On Elijah Doughty and access to justice

Mary Wood writes: Re. “WA courts ‘entirely at odds with what the law requires’ in Elijah Doughty case” (Tuesday) 

There are reports today and yesterday about a young indigenous woman who was transferred from a prison in W.A. to a mental health facility. She was NAKED, distressed (wonder why) and because she was menstruating she was covered in blood when she arrived at the mental health facility.

“Our people need to be trained” blah, blah, blah. God almighty no-one should need training to understand that public nakedness is a form of terrible abuse and humiliation – basic decency should tell you that. My anger is white-hot over this. Apart from any other consideration this would surely have had made her mental condition much much worse.

On the Batman byelection

Cara MacNish writes: Re.”Greens Derangement Syndrome spreads to the right wing’s pre-frontal cortex!” (Tuesday)
Props to Rundle for seeking to promote meaning in numbers. Although following his stern berating of Cater for his mishandling of maths and science, it was more than a little amusing to see Rundle declare that what “you need to do…is assess the ratios between inner and outer booth swings”, and then proceed to assess instead the swing between inner and outer booth ratiosThe ratio of the swings is 11% (outer – Kingsbury) over 3% (inner – Westgarth) or 3.7. (For the record the swing in ratios is 0.4827 minus 0.309, or 0.17.)
 
In fact both numbers (3.7 being greater than 1, and 0.17 being greater than zero) point to Kingsbury gaining traction. But neither is privileged as the ‘right’ answer as Rundle suggests. They describe different views of the same data.
 
One might argue for example that the measure of success is the percentage of those you didn’t have in the last election that you gained, since it is harder and harder to make conversions on a diminishing pool as you approach 100% of the vote. So in this particular case, it may be easier to find conversions in the 83% of targets in Kingsbury than the 45% remaining in Westgarth. (This brings the ratio of effective swings down from 3.7 to 2.0 for those counting.)
 
With this in mind, its also not clear that Rundle’s statement that “it doesn’t matter what the other party[s] did” is correct. As a simple example, if a third party pulls out between 2016 and 2018, it preferentially changes the effective pool size available to the remaining parties. Party swings are not independent of other parties.

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As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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