Brand power

In the end, so that I could support his classical liberal deputy Tim Wilson, I did vote for Labor Party member Peter McMullin for Lord Mayor of Melbourne.

But as it turned out McMullin came third, behind former state Liberal leader Robert Doyle and Adam Bandt of the Greens. The Age‘s Jason Dowling thinks that the council electoral system is rotten:

Doyle had almost twice as many votes as his nearest opponent but any one of five of the 11 candidates who stood for lord mayor could still win. Such a system raises the question of who really decides the outcome: the voters or the back-room dealers who decide preference deals? The best policies — not the best preference deal — should count.

But this isn’t the problem. What the result shows is that brand counts in politics like it does in any other situation where we must make choices based on minimal information. I doubt most voters wanted to read the 23-page booklet they were all sent on the Lord Mayor race, or the large amount of campaign material distributed by the candidates.

So they went first for a name they knew – Doyle – and second for a party they had heard of, the Greens. No other party formally endorsed a candidate.
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