When discussing why the Senate is borked, the problem we’re trying to solve needs to be understood. I argued this yesterday in an analysis of how the hubris of various parties caused batshit preference flows. The problem is not — and never will be — the number of candidates on the ballot. The problem is the way senators are selected through the Hare-Clark model.
I have two models with which I’ve been playing around: one is a tweaked Hare-Clark model; the other is a positional voting system with a quota-balance.
Before I discuss those two things, let’s revisit what the problems with the current Senate system are.
One of my favourite conservatives was Lewis Carroll. Sure, it’s mostly because he gets all grumpy old man about Euclid, but it’s also because of his depth of thought regarding his conservative ways. It’s not the nasty, petty, moral panic conservatism that’s far too common today.
But one of the other reasons I love him is because of his ideas about democracy. Possessing a remarkably analytical mind, he wrote a few amazing pieces on electoral processes. I wrote about his views on preferential voting here.
He also wrote about constituencies which were represented by several members of the lower house. While thinking about the history of elections in Australia as a sad history of Simpson’s Paradox, I wondered if multiple representation might be a way out of the puzzle.
I’ve been trying to work out how it could work. At each election (and increasingly so lately) about half of the population ‘misses out’. Liberal supporters in the Federal seat of Melbourne, for example, preferenced Adam Bandt. It seems unlikely that he is representing their views in Parliament. Similarly, ALP voters whipped into a panic about the threat of the Greens preferenced the Liberal Party, only to find their elected candidates trying to wreck good policies and making asinine comments about homosexuals (oh wait… both parties are doing that). Continue reading
It’s election time in Victoria and the question of preferences is upon us again. Some might remember that I complained about the Greens’ lie that giving preferences to the Greens could not possibly result in a Coalition victory. While reading through some notes, I discovered that Lewis Carroll (the author of Alice in Wonderland) had already noted this problem. Adopting his example (which he wrote in A Discussion of the Various Methods of Procedure in Conducting Elections):
Imagine there are eleven people in an electorate and four possible parties: Greens, ALP, Libs, Nationals.
1 Greens ALP Nats Libs
2 Greens ALP Libs Nats
3 Greens ALP Nats Libs
4 Libs ALP Greens Nats
5 Libs ALP Greens Nats
6 Libs ALP Greens Nats
7 Nats ALP Libs Greens
8 Nats ALP Libs Greens
9 Nats ALP Greens Libs
10 ALP Greens Nats Libs
11 ALP Libs Nats Greens
To paraphrase, Dodgson: ‘There seems to be no doubt that [ALP]’s election would be the most generally acceptable: and yet, by the [method of elimination whereby the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated], [they] would be excluded at once, and ultimately [the Liberal candidate] would be elected.’
In the comments to the last post, the author of AnonymousLefty asserted that:
There is no way that voting 1 Greens 2 ALP could conceivably help Tony Abbott. None. — Source.
In deriding him for also claiming that we shouldn’t take the Greens’ policy documents seriously (because, apparently, the party doesn’t either), I was a bit too quick to give an example of the completely uncontroversial problem of split votes. While the example I gave was fine, it wasn’t particularly rigorous or persuasive to somebody who disagrees that voting for the Greens can help the Coalition. While I had assumed that everybody in the world except for AnonymousLefty understands how split votes happen (and, indeed, why we have the phrase ‘split vote’), I shouldn’t be so hasty. Also, AnonymousLefty thinks that the very idea of the split vote is a conspiracy against confused lefties.
I should make a note here that I have no idea who AnonymousLefty is. In writing this post, I might be attacking somebody who has a nappy between his ears. When making this post, I’m not trying to set up a straw-man Greens supporter. I hope his views aren’t mainstream (simply because they are so wrong-headed).
But for those people who are interested in split votes, here is a full explanation. Continue reading