The Nationals have won seven seats with under 4% of the primary vote, but the Greens, with over 11%, have only one. This is because Green support is spread throughout the nation while National voters are concentrated in a few areas. It is an irony of the single-member electoral system that parochial interests receive more representation in the national parliament than widespread concerns.

It is to be hoped that as the independent M.P.s negotiate over the formation of a national government, they will ignore The Australian’s advice to base their decisions on an unofficial opinion poll conducted in a couple of rural electorates (“Time to climb off the fence”, August 28).

Their allegiances to the far-from-mainstream views which dominate these seats must be weighed against their obligation to the nation as a whole.

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