Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Victoria takes one step forward on the path of reform

Federal Government held in shame

The Victorian Parliament Electoral Matters Committee has recommended that the electoral act be modified to adopt a more fairer and accurate calculation of the results of the upper house elections

Recommendation 8.1: The Victorian Government considers introducing the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Method of counting votes for the Legislative Council

The proposal brings Victoria in line with Western Australia which had also adopted similar changes earlier in the way votes are counted.

The reforms proposed by the Victorian Parliament will have its greatest impact in the Local Government sector including the City of Melbourne. (Assuming that the same policy will flow through to Local Government). Analysis of past elections has shown that the results of the City of Melbourne Elections would have changed had this reform been in place at the time.

The recommendation of the State Parliament has flown in the face of the Australian Federal Government who earlier this year rejected calls for similar reform to the Australian Senate System. The Australian Government, increasingly seen to be at odds with the states on electoral reform, remains stuck in the 19th century clinging on to an outdated and discredited counting system.

Analysis of the 2007 Senate election has indicated that ALP Senator David Feeney could have lost his seat as a result of the distortion on the Senate Counting system, a system that would have delivered the Greens an additional 7,000 "bonus votes" above and beyond the number of actual votes received.

The recommendation of the State Parliament Electoral Matters Committee is a step forward in improving the accuracy and public confidence in Victorian elections.

The Parliament now needs to consider further the other anominally and error in the Senate Upper House election system, namely the way in which votes allocated to excluded candidates are redistributed.

The order in which votes for minor candidates are distributed seriously effects the outcome of the senate elections. The system currently in place unfairly resulted in the Greens Queensland Senate Candidate "Larissa Waters" missing out in the right of representation in 2007 . The ALP unfairly won a third Senate spot as a result.

With the advent of computer assisted election counts, both the Australian Parliament and State Governments, should consider adopting a re-iterative counting system (Wright System) or the use of Meeks Method of counting the vote as the next step for electoral reform

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