The ballot draw ritual: @takvera reports Wills

John Englart

John Englart

Citizen journalist at No Fibs
John Englart has always had a strong social and environmental focus and over the past 10 years climate change science, climate policy and climate protest have become an increasingly important and primary focus of his work as a citizen journalist.
John Englart
- 1 hour ago
John Englart
I am involved in various Moreland-based community groups including Sustainable Fawkner where I blog on local and sustainability issues, Climate Action Moreland and Moreland Bicycle Users Group. I am also a member of Friends of the Earth, off and on, since 1976, and wrote the contribution on the Rides Against Uranium in the 1970s for the Friends of the Earth Australia book to mark the 30-year anniversary of FoE – 30 Years of Creative Resistance.

20130815_IMG_5746_Wills_ballot_draw

By John Englart

16 August 2013

At the declaration of nominations in Wills (See Seat profile), Dean O’Callaghan, running as a Save the Planet independent, drew the top spot on the ballot paper. Greens candidate Tim Read took second position, with Liberal and Labor candidates at the bottom of the ticket.

Kelvin Thomson, the sitting Labor member, has a comfortable margin in this electorate, so the real battle is between the Liberal Party and the Greens for second and third place. Tim Read in second spot will benefit from any donkey vote flowing down the ballot paper, which will help in the battle for second place in Wills.

I had never witnessed a declaration of nominations and the drawing of the ballot before, perhaps because I have never stood as a candidate, although I have handed out how-to-vote pamphlets and worked as a party scrutineer on several occasions.

The declaration is a small but formal affair watched by candidates or campaign managers and any citizen who is aware of the occasion and interested enough to attend. The occasions are certainly not well publicised  but they are open to anyone.

The divisional returning officer read out a prepared statement which includes a brief acknowledgement of country, paying respect to the traditional owners and first people. I was impressed with that.

In Wills, Kelvin Thomson, the sitting Labor MP, Shilpa Hegde the Liberal Party candidate, Adrian Trajstman for the Australian Sex Party, Dean O’Callaghan, an independent from the Save the Planet Party, and the Greens campaign manager came along, as well as a few other people including electoral commission officers.

A commonwealth government employee is required to be blindfolded for the draw. It is a double-blind process, first with numbers allocated to each candidate and then a draw to allocate a position for each candidate on the ballot paper.

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Before each draw, candidates and any citizens present are invited to spin the numbered balls in a small cage. Kelvin Thomson and Adrian Trajstman both took part, as did myself.

I also discovered that a Family First and Palmer United Party candidates will also be standing in Wills, although I have seen no campaign material to date from either of these candidates.

I am attempting to interview all candidates in one-on-one candid interviews on a range of issues, both national and local to Wills. I have already interviewed Kelvin Thomson, Tim Read, Adrian Trajstman, Dean O’Callaghan and Margarita Windisch with profile articles in preparation. I am also using these interviews as candidate comments for a range of issue-oriented articles I plan to do.

In the past two weeks I have attempted to arrange an interview with the Liberal Party’s Shilpa Hegde, with two email exchanges with her campaign manager. I have been told my enquiries have been referred to her media team. I introduced myself to her at this event and again requested an interview. It feels like she is being kept in bubble wrap by her minders and out of the limelight, which means the citizens of Wills are unable to take her measure. I am still waiting to hear back from her media team.

For Wills the ballot order will be:

O’CALLAGHAN, Dean (Independent – Save the Planet)
READ, Tim (Greens)
TRAJSTMAN, Adrian (Australian Sex Party)
WINDISCH, Margarita (Socialist Alliance)
GIGLIA, Concetta (Family First?)
MURRAY-DUFOULON, Anne Maree (Palmer United Party)
HEGDE, Shilpa (Liberal Party)
THOMSON, Kelvin (Australian Labor Party)

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See previous Wills election reports


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