Australia has a flawed Federal electoral system that is biased to favour the two major parties and denies many of us our wishes.
This article explains how:
Extracts from Address given by Senator Meg Lees at the Australian Democrats National Conference in Sydney, 23/1/99:
"... If we look at the election results again, we can see the poverty of the Government's claim of any sort of mandate. In winning the majority of seats, the Coalition won only 39% of the primary vote and only 48.7% after preferences. That means, among other things, that over 50% of Australians preferred Kim Beazley to John Howard as Prime Minister.
Just think about that for a moment. Australia has an electoral system that declared the wrong man the winner.
John Howard got less than half the vote and he won. When that happened in the Philippines in 1985, the people took to the streets in a people's revolution. And won. But here in Australia, it is just accepted that an incumbent government can successfully manipulate our single-member constituency voting system. In fact, in 5 of the last 20 elections, the "wrong" party won. That's 25% of elections, in which the electoral system declared the losing party the winner. In each instance, the winner was the incumbent [existing] government.
At this point I remind everyone that, in the 1998 election, 1 in 5 Australians voted for parties other than Labor and the Coalition and were therefore denied representation in the House of Representatives.
That is the equivalent of denying representation to the voters of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania combined. And the Coalition, along with its very vocal supporters, accuses the Senate of being undemocratic! At least in the Senate, the parties that won 61% of the vote will control the majority of the seats because of the proportional representational voting system...
How much longer should we have to tolerate an electoral system that allows an incumbent government effectively to deny power to a more popular opposition?
How much longer can we deny representation to the 2.2 million Australians who, quite reasonably, don't wish to be represented by either Labor or the Coalition?
It is time to make both houses of the parliament truly representative of the people's wishes...
In a very pragmatic report, the Commission recommended that 80-85% of members continue to be elected by single member electorates, but that the remaining 15-20% of members would be "top-up" members awarded to the parties most under-represented in the Parliament... The Jenkins model, now under active consideration by the British Parliament, would ensure that the "wrong" party could not win an election. It would also ensure that 20% of the electorate was not denied representation... We must broaden the debate beyond the issue of the Republic to address our political institutions and the very nature of our democracy..."
= = = = =
The above article was sourced in 1999 from www.ozemail.com.au/~austand/oznews.htm (link no longer active as of 2013)
Please note: We do not agree with all the views of Austand, nor of the Australian Democrats.
= = = = =
Of possible further interest:
To join the EYE & Blatant Propaganda e-mail list, please enter your details below. At present we send news once every month or so.