Saturday, 30 March 2019

Elected Representatives

I do feel a great sense of sadness for our UK readers who are currently so poorly served by their elected representatives. I'm also concerned that as a consequence many voters will turn to more radical parties.

Of course the UK isn't alone in this respect. The USA has a leader with 'alternative facts' whilst countries like Italy, Poland and Hungary have similar issues.

In Australia we have the 'One Nation' party founded and led by Pauline Hanson. She espouses simple solutions to complex issues. This resonates with a percentage of the population who eagerly seize on her comments to pacify their fears. Pauline left school aged 15 shortly before her first marriage and pregnancy. She has been married three times and had a further five domestic partners. Before entering politics she owned a fish and chip shop in Queensland.

Australia has an interesting political structure with elected upper and lower houses. Constituencies in the lower house are created based on the number of voters in an area. This means States with larger populations have more MP's in the lower house. To counter this, the upper house (Senate) has six representatives from each State.

Australia has a proportional voting system. Voters cast their vote for all candidates based on the number of candidates in their electorate (lower house) or State (Senate). Essentials the voter ranks the candidates from 1 to whatever.  If the candidate you voted first doesn't get sufficient votes then your vote goes to your second candidate. This process repeats itself. One quirk with this system is candidate 1 might get 30% of the primary vote and candidate 2 gets 20%. However candidate 2 might ultimately get elected because they received more preference votes than candidate 1.

At the last federal election The One Nation party received sufficient preference votes to have two Queensland candidates elected to the Senate. Pauline Hanson took one of the seats and her deputy the other. However after being sworn into office he was subsequently disqualified because he had dual citizenship. Under the currently electoral laws this meant the 3rd candidate on the One Nation ticket was given the seat. The 3rd candidate was Frazer Anning. He repudiated his membership of One Nation on his first day in the Senate immediately after being sworn in. He then opting to sit in the Senate as an independent.

Frazer Anning holds far-right, and anti-immigration views and has faced criticism for some of his remarks on Islam, including his use of the term "final solution" in his maiden speech and statements shortly after the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, which blamed them on "the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate". Whilst his seat is in Queensland he regularly travels to Victoria at tax payer expense to speak at far right rallies.

Now here is the ludicrous point.

Frazer Anning received a total of 19 votes in the general election. Yes... 19 votes from 3,342,848 eligible Queensland voters. According to the Australian electoral Commission he received 00.0% of the vote. Moreover, Australian law prevents him from being removed from office. 

For those who believe the "first past the post" electoral system is unfair don't think that proportional representation will necessarily make this better!

I think I’ve also worked out what is happening in the House of Commons.  650 MP’s are in a locked large round room frantically looking for the key to the locked exit door.  Nearly all of them believe the key is in one of the corners of the room.


Pip and Mick said...

Interesting reading Tom.


Don McCoskrie said...

Not all proportional representation systems are bad. The MMP system in NZ, although it has a few quirks, has served better than the first past the post system it replaced.

Tom and Jan said...

My understanding is in NZ people vote for an electorate MP and a List. Depending upon the number of votes the List party receives dictates the number of List seats they are given. If I'm correct then what prevents someone like Frazer Anning getting a seat in NZ as a List candidate?

Mike Griffin said...

Interesting, sadly the current incumbents in the House of Commons are a poor lot, many far too young to have any real life experience, and refusing to carryout the wishes of the electorate who put them there.
A fair few are treating the prevailing situation as an exercise to try and force a General Election, and several refuse to take part as they come from Northern Ireland (comments here moderated).
So sad that such a wonderful Institution and Country has been overtaken by gutless Lefties and Commies.
You know things have hit rock bottom with people daubing paint and climbing on Churchill's statue, not to mention swinging on flags attached to the Cenotaph.

After a lifetime voting Conservative I gave up and now vote for a minor party, the problem locally is that the Conservative vote is so strong that a '3 headed Donkey' would win if selected as a candidate.

Have fun.

Don McCoskrie said...

For Frazer Anning to get a seat in NZ he would need to get 5% of the nationwide vote for his party or he could get in if another party member was to win an electorate seat AND the nationwide party vote was greater than approx 1.7%. As to party hopping, should he manage to get in on somebody else's efforts, there has been two times this has been legislated against.
I suggest with a total vote of 19 he would have a snowballs chance of getting his bum in parliament.