SYDNEY (JTA) – Michael Danby, a Jewish lawmaker in Australia, is being criticized for changing the sample ballots he is sending to the large Orthodox Jewish community in his district.
Danby, a junior minister in the Labor government, placed the Sex Party last on the ballot cards he sent to Orthodox Jewish voters in his Melbourne district ahead of the Sept. 7 election. He also advised the rest of his constituency to place the ultra-conservative Family First Party last on their ballots.
In Australia’s system, voters must assign a number to every party. The system favors the two major parties because votes from failed candidates are re-allocated to more successful candidates.
Yaron Gottlieb, a columnist writing on the Jewish website Galus Australis, in rapping Danby wrote, “It seems Danby believes that people who care about the Jewish community are more likely to be sympathetic to Danby if his second preference is a homophobic, ultra-conservative party that doesn’t believe in human induced global warming and wants to take indigenous affairs back to the 1960s. What does this say about Danby’s view of us?”
Danby defended his actions, telling Fairfax Media that his cards were “only suggestions.”
“We do not want people to waste their vote,” Danby said.
Polls suggest the Labor Party will lose to the opposition Liberals but Danby will hold on to his Parliament seat.
Orthodox Jews have started voting already because Australian elections are held on Saturdays.