Friday, 15 October 2010

Fiddling with the electoral system.


I just love the way that the so-called political numbers experts invariably get things wrong when they start fiddling with the electoral system. Tasmania is the perfect example. Back in the 1950’s when the local lower house had 30 members  with six from each of five electorates there invariably was a split of 15 Labor to 15 Liberals. Not that it really mattered.
Government went on quite sensibly with a rule that the side with the most votes statewide formed the government and the other provided the speaker so that votes went 15 to 14. Then the bright sparks decided that was a bit unsatisfactory and increased the numbers to 35 so that one side, they argued, would end up having a proper majority. Naturally enough the result was 17 to 17 with one independent. Move on a few years and those dreaded Greens started winning seats and even held the balance of power on occasion.
So the Liberal and Labor experts got together and reduced the membership to 25 — five members from each of the five electorates. That should fix them but the Greens refused to go away and after the last election were back as the government makers. So what do we do? Go back to 35 members. Stand-by for the next change.
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