Sex, Maslow and a Camperdown Brothel

News moving cities can’t hide you from.

As a former Sydney Inner-West resident the story has been hard not be kept up with.

“Australia’s largest brothel”, it was touted.

“The Westfeld of brothels” one local rag had called it.

An existing large brothel in Camperdown has made submissions to the NSW Land and Environment Court to have their current premises more than double in size into a three story, 50 bed Gargantua. This has, of course, raised the ire of local residents. If the Star Casino is allowed to have a 150m brothel exclusion zone around it to give the impression that it isn’t a shady institution, why shouldn’t Camperdown residents be afforded the same dignity? The brothel’s development application has already been knocked back once.

But then the brothel owner made an argument I certainly didn’t expect. The story hit the SMH this morning. Essentially the brothel owner argued that the redeveloped mega-brothel would be “in the community interest”.

The Herald article quotes from the brothel’s submission to the court,

”The development is in the public interest as the regulated supply of sexual services to the community meets a basic human need,” the submission read.”

Did you catch that?

To my mind, in this one sentence there are several hidden premises smuggled into the argument (e.g. a “regulated supply” of sex is good for society) but I’m not going to deal with those. My contention is with the five words.

Sex. It’s a basic human need. Everyone knows that. Right?

It’s one of those truisms. Sex is just like eating. But one of the things that is never really explored with this argument is ‘what happens if this “need” goes unmet?’ That hypothetical seems all too horrible to ponder. It’s why we have movies like 40 Year Old Virgin.

Is the implication that a person who doesn’t have sex will die (in the same way as a person who doesn’t eat will die)?

Is the implication that a person who doesn’t have sex secedes from the genus “human”?

Of course these suggestions are ridiculous. We show we know these suggestions are ridiculous in all sorts of ways. Most obviously, if they were true then age of consent legislation would be evil (because you’d be preventing children from being human or starving them of something they need for survival).

We know that this is crazy, so why do we labour under this false assertion?

I can’t claim to offer the origins of this belief, but I can propose its most significant proponent. In 1943 Abraham Maslow published a paper entitled A Theory of Human Motivation. This paper was then expanded into his 1954 book Motivation and Personality. In these works Maslow came to express human needs in a hierarchy (often illustrated in the pyramid below).

Source: Wikipedia

Maslow’s hierarchy has been the the water that educators, psychologists, development workers, economists and marketers have swum in for over 50 years. It has been treated as so self-evident that theologians and philosophers have forgotten that it is in fact a product of modernism (self-actualization as the goal of humanity should have been the giveaway). Indeed worthy attempts by some to question this presentation (such as economist Max Neef’s excellent work on the inter-connectivity and societal fulfillment of human needs) have failed to gain traction – not because the presentation is less compelling, but because our current just-so story allows us to hold onto irrational ideas like “sex as survival need”.

Note the bottom rung of the Maslow ladder. Granted we need air, sustenance, clean water, sleep, a functional antiviral system and the ability to poo and wee or else we will die. But sex? Doesn’t putting sex in that list further depreciate single people in our society (a group of people we have already done far too much to depreciate).

I for one really hope that the NSW Land and Environment Court see through this community good guff. The commodification of sex only serves to further our modernist white-anting of “community”. The commodification of sex on a far grander scale all the more so.

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liberalism and gambling reform

I’ve been wondering for some time now about this whole gambling reform legislation. No, I haven’t been wondering if it’s a good idea – it is. We have massive problems in Australia with problem gambling. Figures that suggest that less than 1% of the population are genuine addicts miss that for every addict there is a damaged support system, there are damaged families. The only reason it seems the governments of Australia have dragged their feet is that they themselves are profiteers, with the steady increases in poker machine revenues meaning they don’t have to do anything unpleasant like increasing taxes to pay for essential services.

No what I’ve been wondering about is whether our worldview can handle it. Since it’s inception as a British colony Australia has been a nation of liberals. I don’t mean the party here, I mean that for over 200 years our society has been based on the idea that the greatest good is the freedom of the individual. The catch cries of the French Revolution which were then appropriated by the market economy mean that we believe that our own individual liberty is a moral absolute. When we see it being encroached on by others or our governments we baulk and use phrases like “nanny-state”. In this sense Australia has two “liberal” parties, they just focus on the liberty of different groups of people.

But every now and again evils pop up that our moral absolute has no way of fighting against. Addiction is one of the most obvious examples of this. Addiction involves someone compulsively causing harm to themselves and, in-turn, others around them. Liberalism has no workable solutions to this. Any attempts to curb an addict’s self-harming behaviour, while at the same time defending their liberty are doomed to failure. This is why the alternative voluntary pre-commitment legislation proposed by the clubs and the Coalition is so amusing. Truth be told, Labor is only really dealing with this problem because their hand has been forced by independent MP Andrew Wilkie. It’s because of the strange time in political history that we live in that this little anti-liberalism experiment gets a guernsey.

What are Christians to make of this? One of the best things about Christianity is that it invites us to see the world differently to modern liberalism. Christians, at their best, are meant to be the exact opposite of rank-individualists. Not communists, but communitarians. Because our God is Triune, a complex three-in-one, he is anything but concerned for his own liberty. God is wholly other-person-centred. When he made the world he made us as relational beings. From the moment we are conceived, we never know life separate from our connectedness with others. This isn’t something to forlornly accept, it’s something to celebrate. Knowing and being known by others is the thickest and most delectable aspect of what it is to be human. This is also why the brokenness we experience in all our relationships, with God and with other people, is such a tragedy. It’s why when we see others compulsively destroying their relationships it grieves us. We see something of them in ourselves as we compulsively, addictively rebel against God, the life giver. It’s why Jesus, being the wholly other-person-centred guy he is, forfeited his life to reconcile us to himself and renew us so that we don’t have to experience this brokenness forever.

When Christians reflect on this self-giving of their God, they can’t help but want to emulate it. It means we willingly burden ourselves with the brokenness of others, knowing that we are no better than they. We joyfully inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others. It means we ought not to complain if our taxes go up as a result of a smaller state government pokie income. It means we ought to write letters of support to Labor MPs in marginal seats where the clubs industry is running an insidious ad. campaign.

Can the liberal worldview support genuine gambling reform? Nup. But Christians can. As we value others higher than ourselves we can’t help but be supportive of plans to serve those trapped by addiction.

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Andrew Bolt and the Australian Christian Lobby.

So obviously I’ve been on something of a hiatus with blogging recently. I’m hard at work on my Moore College 4th year project (thesis) on Christian generosity with special reference to Peter Singer. My hope is that during November I’ll be able to make a few summary posts that explain where I’ve headed with it, for the sake of those who are interested in my findings but not interested enough to sit through 15 000 words.

 

Last night I received the Australian Christian Lobby’s e-newsletter. It included an extended message from the ACL Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton. I’ve included it in full below. In the letter, in something of a stream-of-consciousness Shelton gives us his thoughts on what he calls ‘the Bolt judgement’, then seamlessly transitions into a  Greens drive-by.

Shelton, in my view, does Christianity no favours by siding with Andrew Bolt in this matter.

While I understand Shelton’s uneasiness about curtailment of free speech we need to remember exactly what Bolt was been accused of – without a scrap of evidence offered he went on to malign a group of people, implying that they are welfare cheats. We might well say, “that’s his opinion and he is free to express it” but is that good enough? If his opinion is unsubstantiated with facts or data, does he really have the ‘right’ to voice them?

Moreover, Shelton chastises the courts for being the ones to decide on this matter. He argues that the ‘court of public opinion’ should be the court that decides on free speech issues. This bothers me. One of the common features of the court of public opinion is that it tends towards the majority. It also not an impartial court, with control held by those privileged enough to have their voices heard above the rest of us. In short, in the court of public opinion guys like Bolt have a megaphone.

I can’t think of a single theological justification for the defence of Bolt in this matter. It saddens me but this seems to be another example of the ACL siding with the conservative side of the political spectrum when it can’t think of anything “Goddish” to say.

 

Dear Steve,

The Federal Court’s ‘Bolt Judgement’, as it has quickly become known, raises serious concerns about free speech in this country.

Nine people of Aboriginal descent complained that they were maligned and insulted by News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt and the Court agreed the Racial Discrimination Act had been breached.

Bolt is sometimes strident and less than gracious in his criticism of others.

But being “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated” by a newspaper article is hardly reason for a court case.

Surely this should be thrashed on in the court of public opinion through vigorous debate, not litigation.

Anti-defamation laws are well established and this is the course through which any grievance should have been pursued, not anti-discrimination law.

The Greens often raise the issue of ‘hate speech’ but employ a double standard as we have seen within the Tasmanian Parliament recently.

With the benefit of the Hansard record we show in today’s E-news just how aggressive last week’s Greens’ attack on Tasmanian Liberal leader Will Hodgman was. His crime was to give a moderate and balanced defence of marriage between a man and a woman.

Surely the Greens don’t suggest defending a child’s right to its biological mother and father is hate speech?

Racial and religious vilification legislation, which exists in most States, is very much a farce as was seen in the two Dannies case in the early 2000s.

Yesterday’s Bolt Judgement further highlights the problem of these laws which allow court cases based on feelings of hurt or insult but which will probably never apply to supporters of marriage who it seems can be pilloried as bigots with impunity.

Correction: A supporter has picked me up on my historical accuracy following last week’s E-news. “Thank you so much for the use of this Falklands War analogy from 1982- however, I believe a slight amendment is needed, as the 23 Royal Marine Commandos involved in the engagement described were defending the island of South Georgia, at Gryviken, while another 80 of their comrades, under their CO, Major Mike Norman, on the main island of the Falklands defended against the Argentine invasion at Port Stanley, in no less a heroic manner against overwhelming odds.”

Kind regards,

Lyle Shelton
Chief of Staff

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Church and [the first] state – a guide to democracy for NSW Christians. Part 5

Well, we’ve come to the end. I hope this series has been helpful for all the category “A”ers in thinking through how to use your vote wisely on Saturday. Before I give today’s issue and non-issue I need to say one very important thing.

Your involvement in democracy doesn’t end when you leave the polling station and get your sausage sandwich on Saturday morning. Though Australia and the state of New South Wales fall into the category of “representative democracy”, that is we elect people to make decisions for us, as citizens we still have the opportunity to play a huge roll in the way we are governed. As Christians, we need to seek out these opportunities for thoughtful engagement (whether it be meeting with our representatives about issues that are important to us, writing to the papers, participating in public inquiries, etc.). All these things sound far scarier than they are. I’m not wanting to sound all American and optimistic but if you aren’t happy with the way our governments are moving on certain issues and you have made no attempt at engagement then there is a problem. The Centre for Christian Living’s next public meeting is on how we do that public engagement stuff in a way that doesn’t make us look like whining prats so try and get there if you live in the Sydney area.

Issue 3: Community Services (formerly DoCS)

In this final post I want to address an area that I get the impression a great many Christians don’t really understand – the work of NSW Community Services. This is a hard issue to discuss because of the sensitive nature of the work this group does in and around the protection of children.

Christians are defenders of community. Christians believe that community is what we are built for. This is why we are so devastated when community is interrupted, perverted or circumvented. We are devastated when those who are naturally vulnerable, particularly because of their age and development, are exploited or abused. We are devastated because these acts of injustice rob the vulnerable of the care and love rightfully theirs.

And so we champion the work of those who defend the cause of the fatherless.

A few words on the health of the (now sub) department; in 2008 the Wood Report handed down 111 recommendations for improving child welfare in NSW. The basic findings of the report were that the organisation is seriously under-funded, under-staffed and over-worked. A great many of the frustrations that people have with the department are explained by these three observations from Justice Wood. I want to encourage Christians to stop DoCS bashing, to recognise our role as community members in raising and protecting children and to demand that our future government respond to Wood’s findings with more staff and more funding for Community Services.

Though none of the major parties has campaigned on the issue of Community Services you can compare the Labor and Greens platforms on their campaign pages. I wasn’t able to find anything on the Liberal website about this issue (if someone finds it I’ll give the link). I’m also happy to link up any of the other minor parties.

I am slightly concerned that as part of the Coalition’s public sector slashing rhetoric, one of the things they intend to “review” is the Community Services call-centre in the name of more “caseworkers” (that is, localise the work of DoCS). Certainly they’ve given this impression in the past. This, in my humble opinion, would be a mistake. The Call-receiving centre is full of highly trained staff that are able to gather relevant information and then give it to the caseworkers on the ground in a way that enables them to act. It’s been a good initiative, and it’s provided a much more thorough picture of the scale of the problem of child abuse and neglect in NSW which has in turn helped the organisation fight the issue.

Non-Issue 3: Law and Order

I was just about to begin writing a compelling, thought provoking piece on why Christians need to send the message to our elected representatives that community-embedded services are a better use of our money than prisons and that we won’t think they’re “soft on crime” if they want to pursue solutions than just locking people up. But as it turns out someone beat me to it. Have a read of the Social Issues Executive’s paper on the topic here.  You can also read what Peter Jensen had to say about this in his 2010 Sydney Synod address here.

We are almost never going to get thoughtful debate on the issue of Law and Order in an election campaign when “tough on crime” is such an easy catch-phrase to spout. Christians should seek to engage our elected representatives on crime reduction and workable justice once the how-to-vote cards have settled and the cardboard cubicles have long been packed away.

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Church and [the first] state – a guide to democracy for NSW Christians. Part 4

This post is part of a series

T minus 3 days to go until the election and I am (just quietly) getting a bit excited. I’ve gone to Below the Line and made my own personal how-to-vote sheet, I’ve got a feel for the quirky parties I’d never heard of by starting here and going from there, I’ve chosen a polling station that I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to get a steak sandwich at. See! Democracy can be fun!

Today I’ve got another issue and non-issue for you. As always I welcome feedback and clarification.

Issue 2: The environment

As I mentioned in my first post, issues surrounding the environment didn’t get a hearing on the ACL’s NSW Votes website, and they got a naive treatment in the ACVI’s tick-box sheet.

One of the main reasons I hear that Christians in politics seem reticent to talk about the environment in any detail is that “Christians disagree on it”. But Christian ethics is not herd morality but heard morality. As we read the Bible and appreciate the richness of its teaching in the context of the story of salvation through Jesus Christ we come to a Christian understanding of things. This is what sets us apart from political parties. Where political parties can change their stance on issues based on a show of hands, Christians together approach the world Bible opened, thoughtfully loving the culture we are engaged in.

This has implications not only into our inter-personal relations but also our person-creation relations. Christians care for the environment as part of what I’ll clumsily call “the creation mandate” but also because of where we’re headed (our eschatology).

We care for the environment because we were created as two gardeners, who were to love the earth by working and guarding it (Gen 1-2). Though the earth now produces thorns and thistles (and floods and droughts) as a result of the fall, nevertheless our responsibility to love the world through working it and guarding it carries on (Gen 3). Now we shouldn’t think “Ok, the property developers and strip miners can “work” the ground and the conservationists can “guard” the ground and those are both goods!” Notice that Adam is charged with both responsibilities at once.

We also care about the environment because of our future (eschatology). Many Christians argue that “it’s all going to burn anyway so who cares”. I would argue that this is a misunderstanding of 2 Peter 3 but I haven’t got the space to go into this here. Douglas Moo has written extensively on this topic and you can hear a talk where he explains out the arguments for this creation being renewed and not replaced here.

As voters, we have a rare chance to make our environmental concern stretch beyond our recycling bins, our worm-farms, our veggie plots. As voters we can elect a government that works and guards the environment. One that presents the world we’re borrowing from God back to him at the end of this world and say “we did as best we could to reverse the effects of our own sinfulness”. Christians need to make environmental concern an important factor they consider in voting on Saturday.

To help you with this, a number of conservation groups in NSW came together to produce a paper for people trying to think through what good outcomes for the environment look like in NSW. It’s called the Natural Advantage Report and you can find it here.

So as before,

  • Go to the NSW Electoral Commission website and find out who’s standing for your electorate here. (if you don’t know which electorate you live in go here first)
  • There you’ll find the email addresses of the people standing (candidates) in your electorate.
  • Send your candidates an email asking them, should they win your seat, what they would do to work and guard our creation in NSW and sustain it for the future.

Non-issue 2: Foreign Policy

Last night I received an email from the ACL mailing list telling me why I shouldn’t vote for the Greens. In it they listed a number of policy areas that ‘[m]any Christians ought to be concerned by’. Have a look at the list and think about which issue seems to be the odd one out:

  • same-sex marriage
  • euthanasia
  • abortion
  • protections for religious freedom
  • Christian schools
  • Israel

Israel?!

I was so intrigued that I did some digging. The background to the comment is as it turns out, Fiona Byrne (Greens candidate for Marrickville – tipped by the ABC’s political analyst Anthony Green to win the seat) as Mayor of Marrickville supported a boycott of Israel to send the message to this country that the international community is deeply concerned by their human rights violations – particularly in the Gaza strip. Fiona Byrne is on the record as saying that she would support such measures being implemented at a state level (Crikey Story here).

I want to say two things about this; one pragmatic and one theological.

Firstly, it needs to be remembered that Foreign policy is a federal not a state issue. State governments can make pronouncements like boycotts, but ultimately these are symbolic rather than having any formal force. Moreover the chance of this actually getting a hearing in parliament is so small that it isn’t worth worrying about.

But the bigger question is why does this show up on a list of issues Christians should be concerned about? Could it be that it reveals a shonky understanding of our eschatology (a view that elevates the Nation-State of Israel as having cosmic importance in the coming of Christ) present within the ranks of the ACL? I’m trying to be generous here but I can’t for the life of me figure out any other explanation. I’d welcome some further information if you have any but I’m going to suggest that if Israeli-Palestinian relations is factoring into who you should vote for on Saturday, you may be over analysing this whole thing :)

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Church and [the first] state – a guide to democracy for NSW Christians. Part 3

This post is part of a series

Well as promised yesterday, we’re going to start dealing with the issues. Over the next three days I’m going to suggest three policy areas that, I think, should have a bearing on the way we vote and then I’m also going to suggest three policy areas I think shouldn’t influence the way you vote (you’ll see what I mean later). Truly, there are far more areas of concern than these three, but I guess I’m trying to lift our gaze a little to see just how far reaching the Christian worldview is in the sphere of political thought.

Issue 1: Public Education

I was a bit nervous making this my issue number 1, because that gives the impression that I think it’s the most important issue, which I don’t. I was also nervous because I used to be a public high-school teacher and so this might seem like a conflict of interest. In writing this I don’t mean to demean the great work that private school teachers do. I think that’s enough caveats, lets begin.

Why should Christians in NSW care about public education – particularly at a time when more and more Christian parents believe the right thing to do is to send their children to a private school, be it a church school or an independent Christian school?

Well the answer lies in how we come to know God. Since the Reformation, protestant Christians have known the importance of having access to the Scriptures in our own tongue. God has gone into print. This is how he communicates with us. When we want to know about God we dive for the Bible. It’s why translators like Tyndale and Wycliffe demanded that the Bible be written in language the plough-boy could understand. It’s why linguistics and language preservation matters so much to Christians (through Bible translation). It’s why the first schools in NSW were church schools.

And so, because Christians have such a massive commitment to a written book, we likewise have a commitment to literacy. The only way to ensure we have a literate public is to have a well-funded public education system.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to argue that there is a cohort of students who are emerging from our schools in NSW that are not getting the literacy skills that they will need to participate fully in our society (or read the Bible for themselves) – and that through no fault of their teachers. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to notice  things like class sizes ballooning; lack of adequate air conditioning so that classrooms are in excess of 44°C; inadequate funding for teachers aids, especially for kids with learning difficulties; low morale and high staff turn-over in our schools – any one of these things is concerning but together they represent a cause that Christians should be championing.

A few words on vouchers. From what we can gather from the ACVI’s survey I mentioned a few days ago they are in favour of the so-called “voucher system”. In this system the government allocates your child a certain amount of money for education. The theory goes that parents who send their kids to private schools are “taxed twice” (in that they are taxed for the provision of public schools and then “taxed” again when they pay their school fees). The voucher system means that parents are only taxed for the voucher system, and then they are free to decide where that money is spent, be it in public education, the private sector or to recoup the costs of home schooling.

Sounds good right? Well the fact that it sounds good is kind of the problem. It is a system that sounds good to a choice-rich, individualist society. But what if you live in Wilcannia and it’s not financially viable for a private school to run (indeed it’s not financially viable for a public school to run) then we need a robust public system that is unreasonably generous in the eyes of an economic rationalist to ensure that kids in that community can read (and perhaps one day read of King Jesus).

This is a drum I need to keep banging again and again; Christians at their core are not meant to act in self-interest. We are meant to be people who seek to serve. In this circumstance it means that you are going to pay taxes so that those who can’t afford education can still access it – and to a high standard.

So -

  • Go to the NSW Electoral Commission website and find out who’s standing for your electorate here. (if you don’t know which electorate you live in go here first)
  • There you’ll find the email addresses of the people standing (candidates) in your electorate.
  • Send your candidates an email asking them, should they win your seat, what they would do to fix some of the problems I’ve listed above (and others you might be able to think of).

Christians care about public education system.

Non-Issue 1: Ethics in SRE time

“WHAT?! Why is this a non-issue?” I hear many bellow.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am livid about the St James ethics classes being taught during SRE time. I’ve written about it here. My major concerns are:

  • Ethics classes suggest that other parts of school are “values neutral” to use a Howardian phrase. This is deeply insulting to me as a former teacher.
  • Due process was not followed – there was no public inquiry and the trial was a sham.
  • The Ethics programme cannot fix the problem it was designed to (non-attendance in SRE does not equate to attendance in ethics classes)

But, and it pains me to say it, we lost. The legislation was introduced.

Had you asked me about this in January I would have said it isn’t all bad. This is one of the areas Christians were able to hold a gritted smile, in the knowledge that Labor is going to be trounced at this election and then the Liberal Party (who spoke against the legislation) would be elected and reverse the decision. I myself, not traditionally a Liberal voter, could see this as a good that would come from having a NSW Liberal government. But then they stabbed us in the back. In early February the Liberal education spokesman announced that, should they win government, they had no intention of reversing the decision (a story on this here). Their reasoning? Because it’s already enshrined in law…

umm… bu… wai…

The logic of this is bizarre. Someone needs to explain to the Liberal Party’s Adrian Piccoli that part of being a government is that YOU GET TO CHANGE AND MAKE NEW LAWS. Ultimately it seems the Liberal party has realised that victory is so certain for them that they can cut loose the interest groups that they have traditionally relied upon to catapult them into government – on this occasion it was the conservative Christian vote.

So the chess board looks very different now. After the election we will have a government and an opposition that are both in favour of the ethics classes. Unless there is a huge upsurge of support for the minor parties who are against ethics classes in the place of SRE (an outcome that is unlikely) then this is actually an issue you shouldn’t worry about in your voting this Saturday.

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Church and [the first] state – a guide to democracy for NSW Christians. Part 2

This post is part of a series

Today I want to explain as simply as possible what you’re going to have to do in order to vote on Saturday. Voting in NSW elections is a bit more complicated than voting federally. The complications are good, in that they give you more control over exactly what your vote ends up doing, but they’re bad in that… well… they’re more complicated!

Before we disentangle you on that though, a little year 6 Australian political system refresher –

Australia has three tiers of government: Local (generally called ‘council’); State; and Federal. The local government’s head is called a Mayor (or Shire President), The state’s head is a Premier and the federal leader is called the Prime Minister. You vote in local council elections every four years, state elections every four years and federal elections roughly every three years.

Our state government (like our federal government) has two houses. In the lower house (or Legislative Assembly) your area, probably your suburb/village and the few suburbs around you, has one representative who [theoretically] acts in the interests of your local community. In the upper house (or Legislative Council) everyone in NSW has a say on the same group of people and selects 42 people from across the state to represent all of us.

To make sure that these levels of government don’t tread on each others’ toes too much, over the last century Australia has figured out which government should be in charge of what (e.g. Local Councils have no jurisdiction over our armed forces and Federal governments have no control over your wheelie bins). This has changed over time. There was a time when Universities were a matter for each state, but this was changed in the 70s, more recently the former Rudd government made plans for taking over hospital care from the states. For a simple explanation of which government does what go here.

So when we’re talking about our state government, it looks after things like the police, electricity, public transport, prisons, schools, public heath and the agricultural sector.

Now, voting in the NSW state election is a little different to voting federally. You still have two pieces of paper because you’re electing people to two different houses.

The way your vote is counted is still the same (if you’re not sure how that bit works watch this vid – it’s from the Federal Election but the gist is still the same):

But unlike the Federal election you don’t need to put a number in every box. Allow me to illustrate:

Lets pretend in your electorate there are three people running for office.

Candidate 1 is from the Puppy Slayers Party (PSP)

Candidate 2 is from the We Like Puppies Party (WLPP)

Candidate 3 is from the Puppies are OK but Lets Not Go Crazy Party (PAOKLNGCP).

Just say your preference was for the WLPP party to win, you hated the PSP and you didn’t mind the PAOKLNGCP.What you could do is put a “1” in the WLPP box, a “2” in the PAOKLNGCP box and then stop there. You don’t have to have your vote eventually be directed to the PSP.

Why does this matter? Well what this means is that you can prevent your vote electing someone you don’t like. The great thing about this is if you live in an electorate that is “safe” for a party you don’t like, you can actually prevent your vote being counted as one of there’s, after preferences have been worked out.

The upper house (big sheet) is also more complicated. To explain that, I’m going to leave the instructions to our friends at below the line. Below the line takes the time out of filling in your big piece of paper, while at the same time giving you optimal control over where your vote gets cast. You can sit at home and organise your vote and it’ll give you a print out, telling you (given your preferences) what numbers to put where on your sheet. It’s a fabulous resource and one I’d encourage everyone to use – especially Christians concerned about the ethical implications of their vote.

That’s enough procedural stuff. Tomorrow, we’re going to start dealing with the issues and the parties – Over the next three posts I’m going to suggest one issue a day you should care about as a Christian voter. Then I’m also going to suggest (and this is a bit cheeky) three issues you shouldn’t care about as you think through voting on Saturday.

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