Good PR

John Kidd (The Australian, Letters, 6/7) claims the proportional representation electoral system (PR) leads to “weak and indecisive” government. As evidence of this he cherry-picks two countries who use PR and currently have problems, but omits the scores of others, including some of the world’s most robust democracies. They chose the system because it is the fairest: a party with X% of the vote gets X% of the seats in parliament.

Our current system spirits away the real complexities of society with a trick of arithmetic, creating a simple illusion of two opposing groups hovering around 50-50. When the trick fails to work, as with the current parliament, the system chokes.

If strength and decisiveness is the sole criteria for government, it is best met by a dictatorship. If the goal is real democracy, a genuine reflection of the whole electorate and its varied concerns, PR is a better choice.

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