What is a write-on campaign?Here's what I wrote in 2007 about the same campaign.
In Australia we are allowed to write messages on blank parts of a ballot paper to convey our personal views. A write-on campaign encourages people to write the same message on their ballot papers so as to convey a consistent idea to scrutineers, staff of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), other observers and the media when votes are being counted.
Is there a precedent?
At the Tasmanian referendum on 12 December 1981, voters wrote ‘No Dams’ on 33% of the ballot papers. Subsequently the write-on campaign against damming the Franklin River was promoted at federal by-elections in 1982. The ‘No Dams’ campaign delivered a 12% write-on in the Lowe by-election on 13 March 1982 and 40% in the Flinders by-election on 4 December 1982. The AEC and scrutineers reported this extraordinary surge of public opinion.
As a result, the ALP took note and promised to stop the Gordon below Franklin Dam. Bob Hawke fulfilled that pledge when the ALP came to office on the ‘No Dams’ policy platform in March 1983. This precedent shows that ‘write-on’ campaigns can influence political decision-making…
What impact will this campaign have?
When votes are being counted, scrutineers and AEC officials will notice an effective write-on campaign. If sufficient voters share their concern about excessive immigration, the political parties and the media will definitely take notice.
Write REDUCE IMMIGRATION in the blank space at the top of your ballot papers, and help drive policy change for Australia!
The point here is that while opposition to increased immigration has bipartisan support among Australians in general, support for increased immigration has bipartisan support among Australia's political class. Opposition to illegal immigration is what won John Howard an earlier election, and while illegal immigration can be a problem for Australia if the government isn't prepared to be firm, (See Nice Guys Get Illegal Immmigrants by John Derbyshire) Australia is defended by a lot of deep water, much deeper than the Rio Grande, which means that illegals can only come by ship.
And after Howard's massive success over blocking boat people, even the left-wing opposition won't allow boat people. [Rudd to turn back boatpeople, By Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan, The Australian,November 23, 2007 ] But boat people aren't the problem–numbers are the problem. As Enoch Powell put it
“[N]umbers are of the essence: the significance and consequences of an alien element introduced into a country or population are profoundly different according to whether that element is 1 per cent or 10 per cent. “In Australia the numbers have been fairly large, and the elements fairly alien.