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Who cares how people voted asks Simon Corbell. [With Poll]

By 31 March 2011 11

Attorney General Simon Corbell has announced changes he’s making to the electoral system to ensure the parties own their seats in the Assembly come what may.

“This Bill proposes changes to the way casual vacancies are filled in the Legislative Assembly on the occasion of a Member vacating their seat during a term of the Assembly,” Mr Corbell said.

“Currently all casual vacancies are filled by recounting the ballot papers cast at the previous election for the vacating Member and this would continue in the majority of cases where a seat is vacated.

“However in the unusual case where no candidate from the same political party as the vacating Member is not available to contest the recount, this new legislation would allow the Legislative Assembly to appoint a replacement member from that same party.”

“This provision has been recommended by the ACT Electoral Commission in its report on the conduct of the 2008 ACT legislative Assembly election. It is specifically designed to maintain the the balance of party representation in the Assembly as determined by the community at the most recent election.”

Do you think the balance of part representation is more important than what votes were cast for individual parties?

When filling vacancies in the Legislative Assembly

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11 Responses to Who cares how people voted asks Simon Corbell. [With Poll]
#1
Fiona2:15 pm, 31 Mar 11

Who’s leaving?

#2
Thoroughly Smashed2:19 pm, 31 Mar 11

Ooh a double negative

#3
alaninoz4:39 pm, 31 Mar 11

I don’t see the two possibilities in the poll as mutually exclusive. Most people vote for parties rather than for the candidates – shouldn’t be that way, but given the nature of our politics it is. Thus maintaining party representation also represents the will of the voters.

#4
Thoroughly Smashed5:38 pm, 31 Mar 11

alaninoz said :

I don’t see the two possibilities in the poll as mutually exclusive. Most people vote for parties rather than for the candidates – shouldn’t be that way, but given the nature of our politics it is. Thus maintaining party representation also represents the will of the voters.

You see what you’ve done here is stumble across a RiotACT poll.

#5
breda7:43 pm, 31 Mar 11

“Thus maintaining party representation also represents the will of the voters.”

So, why do they have those pesky by-elections in the House of Reps? The reason there is because the Government is formed in that House, so it is not owned by parties, but by individual members. Members can choose to leave their party or cross the floor and (in theory) bring down the Government.

Bringing in this provision in the ACT, which is unicameral, further reduces the power of voters. Even in Queensland, which is unicameral, they have by-elections if a member resigns.

If anyone wants to see how measures like what is being proposed can pervert democracy, look at what is happening with the NSW Upper House. People who have just been re-elected (but not even declared winners yet) are already telegraphing their plans to resign, now that their pensions are secure. Jockeying is underway to get others – like Steve Whan – into the vacant spots. So far two, perhaps three, seats are up for grabs in this way. While this is unsavoury in an Upper House, at least those in the NSW Legislative Assembly – where the Government is formed – are not allowed to engage in post electoral seat swapping.

It is easy to see the appeal of this approach for party machines, but it is a backward step for democracy. Since we are stuck with recounts under our system, whoever gets the next quota should win, irrespective of party affiliations.

#6
I-filed8:27 pm, 31 Mar 11

Whatever Simon wants, I’ll have the opposite thanks. ACT’s Labor one-party state is bad enough already.

#7
LSWCHP9:37 pm, 31 Mar 11

Sounds like a crap idea to me.

#8
Ian10:43 pm, 31 Mar 11

How about if a member retires mid-term their seat remains vacant until the next election? Replacements only allowed in limited set of circumstances, eg death.

#9
housebound7:10 am, 01 Apr 11

Why bother having elections at all when a party machine can just bring in, NSW Labor style, an unelected MLA with no mandate for representing anyone other than party interests.

I wonder if the Greens will support this (like they support almost everything else Labor) or actually take a stand for democracy.

#10
alaninoz7:56 am, 01 Apr 11

breda said :

So, why do they have those pesky by-elections in the House of Reps?

I agree that having by-elections would be a better idea as the will of the electorate changes over time. If we’re not going to have by-elections, though, then I don’t see that having a new member appointed from the same party as the retiring member doesn’t represent the will of the voters at the time the original election was held. As I said,people generally vote for parties rather than for candidates.

#11
pollyanna8:08 am, 01 Apr 11

So JS will contest the next election then bail out if labor dont win…Brumby style.

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