It’s pretty much a hard political law that when the right loses an election they tend to blame themselves (“it was the infighting – the bloody moderates/conservatives [delete as appropriate] destabilised the party” or “what a shitty campaign that was; what idiots do we have in charge at the headquarters?”). If, on the other hand, the left loses they blame the voters, who are either evil or dumb. Or they blame the electoral system. The same system that seems to work OK every time they win, all of a sudden becomes problematic, outdated and deeply flawed when they don’t.
Which produces highly educated ignorance like this:
— Sarah Nicholson (@sassnicholson) May 19, 2019
Nike Sulway is a senior lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland and Sarah Nicholson is an academic at the University of Western Sydney and the Notre Dame University in Australia. They presumably follow ABC and the Fairfax press rather than Sky and those terrible Murdoch tabloids. And so even though politics and government are not their academic specialties, they should surely know that:
1. The House of Representatives seats are decided on the basis of the candidates’ primary vote, with preferences allocated to the top two from those who received fewer votes, whereas if you’re looking for something more akin to proportional representation you have the Senate. Where, coincidentally, the Greens are likely to have 8 senators out of 76, so actually slightly in excess of their 10 per cent vote.
2. Queensland’s Liberal National Party, formed out of the state merger of the Liberal and the National Parties, is a division of the Liberal Party of Australia. This means, contra Sulway, that one million more people did not vote for Labor than for any other party, since the Liberals including the LNP have received 300,000 more votes than Labor. And contra Nicholson, it’s the LNP, not the Nationals, who received 8.4 per cent of vote and won 23 seats (the actual Nationals received almost 5 per cent and won 10 seats).
3. The reason why the Greens won 10 per cent of the national vote but only one seat, while the LNP (as per above) won over 8 per cent and 23 seats and the Nats 5 per cent and 10 seats is that the Greens ran in every one of Australia’s 151 seats, whereas the LNP ran in only 29 seats (all Queensland seats) and the Nationals in only 24. Thus the LNP and the Nationals vote was highly concentrated in a small number of seats while the Greens vote diluted country-wide. If the Greens want to win more House of Rep seats, they should – in an appropriately collectivist manner – forcibly resettle their voters to concentrate them in two or three dozen key seats, which would then give them sufficient seat by seat heft to win.
They should know that. But they don’t.
Then there is everyone’s favourite political priest, Fr Rod Bower:
Bower and his two other Independents for Climate Action Now received just under 20,000 votes in New South Wales when they ran for the Senate, which is not bad, and a lot more than, say, the Affordable Housing Party or people who don’t like fluoride and vaccinations. The Rev presumably can’t blame the electoral system, but he can always blame the evil Murdoch media. If Labor had won the election, as pretty much everyone expected, it’s unlikely that the Gosford Anglican Church board would have proudly proclaimed “Yay! ABC/Fairfax/Guardian chose our government this time!” Gaia might have replaced God in Gosford, but there is always room for the devil.