The Incipient Death of the Butterfly Effect

Senate voting reform in Federal Parliament is about to reduce our voting choices and the diversity of parliament.  Significantly and probably forever. It will be our great loss, and unlike the Sydney Trams, I doubt that many will miss or regret their demise. There seems to be a broadly-held opinion that somehow the “preference whisperers” rigged the system and gained an unfair advantage. This is often supported with derisive comments about personal origins or attributes of micro-party representatives like Ricky from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. It’s as if Ricky didn’t have some right to be in parliament and should be grateful to be there. And yet these propositions are manifestly false and our representative system will be the poorer once the reforms are in place. (Note: I actually think that the reforms themselves are not unreasonable, but it is the consequences to which I object, intended or otherwise) Firstly, the proposition that the “preference whispering” gave the minority parties an unfair advantage.  The reality is that every party has the right to organise their preferences as they see fit, and everyone does it.   Not only that, but in the Senate, with a fixed number of seats that must be filled at every election, someone must be elected to one or more seats with fractional quotas, no matter how small it is: major party or minor, someone is going to...

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