[EM] Re: PR not representing median voter, and a system using best of PR and single seat.
cryptor at zipworld.com.au
Thu Jul 24 09:39:25 PDT 2003
James Gilmour wrote:
>Clinton sang the praises of electing in single-member districts
I refute this statement. I'm fairly sure I made it that I don't like the
idea of single house proportionally elected or singled seat elected,
calling them both parts of a "lesser of two evils". For the record, here
is my personal preference.
1. One house single seat, other house proportionally represented.
2. One house proportionally represented.
3. One house single seat represented.
I only praised single-member districts in combination with a
proportionally represented house. Otherwise their terrible, worse than
proportional representation by themself, as they give to much power to
the leading minority party.
> that I was prompted to dig out the figures for recent
>elections to the Australian Federal House of Representatives
>(Adam Carr's archive). As he said, they use IRV in these
>single-member districts. In this table the parties are arranged
>in descending order of their first preference votes in the 2001
> 1996 1996 1998 1998 2001 2001
>Party %FPV Seats %FPV Seats %FPV Seats
>ALP 39% 49 40% 67 38% 65
>LP 39% 76 34% 64 37% 69
>NP 8% 18 5% 16 6% 13
>AD 7% 0 5% 0 5% 0
>AG 5% 0
>ON 8% 0 4% 0
>Others 8% 5 7% 1 4% 3
>Total 148 148 150
Thanks for digging out the figures, as it supports my argument. I said,
"Note that minor parties gained no seats in the lower house, but enough
seats to hold the balance of power in the upper house." refering to my
state parliment. This is echoed in federal parliment, where, as your
data shows, minor parties hold no seats in the lower house. Also, minor
parties do hold the balance of power in the upper house.
Your figures also support something I said about independents.
"7 independents won lower house seats, no independents won upper house
seats." - Refering to the state parliment.
In both 1996 and 2001, independents won seats roughly equal to or better
than their proportion of voters, however, not in 1998. The general trend
is better than the number of independents in the upper house, which is
one out of about 75 from memory.
I believe the number of minor party candidates and particularly
independents would increase if condorcet voting was implimented, as the
major parties tend to suggest to voters preference each other behind
non-extreme minor parties and independents. Hence it would be possible
for more minor party and particularly independent candidates to beat
major parties in pairwise elections.
Evidence of this is in the recent wollongong bi-election for federal
parliment. The seat was controled by labor (opposition) for years. The
government decided not to run a candidate in the bi-election. The
greens, a minor party, won that seat, making them the first minor party
to win a seat in the lower house. Had the government of ran a candidate,
a likely situation would be that the greens candidate would of been
eliminated early, and the opposition would of beat the government. The
government used its knowledge that the greens were strong enough to beat
the labor party pairwise, to deliver a blow to the opposition (even
though the greens are further away politically from the government than
the labor party). With condorcet voting, this sort of thing won't only
happen when parties play strategy games, but in many seats with strong
>I would not consider these results acceptable in terms of
>representation or stability. There is serious distortion of the
>voters' wishes (as measured by first preference votes) and the
>distortion switches in a way that cannot be controlled by the
I think this result is stable. Since the government has such a strong
and even unfair majority in the lower house, theres no way for changing
alliances in the upper house to rapidly change policy. However, due to
the proportionally represented upper house, the government can not do
anything that does not satisfy the majority of voters wishes.
In terms of representation, I quite freely admited that the lower house
may not consist of parties which closely match the votes of the first
preferences of people. Which I think is good, quite frankly. I don't
like the idea of parties. I believe representitives first priority
should be the people, not satisfying the party room. And single seat
elections seem to be the only way to gain independents. Hopefully, with
condorcet, and these are just numbers out of thin are, at least 20% of
the lower house would be independents, at least another 10% minor
parties. In the upper house, you'll lose most the independents
unfortuantly, but they'll ideally be 30% minor party seats, in line with
>The problem is not IRV, but single-member districts.
I disagree. The greens winning the bi-election verses a major party,
despite the strong green support for their anti-war stance and the weak
support for the opposition for having not much of a stance, shows that
minor parties can beat major parties pairwise. And independents do win
some IRV single-seat elections, and I believe are robbed of even more
seats when they beat all other candidates but are not elected due to
IRV. Single-member districts may not produce proportional
representation, I never said they would. What they do I outlined in my
previous post. Copied below.
- Geographical representation (lower house) AND ideological
representation (upper house).
- Potential for independents to gain seats (lower house).
- Potential for minor parties to gain seats (upper house).
- Protection from extremist forces (due to centralist lower house).
- Protection from power hungry government (due to diverse non-government
controled upper house)
- A strong stable centralist government (lower house).
- An effective house of review, due to diverse opinion (upper house).
The upper house provides proportional representation. If I had to choose
one, I'd go for upper house. But I feel a lot of the above points are
important, from both houses, thats why I'd much rather have both. If you
think geographicl representation, independents and some protection from
extremist forces is completely uninportant, well, theres no need for a
lower house. I personally think they're a little important, not as
important as things like protection from power hungry government, but
still an important part, thats why I'd prefer to see both houses in action.
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