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!