Monday, 29 March 2010

A relic of the past-or is it?

Many people complain that Australia is over governed with a two house Federal Parliament, a two house State Parliament, and Local Government as well
I am some what inclined to agree. And though I think we should probably divide up the State Parliament between Federal and Local Government, in reality that ain't gonna happen.
It wouldn't be so bad if the State Parliament had only one house. But in SA there are two.
One often wonders what the upper house does. The so-called Legislative Council is of course a house of Review, its members serve length eight-year terms alternating with the 4 year fixed terms of the lower house.
The recent election had 74 candidates set before us.
You can of course give away your democratic freedom and vote 1 above the line.
I reckon this is a con-trick. Pulled on the electorate by both major parties.
Although there were numbers of different groupings in the recent election you aren't actually allowed to vote preferentially for the groups you can only vote for one party above the line. The party apparatchiks have already decided where your preferences will go if you vote above the line.
The alternative?
To vote preferentially you have to vote 1-74 below the line.
Faced with this choice it is not surprising that many people did what the big parties wanted them to do and put 1 in the box.
Bad idea! But not much choice.
One interesting thing was that election guru Anthony Green's program started simulating the result on Saturday night. And there was an interesting trading of preferences. It was textbook Politics 101 showing you the difference between first-past-the-post and preferential voting.
Towards the end the movement of preferences actually saw surprise reversals as the preference deals came into place with Family First, although running last amongst the big groups for most of the time, often inheriting large slabs of rightist votes ahead of the Greens jumped ahead and took the penultimate place. (see here)
As the actual votes were counted it is surprising how it played out quite like the simulation. It actually makes me wonder why we didn't just let Dr Green work it out in the first place!

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