arcadiagt5 (arcadiagt5) wrote,

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Senate vs Hare-Clark

Over here in tikiwanderer's journal, zsero made the following comment in response to one of my own:

"Hardly. It's been in use for the Senate for the past 70 years or so, and is now also used for the upper houses of all states that have one, and for the ACT parliament.

For that matter, the system used for the House, and for almost all elections in Australia at every level, is really just a special case of Hare-Clark."

My response to that was long enough that it needed to be posted here instead. The boring bits about Australian elections are beneath the cut.

I stand corrected on the ACT but the Senate, whilst proportional representation, is NOT Hare-Clark as there are a number of significant differences. The columnist who wrote this for the ABC considers them minor differences but I disagree on that point:

“Senate systems allow ticket or 'above the line' voting, where parties determine the order their candidates appear on the ballot paper, and also maintain control over the distribution of preferences to other parties. Under Hare-Clark, there is no ticket voting, preferences are determined by voters, the order candidates appear on the ballot paper is randomised and the publication of agreed preference tickets is extremely difficult. The distribution of how-to-vote cards outside polling places on election day is also banned. These features together produce a system that gives greater weight to the vote for individual candidates rather than parties.”
Taken from:
Anything that favours candidates over parties is important IMO. I suspect most of the State upper houses with proportional representation are closer to the Senate than to Hare-Clark. The recent reappearance of the DLP in Victoria and the related news articles comparing it to the emergence of Family First at the last election certainly suggest that.

As for the House of Representatives you are dealing there with single seat electorates, with mandatory full preferential voting. Optional preferential voting (where you don't have to number all of the boxes) is used in Queensland (link opens a PDF) and NSW. Interestingly Wikipedia seems to think this is working to the ALP's advantage at state level, and disadvantage federally. Fixed order ballot papers and how-to-vote cards are also a feature of House of Representatives elections.

Tags: electoral junkie, musings

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