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?