Michael Danby wants to preference Liberals

The Labor member for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby, wants the nearly 1.5 million Australians who voted for the Greens (11.76% of the electorate) to have no representatives in the “House of Representatives”:

Labor MP willing to preference Liberals to oust Bandt

“I think its very important to call the Liberals to account in Melbourne, its their preferences that elected the Greens last time and if they do the right thing, Melbourne Ports will consider doing the right thing.”

“I have some influence in Melbourne Ports and will be recommending on the basis of what happens in Melbourne, if the Liberals are going to preference against the Greens in Melbourne, we’ll do the same in Melbourne Ports.”

Say he succeeds – what would that say about our democracy? More than ten percent of the population completely unrepresented in the house of government?

That this is even a realistic threat highlights how desperately in need of reform the system is.

UPDATE: Quick addressing of some moronic furphies I’ve seen out on the internet about this:

  • Non-majority government supposedly means that a minority gets to impose their views on the country. Yes, there are people stupid or shameless enough to propose that. First, anyone who can count can see that they can’t – they can only oppose legislation in combination with other parties. In our present parliament, the Greens can only be the deciders on issues where the ALP and Liberals are determined to oppose each other – in which case, it’s hardly a “minority” view that gets up, it’s the Greens’ plus a big party.
  • Proportional representation is somehow “undemocratic” because… well, I’m not sure. It doesn’t have local representation, which is why I’ve advocated multi-member electorates as a compromise. But the point is that a 150 member parliament should have a representative for any party with support from more than 1/150th of the electorate. Only the anti-democratic, who want to see views with which they disagree blocked from parliament would think there’s nothing wrong with disenfranchising 1.5 million Australians. The only people who would lose out from this reform are the big parties who are benefiting from having all these votes for their competition compulsorily channeled back to them by way of preferences. The rest of us would finally have our votes properly counted.
  • A two party system is government by the majority. No, that’s what you get with multi-party democracies – the majority on each particular issue prevails. As opposed to a duopoly, where a party with a majority on one issue (say border protection, or the economy) has a majority in every vote, even on things where it holds a minority view. Because there is no party that represents a majority of Australians on each issue, and people vote for a party for many reasons, and as a result you can never tell on what issues precisely anyone has a “mandate”. As you can see with the carbon tax. Labor doesn’t think a majority of its voters voted for it on the basis of Julia’s “no carbon tax” comments, and doesn’t think it’ll lose more voters than it gains by implementing the policy. Anyone who thinks all, or even a majority, of Labor voters voted for Labor on the basis of those remarks should show us the polling that backs them up (hint: it doesn’t exist). If we had a true multi-party democracy, this problem would be reduced, because voters would have more choice, and election results would give much clearer evidence of which policies have majority support and which don’t.
  • Multi-party parliaments mean no accountability. Actually, I’d suggest the reverse – a two-party duopoly means no accountability, because your only choice in expressing disapproval of something your representative does is to vote for the one other party, with which you might well disagree on everything else. In a multi-party democracy, if the party you vote for does something you think is wrong, you can vote for someone else, and you have real choices.

One other note about the self-interested slamming of genuine democracy by the hacks who benefit from the big parties’ dominance of the present system – isn’t it interesting that the most virulent advocates of the market, of free competition, are so determined to see their political parties protected from it in any meaningful way?


9 responses to “Michael Danby wants to preference Liberals

  1. “Say he succeeds – what would that say about our democracy?”

    Rhetorical question I suppose but it would say that the ALP have no respect for democracy, they put re-election above all, above human rights even.

    See, this is where I disagree with you, you reckon we need shorter election cycles, I’d prefer longer if only to get governments to have a longer term view.

    “That this is even a realistic threat highlights how desperately in need of reform the system is.”

    I agree, we need proportional representation in the lower houses, but I don’t want shorter election cycles, I want four years, hoping that longer terms will stop the trend of doing all the hard stuff in the first year so they can pork-barrel to try and make everyone forget at election time.

  2. “See, this is where I disagree with you, you reckon we need shorter election cycles, I’d prefer longer if only to get governments to have a longer term view.”

    That’s not what happens – instead, they just get even more corrupt.

    Remember, lobbyists don’t need to wait between cycles. Elections are where the population gets to have its say. Money’s involved – but between elections, it’s only money that gets its say.

  3. “Elections are where the population gets to have its say. Money’s involved – but between elections, it’s only money that gets its say.”

    Fair enough, I say myself that my dollar is my only real vote 🙂

    What would you propose as a decent election cycle and how would you bring the costs down? I imagine elections aren’t cheap to run. Technology could help with counting but I’d insist on having a paper trail.

  4. Pingback: The Opposition Says #{ivelostcount} | Pure Poison

  5. RobJ really to address this we need something like the Fed senate I reckon.

    Six year terms split so half are reelected every 3 years. I don’t think longer terms are the answer – living in NSW and having just got rid of a useless corrupt govt only to get 4 years of idiots reactionaries and a senate with Fred Nile holding the balance of power, and the shooters and fishers, but they aren’t as insane as Nile. So something like the senate.

    Only it might not work. Cos it’d still be a three year election cycle. But if was 6 year terms … ok this may be a bit hard to follow … one serious issue with politics in Australia is the discrete nature of the electoral cycle. It leads to the sort of shortsighted politics we have today.

    If there was a 3 year election cycle and 6 year terms it was create a continuity between elections, there would be some more room for long term political planning, cos by definition once you were elected you’d have 2 cycles to get your stuff done, and halfway thru you’d have to argue for why you had or hadn’t succeeded.

    Obviously the idea would need some serious tweaking but it may work.

  6. I’ve been tossing some ideas around in my brain about representation and terms for a while now, and heres what I think.


    Increase the number of lower house seats to a possibility of 200. 150 seats as they are now and 50 seats that balance up the “primary” vote. Eg, the greens get 12% of the vote. 12% of 200 is 24. they have 1 so they draw 23 out of the 50 “floating” seats. Labor got 38% = 76, they have 72 so they draw 4. Libs got 30% = 60, they have 44 so they draw 16.LNP QLD got 9% =18, they have 21 so they draw none. National Party got 3% = 6, they have 6 so they draw none. As for the rest. If you dont get more than 1.51% of the primary vote, you dont get to draw from the pool of 50.

    This would give us a Parliament now that looks like this.

    Labor 76 seats
    Libs 60 seats
    Greens 24 seats
    LNP 21 Seats
    NP 6 seats
    CLP 1 seat
    WA NP 1 seat
    IND 4 seats

    Total 193 seats

    You DON”T have to use the whole pool of 50.


    Increase the Lower House terms to 10 years. Decrease Senate terms to 2 years. Heres the catch. The Senate can dissolve the Lower House with X% of the vote.

  7. narcoticmusing

    A much easier start would be a date, set in legislation, for elections. While one party controls that date it uniformly unfair.

    I don’t think anyone is terribly fond of the preferences system, but a completely vote for vote representative system isn’t necessarily better. I don’t have any real knowledge of alternatives that have worked better elsewhere (just not my background and no time to really find out), so I’d be interested if people here knew of some and could give examples.

  8. “Remember, lobbyists don’t need to wait between cycles. Elections are where the population gets to have its say. Money’s involved – but between elections, it’s only money that gets its say.”

    Imagine if we had an eletion every year?

    Permanent electioneering.


  9. Danby is nothing more than a back bench warmer who has achieved little in his time in politics.

    He’s the man who approached Melbourne University Press in an effort to stop the publication of Antony Loewenstein’s book “My Israel Question” merely because it was critical of Israel. A real democrat is our Michael Danby.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s