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Simplified representation brings stability

Crikey readers are still talking knights and dames, plus the benefits of single-member electorates and whether commenting on hosties' hair is sexist.

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The case for single-member electorates

Kim Nolan writes: Re. “Imagine there were proportional representation in your parliament …” (yesterday). Though Matthew Brown correctly identifies plenty of the unrepresentative aspects of single-member electorates, he doesn’t address what is, to my mind, the most compelling argument in its favour: Stability.

Regardless of actual government performance there’s little doubt, especially when looking at the current arrangement of the Victorian Legislative Assembly and the perceived chaos of the last federal parliament, that voters, on the whole, are not particularly receptive to minority government. Thankfully, they usually don’t need to be, because in contemporary Australia this system of single-member electorates lends itself to unified and stable government with ease.

Although 2010 gave us the first hung Parliament in 70 years, by my rough count, the more proportional and representative Senate has only had four clear majorities since the ’60s.

Go ahead and iron out the quirks of Australia’s upper houses, but the simplified representation of the House of Reps isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

We don’t need a motion to find sexism, we need a mirror …

Susannah Thelander writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday). Directly above the “tip” regarding the Australian Sports Party in today’s email was a similarly sexist and spiteful comment about the capability of one company’s cabin staff. It’s a bit rich to be commenting on someone else’s sexism when you have just made a comment about the “good-looking 23-year-olds who looked like they spent all their time on their hair and wouldn’t be much help in an emergency”. Since when did what you look like have anything to do with how good you are at something, Ms Tips?

Airs and graces

Peter Ridgewell writes: Re. “Crikey says: arise, the republican hypocrites?” (Friday). The sad thing about this knighthoods for governors-general debacle is the damage it does to the office of governor-general. If there is one way to put people off-side in this country, it is to put on airs and graces — and one of the best ways to do that is to call yourself sir this or dame that. Abbot’s smart-arse move has immediately distanced the GG from the Australian people.  Perhaps that was his intention.

The alarming thing is that both Bryce and Cosgrove were silly enough to accept the titles.

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