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Election 2001 - For Direct Democracy not Parliamentary Rule

Rejection of the parliamentary process is a part of a long tradition of anti-parliamentary activism by libertarians and anarchists. Here are a range of statements, arguments and activities on participation in voting for parliamentary representatives in Australia during the 2001 election.

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The F.U.C.K.E.D Election Campaign

by Happyanarchy Wed Nov 14 '01

On Saturday 10 November, elections were held for the Parliament of the Federal Australian government. As expected the election was won by Kerry Packer.

In Brisbane, F.U.C.K.E.D. (Freedom Urban Collective Knowledge Expansion Division) ran the city’s only ‘Don’t Vote’ campaign. Posters and flyers were distributed around a number of Brisbane’s suburbs. Some F.U.C.K.E.D. participants held a presence at polling booths in the suburbs of Dutton Park and New Farm.

The campaign ran with the slogan, “A Change of Rulers is the Joy of Fools”. It focused on the fact that Parliament is inherently conservative, elitist and exclusionary. That any party in control will likewise become conservative and work for the elite business class before ordinary citizens. That the only way we will ever have true democracy 365 days a year, is by abolishing Parliament and creating a non-hierarchical federation of workers and community councils that operate through direct democracy and direct participation.

One F.U.C.K.E.D. participant was approached by the police, who told him that while he was articulate and humorous it was time to 'move on'. Another F.U.C.K.E.D. participant was also asked to move on by a senior ‘Socialist Alliances’ party member, for attempting to debate the inherent contradiction of a Marxist party participating in a bourgeoisie parliament with a young party supporter.

The F.U.C.K.E.D. election campaign appeared to have had no significant impact on voting patterns in Brisbane, with only a minimal increase in informal voting. Regardless it was something that had to be done.

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Informal Vote sign of Disenchantment claims Anarchist

by Takver 12:00am Tue Nov 13 '01

Today Dr Joseph Toscano claimed an examination of the informal vote has shown that the number of Australians who have voted informal has increased by nearly thirty percent, and the informal vote in the Victorian Senate election has increased by nearly 100%.

Press release from Dr Joseph Toscano:

In the euphoria about the Prime Minister's electoral hat trick, a much more interesting and worrying phenomena for those who support the parliamentary system, has occurred. An examination of the informal vote has shown that the number of Australians who have voted informal has increased by nearly thirty percent.

The informal vote in the Victorian Senate election has increased by nearly 100%. At the close of counting on Saturday night, 7.08% - 182, 662 ballots cast were informal. This figure is 70% greater than the figure in any other State. N.S.W 4.41%, QLD 3.81%, WA 4.29%, SA 3.9%, TAS 4.43%, ACT 2.7%, NT 3.64%. The difference between the Victorian Senate Election and the Senate Election in other States, is that two Anarchists, Dr. Joseph Toscano and Mr Stephen Reghenzani, stood as Senate candidates and conducted a vigorous election campaign using the slogan - 'Parliamentary Democracy, Two Minutes of Illusory Power'. In their campaign they encouraged electors to vote informal or consider not voting at all.

Their campaign, a campaign which bypassed the mainstream media, was conducted using the Internet and alternative media sources. It will be interesting to see whether the abstention rate in Victoria is higher than in other States and whether the national abstention rate has increased during this election. Currently, 20% of votes still remain to be counted, this includes pre-poll, postal, absent and provisional votes as well as those who abstained. The A.E.C will have the final figures within the next ten days.

Compulsory voting or no compulsory voting, an increasing number of Australians are not participating in parliamentary elections. They do not want to be forced to participate in a system of government they have no belief in. I'm 49 and have never voted at a local, State or Federal election, am not on the electoral roll, but was able to stand as a Victorian Senate candidate. There are an increasing number of people like myself who are no longer willing to give blank cheques to parliamentarians to make decisions for us. The struggle for direct democracy, a struggle to create a system of government, where the people involved in a decision, make that decision, is one which crosses old political divisions and which encompasses the apolitical as well as the politically aware.

Our candidature have given people who have voted informal, or have not voted at all, a philosophical basis and a respectability that they have not enjoyed in the past. We can no longer be dismissed as apathetic, we have made a significant political statement that challenges the myths and assumptions that the parliamentary system is based on.

Dr. Joseph Toscano/Spokesperson
Anarchist Media Institute.

Ring Dr Joseph Toscano if you want to verify this letter or to organise a newspaper, television or radio interview

Anarchist Media Institute
P. O. Box 20, Parkville. Vic. 3052 Australia
Telephone: (03) 9828-2856 (24 hr Message Centre)
Fax: (03) 9482-4371
Anarchist World This Week Radio Programme on the net: -

Wednesdays 10am for one hour on Community Radio 3CR in Melbourne and on community stations across Australia via the Community Radiop Satellite

Source: Indymedia:

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For a Direct and Economic Democracy

by Takver 4:20pm Wed Oct 24 '01

I applaud your principled stand Elvira. I think your position boils down to making a stand on principle or participating out of some strategic pragmatism, and yes, giving a preference to a lesser evil (what a choice!) But most importantly your statement shows that democracy is more than numbering a ballot paper every 3 years, it is working for it everyday in the things you do in your life, in how you work with the people around you...thats the important bit.

The problem is one of who holds real power, and what chance ordinary people have in influencing the exercise of power. Many socialists and anarchists believe real power comes from who controls the point of production. While corporations dictate how society should run, parliament will be at most a regulator of the excesses of greed.

Today, more than 50% of the largest economies are private corporations. Nation states have become pawns to corporations and capitalism.

After the social conflagration of the second world war, and with the cold war against 'communism', for 35 years parliaments in the western world were fierce regulators of their economies and corporations. Social welfare programs were accepted as a just goal to balance income inequality against the insipient greed in corporate capitalism, and to keep communism in check. Then, in the 1980's economic rationalism, also called neo-liberalism, started to take hold in all major political parties in the western world. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the cold war appeared to be over. 'Capitalism!' had won! We saw conservative and social democratic (labor) governments selling off state assets, moving the tax burden from corporations to individual citizens, and from progressive tax systems such as income tax to regressive tax systems such as GST, VAT, etc., opening up financial markets, investment markets, and lowering trade barriers.

What one seldom hears about are the corporate welfare payments, the tax incentives to corporations which occur all the time, often with negligible returns to 'the public purse'. The USA Government in particular is one of the most protective of its own agricultural industries.

Representative democracy today is very dependent on the support of the business sector, including the mass media. Both the Labor Party and the Liberal and National Parties are very dependent on a 'good press' and support from the business community.

Check out the Business section of the Age.

I would like to think that electing a Greens Senator or maybe a 'Democrats' senator would be able to change the system, but evidence over the last 100 years of parliament in Australia refutes this. The Labor Party was corrupted by opportunists and pragmatists even as it formed at Federation. Read Chummy Flemings comments of labour members of state parliament in 1892: Mr Best, a lawyer and M.L.A. for Fitzroy and Trenwith, recently elected leader of the Victorian Labour Party: See Chummy Fleming: a brief biography.

I have a lot of respect for Bob Brown, and the way he uses his position as a platform for humanistic and environmental views and raising important social questions. And there are a handful of parliamentarians or former parliamentarians I know about who have tried to maintain humanistic principles and a dedication to their electors. For most, party politics and the electoral and parliamentary process is corrupting.

When you participate in the parliamentary process, you condone the continuation of a corrupting process.

Authoritarian socialists argue for the state to have more power, especially over regulating the economy and corporations. This just continues the problems with parliamentary rule, and centralisation of power leads very easily to dictatorship or to the reversal of social gains with a change to conservative rulers.

Anarchists argue we need more direct democracy in all facets of our life. Our work situations should be democratic, as should our neighborhoods. And we should be entitled to a direct say in decisions which directly affect us.

For more background information visit the Direct Democracy not Parliamentary Rule Index for information on Anti-parliamentary politics and the case against voting or the Anarchist FAQ at :

You may be interested that two candidates for the Senate in Victoria: Joe Toscano and Steven Reghenzani are standing on a platform of 'direct democracy not parliamentary rule'

Finally, remember that we live in a country with 'free speech', except that under the electoral act it is illegal to encourage electors not to vote.

Source: Indymedia:
I will not vote by Elvira 7:43am Wed Oct 24 '01
nonviolent activist Elvira Griffith is refusing to vote in the upcoming elections. here's why.

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Parliamentary democracy – two minutes of illusory power – why vote?

by Takver 9:01am Tue Oct 30 '01

Dr Joe Toscano outlines why he is standing for the Senate in Victoria as an anarchist.

** * *** * *MEDIA CONFERENCE** * *** * *
VENUE : Forecourt Australian Electoral Commission, 2 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
TOPIC : Direct Democratic Activists Will Be Converging Outside Polling Booths Across The Country On Saturday The 10th Of November

Victorian Senate Candidates Dr. Joseph Toscano and Mr. Stephen Reghenzani and a number of their supporters will be holding a media conference on the 1st of November to launch their


Election day campaign.

Democracy should be much more than casting a ballot every three years. The people involved in a decision should be able to make that decision - DIRECT DEMOCRACY.

On election day we encourage all those Australians who will not be voting or will be voting informal, because they have no faith in the parliamentary system to stand at least six meters from the entrance of polling booths, holding up signs or wearing badges that state:-


On the 10th of November, political and social activists who are no longer willing to support the myth that power lies in parliament and who believe that parliamentary democracy is nothing more than two minutes of illusory power will be taking the message that people involved in a decision should make that decision - DIRECT DEMOCRACY directly to the Australian people.

Parliamentary democracy - two minutes of illusory power - why vote? I am 49, I have NEVER voted at a Local, State or Federal election and am not on the Electoral Roll, but I am standing as a SENATE candidate for Victoria at the Federal elections on the 10th of November, 2001.

Although I am standing as a Senate candidate, I DON'T WANT your vote and WILL NOT be VOTING at the election. I am standing because I'm very concerned about the shortcomings of the parliamentary system and want electors to think about why they bother to participate in the parliamentary farce.

Parliamentary democracy is nothing more than two minutes of illusory power. Every three years Australians are forced by legislation (Section 245 D Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Š 'It shall be the duty of every elector to vote at each election') to give BLANK CHEQUES to PARLIAMENTARIANS to make decisions for them for the next three years. Irrespective of what they are promised a politician can legally change their mind while they are in parliament and an elector can do nothing about it till the next election.

Even this scenario is an illusion because REAL power does not lie in parliament, it lies in the boardrooms of national and trans-national corporations. What parliament can or cannot do, is not only prescribed by the Australian Constitution, its power is limited by the needs of an economic system, it does not control. I am no longer willing to tolerate this SHAM and encourage Australians to seriously think about why they are participating in and supporting a system of government that makes a laughing stock of democracy.

The more people who don't participate in this election, the greater the pressure that will be placed on the government for reforms that puts democracy back into the political and social equation in this country. I want to live in a society which is based on DIRECT DEMOCRACTIC principles where the people involved in a decision make that decision. In a society based on direct democratic principles, people appoint or elect recallable delegates to coordinate decisions for them, they don't elect representatives to make decisions for them. I want to live in a society where wealth is held in common, as everybody who runs a household knows, if you don't control the financial strings, it doesn't matter what decisions you make, you can never bring these decisions to fruition if you don't control your economic destiny.

On the 10th of November, I have decided NOT to exercise my constitutional right to vote. I encourage Australian electors to consider my stand when they go to cast their ballot in the election. If parliamentary democracy is as we're told the pinnacle of human achievement, why does the Australian State force people to vote, you'd think that people would flock to the polls every time an election was called.

I have teamed up with another Senate candidate for Victoria, Mr. Stephen Reghenzani, for this election. Mr. Reghenzani is on the electoral roll, but will be voting informal at the election on the 10 th of November. He encourages those people who are dissatisfied with the parliamentary system to vote informal at this election, to show their dissatisfaction with parliamentary rule.

Just in case you think what you have read are the rantings of a telephone box minority, think again. 14% of electors didn't vote (9%) or voted informal (5%) at the recent Aston by-election in Melbourne. At the Federal election in 1998 around a million electors who are entitled to be on the roll were not enrolled. Eight per cent of electors on the Commonwealth Electoral roll didn't vote or voted informal at the last Federal election.

Dr. Joseph Toscano
Victorian Senate Candidate
Written and authorised by Joseph Toscano, 205 Nicholson Street,
Footscray Melbourne.

Anarchist Media Institute
P. O. Box 20, Parkville. Vic. 3052 Australia
Telephone: (03) 9828-2856 (24 hr Message Centre)
Fax: (03) 9482-4371
Anarchist World This Week Radio Programme on the net: -

Wednesdays 10am for one hour on Community Radio 3CR in Melbourne and on community stations across Australia via the Community Radiop Satellite

Background information on Joe Toscano's 1998 antielection campaign

Source: Indymedia:

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Never trust a politician - you know it makes sense

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Last modified: November 18, 2001

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