I’m finding the faux outrage by the Coalition and their supporters in the News media over the independents securing deals for their local electorates both amusing and head-slappingly frustrating.
First, securing deals for local electorates is the whole point of the single-member electorate system. You might not like it – and I don’t, and have repeatedly argued for multi-member electorates that don’t disenfranchise voters for broad-based smaller parties – but that’s the system they’ve put in place.
It’s also the system they regularly claim to support. You must’ve seen the election material produced by both big parties and put in your letter box each national poll, all about how LOCAL CANDIDATE X has secured LOCAL ADVANTAGE Y for your area due to their participation in their big party. Their whole appeal for your vote is based on how much their candidate for your area has managed to get out of the rest of the country.
Finally, it’s particularly ironic for the Coalition to complain about this, since holding the rest of us to ransom on behalf of the bush is pretty much the whole raison d’etre of the National Party. Just because they’re no longer very good at it – as the independents’ successes have embarrassingly highlighted to their voters – doesn’t mean that they can have any credibility complaining about the only policy approach in which they’ve ever believed.
If you don’t want local electorates holding the rest of us to ransom, then support a more proportional, broad-based system – like, for example, the one I’ve been advocating. If you insist on single-member local representation being the fundamental principle of the House of Representatives, then don’t complain when that’s just what happens.