Benefits of Proportional Representation

This site advocates pure proportional representation using a one zone, party list (above the line), transferable vote  method to elect members of the government’s legislature for a common concurrent term. This means that there would be: no districts, or zones of multi-member districts; no fixed minimum quotas  (save the natural quota being that of the total voting population divided by the number of seats available); and no split shifts where members are elected for overlapping terms (for example every three years senators being elected for a six year term). Even though parties and individual candidates would be allowed to direct their unused votes to other candidates according to their order of preference, for reasons of practicality, individual voters would not have that same privilege.
In line with the principles of the Separation of Powers doctrine, and also to avoid problems of stability of the government, it is also suggested that the executive be elected by a separate public vote to that of the legislature.

Representation

  • The makeup of the nations legislature will be in proportion to the concerns of the people.
  • Practically every constituent actually gets their man / woman elected and able to represent them and speak for them in the nation’s forum.  
  • Representation (albeit with varying degrees of  legislative influence) for the full spectrum of viewpoints throughout the land.

Minimising Costs

  • No regular electorate redistributions. The costs of this redrawing of the electoral maps include not only the analysis of population movements of the whole state as well as public awareness campaigns informing voters of their new districts, but also legal challenges to any new proposed boundaries where there may be a suspicion that a gerrymander is at play (see newspaper clipping below).
  • Cost of an election to the taxpayer will be cheaper with regards to both printing and administration as there will be only one common ballot paper for the whole country.
  • Cost of an election to parties and their supporters will be cheaper as advertisements and promotional material (how to vote cards) will be the same throughout the country.

No Abuse of Process

  • No bizarre election results where parties with fewer votes can still win more seats in the legislature due to the (either intentional or accidental) gerrymander effect.
  • No violation of the ‘one person one vote’ principle due to electorate malapportionment where some electorates happen to end up with more voters than others.
    • In the Australian 2007 federal election, the 122,401 voters of the electoral district of Canberra appointed one person to represent them in Parliament, while the 117,901 voters in the area covering both Solomon and Lingiari, are represented by two members in Parliament.
    • In Western Australia one specific upper house state metropolitan electorate has four times as many voters as the smallest rural seat.
    • In the United Kingdom the average seat in England, where the Conservatives are the strongest party, has 73,212 voters while the average seat in Labour-dominated Wales has just 56,531 voters.1Gordon Brown
    • Also in the United Kingdom, the 21,908 voters of one seat in Scotland’s Western Isles have the same political clout in Westminster as the 110,228 voters of a single seat in the Isle of Wright.

 

 

 

Democracy

  • More overall respect for the democratic system resulting from the situation where at elections, voters would have more of a viable option than with the existing government / opposition dichotomy.
  • As there would be only one common ballot paper for the whole country, investigation could be made into the feasibility of using optical character readers to both sort and count papers on election night. As papers would be eventually sorted under their common chosen parties, easy manual checks could still be randomly undertaken to guard against computer / machine error. Resultant benefits would be earlier results and diminished costs.
newspaper3

Parties Try to Push the Boundaries

1.  Peter Wilson, “British Politicians Look for Ideas Down Under to Come Out on Top”, The Australian, April 9th 2010.

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Countries that utilize Proportional Representation

 Algeria

 Angola

 Austria

 Argentina

 Belgium

 Bolivia

 Brazil

 Bulgaria

 Burkina Faso

 Burundi

 Cambodia

 Cape Verde

 Chile

 Colombia

 Costa Rica

 Cyprus

 Czech Republic

 Denmark

 Dominican Republic

 Equatorial Guinea

 Estonia

 Finland

 Germany

 Guinea-Bissau

 Guyana

 Hungary

 Iceland

 Indonesia

 Ireland

 Israel

 Italy

 Latvia

 Lesotho

 Liberia

 Liechtenstein

 Luxembourg

 Malta

 Mexico

 Moldova

 New Zealand

 Namibia

 Netherlands

 New Caledonia

 Nicaragua

 Norway

 Paraguay

 Peru

 Poland

 Portugal

 Romania

 San Marino

 Sao Tome and Principe

 Slovakia

 Slovenia

 South Africa

 Spain

 Sri Lanka

 Suriname

 Sweden

 Switzerland

 Suriname

 Turkey

 Uruguay

 Venezuela

 Wallis and Futuna

Source: Wikipedia