Labor’s minority report on electoral
matters, brought to our timely attention yesterday by my colleague
Christian Kerr, contains a startling observation: “We note…that
Australia has no history of electoral fraud,” declare Labor’s band of
parliamentary dissenters.

Really? Has Labor forgotten already the exploits of Wayne Swan, Mike Kaiser, et al?

“We
reject any suggestion that regressive changes to Australia’s electoral
system can be justified under the pretext of ‘preventing electoral
fraud’,” huff the Labor luvvies indignantly in their passionately
argued report. “The Government is undertaking these major changes in
absence of any evidence of electoral fraud.”

Er, OK. So what about all that stuff on Wayne Swan and the envelopes stuffed with cash; or Mike Kaiser’s vote-rigging efforts in Queensland;
or Victoria’s then ALP state secretary (and now Transport Minister)
Peter Batchelor and the bodgy how to vote cards at the Nunawading
by-election?

That’s the thing about Labor and its embarrassing
problem children – it’s so often a cosy matter of forgive and forget.
With the emphasis on “forget.”

So who are these committee
members, the federal MPs with the combined political memory of a happy
bowl of goldfish? One is Michael Forshaw, a Labor Right drone who’s
represented the people of NSW in the Senate for the past decade – with
little noticeable effect.

His NSW Right ex-colleague Mark
Latham records that at a meeting in Sussex St in 1998 to elect the
faction’s shadow ministers there were 18 votes, and two of them were
informal – MPs unable to summon the nous to number eight squares: “The
consensus is that Michael Forshaw and Frank Mossfield were the
culprits,” notes Latham in his Diaries. “Really, what hope is there? This group should be renamed the bonehead faction.”

Maybe
Forshaw’s colleagues aren’t really worried about electoral fraud, after
all. They may simply be concerned that in the event of voluntary
voting, Forshaw and his bonehead faction might forget to enrol.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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