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The Forum > Article Comments > Proportion blame where it is due > Comments

Proportion blame where it is due : Comments

By Philip Lillingston, published 23/7/2012

Some governments with proportional representation are dysfunctional, but it doesn't mean their method of election is to blame.

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Given I've always argued for proportional representation, it's hard to argue against the well thought through article.
Moreover, it could be argued any system that ended preferential voting has got to be an inherent improvement. Particularly when power brokers can and do, do deals that effectively usurps the will of the voter, and or, effectively destroys democratic electoral representation; given, someone that say 85% of the electorate rejected, can under our present system, win the seat!
One can bag the current hung parliament endlessly, but it has passed virtually all of legislation presented and some important if controversial reforms.
However, one doesn't agree we should directly elect leaders; given, we can impose a virtual dictator on a party, a parliament and the electors.
Herr Hitler was a great rabble rousing orator, was immensely popular at the start, and indeed, with a surprising number of otherwise rational Germans, at the end!
Party members including the rank and file could perhaps be included, when a leader is to picked? And One likes the idea of primaries to chose all representatives; regardless of their party political alliances or preferences. Which would allow the electorate to dominate the pre-selection process as well?

[Perhaps we the people, could directly elect a president if that position remained largely ceremonial; and or, the reserve powers were limited to, just sacking a completely gridlocked and dysfunctional parliament; and, forcing the voters back to the ballot box?
Perhaps Rudd should do a Billy Hughes and switch political party alliances, given just how much his personality type is approved of by the hard right wing of politics? He might even reinvigorate his leadership prospects. Ha, ha, he, he, snigger, choke, gasp, ho ho, oh my aching ribs.]

Seriously, large numbers of the caucus have declared they would vacate their seats, if ever we were ever unwise enough to impose that particular, patently power hungry, foul-mouthed, short tempered, micro managing, dithering, indecisive, workaholic back on them?
And that would remain as a problem, even were we to switch to a long overdue, proportional representation system?
Posted by Rhrosty, Monday, 23 July 2012 11:25:49 AM
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Proportional representation is the equivalent to giving the lunatics the keys to the gun cupboard.

Something similar to what we have now actually, & I'll bet it will be quite a while, before we get so stupid again.
Posted by Hasbeen, Monday, 23 July 2012 4:03:45 PM
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Much criticism of PR is unwarranted or based on particular situations that could apply under any electoral system.

PR is often said to have caused instability in France. The French Third Republic only had PR for two elections. Similarly in Germany. The Reichstag before World War I used first past the post in single member electorates that were grossly malapportioned. It had as many parties as the Weimar Republic did. The trouble with PR in the Weimar Republic was that there was no threshold, and less than one per cent of the vote could elect an MP. The Nazis got 12 seats in 1928. They got about a third of the seats in the early 1930s. The Smoot-Hawley tariff passed by the US Congress in 1930 was probably more responsible for rise of Nazism than PR. Had PR not been in use the Nazis probably would have won almost every seat in 1932 under FPTP.

There are various forms of PR. Most have a threshold of some sort, meaning a percentage needed to get a candidate elected. Greece has a form of PR that provides bonus seats to groups with the highest vote in any electorate and has a threshold to keep out Moslems (that is Turks, who are a small proportion of the Greek electorate). Turkey has a high threshold to help keep out Kurds. Other countries, like present day Germany, New Zealsnd and Russia have mixed systems.

Janet Albrechtsen argues, as Mr Lillingston correctly points out, against all PR. It is difficult to have a rational argument with someone who objects to all forms of PR. What are the alternatives to PR? Do we want a dictatorship with no voting at all?

Some form of PR is a desirable voting system.
Posted by lyleallan, Friday, 27 July 2012 11:02:45 PM
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