What will grow crooked you can’t make straight… but you can play with electoral systems

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 “What will grow crooked you can’t make straight… but you can play with electoral systems”