The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Two-party tyranny > Comments

Two-party tyranny : Comments

By Klaas Woldring, published 29/8/2006

Proportional representation - a necessary reform whose time has come.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All
Vote 1 for PR!
Posted by hadz, Tuesday, 29 August 2006 10:51:11 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Whilst Australia’s standard of governance may be high by relative standards it is evolving in a disturbing manner that should be modified by some system adjustments.

The political cycle caused by general elections is the great corrupting influence in all matters political.

Corruption is due to the winner take all results creating huge disruptions in the players’ careers and in the morale of their supporters. Every 3 or 4 years everything is on the line. The longer the term of parliament the worse is the effect. Whilst this is great for accountability once in the cycle much else is abandoned in our ancient but inherited Westminster system. It works, but could we not devise a more appropriate system for modern Australia?

Matters affected include everything from fiscal management, pork-barreling in marginal electorates and to vital longer term planning – environmental, infrastructure, educational and the economic impacts of demographic changes. For example, it is generally considered that the last budget before an election must be particularly generous. The importance of lifting the horizon for politicians from the next election to longer term issues is imperative if many of the most important issues (global warming!!) of today are to receive their appropriate attention.

Consider instead if there were NO general elections but rather 1 in 16 of the seats were re-contested every 3 months. That is, on say the second Saturday of each and every February, May, August and November approximately 9 seats Australia wide were contested with the successful candidates holding the seat for the next 4 years. If the contested seats were evenly spread throughout the states and the regions even supposedly safe seats may be fiercely contested. The result would be a constantly renewed legislature. A significant poll of the electorate would occur every 3 months. Whilst this may inhibit action when the numbers are close the loss of the treasury benches for a year would not be as crippling or corrupting as the contemplation of the loss of power for a full term.
Posted by Gnudwoch, Tuesday, 29 August 2006 1:04:16 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I have never voted for a candidate, its been for a party, where I have some idea of its policy, in all areas. Thats impossible with individual candidates.
Thank our lucky stars we finally hav one party in power, in both houses, federally. For far too long we have had minor parties dictating policy. For 3% of the population to hold that power is ridicules.
I realy don't care which party is in power, most of the time, but I do want them to be able to implement their pollicies, completely.
Once you have these special interest groups with the whip hand, you get a bl**dy camel. You know, designed by a comity.
The experience I have had with these people has convinced me, that, in the real world, they have no idea of which way is up.
Posted by Hasbeen, Tuesday, 29 August 2006 2:59:49 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Klass Woldring “Proportional representation (PR) is a highly democratic representative system,”

No it is not. Proportional Repesentation erodes the fundamental relatioiship between a representative and their electorate.

Under any system of proportional representation, the elector is not voting for someone, they are voting for a collection of people nominated to stand by another group of people.

Under direct election, fist past the post, an individual stands. He or she might be affiliated to some larger group but he might also be an independent (oh memories of thew UK's Screaming Lord Sutch of the famous “Monster Looney Party”).

Ultimately, this world is populated by individuals, loosely collected into classes, cultures, ethnic groups, subgroups and nations.

Whilst the world is populated by individuals, we are better off electing individuals to represent us at local, state or national level. Proportional representation destroys the accountability of the directly elected representative to their electorate and threatens the monopoly authority of a two party system more than any other system.

My personal opinion, we would be better off without the shifty second preference deals and the bastardization of the election of Federal Senators by bring accountability and responsibility of representatives back to basics and reverting to the good old fashioned, easy to understand, no ambiguity first-past-the-post elections for everything.
Posted by Col Rouge, Tuesday, 29 August 2006 7:17:30 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
It is unlikely we will change the current system but perhaps there are other "electoral" ways of achieving a similar result. The objective is to give "the people" more control over who makes decisions on their behalf. Electoral democracy is about "the people" giving the right to control to their representatives.

Many of our important institutions are governed and controlled by organisations outside the parliaments. They may be ultimately responsible to the government of the day but they act independently and make decisions in their own areas. The Reserve Bank, the ABC, the High Court are important examples.

At present governing board members of these institutions and hundreds more like them are appointed by the government of the day when vacancies arise.

Why not give the people voting rights to appoint at least some of these people through proportional representation. For example, let half the board members of the ABC be appointed by popular vote every four years in a single seat electorate where the electors are those people who can be bothered to register.

Such a scheme would be relatively cheap to implement with modern communications technology and with appropriate imagination could even be income generating (think of the advertising potential for fast food on ballot emails:)

What this would do would be to give people more control over many functions in society. It could be achieved incrementally and tested out with a few institutions to see the effect. As the governments of the day could still have reserve powers to dismiss whole boards or individuals on boards it would take the odium out of the problems governments have of appointing people who turn out to be unsuitable - such as reserve bank governors with taxation problems.
Posted by Fickle Pickle, Wednesday, 30 August 2006 6:53:04 AM
Find out more about this user Visit this user's webpage Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Until voting is voluntary there will never be any genuine & fair electoral reform .
Why would anyone rock a comfortable boat ?
One statement that’s frequently used to support compulsory suffrage is that it provides stable governance .
A deceitfully true statement . The question is , Stability for whom ? My guess would be the major parties & very few others .
All things being equal it shouldn’t matter , The problem is it does now .
The current PM has talked of the importance of ‘mateship’ from time to time & he’s right as that’s exactly what we’ve lost .
A great deal of change has been imposed on Australian life over the last fifteen years or so . One aspect is that much of this change has not initially been at the request of the Australian public but rather to fulfill commitments to implement grand utopian ideals cobbled together at international feelgood forums .
While these grand policies may be based on good intentions the apparent method of gaining public support for their implementation has divided our nation down many lines .
That method seems to be , Frighten the mob by stating that a terrible problem exists , Identify a subset of the community as the offenders , Announce a raft of punishing regulatory ‘solutions’ , Claim glory as fixers of all problems great & small to the applause of the grateful mob . Sound familiar ?
An equally cheap theory is that if both sides of a debate are unhappy then balance is achieved .
The result is much resentment between people .
Now the only way to encourage our political parties to exercise restraint & endeavor to always find loserless outcomes is to have an electoral process that will punish arrogance & disregard .
Voluntary voting is the only way as a cash bribe & a bunch of flowers wouldn’t motivate participation nearly so well as rage would .
Posted by jamo, Wednesday, 30 August 2006 10:05:09 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy