We are building a religion. We are building it better… No thanks to the Greens

Despite what some people have said, this election result is terrible.  Hung governments are impotent governments.  I had a lot of sympathy for the ALP; how could anybody achieve their reform agenda when they’ve got an irrationally hostile Senate?  Now they’re going to attempt their agenda with a hostile Senate and House of Representatives.

There were a few good points.  I’m yet to find a seat where the informal vote was lower than the primary vote for the Secular Party.  I’m an atheist and even I can’t stand them.

There were some surprising points.  Check out the distribution of votes for the ALP and the Greens in Melbourne.

ALP Primary: 27,771

Greens Primary: 25,387

ALP 2PP: 31,154

Greens Primary: 39,172

Notice how little the ALP vote changed after preferences?  There were 14 thousand people who voted for the Liberal Party, but the ALP vote doesn’t move nearly that much.  Therefore, the bulk of Liberal voters gave their preferences to the Greens over the ALP.  How extremely weird.

And then there was the just plain stupid.  I feel sorry for Senator Steve Fielding.  As downright silly as he is, he’s a genius in comparison to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.  During the election coverage, she noted that if the rules were completely different and we had proportional voting, the Greens would have taken 17 seats.  What she neglects to say is that proportional voting would have given the CDP Christian and Family First parties several seats as well.  Thank Zeus, we don’t have proportional voting.  She also neglects to mention the huge number of seats where the Greens primary vote was less than the number of informal votes cast.  The Greens Party is just a stunt party who couldn’t even manage to draw the protest vote in places where people were literally throwing away their votes.

I propose a new system for elections.  Instead of voting for a candidate, you vote against them.  The candidate with the least number of negative votes wins.  We’d never hear from the Greens Party again.

In other news, congratulations to the Australian Sex Party for their excellent first time showing.  The question will be whether they can sustain it.  I’ve been trying to work out the number of votes per candidate (parties with more candidates obviously end up with more votes) and a rough measure seems to put it up at the One Nation level of support.  That makes me feel slightly better about Australia.

Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based PhD student, writer, and policy wonk who writes about law, conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

7 thoughts on “We are building a religion. We are building it better… No thanks to the Greens”

  1. Oh, and another thing: it looks like a DLP candidate will replace Fielding as Victoria’s token crazy senator…..

  2. “The Greens Party is just a stunt party who couldn’t even manage to draw the protest vote in places where people were literally throwing away their votes.”

    You’re damning them for that? The point of informal votes is that no party got ’em – but you say this is especially pathetic for the Greens. Why? They’re not a “protest party” – they’re a progressive environmental party. It’s not like they have the money or resources to attract those who’ve completely given up on politics and think “all politicians are the same”.

    As for SHY pointing out that the Greens would, in a real democracy, have 17 seats, of course she’s right. And so what if that means the CDP and FF would have representation too? So they should! The numbers would be outweighed by the sane parties, but democracy isn’t about keeping out parties we don’t like – it’s about everyone being represented in parliament.

    Which, of course, was always the problem with majority government: the lie that a majority of us agree on most issues. We don’t. The big parties try to cover opposing positions, and they work out what they’ll do in the party room, behind closed doors, instead of in parliament where we can keep track of who’s arguing what. If you vote ALP, you can’t know if that vote’s going to end up being used in parliament for a left-wing or a right-wing position, because the party simultaneously stands for both.

    A “hung parliament” is real democracy.

    The only tragedy of this one is that it comes down not to parties with a reasonable level of support, but solely local-based independents who have no interest in the country as a whole, just what bribes they can get for their electorates. That is indeed a problem, and the solution is multi-member lower house electorates.

    1. How is proportional democracy somehow more real than preferential? What does that even mean? Proportional democracy has some advantages but it also tends to cement party systems and makes it really difficult to operate as an independent candidate.

      And how is a hung parliament real democracy? It encourages passivity of government and cowardly legislating to avoid losing support.

      1. Preferential voting is fine. Single member electorates are the problem. Why should a party with 14% of the vote get less than 1% of the seats?

        And majority government is the real offence to representative democracy – there’s no way that 51% of us agree on a majority of issues; the big parties pretend to represent people who fundamentally disagree, and resolve the differences quietly in the backroom rather than openly in parliament.

        You can vote that way if you like, but I’d rather a party representing me that consistently advocates for progressive principles, not one that, for example, constantly tries to pander to racist rednecks on the far right. (Oh no! A boat!)

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