My good pal and Greens factotum Ben Oquist sung the praises of proportional representation in yesterday’s Crikey Daily. Well Ben, if you want to talk about the subject, here’s my nominee for hypocrite of the year: South Australian Greens House of Assembly Member Kris Hanna. The award is based on his submission to the Electoral Matters Committee. In it, he complains about how the Senate voting system “has the ability to result in an outcome not reflective of the intentions of the voters.”

But what about the manner of his own election? Hanna was voted in as a Labor member for his seat of Mitchell – then quit and joined the Greens because of SA Premier Mike Rann’s obsession with Laura Norder. Hanna’s anger at Rann’s cheap populism is easy to understand, but he should remember that 43% of the punters in his seat cast a first preference for Labor at the last state election – and that the Greens were so committed to the seat they couldn’t even be bother standing a candidate – before he starts talking about “the intentions of voters”.

Then there’s the whole subject matter of his submission. The Senate ticket voting system was fine as far as the Greens were concerned when they were the ones who benefited from harvesting preferences from parties all over the political spectrum – most tellingly when Kerry Nettle won a seat from the Democrats in NSW in 2001 with just over 4% of the vote (despite being well outpolled by the Democrats) thanks to support from the lunar right. Now that the system has worked against them, it has suddenly become undemocratic and unfair.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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