I often find there is nothing that gets a Labor loyalist so hot under the collar as the prospect of proportional representation. Me thinks they do protest too much.

Proportional representation really is the only way to give effect to the principle of one vote one value. Of course your anonymous Labor supporter vehemently defends the current system. He or she is well served by it with a wealth of representatives in the house of government to serve them. Meanwhile those hundreds of thousands who vote Green are completely denied an MP of their first choice.

But the obfuscation on the matter of the Christian fundamentalists is more interesting. Your anonymous Labor loyalist seems to take some pride in the fact that Labor preferenced the Greens before Family First in a majority of states. But, and this is the more interesting bit, he or she also takes pride in that fact that Labor elected the Family First Senator in Victoria.

Labor continues to feel heat about this issue from many of its supporters (witness Julia Gillard’s tetchiness when the matter was raised in a recent Good Weekend magazine profile). A story often put around by Labor to mollify its supporters is that the preference decision was some sort of stuff up by party officials. But no, here on Crikey we have a clear admission that the Greens were taken for a deliberate ‘ride’ by the ALP.

Your Labor correspondent makes many other errors – you can have local representatives and proportional representation (heard of the Tasmanian lower house Hare-Clake system?), Shane Murphy did not preference the Greens, etc. However it is what he or she gets right in the Crikey missive that is more interesting. The ALP would prefer that the Christian right got a foothold in the Senate rather than see a Greens Senator elected.

Peter Fray

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