Two events caused me to start this blog early in March 2019. Having a website (or blog) was something I never really wanted to do. I was quite content to have many articles published in newspapers and magazines. Also, to have scholarly articles and books published was part of my aim as an academic. I was often invited to go on television and radio so I could see no reason why I should have a blog.
The two events that caused me to think I must start a blog begin over the Christmas-New Year holiday period 2013-14. During that period I developed a hatred of the Australian Senate voting system. That hatred caused me to re-start my engines as an electoral reformer. It caused me to write a book titled Unrepresentative Swill to which I hope to add the sub-title Australia’s Ugly Senate Voting System. That is why the title of this blog is Unrepresentative Swill.
The main section of this blog deals with my hatred of the Senate voting system, mentioned above. More details are given there. For the time being, however, I note that in the Australia Day honours list of 2006 I was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia and the citation for my award reads:
For service to the community by raising public awareness of and encouraging debate about the political process in Australia and other western democracies, and through commitment to reform and improvement of the electoral system, and to education”.
I am especially proud of the “commitment to reform and improvement of the electoral system” part of the citation. There is no other Australian to match my claim in that area.
Early in 2013 my friend Peter Switzer asked me to become the Political Expert for his television program which is essentially about business, finance and the economy – but also about politics. I agreed and my collection of articles here follows the pendulums - located here.
The main section of this website is the one whose necessity caused me to set it up. It is titled “Unrepresentative Swill” which is the title for the website as a whole. Readers are invited to look for the detailed description of that under the heading “Unrepresentative Swill”, below. I think I should include my curriculum vitae so I have done that too. It goes last because it is the one needed least.
This website is not intended to be conversational. I intend to update it about three times a year. The first updating occurred late in May 2019 when the full Federal Election results were known. That date is selected for obvious reasons. That caused me to re-arrange my pendulums. My intention is that the pendulum to go first should be the next election due, which is now Queensland, for which polling day is fixed for Saturday, 31 October 2020. It is followed by my federal pendulums arranged in chronological order.
In all probability the main section will not be updated significantly – until the book is published. For more on that readers are asked to turn to the explanatory notes titled “Unrepresentative Swill”.
There are a number of people I wish to thank for this. They begin with the Australian Catholic University of which I am Honorary Fellow. They have paid most of the bills for my campaign. In this respect I wish to thank especially Patrick McArdle, Dean of the Canberra Campus known as “Signadou”.
Two years ago it was my very good fortune to meet Dr Vanessa Findlay, a consultant in matters of government and the parliament. She was then working for the firm Barton Deakin at the National Press Club building in the Canberra suburb of Barton. More recently she has set up her own firm BrickfielderGE in the adjoining suburb of Kingston. The title of the firm comes from Brickfield Hill, an area of up-town Sydney where (so she has explained to me) the first engagement of government and private enterprise took place a couple of centuries ago. Vanessa is the Principal of the firm.
My wife Lindsay has been telling me for five years that I should set up a blog – but, as indicated above, I resisted her suggestions. Then I met, through Vanessa and her firm, a young lady of the firm who describes herself as Associate, Government Engagement. She not only pleaded with me that I must set up a blog but also offered to do it for me. To her I owe a special thanks. Her name is Sophie Harper.
I realise now that I should have done this sooner. However, better late than never. I do have plenty of supporters in this campaign but I single out most for mention the Canberra firm BrickfielderGE. They have been marvellous in helping me with my work.
Malcolm Mackerras AO