Oceania

Articles about voting issues in Australia, New Zealand and other nations in Oceania.

Australia: Clearing Path to Legalization, Australia Votes for Gay Marriage | The New York Times

A solid majority of Australians voted in favor of same-sex marriage in a historic survey that, while not binding, paves the way for Parliament to legally recognize the unions of gay and lesbian couples. Of 12.7 million Australians who took part in the government survey, 61.6 percent voted yes and 38.4 percent voted no, officials announced on Wednesday morning. Participation was high, with 79.5 percent of voting-age Australians sending back their postal ballots. “The Australian people have spoken, and they have voted overwhelmingly ‘yes’ for marriage equality,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who called the survey in a move described by advocates as a delay tactic devised to appease his party’s far-right faction. “They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love.” Read More

Tonga: Polling nearing close in Tonga election | Radio New Zealand

Some 59,000 people have registered to vote in the general election, including on the supplementary roll. There are 86 candidates contesting the 17 People’s Representatives seats in parliament. Nine nobles representatives will also be elected. In August the King dissolved the parliament amid concerns the government of Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva was acting unconstitutionally and gathering power for itself. Read More

Australia: What happens if Australia votes “no” in the postal survey? | Sydney Morning Herald

Australia won’t know the results of the same-sex marriage survey until 10am on Wednesday morning. But there has been a growing assumption over the course of the campaign that the “yes” camp will win. Senior ministers such as Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop have said they think the “yes” vote will win. “Yes” campaigner Sarah Hanson-Young has said she’s “very, very confident”. And as voting closed  last week, “no” spokesman Lyle Shelton conceded, “we’re chasing down a big lead”.  Poll after poll has also found support for same-sex marriage is at about two to one. Just before the survey closed last week, a Guardian Essential Poll found 64 per cent of people who voted say they ticked “yes”. Read More

Papua New Guinea: We finally know the results of Papua New Guinea’s elections | The Washington Post

Papua New Guinea’s parliamentary elections took place June 24 to July 8, and there was significant controversy. During the election, officials went on strike in the capital city, Port Moresby, and violence broke out at polling stations in Enga province, where at least 20 people died. Election officials worked slowly to tally the votes, delaying the announcement of results as a way to protest lack of payment. It wasn’t until late September that the last undeclared seat was filled. Despite these and other setbacks, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill formed a new government in Papua New Guinea in early August. Here’s what you need to know about this country’s complex voting system. In Papua New Guinea’s ninth election since independence from Australia in 1975, 3,340 candidates ran in races for 111 parliamentary seats. Half of those candidates came from 44 political parties — including 25 new parties registered for this election. The other half of the candidate pool ran as independents. Read More

New Caledonia: Uncertainty remains over New Caledonia referendum roll | Radio New Zealand

A year out from New Caledonia’s independence referendum, it is still unclear who will be allowed to vote. A similar referendum was held during the tumultuous 1980s but the indigenous people boycotted it, which exacerbated tensions between the Kanaks and French loyalists. Since then two major accords between the rival camps have stabilised the political scene, with the 1998 Noumea Accord providing the decolonisation roadmap to next year’s vote. Challenges to finalise the electoral roll remain, which legal scholar Mathias Chauchat is watching closely. Read More

New Zealand: ‘Kingmaker’ extends election limbo | AFP

New Zealanders’ agonising wait for a general election winner is set to enter a third week, as populist “kingmaker” Winston Peters on Thursday again delayed announcing who he was backing. The South Pacific nation has been in political limbo since the September 23 polls failed to deliver a clear majority for either conservative Prime Minister Bill English or his centre-left rival Jacinda Ardern. They both require Peters’ support to pass the 61 seats needed to form a government, but the 72-year-old has drawn out the negotiations as he seeks maximum advantage for his New Zealand First (NZF) party. Peters initially gave himself until Thursday to announce his decision but reneged on the pledge earlier this week. Read More

New Zealand: Opposition says kingmaker Winston Peters won’t be Prime Minister | AFP

New Zealand opposition leader Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday (Oct 10) ruled out giving Winston Peters a stint as prime minister if she forms a government with the populist “kingmaker”. Ardern and her conservative rival Prime Minister Bill English are both in coalition talks with Peters, who holds the balance of power after the country’s Sept 23 election ended in a deadlock. There has been speculation that Peters could demand a year in the prime minister’s role as the price of his support, with some seeing it as the 72-year-old’s last chance for a shot at the top job. Read More

Australia: Voting Twice Online in Australia’s Same-Sex Marriage Poll Was Frighteningly Easy | Mother Jones

For the past month, Australians have been casting their ballots in a nonbinding-yet-divisive survey to advise their elected leaders on the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” As an overseas Aussie who cares deeply about the issue, I wanted my say. So, one day a few weeks ago, I entered my personal details into a designated government website and received a “Secure Access Code” that allowed me to cast my vote online. When I checked my mail later that day, however, I found a letter from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the agency administering the survey. This letter contained a different Secure Access Code. My reporter’s red flag flew up immediately. Was it possible, I wondered, that the system would validate both of these codes and let me vote twice? That would be a potentially troubling situation, because if I could do it, then others could, too. I had to find out. Read More

Australia: Outbreak of homophobic violence, vandalism in same-sex marriage campaign | sydney Morning Herald

Swastikas and vile phrases such as “vote no to fags” have been scrawled on trains, and homes flying the rainbow flag have been attacked, in an outbreak of homophobic violence and vandalism accompanying the postal survey on same-sex marriage. Tasmanian police have also laid charges over the alleged assault of a transgender teenager in Hobart on Friday, just a day after former prime minister Tony Abbott was headbutted by a self-proclaimed anarchist DJ in the same area. The incidents further test Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s claim that “overwhelmingly, Australians are engaging in this debate respectfully”, with six weeks to go until the deadline for survey forms to be received by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Read More

New Zealand: As Jacinda Ardern falls short in election, New Zealand gets hung parliament | The Guardian

The future of New Zealand’s new government has been put in the hands of Winston Peters, a cantankerous, anti-immigration politician who prefers fishing to politics, after vote counting finished in the general election. Neither of the major parties – National, led by the incumbent prime minister, Bill English, or Jacinda Ardern’s Labour – secured enough seats to form a majority government in a frustrating poll on Saturday. National secured 46% of the vote, giving it 58 seats in parliament, while Labour took home 35.8% and 45 seats. Both parties were scrambling to form coalitions with the minor parties in order to reach 61 seats and the ability to govern in the 120-seat parliament. Peters, the unpredictable leader of the populist New Zealand First party, became kingmaker after gaining 7.5% of the vote and nine seats, although not his own seat of Northland. The 72-year-old lawyer made a teasing statement to the media about his intentions before rushing to board the last ferry home on Saturday night. Read More