Saturday, December 02, 2006

Who is John Barry Myers

With Southern Metropolitan heading towards a photo finish every vote counts

History in the making with a close race heading to a photo finish

Southern Metropolitan is shaping to create another historical election event for Victoria with the contest for the last two positions being a close race. A race between the Titans. The best analogy we can come up with is a Yacht race or maybe a long distance marathon. Much depends on who can maintain the momentum as the count continues and who cross the line first.

With an election this tight every vote counts and the two biggest issues are "where does the below-the-line vote go once it leaves the group associated with their first preference vote" and "Who is John Barry Myers" the unaligned independent candidate who is currently on a total of 245 votes.

With a margin of less the 50 votes John Myers's votes (as is the case of every other vote) will play a potentially significant role in the makeup and control of Victoria's future Parliament.

Heading to the courts

All ready we see the contest for Southern Metropolitan heading to the courts, as each main party starts documenting every aspect of the election in anticipation that who ever loses the election will mount a challenge in the courts.

Questions will be asked about the roles and conduct of the Victorian VEC, the lack of information, openness and transparency in the conduct of the election.

All these issues, including our concerns about the Victorian Electoral Commission staff accessing the result of the e-voting polling booth data prior to Saturday's poll (Something Mr Steve Tully, Chief Commissioner, has emphatically denied taking place in spite evidence to the contrary) along with concern about Mr Tully's refusal to provide relevant information to candidates, campaign managers, staff, scrutineers and members of the public in a timely fashion preventing appinted scrutineers and others from monitoring and properly scrutinising the conduct of the election. All issues will be subjected to judicial review.

This could be a repeat of the 1985 Nunawading challenge where Bob Ives was denied a seat in Parliament following a court ruling that called for the election to be rerun. If this was the case then all five positions would have to face re-election leave the ALP without its leader in the upper-house. This would depend on wheather a court injuction would prevent any candiadte form taking office pending the outcome of any court challenge in 1985 Bob Ives was allowed to take up his seat but soon lost it when teh court declared the results inconclusive and callwed for fresh elections. Maybe the losing side will opt to save the public millions of dollars in the cost of a legal challenge and the cost of having to hold fresh elections in Southern Metropolitan Region but that would be asking too much when so much is at stake.

It's too early to speculate with certainty on the immediate aftermath of the election result. The vote is still continuing and there are an estimated (No one seams to know exactly) 30-50,000 votes to be brought on the table (where from who knows certainly not the public). VEC's lack of openness and transparency in the conduct of this election has little to be desired.

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