Big parties intercepting your mail to AEC

I’m surprised they can get away with it, but did you know that the Liberal and Labor parties are deliberately tricking voters by sending out postal vote forms that return to them rather than the AEC? The following link from the 2007 election explains the practice, which is continuing:

Since the election date was announced, both the Labor and Liberal parties have done mass mail-outs of postal vote application forms in key seats. You’ve probably received one.

But rather than asking you to send your application forms directly to the Australian Electoral Commission, both parties are intercepting the forms by including reply paid envelopes featuring their own addresses.

Once they receive the postal vote application, the major parties process voter details in their electoral databases before sending the application forms to the AEC.

The documents are designed to look official, with tiny print that most voters will miss admitting that they’re not. The practice is clearly deceptive and sneaky. It erodes trust in the actual election process, and increases the risk that legitimate communications from the AEC will be disregarded. It breaches voters’ privacy (although the big parties have made sure that the Privacy Act gives them an exemption). And I wonder who’s monitoring to make sure that voters who indicate an intention to vote for the other party still get their details sent on to the AEC promptly.

Any political party that sends out material that doesn’t clearly say who it’s from thinks you’re a mug, and deserves to be put further down your ballot. Any party that tries to intercept your communications with the independent election authority is even worse.

The big parties have cynically set the rules so they can do this with impunity – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have consequences when voters find out what they’re doing.

They’re treating voters with absolute contempt – it’s up to all of us to let them know what we think of that. August 21 would be a good opportunity.

UPDATE: Reader l2ts refers us to ElectionLeaflets.org.au, keeping track of the junk the parties send out. Peruse the most shameless, or upload your own!

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11 responses to “Big parties intercepting your mail to AEC

  1. A brilliant stroke of irony – the Google Ad appearing on this page is for the Australian Electoral Commission. It has a nice looking link with text of “www.aec.gov.au” – but if you click on the link you are first directed to doubleclick.net, which will collect data before forwarding you on to the AEC.

  2. doesnt capturing this information undermine the concept of a secret ballot?

    I thought voting was supposed to be confidential, isnt that the whole idea behind the “australian ballot” system?

  3. Back in school our teacher told us and made sure during school elections that when filling in pallots we best use pens. Imagine my surprise when I found pencils in government election booths.

  4. The Google Ads thing is annoying – WordPress has recently started doing them but I can’t see them when I’m logged in.

    And they didn’t ask blog owners for permission. Am considering changing.

  5. Splatterbottom

    This is appalling. The trouble is that if we applied “misleading and deceptive conduct” rules to politicians they’d all be in jail. The Greens are actually more honest than most – probably because they are not trying to be all things to all voters..

  6. Blast Tyrant

    The trouble is that if we applied “misleading and deceptive conduct” rules to politicians they’d all be in jail
    I wouldn’t have a problem with them all being in jail.

    I got one from Lindsay Tanner. I haven’t opened it yet. Still trying to figure how include in their reply paid envelope my fist to Tanner’s face…

  7. So far I’ve got one each from the two mains and one from an independent.

    They were discussing it on the radio this morning and apparently you can send them straight back to the AEC. (I think that’s what was said)

  8. Received one yesterday from Kim Carr.

    Wrote a letter telling him why I will be voting Green and below the line in the Senate so that I can give Fielding and Conroy my last two preferences.

    So he (well one of his apparatchik) gets to read my reasons at his (well my, given that it is all taxpayer funded) expense.

  9. baldrickjones

    Got one from Labor, and one from the Liberals – discraceful shit all round. Got no worries with calling bullshit on either of them. They went into the bin anyway.

  10. I just checked my forms that was sent by Plibersek – and yes, it is a return to her and not the AEC.

    She will be getting a please explain letter from me.

  11. Pingback: If this were Watergate, News Ltd would be attacking the journalists for daring to expose Nixon | Pure Poison

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