What would you say...

If I told you that 47 equals 65? Or that 0.6 is greater than 7.9?
If you said "that's ridiculous", you'd be right.
But that's how elections are counted in Queensland.

What's the problem?

Problem 1 - Unrepresentative Parliament At the 2006 Queensland State Election, the Labor party won a commanding majority in parliament, taking 59 of the 89 seats in our parliament. That's 65% of all seats in parliament. But did you know they only received 47% of the popular vote? And did you know that the Liberal party got roughly 20% of the vote but only 10% of the seats? Or that the Greens with 7.9% and Family First with 1.9% are unrepresented in parliament, whereas One Nation is represented despite getting less than 1 percent (0.6%) of the popular vote? [Source]. Based on these figures, roughly 1 in 5 votes at the last election counted for nothing!

Graph showing the vote percentage to seat percentage discrepancy of the 2006 Queensland state election.

Problem 2 - Only the winners have a voice. Under our current system, any candidate who wins a seat in parliament represents everyone in that electorate, including everyone who voted against them. It's possible for a member of parliament to be elected despite having more than half of their electorate vote against them. Take the following results from the last election as an example. The majority of the people in the seat of Mount Coot-tha voted against the Labor party candidate who now represents them in parliament - 45% voted for Labor, 33% voted Liberal and 22% voted Green.[Source] Why should the majority have to accept being represented by someone they didn't vote for?

Pie graph showing the results of the seat of Mount Coot-tha from the 2006 Queensland state election

Problem 3 - This has been happening for far too long. Queensland has a long history of unrepresentative parliaments. All Queensland parties have, at different times, suffered from the unequal vote-to-seat conversion and "winner takes all" system. For example, in 1977, the Labor Party won 43% of the vote, but won only 28% of the seats.[Source] In 1980, they got 30.5% of the seats with 41.5% of the vote.[Source] In 1983 it was 39.5% with 44%[Source] and in 1986 it was 33.7% with 41.3%.[Source] At the the most recent election, the Greens got just 10% less votes than the National Party (who got 17.8%), but the Nationals got 17 seats and the Greens got none. Again, the Liberal Party got roughly 20% of the vote but only 10% of the seats.[Source] If these results from our most recent election are anything to go by, we will continue to get unfair election results well into the future unless we do something about it.

It is our voting system that is the cause of these problems. Under our current system we simply divide the state into chunks and let the person with the most votes and preferences in each chunk win. This system means that parties such as the Liberals, Family First and the Greens, who have their supporters spread across the state rather than all living together in the same electorate, are not properly represented (if at all) in parliament. It also means that only the people who voted for the winner in their electorate are represented. Sometimes this means that the the people in an electorate are represented by someone the majority voted against (like in Mount Coot-tha). Even in electorates where a candidate has strong support like in opposition leader Jeff Seeney's seat of Callide, where he received 72% of the vote, there are still large amounts of people (6,527 in Jeff's seat!) who are not represented they way they ought to be.[Source]We can do better than this! There is a solution to these problems, and it's in use around the world as well as in Australia. Read on to find out more! Next Page: Solution