Tuesday, 10 May 2016

One Easy Tip for Bringing Down the Liberal Party*

*may not actually bring down the Liberal Party

If you’re enrolled to vote, you may have received a letter in the snail mail containing a postal vote application form. It all looks very official, you fill it in and use the enclosed reply paid envelope to register your details.

Congratulations, your data has just been harvested by the Liberal Party. And you’d probably not even know it. Aside from the letter from the “Malcolm Turnbull Coalition”, there’s no party identification on the included reply paid envelope and barely any on the application form.

The reply paid envelope address that goes straight to Liberal HQ (above) and the actual AEC reply paid address (below)
While the postal vote application form itself is an official AEC form (with a party-political front image), the included reply paid envelope is not. The data on the form is harvested by Party HQ before being forwarded on to the AEC...in theory.

I say “in theory” because parties have been known to sit on the completed forms so you never get the postal application in the mail – illegal disenfranchisement. They’ve even been known to “correct” (p.135) the details on some forms. This all, of course, is illegal. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Political parties have proven adept at making sure the same privacy laws that apply to every single business and individual in Australia, do not apply to them.

With up to one third of all votes this election to be cast as absentee ballots, there has never been a more terrifying time to be an Australian voter.

So, what to do? You could of course just ignore the reply paid envelope and send it directly to the AEC via the reply paid address listed on the back of the form – Australian Electoral Commission, Reply Paid 9867, [In Your Capital City] – but that would be boring.

Would you like to cause a tiny bit of mayhem?

Postage is expensive in Australia and every time one of these party political reply paid envelopes is used, the receiver has to pay for them. In this case, the receiver is the Liberal Party of Australia.

From now on, when you get one of these party political flog pieces in the mail, don’t chuck it away, go to your internet browser of choice and search for a humorous image. Print it out and chuck it in the envelope instead.

I chose this one. I think it’s utterly fitting.

The whole thing is wonderful, for you get to send an annoying** image to the people you loathe and they have to pay for the privilege of receiving it. Heck, even if it’s an empty envelope, it still costs them money!

Together, we can help put an end to this potentially illegal data harvesting programme.

**At this point, I’ll ask that you do not use the postal service to send threatening and/or menacing content. You take full responsibility for the content you wish to add to the mail.

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