One vote One value Bringing Australia’s electoral system into the 21st Century

Australia’s electoral system in need of reform to ensure one vote one value

The Australian Joint Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Matters is currently reviewing Australia’s electoral system following the 2007 Federal election

Australia’s electoral system was designed in the early 20th Century to facilitate a manual counting system to elect Members of the Australian Senate. The system in use has also been adopted in various forms for State and Municipal elections.

With the use of electronic computerised counting system now is the time to bring Australia’s electoral system into the 21st century and in doing so remove a serious distortion in the method of counting proportional representation ballots.

The current system seriously distorts the one vote one value principle of proportional representation.

Analysis of the 2007 Victorian Senate election has highlighted the extent of distortion in the electoral system. Based on a realistic hyothetical with One Nation placing the Liberal party ahead of the Australian Labor Party the system currently in use delivers an additional 6,200 votes disproportionally to the Greens and produces a different outcome. (Under a pure proportional system based on the value of the vote the Australian Labor Party would have secured the six position)

This issue also effects the Victorian Municipal elections scheduled for November 2008. The effect of the in-built distortion in the value of the vote is greater in Municipal elections where there is no above-the-line voting. This is an issue that MUST also be addressed by the Victorian State Government. (Copies of the submission have been sent to John Brumby, John Lenders and Richard Wynn)

Link to Submission.