Proportional Representation For Queensland
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!
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.
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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?
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
Welcome everyone to Queensland's newest political campaign website - pr4qld.org! As I'm sure you've already gathered, the purpose of this website is to convince as many people as possible that electing the Queensland Parliament using Proportional Representation would be Good Thing. The campaign is still in it's early stages, and your support is greatly appreciated. The best way you can support the campaign is to tell everyone you know about it - friends, family, colleagues, newspapers, radio stations, your favourite blogs and other assorted media outlets. If you support our noble cause, I also strongly suggest you contact your local MP, which has been made easy by our Get Active page.
In the mean time, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Adam McDonnell, and I'm studying for a Bachelor of Information Technology at the Queensland University of Technology. I've been interested in politics, and been a fan of Proportional Representation, for a long time. After the last Queensland state election I was feeling pumped about the idea of starting a campaign for PR in Queensland, and as fate would have it I stumbled across some likeminded people who were already working on such a campaign. I got the job - volunteered actually - of building the website you're now working on. I'll let the others involved in the campaign explain what it is they themselves do. You'll be hearing from my esteemed colleagues here on this blog in the near future.
If you have any questions, comments or anything else you'd like to say, please feel free to contact us. Thanks for dropping by this website, and be sure to come back so you can keep up to date with the campaign!
by Adam on 22-Dec-06 21:31