Clifford M Dubery wrote:

> If being a Democrat in the US is a threat to ones worthiness, where does that put 
>me, a member of the Australian Labor Party?

Being a "member" of a party in our Westminster system means something different than 
it does in the U.S. In the U.S. every voter registers for a party (or as an 
independent -- as I recall the rules vary considerably from state to state, as to how 
the states elect their delegates to the party national conventions). So to say that my 
late father was a Democrat means that he was registered as a Democrat. As it happens, 
this is pretty meaningless, because the vote is secret, and you can vote for whomever 
you like.

For USAmericans, the Westminster system works a bit differently. Elections Canada and 
its Australian and UK counterparts, maintain voters' lists (you can do it 
automatically on your income tax return here, else you show up at the polling station 
and register on voting day) but it has no party affiliation attached, and relatively 
few people actually carry membership cards as such. You can legally only be a member 
of one party and you join primarily for the purpose of being allowed to vote on 
nominating the candidate to represent your party in the next election (so a
state/province or federal/commonwealth convention except in Canada at least they're 
held riding by riding, not all at once. So, on a given day the Progressive 
Conservatives may hold their nomination meeting in our riding (called St. Albert; I 
think Mark Gregson's in Yellowhead) on a certain day, and the Liberals on another or 
at the same time -- it's all independent. But basically only party activists take out 
actual memberships, which usually have a nominal charge ($5.00 is typical for a year). 
But of course you don't need a party membership to vote.

Incidentally, this issue once came up on LDS-Poll. We had an ultra-conservative 
English participant a few years ago. I can't remember his name offhand, but he was 
aghast to read a write-up of an LDS Member of Parliament from the Midlands who had six 
kids and was in his ward's bishopric (I believe this was in the Church News -- I'd 
have to do a search to make sure) -- and was a Labour MP! He wouldn't believe it until 
I took the trouble to find and post the link to the MP's homepage at the House of 

P.S. to USAmericans -- for some strange reason, Cliff's spelling of his party's name 
is correct. They really do spell it the Labor Party in Australia, although otherwise 
the word follows international English spelling conventions (correct me if I'm wrong, 
Clifford -- I've always speculated it was meant as an anti-Pom sort of thing).

> Clifford M DuberyGet more from the Web.  FREE MSN Explorer download : 

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“We do not think that there is an incompatibility between words and deeds; the worst 
thing is to rush into action before the consequences have been properly debated…To 
think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any 
idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to 
understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action.” 
– Pericles about his fellow-Athenians, as quoted by Thucydides in “The Peloponessian 

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; 
its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of 
any organization with which the author may be associated.

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