AEC Obfuscates on Voting Rules

Update: Antony has kindly clarified his reasoning in a comment on this article, and so I have now sent a follow up query to the AEC based on this.

Update 2: After much too-ing and fro-ing (see the comments) with Antony Green and the AEC it appears that the AEC would rather obfuscate on the whole issue than bring clarity to it, and Antony makes a very convincing case about why it is valid to do both. What I’d love to see is a comment from someone involved in the voting process with one of the OIC guides to confirm that it says that those votes are handled as Antony says. I somehow doubt anyone would dare though.. 🙁 After that enlightening discussion with Antony I’ve changed the title of this article from “Do Not Vote Both Above and Below the Line in the Senate! (Updated)” to “AEC Obfuscates on Voting Rules” as that seems to be fairer to both Antony and the AEC. 😉

Update 3: Just found this on the AEC website describing how voting works:

However, if the elector completes both sections formally, the below the line section takes precedence.

So it is really valid, despite what the AEC have been telling me! Thanks to “GetUp!” for providing the link to that AEC page on their voting page.

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Making Meaning – Exhibition of Photography

Making Meaning is an exhibition of figurative, abstract and photographic works by my lovely wife Donna Williams and myself, Chris Samuel. We spent about 4 hours today at The Bakery, part of the 1812 Theatre in Upper Ferntree Gully in Melbourne setting it up whilst the crew of the 1812 finished off creating a set for their next production and distracting me with coffee and cake. 🙂

Our exhibition runs from the 5th August to the 4th September on theatre time, which is (as our flyer says):

Wed-Sat: 8.30–11pm,
Sun: 4–6.30pm then 8.30-11pm (except 22nd Aug)

As a sneak preview here is the layout of my photography:

Exhibition setup at 1812 Theatre - my photos Exhibition setup at 1812 Theatre - more of my photos

and the layout of Donna’s paintings:

Exhibition setup at 1812 Theatre - Donna's paintings Exhibition setup at 1812 Theatre - more of Donna's paintings

Thanks again to the 1812 crew for making us feel welcome and at home and even feeding us lunch!

Petition to Keep Referrals to Social Workers and Occupational Therapists Eligible for Medicare in Australia

As a followup to my previous blog post there is now a petition (PDF) to ask the Australian Government to keep referrals to OT’s and social workers eligible for Medicare, which Donna has blogged about. If you do grab the PDF and print it out – and I would urge you to do so if you are in Australia, they need 10,000 signatures for it to be tabled – then please also have a covering note to explain why it’s so important. Donna writes:


1 in 150 people in Australia are diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder. 90% of adults on the autism spectrum have experienced bullying. Many are forced out of school early due to depression, anxiety disorders and breakdown. As adults those in this population will be significantly more at risk of social isolation, dislocation from their community, unemployment, and homelessness than the general population.

Around 1/3rd of adults on the autism spectrum will become diagnosed with additional mental health problems stemming at least in part from social disadvantage. When those developmental disabilities, including Aspergers develop mental health issues associated with long term unemployment, social isolation and community disconnection, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers are uniquely skilled to address their psychosocial issues and improve their quality of life in ways not addressed by Psychiatrists or psychologists alone.

With a 90% unemployment rate among even those most able adults on the autism spectrum, most are on income support. As such, if they require mental health services, most will be unable to access these services if not covered by Medicare funding. From 2011 the Government is going to cut Medicare funding for Social Workers and Occupational Therapists under “Better Access to Mental Health Services” Program. 10,000 signatures is required to try and change this by December 2010. Please add yours.

Click here to get the PDF of the petition to print and sign.