This is what you want, this what you get

The pie on the left is how Australia’s first preferences – the real popular vote – were cast. Looks like we want a Labor-Greens coalition, don’t you think? But the pie on the right is how the parliament will look after the single-member seat system “takes away the number you first thought of”.

The big winners are the big parties, the big losers are the almost 20% of Australians who voted away from the major parties, but who are represented by 3% of the seats in Parliament. Especially skewed is the single seat won by the 11% Green vote.

Tony Abbott is right to interpret the people’s verdict as a loss of legitimacy for Labor, but is thinking wishfully if he believes that this automatically confers legitimacy upon the Liberals.

Two parties are not enough to represent the diversity of our views, and it’s time we adopted a proportional, fair voting system that doesn’t simply remove that inconvenient variety.

4 thoughts on “This is what you want, this what you get

  1. Bernard

    I don’t believe an argument can be made for this without considering the fact that the Senate follows a proportional voting system. Understandably, people are more concerned with the lower house because of its power to legislate on appropriations, but, technically speaking, the upper house has very similar legislative powers. In other words, any debate will need to consider the mix of representational and proportional voting systems in conjunction with the conventional roles of the houses.

  2. PatrickDJ

    Bloody good point John,

    I voted Green, I give no mandate for Tony Abbott to govern and further screw up our planet with his Monckton advised climate change denialist type policy

  3. johnohagan Post author

    @Bernard: the first-preference pie for the Senate looks much like the left-hand pie above, only more so in terms of smaller parties (perhaps because people know a minor-party vote has a chance of success). But how the seats fall will also be skewed, in this case by the monstrous bias in favour of smaller states. Either way, it needs fixing.

    BTW it is possible to combine preferential and multi-candidate electorate systems in such a way as to have the best of all three worlds: proportional representation, local representation, and preferences. I would favour something like this for both Houses.

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