Parton / Whispering sweet nothings

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GLENN Druery is a political genius. He’s managed to help a number of individuals into Federal parliament who would not have otherwise been there.

Mark Parton.
Mark Parton.
I’m not sure that he’s improved democracy in any way, in fact in my opinion he’s set it back somewhat. With all respect to Ricky Muir, the bloke shouldn’t be in the Senate. This was not what the electorate wanted.

Druery is coming to town in December to impart his wisdom to minor parties and independents. The gist of it is that he can weave the Ricky Muir magic and get them elected, too.

To quote Darryl Kerrigan from “The Castle”: “Tell him he’s dreaming.”

I’m sure he’ll have some worthwhile advice for those intending to contest the 2016 poll, but none of the preference-whisperer stuff works here.

When you vote above the line in the Senate you allow the parties and people like Glenn Druery to determine how your preferences flow. Those complex deals have allowed some candidates with a very small primary vote to ride a convoluted train of preferences to achieve their objective.

Although our ballot papers are so full of candidates that they can rival those for the Senate, there is no above-the-line voting. It’s impossible to do a preference deal in the ACT.

Furthermore, because of the Robson Rotation of candidates’ names on the ballot paper, how-to-vote cards are also a waste of time.

Additionally, the “anti-heckler” exclusion zone around our polling places means that Canberrans are able to vote for whoever they want to without someone in their face.

The only way you can win a seat in the Legislative Assembly outside of a major party is to win a lot of primary votes. That’s it.

So, by all means, go along and see what Glenn Druery has to say. His event is on at the Pavilion Hotel on December 3. It’s called “How to be Heard” and it will provide a lot more than advice on how to strike Senate preference deals.

My advice, as a failed ACT candidate in 2008, is “get out there”. Make yourself known to as many people as you possibly can between now and then. Do the shopping centres, knock on doors and go to the forums. Irrespective of what you stand for, if the punters know you, they’re a much better chance of voting for you.

When we were sifting through the rubble of my failed campaign in 2008, it was very clear that I did a lot better in areas where I’d done serious door knocking. It’s a labour-intensive slog, but it’s worth it.

And, yes, I failed in 2008 but I did get more primary votes than Mary Porter and Chris Bourke.


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Mark Parton
Canberra Liberal MLA and former breakfast announcer on 2CC.

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