South Australia

Aug 25, 2014

Poll Bludger: SA Libs should embrace the American dream

The South Australian Liberal Party is trying to bastardise the Westminster system further to deliver it the results it wants. But Crikey's Poll Bludger says that's a lost cause -- it's time to think bigger.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

After twice failing to topple what is now Australia’s last surviving state Labor government despite winning clear majorities of the statewide vote, the sense of grievance among South Australia’s Liberals shows no sign of abating.

Speaking at the state branch’s annual general meeting in Adelaide on Saturday, party president Robert Lawson complained that the re-election of Jay Weatherill’s government on March 15 was an “undemocratic and illegitimate result“, and foreshadowed a legislative push to redress the present system’s clear bias to Labor.

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13 thoughts on “Poll Bludger: SA Libs should embrace the American dream

  1. michael dwyer

    Tom Playford was premier of South Australia for over 25 tears, aided by an electoral system that provided two thirds of the seats outside Adelaide, even though Adelaide had two thirds of the population. Tom ran a conservative government which was probably to the left of the long-term Labor governments in New South Wales.
    Most states had a heavy rural bias in electoral boundaries, leading to conservative governments most of the time. Queensland had a maldistribution favoring rural areas in such a way that returned Labor governments until the late 1950s. The Nationals rejigged the boundaries outside Brisbane and the large coastal cities to their advantage.
    As stated the Liberals problem in South Australia is the concentration of votes in extremely safe electorates.

  2. The Old Bill

    Perhaps it will all come out in the wash as the children of rural Liberal voters, unable to afford University, move to the city to find work, any work, after their dole is cut for 6 months. This could well be a stunning long term sea change in the redistribution of conservative votes thanks to the Federal Liberal Party’s long term vision for the country.

  3. CML

    The Liberals here in SA are having one of the longest dummy-spits in recent times.
    What surprises me is that the Libs went into the last election knowing what the rules were, so why the outcry now?
    If they want to change the electoral system because it disadvantages them, they will have to wait until they are in government. Then present legislation to the parliament, and if it is passed, they can celebrate. Until that happens, the existing system, which legislation was democratically passed by the parliament some years ago, will and should stand.

  4. Roger

    Why not consider the Hare Clarke electoral system used in Tasmania? Apply it to both houses of,parliament.

  5. Duncan Gilbey

    An “undemocratic and illegitimate result”?
    These people are a joke.
    Happy to describe themselves as “conservative” but show no respect for the due process when decisions go against them.
    They lost an election they expected to win against a tired 3rd term government, and it’s all someone else’s fault.

  6. Ian Brown

    I have always thought that a “top up” device would be a reasonable way to democratise the Westminster single member per seat system – whether in SA or elsewhere in Australia. What is the problem with this concept?

  7. Glen McCabe

    If the problem is a concentration of voters in safe seats, then the answer is proportional representation. The mechanics of the system are just details.

  8. John Turner

    “There can be little doubt that the election’s failure to produce a change of government was out of line with community expectations”. How far removed is this from Lawson’s claim that the result was “undemocratic and illegitimate”?
    And, as other commenters have asked,what’s wrong with top up MPs or proportional representation?

  9. William Bowe

    John, I never took any issue with Lawson’s claim, and never said there was anything wrong with PR – indeed, you’ll see that I end up advocating it. What’s wrong with a top-up system is that it presumes the parliament is there to give effect to the will of the party that won a majority of the vote — which is to say that it’s an expensive waste of space.

  10. Ian Roberts

    The Libs *could* perhaps stop bickering, choose a team with some sort of future (rather than a decades-long, terminal past) and develop some policies attractive to metropolitan South Australians.

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