Friday, 6 June 2014

Bonham on Optional Senate Preferencing

Dr Kevin Bonham on Optional Senate Preferencing: Not An ALP/Liberal/Green Stitch-Up.

His advance summary:
1. This article welcomes the recent interim Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters report into the Senate voting system and generally supports its recommendations.

2. One important issue in Senate voting reform not yet adequately addressed is the calculation of transfer values for surplus votes.

3. A recent article by Malcolm Mackerras claims that nearly all Senators elected in 2013 were elected by informed voter choice and that major parties are changing the system opportunistically while their vote is falling.

4. However, the Coalition's Senate vote only fell in 2013 because of defects in the current Senate system.

5. At least four and possibly as many as seven Senate outcomes in 2013 did not fairly reflect the will of the voters.

6. The idea that micro-parties combined should be entitled to seats in proportion to their total vote share assumes that micro-party voters very strongly prefer other micro-parties generally to the bigger parties.

7. Analysis of actual Lower House micro-party preference flows shows that any such assumption is false.

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