over the placement of names on ballot sheets for the next election. There is nothing new in this. It happens all the time.
This time however there are claims of "sexism" because a male is likely to be put ahead of a female on a Senate ballot paper. There are other claims being made about "merit", "the system", "factions", "faceless men" and "how things are done".
It says more about our voting system than people realise. We really have very little control over it.
"You could join a political party," someone told me when I said this. Well, yes I could but I have no desire to do that. There is no party I feel so passionately in tune with that I would want to associate myself with it. Indeed, I am so far out of tune that I doubt any party would welcome me. I would be a disruptive presence. I would want things changed, things that are long held certainties.
What is more joining a party would not help to change the system because both the major parties in this country believe it benefits them and are determined to cling to it at all costs. Oh yes, they would like people to be "educated" about the system - but only in a manner which benefits them.
So a male without a very high profile will go at the top of the ticket and a woman with a very high profile will go second. As most people will just vote according to the instructions of "their" party it means that both of them will get elected anyway. It really will not make a difference. "Merit" has nothing to do with it. It's a numbers things - and an eye on the election after this next one. Yes, they are planning that far ahead.
We were talking about this too. What's the solution? If you must have "compulsory preferential voting then should ballot papers be round with the names of the candidates in the round? The order in which they went around could be decided by names pulled out of a hat. That way nobody could be top of the list.
No doubt someone could find a way of rigging that sooner or later.