A Jewish lawmaker in Australia is under fire for changing his sample ballot cards in deference to the large Orthodox Jewish community in his electorate.
Michael Danby, a junior minister in the Labor government, placed the Sex Party last in sample ballot cards he sent to Orthodox Jewish voters in his Melbourne electorate ahead of the Sept. 7 election.
The rest of his electorate was advised to put the ultra-conservative Family First Party in last place on their ballot. Australia’s preferential voting system favors the two major parties because votes from failed candidates are re-allocated to more successful candidates.
Polls predict the Labor Party will lose to the opposition Liberal Party. But Danby, who holds his seat in Melbourne Ports by a 7.9 percent margin, is likely to remain in Parliament.
Orthodox Jews have started pre-polling because all Australian elections are held on Saturdays.
Danby defended his actions, telling Fairfax Media that his cards were “only suggestions.”
In Australia’s two-party preferred voting system, voters need to assign a number to every party for their vote to be valid.
“We do not want people to waste their vote,” Danby said.
But Yaron Gottlieb, a columnist writing on the Jewish website Galus Australis, was nonplussed. He 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?”