The Wikileaks Party, established to give Julian AssangeTM a seat in Australia's Senate, has found itself scrambling to explain why it seems to endorse far-right-wing parties ahead of the Australian political mainstream in New South Wales, and is punishing The Greens in Western Australia. The row emerged after the Australian …
You can give the man a seat
But it's not going to be much use from the Ecuadorian embassy, or do I misunderstand how it works over there?
Re: You can give the man a seat
In the unlikely event that he does get elected, being a senator would almost guarantee more legal support from Australia than he receives now.
I wish there was an edit function.
Re: You can give the man a seat
IIRC in Australian politics it's normal to put the leader in prison after voting for him - so having Assange already locked up would save a lot of effort
Re: You can give the man a seat
Good luck getting him out of Ecuador through London where he is wanted for bail jumping now. Not that we all wouldn't be happy to see the back of him, as long as he promises to go permanently.
Democracy is all fine and well, until those in power manipulate the system to the point that no matter how you vote you're voting for the same bunch of people. I'm fairly certain the insanely complex systems that are popular today are not meeting the goals empowering the populace.
In local elections in some jurisdictions in Australia we use a system of optional preferential voting, so that you can number as few boxes as you like. Don't want your vote to fall to Hypocritical Major Party? Simply don't number their box, that way your vote will be exhausted before being distributed to them, just like a first-past-the-post system.
In the federal senate you are supposed to number every box if you vote below the line. In some states there are over 100 boxes, hence the provision of the option of voting above the line instead. If you vote below the line, the Australian Electoral Commission will however accept your ballot as formal as long as at least 90% of boxes are numbered, so there's some scope for excluding parties from your ballot.
I prefer the optional system personally, because it gives the elector more choice.
The AEC will also accept ballots filled with Roman numerals (source). Fellow Australians: Remember this when you vote!
It's interesting to note that in those AEC guidelines, the officials must assume the elector was trying to vote formally, and interpret ballot papers in that context. Makes a bit of a contrast to how they do things in the USA...
I should add that while it takes a week or two for the senate results to be finalised, the government is formed in the house of representatives. The HR is made up of single member electorates that generally yield a result on election night, so the extra time it takes to finalise the senate count doesn't affect the formation of government following an election. I'm happy to wait one or two weeks for a result every few years if it means the system results in a fairer representation of the will of the electors.
I find the fact that officials work on the assumption that the elector was TRYING to vote formally to be a truly excellent remark about democracy in Australia.
As an Aussie, I am always amazed (and, to be frank, disgusted) at the way voting is conducted in the US. Truth be told voting is a bit of a chore but it's all pretty laid back everywhere I've lived around this country and but for standing outside in a queue on almost invariably stinking hot days, I'm glad for mandatory voting.
Every election in the US is marred by calls of unethical behaviour aimed at favouring a particular party - understaffed polling stations, caging, rejection of otherwise valid registrations due to technicalities, etc... The US system is such that each state and indeed county is effectively allowed to manage the election process independently, including setting their own rules so you have the 50-odd secretaries of state along with the tens of thousands of local officials conspiring one way or the other to favour their preferred party.
Leaving my foil hat behind, all you have to do is look to the farce that was the 2004 US Presidential election for confirmation that our (largely) independently run system is much fairer. (Though we still inevitably get a liar and a cheat, whichever way we vote.)
Voting in the US is really screwed up. The last armed insurrection in the US was about voting fraud. In 1946 a bunch of WWII vets in Tennessee seized the National Guard Armory and laid siege to the jail where crooked politicians had absconded with the ballot boxes to destroy the ballots supporting the opposition.
I'm originally from where this all took place and the families are still alive; everyone is waiting for natural attrition of involved parties so the movie can be made. My family was involved in the original incidents and provided interviews and pictures to a big name producer several years ago.
Here's the TL;DR Wikipedia summary: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)
Sad part is that people aren't willing to defend their rights anymore. This probably never would have happened if it wasn't a bunch of battle hardened WWII vets who had been home from the war less than a year.
While I may accept that the system in the Senate may look 'Byzantine' to the uninitiated, the preferential system in the House of Reps is pretty simple, and ensures you have to receive at least 51% of the vote to get elected. 'First past the post' voting may be simple, but it is not democratic in my view, since it frequently results in people being elected who are not wanted by the majority of the voters in that electorate.
For people not familiar with the Byzantine electoral system used under Australia's preferential system
we use the same system in the UK to elect Mayors of large cities like "London"
So why is it Byzantine?
So why is it Byzantine?
Because of the little-known bylaw which allows the Byzantine Emperor to override any and all votes. Since the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453, and the Commonwealth of Australia wasn't established until 1901, the provision is thought to be mainly symbolic, but it has yet to be repealed.
51%? It's arguable (and I have, strongly) that any voting system that doesn't include a binding 'none of the above' is *not* democratic. Why should you have the choice only of people you don't like/want?
None of the above/Mandatory voting
Mandatory voting isn't a bad idea at all, but I am all for a 'Actually I don't trust any of these dodgy fuckers but I'm legally forced to stand in this queue to tell you that anything they do is not in my name. If enough other people agree, go away and come back with better candidates' box.
It's the only fair option if you want to force the true opinion or of the population.
Re: None of the above/Mandatory voting
We have that option. It's called a Donkey Vote. Donkey Voting involves delibrately spoiling your ballet by for example putting a 0 in every box, placing a blank form in the ballot box, or, as some friends of mine do, go the artistic route and draw a donkey pissing on a politician on your ballot. The numbers of donkey votes is counted for each seat, with the number released at the same time as the votes for the politcal parties. This can lead to some very high numbers of donkey votes, although I've yet to hear of it affecting the outcome in a seat.
Re: None of the above/Mandatory voting
Re Donkey voting - Yes it's possible to spoil a ballot and to informally say 'none of the above'. However, votes are counted a percentages of valid votes cast. So if 100 people vote, 80 cast a 'donkey vote', 15 vote for candidate A and 5 for B, that's onsidered to be 75% for A and 25% for B (15/20 and 5/20).
What the OP is talking about is that the 'none of the above' is an official choice that will be included in the tallies, and in the case above candidates A and B would be credited with their true totals of 15% and 5%. This is the way it should be - and in the case above, candidates A and B wouldn't be allowed to run for elections for the next x years (even better, any candidate who was 'none of the aboved' 3 times can never ever again run for office - now THAT'S a 3 strikes rule I would be in favour of)
Re: None of the above/Mandatory voting
Exactly. NOTA should not be a spoiled ballot - which merely increases the share of the winning candidate - but a valid candidate in and of itself. It should apply to *every* ballot and every person who has the right to vote and chooses not should be counted as a NOTA by default.
This way we find out just exactly *which* posts we believe we should have.
There would probably need to be some sort of special measure for things like prime minister (which should be of course an individual vote, not a party mandate).
It has been shown that the very complex system has never produced a result other than that which the first past the post system would have produced. That is, if you ignore all but the first choice, you would get exactly the same result.
However, if people think it is providing better representation, then it may well be better.
Bootnote: It is possible that the combination of the preference system and the requirement to vote with the very high resulting participation is why the results are the same as first past the post. Perhaps in a low turnout situation - the rest of the world - the Australian voting system would make more of a difference.
In America we can't even figure out a plain ballot with two or three names for each post. This voting system would never work here.
In Soviet Australia political party votes you
Yeah, well, if it wasn't compulsory, you'd only get about 10% voter turnout.
One beer per voter.
Many many people vote "above the line" on senate ballots. Such votes follow the nominated party's preferences. By preferencing far right parties the wikileaks idiots have shown their true colours.
Re: wikileaks FAIL
"By preferencing far right parties the wikileaks idiots have shown their true colours."
Indeed, and this is consistent with their association with a Russian anti-semite over a number of years.
Re: wikileaks FAIL
Assange is pretty much the embodiment of right wing conspiracy theory and libertarianism, but I suspect they don't care at all what parties they associate with as long as it maximizes Assange's chances of election.
I think this isn't a political move at all, just another ploy to shield Assange from being prosecuted for rape.
The entire Oz political system ...
... seems to be filled with idiots.
Worse than here in the USofA, even ... and that's hard to do.
Re: The entire Oz political system ...
I don't know man. The politicians here in the States are a special type of horrible people. If we could study them I think we'd find a specific genetic mutation shared amongst the lot.
As far as Western countries of primarily European descent go, I believe we're #1 for batshit insane sociopaths as our political class. USA, USA, USA, I guess...
On a lighter note, my phone automatically corrects batshit with Batsuit (with capital B) and doesn't show it as a misspelling. How very odd.
So this is yet another ploy to shield Assange from standing trial for one count of rape and one count of sexual assault?
I haven't been keeping up with this one but isn't he yet to be charged?
Surely that's the first step.
"So this is yet another ploy to shield Assange from standing trial for one count of rape and one count of sexual assault?"
So it would seem. Some people posting here seem to think that he might scrape diplomatic immunity out of the barrel, overlooking a fact or two; 1) it is not retrospective, 2) diplomatic immunity is granted by the host country, 3) Assange committed a crime; he is currently a bail jumper.
These things notwithstanding, I will be interested to see if Australians vote for a man convicted on 17 counts for serious infractions. Given that election time is also feeding frenzy time, I suspect that a lot of interesting background for Assange will be aired.
If Assange is elected then people will start to ask questions about the suitability of candidates, and whether or not they should be vetted. Should ex cons who have recently broken laws in other countries stand for election, especially when avoiding trial in yet other jurisdictions, especially where sexual assault is concerned. Given the often vociferous nature of the Australian women's movement this could be interesting, especially since Assange is on public record as dismissing the women in this case as being 'in a tizzy' over condom use; this can be confirmed by reading the transcript of his Today Programme interview or listening to it, on the BBC website.
"So this is yet another ploy to shield Assange from standing trial for one count of rape and one count of sexual assault?"
No. How could it be, when Assange has NOT BEEN CHARGED with any crime, in Sweden?
The European arrest warrant was issued on "suspicion of 'rape of a lesser degree,' unlawful coercion and two cases of sexual molestation," but that is not the same thing as being charged with these offences. (Much of the controversy surrounding the European Arrest Warrant centred around the fact that it was issued for "suspicion of offences" rather than for charges for any alleged offences.)
If Assange were extradited to Sweden, then he wouldn't be faced with a trial: he'd be faced with answering police questions that *might* lead to charges and then a trial. And then possible extradition to the US.
Of course, the Swedish police had plenty of time to ask Assange these questions in the weeks before he left Sweden for the UK, and Assange said he would answer any questions the Swedish police had for him via phone or video-link from the UK, but this offer wasn't good enough for the politically-appointed prosecutor.
(I assume you know that the usual apolitical prosecutor released Assange, saying he had no case to answer. The case only became serious when the elected prosecutor - an elected cabinet post, akin to the Attorney General in Australia - decided that Assange must be guilty of something and asked him to return to Sweden to answer yet more questions.)
"I haven't been keeping up with this one but isn't he yet to be charged?
Surely that's the first step."
1) Assange's Swedish counsel was informed by the Swedish police that they wanted to interview him prior to charging him (this is customary procedure in that jurisdiction) for sexual offences, unless his answers during the interview satisfied them that he was innocent;
2) Assange absconded from the Swedish jurisdiction and reappeared in the UK;
3 The Swedish government/CJS issued an EAW.
4) Assange, having argued that being held in a UK prison was completely unnecessary and that he was not at risk of absconding, absconded into the Ecuadorian embassy.
5) The Swedish bar association announce their intention to interview Assange's counsel, after he admits in a UK court that the Swedish police did in fact try to contact him, even though he denied it in the first instance.
6) Absconding when on bail is a crime for which arrest and charging is automatic, unless the UK CJS decides to waiver the matter in favour of the Swedish EAW, it being that it seems pointless to imprison or otherwise punish him and thus delay his expeditious transfer to Sweden.
In any case, absconding reverts the situation to that which applied when he arrived in this jurisdiction, having absconded from Sweden; now being indisputably at risk of absconding (which he inarguably was on arrival in the UK) Assange will be held in secure accommodation prior to being shipped back to Sweden, where he wanted to in any case become a citizen, due to the liberal laws they have in respect of his interests; readers will remember that recently Assange claimed that the Swedish CJS is as good as that in a banana republic.
Yes, he is yet to be charged, because the legal system in Sweden requires that someone be interviewed before they are charged. I guess the reasoning is that you aren't allowed to be charged if you've not been able to put your case in person. He is wanted for questioning and has fled the country, which is pretty much the equivalent of the UK's he's been charged and fled the country.
@Samward - Did you sign up specially to post that defence of Assange, or can we expect other ill informed comments on a variety of subjects, in the future?
As you well know: The Swedish system doesn't charge until they've interviewed, however the US system requires that someone be charged with a crime before any extradition process be started. The US have made no attempts to do either. Assange will also be returned to the UK after he has been dealt with by the Swedish and what with the "special relationship", I would have thought that supporters of Assange would be more worried about him being extradited from the UK than Sweden.
> Assange has NOT BEEN CHARGED with any crime
Because that's not how Swedish law works. People are not charged until after the investigation, before the trial.
In the US or UK he would be charged.
OK, just read the rest of your post:
1) No, he's wanted for questioning about one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault.
I understand that you don't think so, the Assange team has tried to confuse that issue, amongst other with their bizarre lying about Assange being wanted for the uniquely Swedish crime of "sex by surprise" (see e.g. http://gizmodo.com/5705614/wikileaks-julian-assange-is-not-accused-of-rape-updated ). I assume that everyone who's ever visited 4Chan knows what "surprise sex" is.
2) There is no confusion: Assange has outstanding EU arrest warrants for rape and sexual assault, and for jumping bail.
3) He might not be charged, that's true. Anonymous conducted an "internet hate machine" IRL harassment campaign against the two victims to get them to drop their charges, but under Swedish law charges are pressed not by the victims but by the public prosecutor, precisely to protect victims from intimidation.
4) He can not be extradited to the USA. Firstly extradition will require the consent of the UK (as the arresting country), and secondly it is against the Swedish constitution to extradite if the prisoner potentially faces the death penalty.
Assange's supporters always try to muddy the water by referring to a case where two terror suspects were renditioned to Egypt from Sweden, but Sweden had received guarantees from the USA and Egypt that the suspects would not be tortured or killed, and when it was found out that they had, Sweden paid a 10M SEK compensation to the victims, and the minister in charge, Anna Lindh, escaped blame only because she had in the meantime been murdered.
The reason Sweden wont give assurances that Assange will not be extradited, is because its received no request for extradition from the USA. Neither has the UK, contrary to Assanges claims, but if it did then the UK would likely extradite him to the USA due to the asymmetric extradition treaty between UK and US (google "lopsided extradition").
5) Yes, Assange was questioned by police. Then when the police wanted to talk with him again, he fled the country and refused to take the 1.5 hour flight to Sweden for questioning, instead demanding that the interview be conducted over video link, later that the prosecutor should come to London and interview him there. The police and prosecutor has declined, stating that they do not do interviews by link, and can not conduct interviews in London because they have no authority there.
" "So this is yet another ploy to shield Assange from standing trial for one count of rape and one count of sexual assault?"
No. How could it be, when Assange has NOT BEEN CHARGED with any crime, in Sweden?"
As has been said many times, the procedure in Sweden is 1) interview, 2) charge; the Swedish police informed Assange's Swedish counsel that they wished to do just that in respect of the current alleged sexual offences; Assange's counsel denied having any contact with the Swedish police, only to confirm they'd been in touch, when in a UK court, on consulting his mobile phone records. This is a very big oops, and caused the Swedish bar association to say they were going to interview said counsel. IOW he lied and they disapprove. Naturally.
Having been informed (probably by his counsel; who else?) of the impending interview->arrest procedure, Assange disappeared from Sweden and reappeared in the UK; whack a mole in the 21st century, for the next round of which the Swedish CJS/government have an EAW out on him, and that is why he absconded; he claimed, when he arrived in the UK, that locking him in a prison (as was done) was barbarous and unnecessary because he was not at risk of absconding ("that's not my bag, baby!", probably the Swedish penis enlarger pump) and within a short space of time he confirmed why he should indeed have been kept in prison until the EAW had been fully processed.
Your remarks about Australia and the original case are farts in the wind. There is a case to answer, The Swedish government has said they will not extradite Assange to the US, and offered the US priority to extradite him from the UK - it being that the UK has a ToniBler styled treaty with the US, whereby we bend over when the US want someone for judicial purposes - but the US said that they were not at that point interested.
As it stands Assange is safer in Sweden than in the UK. Paradoxically, after the matter of bail jumping is fully 'processed', Assange is likely to be booted from the UK, irrespective of what happens in Sweden where he is no longer welcome to apply for citizenship. When he finally needs to leave the embassy, and he can only do so by standing on non diplomatic ground where UK law immediately applies, things will become interesting, and that is why he is playing a game of manipulation with the Ecuadorian government, whose execrable human rights record makes his relationship with them more than comic, more than hypocritical and seem more like an attempt to escape due process, and I leave you to determine what it is that could motivate him to do so, given that Sweden will not and cannot extradite him to the US in the current context (besides which they have to obtain the UK's permission, and we of course would be quite happy to bend over for Uncle Barak/loop)
"Of course, the Swedish police had plenty of time to ask Assange these questions in the weeks before he left Sweden for the UK, and Assange said he would answer any questions the Swedish police had for him via phone or video-link from the UK, but this offer wasn't good enough for the politically-appointed prosecutor."
1) They were in the process of trying to arrange an interview with the intention of charging him through his legal counsel and pretty unwise it was too, because he absconded.
2) Interviews are always carried out in the appropriate jurisdiction, not using modern IT to suit geeks who feel that it should be done so. There are manifold reasons for this. To begin with it is important to isolate a suspect so that it cannot communicate with co conspirators or helpers. It is also the case that video links deprive interviewers of the classical cues of non verbal behaviour that betray discomfort when they are on the trail of truths over which the suspect is dissimulating.
You can of course insist that your ideas are the new gold standard of criminology/legal practise and forensic psychology, but modern technology is not appropriate to interviewing suspects when building up a case. This is not peculiar to Assange's case, nor is it peculiar to Sweden.
As far as your use of the argumentum ad hominem in the final paragraph is concerned, it holds as much water as the offer to conduct a criminal investigation over the net, which is not as secure as an interview room inside a police station.
The irony? Before Assange declared the Swedish state's CJS to be about as good as a banana republic  (and yes, Ecuador is exactly that!) he wanted to live there because he approved of their attitude to his preoccupations; leaks.
So now we have the situation where a suspect claims that the country trying to extradite him has banana republic standards of criminal law, but has now absconded, jumped bail, into the Embassy of... ...yes, a banana republic with the most execrable human rights standards - and this is according to Human Rights Watch ( http://www.hrw.org/americas/ecuador ; http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/ecuador ; http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/ecuador ; http://www.humanrightsecuador.org/2013/07/21/threats-to-internet-freedom-in-ecuador/ ) among other human rights organisations, not me - a country which locks away its journalists when they publish material to which the state takes exception, a country which has agreed to send back a Belarus subject to certain persecution, possibly worse... ...a country which threatens internet rights no less. Uhuh. No hypocrisy here, just any port of call in a storm. Riiiiiight.
Oh the hypocrisy, oh the irony. Oh the convenience.
 All European Union states must conform to a number of standards in order to achieve membership.
"I understand that you don't think so, the Assange team has tried to confuse that issue, amongst other with their bizarre lying about Assange being wanted for the uniquely Swedish crime of "sex by surprise" "
You missed a lot there; not only was there a recent analysis by people in the UK CJS who said that in the UK he'd be charged, but when you break it down it looks bloody awful; he was, allegedly, told that he could not have sex without a condom; one of his 'sexual partners' allegedly woke up to find him having sex, she allegedly asked him if he was wearing anything, he allegedly responded 'yes, you'.
In Nordic/Scandinavian and Teutonic countries sexual hygiene is regarded as extremely important; no sex if you don't wear a condom means literally that and, if you don't wear a condom and you continue unabated this is a very serious matter. The case of Nadja Benaissa in Germany ( http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/hiv-is-no-longer-an-epidemic-but-the-stigma-is-2058059.html ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10983227 ) is an unimpeachable illustration of my point. Swedish women do like sexual hygiene, and they object strongly to unprotected sex against their will; it constitutes rape.
I can understand that in the UK, where standards are lax, that people might not understand the point, although this was not always the case. However, the fact remains that having sex without a condom in this way is very dangerous and if it is against the woman's will it constitutes rape.
No amount of culturally relativistic rationalising can change this, though I am certain that people will express their disapproval by dint of down votes and weak replies.
" [...] I would have thought that supporters of Assange would be more worried about him being extradited from the UK than Sweden."
Indeed, the ToniBler Jeb Bush 'bend over you know you like it' legislation makes it a cinch. That said, it's occurred to me that the anniversary of St Julie's voluntary incarceration at the Hotel de la Ecuador may bring with it some interesting news.
We've already heard St Julie claim that we are depriving him of his yuman right to sunshine (I doubt he will develop a vitamin E deficiency, but one can live in hope), which indicates to me that St Julie has his eye on the biological clock. The time when he falls prey to some illness or other that is beyond the capacities that can be mustered inside of a small Embassy room cannot be too far away. At such a point he must choose to either be ill and risk the case worsening, or put his hands out, accept the cuffs and an escort to a hospital.
Has Julie had his appendix out yet? Does he have (cough) wisdom teeth? Does he have (rushed intake of breath)... ...HIV and is he thus in need of NHS retrovirals? [Fill in your favoured emergency scenario here, which may include severe dental contingencies, falling over a matchstick and breaking his penis, etcetera.)
No man is an island.
No. The crime "sex by surprise" doesn't exist, and has never existed. It is entirely fictional. And the charges have nothing at all to do with the condom.
Swedish rape law is in fact pretty simple: no means no. Everywhere, always. Assange became a rapist when the woman told him to stop, and he instead held her down and continued.
@Vociferous: I'm no fan of Assange, but I do believe you should be adding a fairly heavy "Allegedly" in your comment. He may be trying his hardest to avoid it, but he does deserve his day in court before being found guilty or not.
Voting below the line is easier backwards.
I always start with the largest number and work back.
Nutters, loonies and one-policy-wonders at the bottom.
Major Parties in the middle.
People with a platform worth voting for at the top (if any).
How to vote.
I'm similar. Phrase it as:
1 - Major party likely to do slightly less damage to the country's future.
2 - Major party likely to do more damage to the country's future.
3 - Nut-jobs, religious extremists, etc.
It would be nice to have more options than those in the lower house.
At least we get it over with relatively quickly
Four weeks is more than enough time to be subjected to embarrassing faux pas, negative campaign ads, distortions of the truth, outright lies and naked bribes. Not to mention a letter box full of hyperbolic prose from various wannabes casting jealous glances at my local member.
Re: At least we get it over with relatively quickly
"wannabes casting jealous glances at my local member."
Now I see Wallabies casting jealous glances at the member of a Mutated Wombat.
Mind is boggled.
The preferences thing happened to several parties
"Not enough time" was the excuse used.
The Wikileaks party has imploded over this issue and people have quit the party.
The senate ballot paper in Victoria is 5 feet long with hundreds of choices, too hard. I think I have voted "below the line" in one election.
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