The Australian voting system makes it really difficult for us to have a democratic multi-party system, like many of those in Europe. We are held to ransome by the two party system. The reason is that voting is so complicated and the mainstream media give us so little information about non-two party, non-'Greens' choices that, when we get to the polling booth, we are severely confused. Many of us just finish up following the how to vote cards given out by Lib Lab. And Lib-Lab are so corrupt of values that they now frequently exchange preferences just to keep everyone else out.
This year, however, software engineers have come up with a number of independent solutions whereby voters can practice and research their choices in an effective and interesting way.
"DIY how-to-vote cards to give voters control in just a few clicks" by Lucy Battersby describes the following websites that are geared to helping voters work out complex votes prior to entering the booth.
Cluey Voter (created by Google's director of engineering in his spare time). This site asks voters to choose parties they 'support a lot' or are 'against a lot' or 'don't care' about, and then it numbers the Senate boxes below the line accordingly, so you can get a view of how your preferences look.
Senate.io, created by Cameron McCormack, lets users drag their preferences onto a list, then prints out a numbered ballot paper that you could take to the booths on voting day and copy from. allows users to drag their preferences onto a list by party or candidate.
BelowtheLine.org.au, created by Benno Rice, can make vote cards for the House of Reps and the Senate and has links to candidate and party websites.
According to the Age article, these site have no political or corporate links.
"When voting for the Senate Australians can either number one box above the line or number all the boxes below the line in order of preference. In the last election only 490,000, or 3.8 per cent, of ballot papers were completed below the line.
This year the NSW ballot paper has 110 senate candidates, Victoria 97 and Queensland 82, and voters must number at least 90 per cent of these boxes to have the vote declared valid.
However, using the short cut of voting above the line means preferences get allocated by political parties and voters usually have no idea where each party has directed its Senate preferences in each state, unless they search the AEC's website [EG: http://www.aec.gov.au/election/vic/gvt.htm]."