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  • michael berrell
    Jun 3, 2004
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      I couldn't agree more about the need for Socialist Parties to be
      registered in order that they appear on the ballot paper under their
      party affiliation rather than to appear as 'ungrouped' or
      unspecified independents. If this is indeed the case with the SEP
      then it is disappointing.

      I had another look at the Progressive Labour Party's web site last
      night and in fact I had underestimated the total they received in
      the Senate in N.S.W. at the last Federal Election. According to the
      web site they in fact received 70 000 votes not 50 000 as I stated.
      This amounted to 1.77% of the vote or to look at it another way they
      got about a quarter of the way to having someone elected. I think a
      party needs 7 to 8% in order to have someone elected to the senate.
      Of coursew had they replicated this result at the Election for the
      N.S.W. Upper House they could well have had someone elected I
      believe A Better Future for Our Children elected someone to the
      Upper House with about 1% of the vote. Unfortuneately however
      because of undemocratic laws passed by the Carr Government the
      Progressive Labour Party were unable to muster enough signatures in
      order to receive registration and therefore appeared on the ballot
      paper as 'independents' their candidates still managed to poll quite
      well in the Newcastle/Hunter region but they estimate that the
      failure to appear on the ballot paper under the banner of the
      Progressive Labour Party cost them at least 2% of the vote.

      Come hell or highwater Socialists must appear as such on ballot
      papers if they are serious about attracting electoral support which
      after all is the whole aim of the exercise. Often voters will be
      confronted with a long list of independents on ballot papers with no
      idea of what they stand for in my experience if in doubt I place
      such candidates toward the bottom of preferences and I bet many
      others do as well.

      The Progressive Labour Party web site also mentioned that in the
      same election the Socialist Alliance polled just 0.03% of the vote.
      Dave this has me genuinely perplexed. The D.S.P. or Socialist
      Alliance should on paper have enormous advantages it publishes an
      internationally respected Socialist newspaper and we've all seen the
      figures relating to the number of 'hits' it receives and so on. And
      of course the same can be said for WSWS in this regard. In addition
      the D.S.P. or Socialist Alliance also has a powerful presence on
      University Campuses which gives it access to a significant bloc of
      18-25 yr old voters, often young, impressionable and idealistic.
      When at the Asian Pacific Solidarity Conference a couple of years
      ago I mentioned the Progressive Labour Party I was told that it
      virtually has no younger members its membership is very old, it
      would seem that it breaks all the rules and yet was able to trounce
      the Socialist Alliuance at the last Federal Election.

      One disturbing lesson might be that high profile web sites count
      for almost nothing in attracting electoral support. For example if
      one 'googles' Nick Beams name it comes up everywhere, his opinions
      are well respected and have wide currency across a great range of
      forums his articles are even re-printed on non-Socialist sites which
      is a good sign as it shows that his opinions are respected by friend
      and foe alike. Now its just possible that a lot of what he writes
      is 'snake oil' I'm not well versed in Economics to know but somehow
      I doubt it, he has authored a well respected book on globalisation
      any number of articles he has written could well be the basis for a
      doctoral thesis and I assume he has extensive academic
      qualifications in the field. If anyone knows anything about his
      academic background I would appreciate hearing about it.

      In any case he is an enormous asset not only to the World
      Socialist Web Site but to the Socialist Movement in general but I
      don't think his talents are being utilised effectively. His views
      and his analysis of Capitalism should be front and centre before the
      Australian public rather than as some cult figure on the margins of
      cyberspace. If either or both the Socialist Alliance and the
      Socialist Equality Party are resigned to getting something like
      0.03% of the vote in this years Federal Election then neither
      organisation is fulfilling its potential and that is primarily why I
      have written these posts. Both organisations if they are serious
      should be seriously looking to at least replicate the performance of
      the Progressive Labour Party at the last election.
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