entry is to miss, I feel, the things that would be concerning those in power and wanting to be in power, right now. And those I’m suggesting are things which will matter to the country in the wash up.

bargarz
2022 years ago

I did not have electoral relations with that woman.

Moving onto other matters democratic. The Libs proposal to shut off enrolments when an election is called reeks of opportunism.

Observa
Observa
2022 years ago

What’s the opportunism in that Bargarz? Given the apparent trouble the AEC have in keeping their end up, wouldn’t this make it administratively simpler for them to get on with running the election?