I am republishing this for the benefit of those who may not understand Preferential
Voting in Australia.
This will fuilly explain what Joe Ebono is saying in one of his campaign speeches.
May 12, 2010
At the request of political science colleagues, I have updated an article I wrote for the ABC’s 2004 federal election site that dealt with the history of preferential voting in Australia. In the article I tabulated how preferences have changed results at elections since 1949.
As politicians and political scientists in the UK scramble for information on the ‘alternative vote’, it turns out my article is the only attempt in decades to analyse the operation of the alternative vote at Australian elections. So I have updated the article with data from the 2004 and 2007 elections.
There is a remarkable conclusion to the artcle. In the high period of the DLP between 1955 and 1972, the Coalition won a total of 34 seats at seven elections after trailing Labor on the first preference vote. In the same period, Labor came from behind to win in just one seat.
Since 1980, the operation of preferential voting has had the reverse political impact. At the 11 elections since 1980, the Coalition has won only five seats where the combined Coalition vote trailed Labor on the first preference count. In the same period, Labor has won a total of 61 seats having trailed the combined Coalition vote on first prefernces.
Indeed, Labor won 11 seats from behind the combined Coalition vote at the 2007 election, nine after finishing second on the first preference vote. The Labor Party would not have won a majority of seats at the 2007 election had the election been decided on first past the post rules.
Given this record, it is a wonder that hard-heads in the Coalition haven’t realised they are being beaten by compulsory preferential voting, and perhaps optional preferential voting might be worth a try.