Instant Runoff = two party system? (was RE: Ballot Access l

Marcus Ganley m.ganley at
Fri Feb 21 17:14:58 PST 1997

> From: "Steve Eppley" Thu, 20 Feb 1997 :

> Is Australia happy with this "two-party system" method?  Is the
> tallying by hand the decisive factor in continuing with Instant
> Runoff rather than switching to Condorcet?
There is no debate around single-winner reform in Aust, that
I'm aware off.  It was controversial enough when Qld changed
from Compulsory Preferential Voting to Optional Preferential Voting
(sometimes called Instant Runoff).  Most electoral reform debate in
Aust is to do with either adopting PR (for the fed house of reps this
would apparently require a constitutional amendment - which would
intern necessitate a constitutional referendum) or returning to FPP.

> What voting method is used within the Australian parliament?
All motions are placed to a vote on which they require are simple
majority of votes to pass.  As there is never more than one option
being voted on preferential voting is not used.  Where there are more
than one option each is voted on in succession eg (using a recent
example from the NZ Parliament which uses the same counting method
although a diff voting method) Leader of House (a senior cabinet
minister) moves: that the house elects the Hon. Douglas Kidd as
Speaker of the House Leader of the Opp. moves: that the motion be
amended to read: that the house elects the Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt as
Speaker of the House Leader of the Act NZ: that the motion be amended
to read that the house elects the Hon. Derek Quigley as Speaker

The speaker 'puts' the Act amendment to the house.
MPs in favour of the amended motion move to the speaker's right,
those against to the speaker's left.  The amendment fails.
The speaker puts the Labour motion it fails.
The speaker puts the Government motion.  It passes.

> In the U.S., we don't let the parties "pre-select" their nominees
> anymore
'anymore' is pretty prejorative!  Remember many people don't see
primaries as an advance on selection by party.  There is quite a
strong argument that strong parties allow greater accountability -
(this is not necessarily my position but should be disproved not just
ignored) as most people (at least in Aus & NZ) vote for party not
person that person should be bound to vote in accordance with their
party's manifesto.  As Schattschneider said "he who can make the
nomination is the owner of the party".  Where the party org selects
the candidates they are more likely to toe the party line where they
are selected by primary they are free to buck the party line.> 
'Marcus Ganley' <mganley at>

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