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An anarchist anti-election campaign - 1998

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Direct Democracy not Parliamentary Rule Dr Joseph Toscano and Steve Roper, both from the Anarchist Media Institute, are anarchists who ran as Victorian Senate candidates to raise awareness of the hypocrisy of "representative democracy" and to put forward "direct democracy" as an alternative. Anarchists have a long history of anti-parliamentary activity and Toscano and Roper continue this tradition by publicising anarchism through their 'subvertive participation' in the electoral system. The Libertarian Workers for a Self Managed Society have been running Don't Vote or Vote Informal Campains since 1977.

Some anarchists disagree with this position and abstain from any anti-electoral activity. Others participate in the electoral process while aguing that it does not go far enough; that far more democracy is needed in society.

This site chronicles the anarchist anti-election campaign of 1998 through the Anarchist Age Weekly Review. Over several elections the campaign has forced the Electoral Commission to threaten anarchist candidates, the Federal Parliament has modified the Electoral Act to criminalise some anti-electoral activity, and their has been a steady rise in informal votes. The Libertarian Workers / Anarchist Media Institute campaigns have attracted some mainstream publicity and debate over the meaning of democracy, although this is usually seen as a minor diversion to the political promises and conflicts of the major parties.

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Anarchist Age Weekly Review
Number 320
5th - 11th October, 1998


The Anarchist Media Institute/Libertarian workers for a Self-Managed Society would like to thank all those electors who took part in our Direct Democracy not parliamentary Rule black ribbon campaign. We would like to congratulate all those people who abstained from the parliamentary farce, those electors who voted informal and those people who drew or attached a black ribbon to their ballot paper.

As the parliamentary stooges argue over their so called mandates and as the Australian Electoral Commission continues to count votes to determine the eventual electoral outcome, John Howard must be looking over his shoulder as seat after seat falls to the opposition parties. Irrespective of who wins the elections, the electors will be the eventual losers.

The single most interesting aspect of the whole election charade is not the final composition of the government and the opposition but the number of people who deliberately abstained from the electoral process or who voted informal. For the first time since compulsory voting was introduced in 1974, the informed vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate is nudging 5%, an increase of over 50% since the last election.

Either way, irrespective of the mass media's lack of interest in the level of the informal vote, an increasing number of people have shown this countries political leaders that parliamentary democracy is just two minutes of illusory power. Our congratulations and thoughts also go out to all those brave people who had the courage to hold up I DIDN'T VOTE, ASK ME WHY, or DIRECT DEMOCRACY NOT PARLIAMENTARY RULE posters, outside polling booths across Australia, on October the 3rd and handed our black ribbons for people to tape to their ballot papers.

Election Day - Saturday October 3rd, 1998

As I write my account of the events of October 3, 1998, Voting day in the 1998 Federal election, I can't help feeling that anarchism as a philosophy, has the hard yards to do when it comes to peoples' illusions in the parliamentary system.

As I walked around "my electorate" with my sign I am not voting, ask me why. A few curios individuals did dare to ask me why I was not "having my say" ie voting.

I told them of my anarchist objection that I saw voting as giving politicians a blank cheque, giving the fact (I feel), that once in Parliament they are mere employees of the multi-national and trans-national corporations and they serve their masters. I linked the comments of Joe Toscano's ABC of anarchism. As I had the floor (so to speak), I gave the voters the full program, we don't need leaders, we all have the ability and know how to run society without them. And that this obsession with such things such as leaders, (voting for them) worship of elite figures comes from the primitive sections of the brain that only seems to react to emotions, we can run the world ourselves and not just obey as we do.

I found the exercise on the whole only added to my cynicism that people want to vote, no one, certainly wanted a black ribbon.

People that reacted most seemed to vote for a party machine (bummer). Some voted to register a protest, vote against the Liberal government. A few individuals voted informally and said he heard about it on the Anarchist World This Week so that was a direct result of our campaign.

Another person I spoke to at the polling booth agreed with me in principle, but he disagreed with the method. He said he could see no difference in voting informally as it was not casting a vote. He went on to say that he wrote protest messages all over the ballot papers and he won't cop the fine like myself.

Another criticism from another voter was that if anarchists did not believe in voting, then why were we standing candidates at all, I responded we were attempting to build our ideas, anarchist awareness in mainstream society perhaps. As elections come and go, in future our tactics may evolve into a more successful formula.

The Democratic Socialist Party, running in the seat of Melbourne, used this same logic as ourselves and from what I have observed none of us lefties or anarchists have succeeded as yet, I suppose we can counter the electorates lack of understanding of not just the Political process but when our @ ideas are taken on board by the masses. Revolution may be just around the corner.

Oscar Reghenzani. (Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society).


Parked cars where you don't expect to see them littered the roads. Empty schools and halls, forlorn Saturday brides maids were decked in tinsel. Little knots of people hurriedly, some furtively consummated their relationship with the state. Yes folks, it's election day the one day every three years when all and sundry knock on the states door and do their bit to resuscitate the juggernaut.

Banners attached to school fences, names ticked off, people lining up to do their duty for God and country, Everybody wants a piece of the action. An assorted menagerie of human forms patiently wait their turn at political tinsel towns across the country, hoping against hope their vote will make the difference. Eager beavers shove how to vote cards under peoples noses. They shout vote for me, I'm the one, do it for yourself, do it for the country. Eager fresh faces, mould with older heads, parents with children in tow wait in line with fresh faced electoral virgins and men and women who go through the motions of casting a ballot.

Cups of tea and coffee reinforce the resolve of the how to vote mob, friends of the pollies hand out card after card after card. As the day wears on, the trickle becomes a flood, the tide of humanity waiting to make their mark, ebbs and flows, comes and goes. Everybody stops when a familiar television face, runs out of a hastily parked car and presses the flesh, rubbing shoulders with his scrutineers, looking a little older and greyer than his television face. That's when I noticed that this man had legs. Although I'd seed him in television land for over a decade I never noticed he had legs.

Thinking about it, political television land seems to be populated with people who don't have legs. Ah well, that's democracy Australian style, an illusion that has as much to do with reality as the heads and shoulders in television land have to do with real people.

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Anarchist Age Weekly Review
Number 319
28th September - 4th October, 1998


On Saturday October the 3rd Australian electors will be herded into polling booths to cast a ballot to choose representatives to make decisions for them for the next three years. Electors have a number of choices they can make on polling day. They can ignore the Electoral Act and boycott the electoral farce, they can vote informal or they can choose between the candidates on their ballot paper.

What each individual elector decides is a matter between them and their conscience. Each option is a valid option. The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute are encouraging all those people who have decided to vote informal or cast a ballot for an individual or a political party to tape or draw a black ribbon to their ballot papers to show their dissatisfaction with parliamentary rule.

We are also encouraging all those people who have boycotted the election and those that have taped or drawn a black ribbon to their ballot papers to stand outside the polling station, among the crowd who are handing out how to vote cards holding up signs saying, Direct Democracy not Parliamentary Rule or I Didn't Vote, Ask Me Why? I Voted Informal, Ask Me Why? At the same time we encourage them to hand out black ribbons and tape, so disillusioned voters can tape a black ribbon to their ballot papers.

It's important that on election day as many people as possible publicly demonstrate their opposition to parliamentary rule. The more people who demonstrate their opposition to parliamentary rule the greater the possibility that more and more electors will view Direct Democracy as a logical and legitimate alternative to Parliamentary Rule.


Steve Roper and I are standing as Senate Candidates, not because we are actively canvassing your votes but because we want to use the electoral sideshow to highlight Direct Democracy as an alternative to Parliamentary Rule.

Interestingly, our little campaign has highlighted how the electoral process in Australia is skewered to benefit registered political parties. When you look at the Victorian Senate ballot paper there are twenty boxes above a thick black line. Nineteen of these boxes have the name of a registered political party next to a box. The second box from the left, our box, has no wording attached to it. Although we are independents we ARE NOT ALLOWED to have the word independent appear beside our box.

The government's logic is that if we had the word Independent next to our box, it would give us an unfair advantage over the political parties as many people find the political parties a little hard to stomach.

If you look at the Victorian Senate ballot paper you will note that in the far right hand corner below the thick black line, is a group of five candidates with the word independent next to their names. These five individual candidates are allowed to have the word independent put next to their name because as they are below the line any elector who wants to vote for one of them has to fill every square beneath the black line using the numbers 1 to 63 while those electors who choose to vote above the line only need to put the number 1 in one square. So much for the furphy that the Australian electoral system gives everybody an equal chance of being elected.

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Anarchist Age Weekly Review
Number 317
15th - 20th September, 1998


Two hundred years ago when the anti-slavery movement took a hold of the popular imagination, anti-slave activists were treated with derision and scorn. One hundred years ago when the idea of universal suffrage became all the rage, activists who advocated that everyone should have the vote were told in no uncertain terms that universal suffrage would lead to the end of civilisation.

This week the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute launched a campaign for direct democracy. Our campaign has been met with indifference, derision and in some quarters outright hostility. Direct democracy is an idea whose time has come. As people in the past couldn't envisage a world without slaves and a world where everybody was given the vote, today's society can't envisage a world based on direct democratic principles.

Although technological options have increased by leaps and bounds in the 20th Century, the political concepts that dominate 20th Century life are 19th Century concepts. As we approach the 21st Century, direct democracy is not only an option but is rapidly becoming a necessity. Society can no longer experience the luxury of leaving things to experts. The problems that face us as individuals and groups need everybody's involvement if we are to have any chance of tackling them.

Direct democracy is a mechanism by which individual effort, intelligence and enthusiasm can be harnessed to tackle problems that face us. The 21st Century brings new challenges rapidly increasing population growth and rapidly diminishing resources leave us few choices.

We either harness our collective wisdom to tackle these problems or we face oblivion. Direct democracy is one way we can tackle and solve the problems that 21st Century living brings.


Community anger at Peter Reith Remember Peter Reith, the man who aspired to be Prime Minister before his Prime Ministerial ambitions were crushed by a loose container, well it looks like he's come back for another round of punishment. in an extraordinary move, more directed at the Liberal/National Party's re-election strategy than anything else, Reith has embarked on a course of workplace confrontation.

On Wednesday many workers, including power workers, withdrew their labour because they were sick and tired of the Federal governments spoiling tactics. In an extraordinary move, the Minister for Workplace warfare has refused to endorse a number of enterprise agreements that have been endorsed by employees, employers and the Industrial Relations Commission.

In a pugnacious display that makes his maritime dispute antics look tame by comparison, he has called on the I.R.C. to review the agreements, throw them out and start again, because his government has an ideological objection to the type of enterprise agreements struck by employers and employees.

Pugnacious Peter or should I say punch drunk Peter has decided to goad workers into taking workplace action. His disgraceful behaviour is solely directed at creating workplace disputes for the benefit of the Liberal Party's re-election efforts. In an attempt to deflect people's attention from their voodoo economics and their morally bankrupt policies they have succeeded in creating a climate of fear which they milk for the sake of their own short-term political agendas.

Reviewing the Federal Ministers current foray into the enterprise bargaining arena is an excellent example of the divisions that are created between Australians, when the Minister for Workplace Warfare, Peter Reith, embarks on one of his deregulation hobby horses. The time has come for punch drunk Pete to give up politics and concentrate on animal husbandry.


Remember how everybody was angry (well some of us were) when Patrick's secretly moved its workers into a two dollar shelf company, fired its workforce on mass and continued trading, using scab labour. Well the same story is being repeated ad nauseum across Australia, it seems workers have become disposable cogs in a corporate machine.

Thousands of workers, possibly more than ten thousand, have been hung out to dry by companies that have become insolvent. Employees in such situations are forced to join the back of a long queue of creditors and never seem to receive a cent. Most of the money that's left over seems to stick to the hands of the banks. In an all too familiar story, corporations are setting up two dollar shelf companies to hire their workforce and when things get a little too difficult they close down the company and legally stand down their staff without paying them their entitlements. Thousands in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars of holiday pay, long service leave, site allowances and bonuses that are owed to the workers that are fired are never paid.

To rub salt into the wound, the same company resurfaces under a different company name and recommences production with a new batch of wortkers. As far as the law is concerned it's all legal. The Patrick option has now become a standard ploy that is being used by an increasing number of companies to deny workers their legal entitlements. It's interesting, very interesting to note that John Howard, Peter Reith and the rest of the intellectually challenged members of the Coalition government, have no intention of changing the law to protect workers from the predatory practices of the corporate sector. Anybody who expected that they would move to squash the use of the Patrick option has no understanding of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the Liberal/National party.


Black RibbonThis action box is specifically directed at Australian readers. It is part of an ongoing campaign by the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute to present Direct Democracy as an Alternative to Parliamentary rule.

Last week we launched our black ribbon campaign, encouraging people who won't be voting, who are voting informal or who are voting but are disillusioned with the parliamentary process to wear a black ribbon during the duration of the Federal election campaign. The black ribbon will become a visible symbol of peoples' dissatisfaction with the parliamentary process.

If enough people wear one it will indicate to Australian's that there are people in this country who are disillusioned with the parliamentary farce. Each week we will be cranking up the campaign. This week we are encouraging people who are disillusioned with the parliamentary process who are going to vote or vote informal to a TAPE A BLACK RIBBON TO THEIR BALLOT PAPER to show their disgust with parliamentary rule. Informal voters and voters who vote for so called marginal groups are normally dismissed as "crazies" and "donkeys" by dominant culture.

BLACK RIBBONS appearing on ballot papers across Australia will dramatically bring to peoples' attention the fact that many people who vote informal, or vote for minor parties, as well as vote for some of the major parties, vote because they are forced to by the state, not because they have any faith in the parliamentary process. So if you are disillusioned with the electoral farce, you have two choices. You ignore the whole process or you use the Federal election campaign to show that your dissatisfaction with parliamentary rule is not a private vice, it is a PUBLIC VIRTUE.

So it's over to you. If you are dissatisfied with parliamentary rule, wear a black ribbon during the Federal election campaign, encourage other people to wear a black ribbon and if you do decide to grace the electoral booth with your presence, TAPE A BLACK RIBBON to your Senate and your House of Representatives ballot paper.

If you decide to become part of this campaign ring up TALK BACK RADIO, tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it. Encourage other people to wear a Black Ribbon and tape it to their ballot papers. We're doing what we can to challenge the myths surrounding parliamentary politics, join the BLACK RIBBON MOVEMENT and become part of a movement that challenges the legitimacy of parliamentary rule.

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Anarchist Age Weekly Review
Number 316
8th - 14th September, 1998


Here we are in the second week of a lack lustre Federal Election campaign. Australians have two choices, they can take part in or ignore the farce. Each choice has its merits. The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute have decided to take part in this Federal Election campaign, boots and all.

Over the next four weeks we will be escalating our campaign on a week by week basis. We encourage Australians across this continent to take part in this campaign, irrespective of whether you're going to vote, not vote or vote informal. Whether you're a registered voter on the electoral roll or not, you can take part in this simple direct challenge to the parliamentary illusion. Think about it, are you going to participate in a campaign that may successfully challenge the illusions parliamentary democracy are based on or are you just going to let the whole thing roll over your head.

In the next four Anarchist Age Weekly Reviews there will be an insert which will outline our campaign for the next week. The Action Box will be full of ideas on how you can approach October the 3rd. We encourage you to become personally involved in our Direct Democracy Not Parliamentary Rule campaign.

It's easy, safe and simple and most importantly of all, it will broaden the debate on what direct democracy is and on the limitations of parliamentary rule.

We can only do so much, without your help our campaign will be stillborn. Look at what we have to say, if the ideas interest you we encourage you to join us in this challenge to the very foundations of Australian society.


There must be an election in the air, strange men keep popping up on the idiot box, promising all manner of things to all manner of people. Take Tuesday for instance, a man who believes he is Prime Minister, John Howard I think he's called, cris-crossed Tasmania and in two hours promised the good burghers of Tasmania 143 million dollars of goodies if they returned his party to office.

Not to be out done by this grand gesture the man who wants to be Prime Minister, Kim Beazley, signed a pledge on West Australian radio that he would resign as Prime Minister if he couldn't meet his parties tax reform policies. Really chaps, it doesn't matter what you say and in some cases pretend to do, nobody really believes a word you're saying. Everybody remembers Paul Keating's assertion that the tax cuts they never got were engraved in Law. Not to be out done by the former Prime Minister's chain saw tax massacre, the current incumbent John Howard, neatly divided his promises into care and non-care promises after he was elected to office.

The major political parties have such a credibility problem that many people are seriously considering the One Notion option. People no longer believe the oral and written assurances of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister in waiting. They want iron clad guarantees that they'll get what they vote for. Considering the pathetic past record of Australia's elected representatives they have as much chance of the political clowns keeping their promises as they have of seeing Jesus Christ return to earth before the October 3rd Federal poll.


One of the Federal Liberal/National Party's most pathetic policies has been centred around their private health agenda. Whether it's pumping money into the private health insurance network or increasing the Medicare rebate for pregnant women who use a private obstetrician, the end product is the same. The private sector is being primed with taxpayers money while the public health sector is being stripped of its assets.

Health is the Liberal/National parties Achilles heel. They have done more in two and a half years to sabotage the Federal Health system than previous Federal governments have done this century. Their attempts to pump up the private health sector at the expense of the public health sector has resulted in tens of thousands of people losing what little access they had to the public health sector.

Private medicine is based on one simple premise, you have the cash, we have the services. If the money that has been earmarked by the Federal government for the private health sector was channelled into the public rather than the private health sector, the problems that the public health service is faced with could disappear overnight.

Scarce taxpayer funds should be used to fund the public health care system, they should not be used to augment the profits of the private health care sector.


If anybody believed the downpour of economic statistics that have been released since the Federal elections were called, you'd think that we had never had it so good. Analysing the last batch of employment statistics highlights that old adage about lies, dam lies and statistics. In other words, it's not unusual for the rhetoric (even if it's dressed up as statistics) to not match the reality.

Every month, the ANZ Bank releases an analysis of the number of job vacancies that appear in newspapers. August's figures showed an increase of 12-13% on July's figures. A cursory glance of these figures would lead you to believe that while Asia is undergoing an economic downturn, Australia, using Paul Keating's discredited jargon, is going "gang busters". Accepting this particular batch of statistics on face value is an abject lesson on the pitfalls of accepting statistical analysis without taking into account wider factors.

The increase in the number of job vacancies in newspapers can be explained away as the consequences of the privatisation of the Commonwealth Employment Service. Kemp's privatisation of the employment service has been an unmitigated disaster for the unemployed, employers and the new "service providers". Business is not interested in paying for a service that was previously provided free of charge by the Commonwealth government.

One of the major consequences of the privatisation of the C.E.S. is that businesses have decided to do their own recruiting. Hence the increased number of advertisements in this country's newspapers. Reviewing of the media and government's response to the so-called dramatic improvement in employment opportunities, it's interesting to note that few media outlets have mentioned the Commonwealth Employment Service explanation. Ah well, what do you expect in a society where statistics are used to hide the rhetoric reality gap.


Black RibbonWe would like to encourage all our Australian readers to take up the Black Ribbon campaign during the election period. Every week we will expand the scope of this campaign in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review. By October 3rd the effect of this campaign should have been felt across Australia.

This week we want readers to start wearing a Black Ribbon. We want you to cut up hundreds of these ribbons and give them to your friends, families and work mates. Explain that you don't care whether they vote or don't vote or who they vote for. Your campaign is much more important than the outcome on October the 3rd. Tell them irrespective of who they vote for a politician will get in, so they may as well use the electoral period to promote direct democracy as a viable, sensible, alternative to parliamentary rule.



Black Ribbon TO WEAR A BLACK RIBBON from the time you read this article to election day October 3rd. The more people who wear a black ribbon the greater the chances of promoting direct democracy as a legitimate alternative to the current fairy tale. When people ask you why you're wearing a black ribbon TELL THEM and ASK THEM TO JOIN YOU.

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Anarchist Age Weekly Review
Number 315
31st August - 6th September, 1998


What a surprise! All of the major political parties, (excluding the Greens) have banded together to keep out Independent candidates from the forthcoming Federal Election. The festival of democracy has turned out to be a private party for registered political parties. Imagine my surprise (well I wasn't really surprised) when I picked up the latest Candidates Handbook from the Australian Electoral Commission, to find out that the goal posts had not only been painted, but had been moved to the adjoining grounds.

The major political parties are so concerned about the electoral input of independents, they have made it very hard, if not impossible for independent candidates to nominate for both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The deposit to stand has increased by 33% for the House of Representative candidates from $250 to $350. While the cost to nominate for the Senate has increased 40% from $500 to $700. To rub salt into the wound, the number of registered voters somebody needs to find to nominate them so they can stand for election, has increased from six to fifty. A relatively easy task has been made into an onerous one, especially for House of Representative candidates because they have to find fifty nominees from the particular electorate they wish to stand for in parliament.

The change of the electoral rules in Tasmania to freeze out the Greens from parliament and the changes in the Federal Electoral Act to keep "undesirable" candidates out, is just another indication of the bankruptcy of parliamentary politics in Australia. The continual erosion of what little power people have over the parliamentary process is an indictment of parliamentary rule and a further nail in the coffin of representative democracy.



Black RibbonAustralia is one of a handful of parliamentary democracies in the world where voting is compulsory. Not only is voting compulsory and people who don't vote are fined fifty dollars, those people who encourage people not to vote, can be charged under the Australian Electoral Act with a criminal offence and if found guilty by the courts face a 1000 dollar fine and six months imprisonment.

Some anarchists will vote during this election campaign believing it's better to support the best of a bad bunch, than do nothing, others will not cast a ballot preferring not to participate in the two minutes of illusory power that is the kernel of the electoral process. Either way it's quite possible our protests will be drowned in the moaning and groaning that will accompany the electoral foreplay during the election campaign.

This time the Anarchist Media Institute/Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society would like to rain on the states electoral parade by mounting a Direct Democracy not Parliamentary Rule campaign that presents abstention from the electoral farce as a legitimate honourable option. We are encouraging every Australian who is sick and tired of giving blank cheques to politicians to make decisions for them, who have decided not to support the status quo by not voting to wear a black ribbon during the election campaign.

Make your protest about the illusory nature of the electoral process, a public virtue, not a private vice. Wear a black ribbon to signify your decision. Encourage your friends, relatives, acquaintances to wear a black ribbon. Think about organising a black ribbon campaign in the places you work and live. If you don't, nobody else will. Remember the parliamentary farce continues to be a central feature of life in Australia because we let them intimidate us with their laws, which force people to participate in the electoral game. If parliamentary democracy is the pinnacle of human evolution, why do they need to force people to participate. If its such a wonderful thing, you'd think the state would be so confident of the electoral process that they wouldn't have to use laws to force people to vote. Find a piece of black ribbon, pin it on yourself and wear it with pride during the election campaign. The more of us who wear a black ribbon, the greater the symbolic power of our protest and the legitimate nature of our alternatives to parliamentary rule.


The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society have been involved in anti-electoral activity since the 1977 Federal election. On each occasion we have attempted to present alternatives to that parliamentary illusion.

Our first Don't Vote campaign in 1977, was greeted with hostility from all quarters. Even a number of anarchists attacked us for our position and blamed us for the re-election of the Fraser government (if only we had so much influence).

To be brutally honest, our Don't Vote campaigns between 1977 and 1987 were spectacularly unsuccessful. To say our leafleting and postering campaigns were a success would be stretching the truth, things took a turn for the better in 1989 when I stood as a Senate candidate on a Vote Informal ticket.

Although I was threatened with legal action by the Australian Electoral Commission, they did not take legal action because they did not have the legal power to prosecute me. The campaign was successful, as the informal vote in Melbourne was double the informal vote in the rest of Australia.

At the 1992 Federal election, Steve Roper and I stood as Senate candidates, attempting to exploit the loophole in the Electoral Act as far as informal voting was concerned. Imagine our surprise when we found out that on the last week parliament sat, the Democrats, Greens, Liberal/National and Labor parties passed new legislation as a consequence of my 1989 Vote Informal campaign.

329A (Electoral Act) "A person must not, during the relevant period in relation to a House of Representative election under the Act, print, publish or distribute or cause permit or authorise to be printed, published or distributed, any matter or thing with the intention of encouraging persons voting at the election to fill in a ballot paper, otherwise than in accordance with section 240".

Penalty: Imprisonment for 6 months.

We were not intimidated by this legislation and continued our Vote Informal campaign. No charges were laid against us as a consequence of our campaign.

At the 1996 election, we once again stood as Senate candidates on a Vote Informal ticket. Our campaign was drowned in the publicity that surrounded Albert Langers optional preferential voting campaign. Although the Age newspaper did its best to have our challenge to the Electoral Act taken to the courts by the Australian Electoral Commission, they failed because the A.E.C. was having enough trouble digesting the Albert Langer campaign. (Once bitten, twice shy).

Now that John Howard has called a Federal Poll for the 3rd of October, 1998, we are once again in a position to challenge the illusions that parliamentary democracy is based on. More importantly we are able to present anarchist alternatives to the illusion. Over the next five weeks, we will do our best to add a new chapter to this 20 year old saga. How effective we are this time in raising alternatives to the parliamentary farce, only time will tell.

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Anarchist Age Weekly Review
Number 314
24th - 30th August, 1998


It's highly likely that when you read this article, Australians will have been propelled into a festival of parliamentary democracy. Unless the Liberal Party suffers a horrendous defeat at the Tasmanian state elections, John Howard will call a Federal election sometime between early and mid October. As anarchist activists we need to be prepared for the forthcoming two minutes of illusory power.

You know and I know that power does not lie in parliament, it lies in the boardrooms of national and trans-national corporations. They draw up the agenda, parliament colours in the squares. Australia is one of the last nation states on this planet that forces its citizens to vote. Since 1922 both State and Federal electors have been penalised for not participating in the electoral farce.

As anarchists, we don't want to participate in this sham. Parliamentary democracy is two minutes of illusory power. We believe in direct democracy, not parliamentary rule. The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute have had enough of this farce. Not only do we believe that it is morally wrong to force people to write out a blank cheque to give parliamentarians illusory power over the next 3-4 years, we also believe that the laws that force people to vote are unconstitutional.

We don't want to hide in corners and let the state hold its festival of parliamentary rule without challenging the law that makes criminals of people who want to be involved in the struggle to create a society that is based on direct democratic principles. Irrespective of when the next Federal election is held, whether in October this year or March next year, we intend to launch a vocal direct challenge to the laws that made us criminals because we don't want to participate in their little festival.

We encourage other anarchists across this continent to launch their own Direct Democracy, Not Parliamentary Rule Campaign. We encourage you to become involved in a movement that calls on people to boycott the forthcoming Federal election. The electoral process gives us an opportunity to present our ideas to people who are disillusioned with the parliamentary farce. It's time we used this golden opportunity to publicly discuss the nature of democracy.

We will not be able to conduct this campaign without your help. We need your assistance. As the campaign unfolds there will be opportunities for you to become involved. Think about it! Do you want more of the same half truths? Do you want to support a system you don't believe in? Or do you believe it's time that the illusions surrounding parliamentary rule are openly challenged.

Ultimately the success of the Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society/Anarchist Media Institute electoral campaign depends on the degree of support our efforts are able to generate in the community.

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