MattS

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  1. MattS

    Going to church today

    Yes, it is Sunday here already. But I consider the Sabbath to start at twilight, as per the Bible. The Bible says the day actually starts in the evening, which makes sense, especially in a spiritual sense. We should be prepared in the evening before church the next day.
  2. MattS

    Going to church today

    Today I am going to church, it has been years. From being inactive and hopefully active again, and part of the family. Please pray for me.
  3. I am a proud Australian, and while we're a young country, we are one of the true democracies on earth today. While not perfect, we did pioneer such things as the secret ballot as well as women's suffrage. New Zealand was the first nation to introduce suffrage in 1883, with South Australia granting it in 1884 (as well as the right for women to stand for election) and federally in 1902 just one year after the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia as an independent nation in 1901. In comparison, women were granted the right to vote in the United States in 1920. The development of democracy in Australia was not smooth, but it could be said it was not as bloody as was the experience in other nations. This patriotic song is a wonderful chronology of Australian history, the lyrics are wonderful, and it really captures the harshness of what Australia is: The following story is one of my favorites, the Eureka Stockade. The rebellion was truly about NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!
  4. MattS

    What about the Poor?

    Australia was never a class society, if anything the people that ended up here had one of two choices: execution or transportation to Australia (although, that was not what we were called back then). When someone became free, they were granted land if they agreed to stay in Australia. Out of the 6 colonies (now States), only one of them was established by free settlers, that being the Colony of South Australia. If you ever visit Adelaide (the capital), you'll see that this is the case, its nickname is the city of churches. Even the accent of South Australians is different, it is more posh, upper class. When the constitution was written, the official name of Australia was decided to be the Commonwealth of Australia, which back then meant independent, republic. There was a lot of argument, but it was settled. The name Commonwealth of Australia has no historic links to what is now known as the British Commonwealth. We were using it before that organisation was even established. So on the whole, there was no real class system, it was rejected from the start. However, there was land theft, the whole Australian continent was stolen from the original inhabitants, and in terms of poverty and lack of privilege, these people (the aboriginal people) are the worst off. As a society, we owe them, and we owe them big time. This song "I Am Australian" (the lyrics) are a fantastic chronology of Australian history, and our rejection of the class system: .
  5. MattS

    What about the Poor?

    I think it is the same in all societies to be completely honest. People who are well off and who have done their family history (in a lot of cases) will find at some stage their ancestors were granted land or some sort of title which essentially has allowed future generations to live comfortably. The United States, just like Australia, Canada and so forth, have very similar "colonial" histories. They're different in some aspects, but land was stolen and given (granted) to people who had no legitimate claim to it. I am not some woodstock hippy though, so I am not advocating that people give up their property rights or title deeds. What was done was done, our nations are now independent, based on constitutional systems and run by the rule of law. But lets not fool ourselves that everyone is born equal, with the same privilege and influence... because that is false and just a way people who have grown up with privilege and influence (bestowed upon them generations ago) can feel good and justify their position in society, without feeling they should have some sort of social conscience. However, in saying this, I do not believe people are victims, and believe people should take control over their own destiny. It is my belief that education is one of the great equalizers in modern societies and the way to bridge the divide between those who have been the "haves" for generations (based essentially on historic theft) and those whose ancestors were never granted property rights over anything, and therefore the have nots. Me personally, I was raised in a single parent home, my mother was abused by my father (whom I have nothing to do with). She instilled in me that I must work hard and get an education so that I could control my own destiny and not be a slave of the social security system. I have done that, I did it through education, and thank goodness a fair and equitable education system has been available to me. In my current job, I am in contact with extremely wealthy people who have a massive amount of influence in society. They have always told me that with privilege and wealth comes great responsibility to society. That is how I live my life.
  6. A lovely, inspiring story. Why wouldn't they want a person like that with a strong story to tell? It is a story of a life changed, a life turned around.
  7. MattS

    Should capitalism be regulated?

    Does that also mean things like farm subsidies should be abolished and that banks should be left to fail and therefore collapse?
  8. MattS

    United States electoral system

    No I don't mean a resident voting for representatives outside their home jurisdiction, what I meant is with a uniform and standardised voting system (paper, electronic, proportional, preferential, first past the post etc), it means if you're away from your electoral district or interstate, you can still go to a polling place and do a declaration vote within your own district. The polling official would just have to look up where the elector is from, write out a ballot paper for them (easy, because they're standard), the person votes using a declaration vote and that vote is then sent to their home district, verified against the electoral roll and the counted if they're eligible.
  9. MattS

    What about the Poor?

    Some people are born into privilege, that privilege can go back generations. You can't say that people are born equal when 150 years ago an aristocrat was granted a plot of stolen land from which to build their wealth, which in turn benefited future generations. Class does exist.
  10. Should capitalism (free market) be regulated, or can it exist on its own through self regulation?
  11. MattS

    United States electoral system

    I am a federalist and I also believe in States having sovereignty, even more sovereignty than they have now. In my country the States used to have a lot of sovereignty, but over time High Court rulings have slowly chipped away. The States here used to have the right to tax income, but the High Court ruled that a person can only have their income taxes once, and that power rested with the federal government. I believe it is possible to have uniform standards for vital institutions (such as elections) through State cooperation. The States can still have their electoral commissions, but with standards which have been agreed at a interstate level. That opens up lots of possibilities, through such agreements a person could be absent from a State (on business) and still turn up to any polling place to vote. Also, it could increase democracy by meaning a candidate could register in one State and be eligible to be on the ballot in all States. Uniform standards also mean all people (candidates and electors) know the rules, know the regulations no matter where they vote. I also firmly believe electoral commissions should not be answerable to the government, they should be independent statutory bodies that are answerable to the people through their legislature.
  12. MattS

    United States electoral system

    I was a bit misleading in my original post, as I remember at the last New South Wales State Election, we were able to vote online... but there was a paper trail because a receipt was emailed back. The receipt couldn't be forged though because it had gone through multiple systems. I personally do not trust electronic voting, not without a paper trail to the point the electronic voting machine prints out a docket which can then be put into a ballot box. Sure, electronic voting might speed counting up, unless the count is then challenged in court. I have been employed by both the Australian Electoral Commission and New South Wales Electoral Commission as a polling official, which meant I was required to count the votes after polls closed. During the day I would mark people off the electoral roll and issue ballot papers. At the end of the day the ballot papers were counted ON SITE, the party / candidate scrutineers would enter the polling place before polls closed, and would remain there during the count. We have a pretty complex system here with preferential voting (a candidate must get 50% + 1 to be declared the winner), but it literally only took 2 hours to count through 3000 votes (just one polling place). The results would be called through to the electoral commission and within 2 or 3 hours we would know who has won government. A first past the post system would be pretty easy so I am unsure why there is a rush to electronic voting, especially with the risk and cost of litigation. Good old paper and marker, it is almost fail safe!
  13. MattS

    Hi there

    I live and work smack bang in the CBD of Sydney and also work 100 metres away from an LDS Chapel, which is in a high rise office block.
  14. The Bible mentions that God created both good and evil: Isaiah 45:7 - "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." What is meant by this?
  15. I am a political buff and am one of those people who know a lot about domestic and international politics... someone who just has an obsession with politics in general and would be perfectly at home in any democratic nation. This is not a discussion about the electoral college, even though I do have an opinion on it. Instead, what I find weird about the U.S. electoral system is how there are many different voting standards in different States and even different regions within States. Some use electronic voting, some use paper based voting, and some use a mix of both with differing rules as to what is a valid and invalid vote and so forth. In Australia we have a federal system, and at the State and Local government levels there are different systems, for example in the recent Australian Capital Territory election, they use the proportional system, while in the State of New South Wales there is a mix of the proportional system and preferential system (the Legislative Council uses a State Wide proportional vote, while the Legislative Assembly uses the preferential system). At the federal level, each State has twelve senators (elected to a six year term with a half election every three years), each of the mainland territories receive two senators (elected for a three year term) while the House of Representatives uses the preferential system (also known as an instant-runoff system) with reps elected every three years. However, while there are different systems used, the same method of voting is used at each election. No matter which polling place a person goes to, they are handed exactly the same ballot paper, with the count following exactly the same rules. The ballot paper / system used does not change from electoral district to electoral district, and there is always a PAPER TRAIL. Just wondering whether Americans believe their system should be cleaned up?