Thursday, 12 September 2013

Australian Election 7 September

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, September 12, 2013 with No comments
Thursday is now "commentary day" - usually about fitness and sport, but not necessarily - so here goes. We train at Parliament House Canberra, making this post vaguely relevant.

The current Australian Senate election system does not work, because it can be exploited by minor parties set up as fronts for each other and exchanging preferences with each other. The large number of Senate candidates in each State and Territory means that a very high proportion of voters vote "above the line" and therefore are not determining where their preferences go. Preference deals between parties make the situation worse. As a result, some people being elected to the Senate are there despite very few voters actually wanting them there.

What can be done?

(a) Scrap above the line voting.

(b) Change what is now "below the line" to a system of optional preferential voting. In states where six candidates are elected, voters could enter 1 - 6 on their Senate ballot paper or more if they wished. In the Territories where two candidates are elected, only 1 - 2 need be entered.

(c) Register political parties well in advance of elections, require a much larger member base than at present, and with office holders being office holders in no other registered party.

If the current farcical situation continues, one consequence is a loss of faith in the democratic process. Which unfortunately means that fewer and fewer young people would see any point in registering to vote.

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