In Crikey on
Wednesday, Charles Richardson refers to a debate between Tony Smith
(chairman of the Electoral Matters Committee) and psephologists Colin
Hughes and Brian Costar.

Referring to the sophistry of Smith in
that dispute Richardson wrote: “By contrast, the proposed change to
Senate above-the-line voting, attacked last week by Malcolm Mackerras
in the Fin Review, would have more unpredictable effects; the
fact that Smith doesn’t mention it today adds to the suspicion that the
government will quietly let it die.”

I thought you might be
interested to know that I have been doing some lobbying among Coalition
politicians. I can report as follows:

Among the National Party there is unanimous hostility to the proposal.
In fact it has been discussed in the National Party caucus and not a
single member or senator supported the proposed change. Among the
Liberal Party there is some support – but not much. So I predict quite
confidently that this foolish proposal will die.

Now another piece of psephological news. On 17 November the Electoral
Commissioner, Ian Campbell, will issue his determination of the number
of members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in each state
and territory. There is every reason still to expect that it will show
NSW losing a seat and Queensland gaining one. Redistributions in those
states will take place next year.