Aug 8, 2013

How the parties trick you into handing over personal information

The major parties are fooling people into handing over personal information in the guise of applications for a postal vote. Here's how the ruse works -- and how to avoid it.

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

You receive an official-looking envelope in the mail containing an application form for a postal vote. You fill it out and use the reply-paid envelope to send the form back to an official-looking address. You’ve just dealt with the Australian Electoral Commission, right?

Wrong. You’ve just dealt with a political party that is harvesting your personal details for its database.

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38 thoughts on “How the parties trick you into handing over personal information

  1. Venise Alstergren

    An excellent and informative article. I haven’t received mine yet. When I do I will indeed tell them what I think of them.

  2. ianjohnno

    You can add Graham Perrett (ALP Moreton)

  3. lusito

    Just got one from John Alexander (LNP Bennelong). Thanks for pointing this out Crikey. I’m really annoyed at this nonsense.

  4. klewso

    Nick Xenophon reckons there’s got to be a better way to do this? If there was, don’t you reckon they would have schemed it?
    What we need is an “honest” way?

  5. Frances Hanks

    Mine came from Kelly O’Dwyer (Liberal, Higgins). It went straight into the recycle bin.

  6. david creeper

    thanks crikey! saved my day! (bastards are getting smarter).

  7. mark leo

    I got two yesterday (Jacinta Collins Vic Labor Senator and Bruce Billson Lib MP) For what it’s worth the Labor one looked less dodgy her name was on the front cover and the reply paid was to her office. Still, not impressed.

  8. extra

    Of course, you can make the exercise more expensive for them by filling the reply-paid envelope with a sheet or two of roofing lead. Or taping it to a brick.

  9. Raaraa

    Yep, just got one of this yesterday coming from the Libs.

  10. Cathy Alexander

    Update to this story: you’re paying for these letters.

    The rules state that MPs can use their taxpayer-funded printing and communications entitlement to print out and distribute these postal vote application letters – a way of getting taxpayers to fund ‘vote for me’ election material (which is normally not allowed).

    MPs can claim the printing out of applications to up to half the total number of enrolled voters in their electorate.

    Which is why you’re all getting these letters.

    More info here: http://maps.finance.gov.au/entitlements_handbooks/index.html

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