Should we change our electoral system?

John Clements writes: Re. “Rundle: we have to change the system — or Palmer will be our next kingmaker” (yesterday). Where do I start? Maybe with the two major parties being content to take it in turns?

As a participant in the hung Parliament let me say that the most interesting revelation to me was the grieving of the media elite who missed out on the pats behind the ear delivered to them as the ultimate insiders in a conventional two-party Parliament. In the hung Parliament smaller, less vested interests had access and an unscripted say, rather than insiders and the media elite. Writ large for all to see at this time was the means of access favored by the vested interest gorillas and the two-party system. Perhaps there is your problem?

Robert Humphreys writes: A change to a form of proportional representation for election to the House of Representatives would make it more likely Australians would get a government that was more representative of the wider electorate. For example, if we had PR for the HoR there would be 12-14 Greens in the HoR (reflecting the national percentage of the vote obtained by the Greens at the 2013 federal election) instead of just one.

Such a system — if other countries examples are any guide — would lead to more multi-party governments and  a more consultative, negotiated policy outcomes.

At the local government level, all elected councilors (of all party affiliations and none) form the government and share in the decision making process of the local government body. Why could we not have a similar approach to state and federal parliaments? That might make for more effective long-term planning on important issues like planning, infrastructure, health, education, etc, and break the present three-or four-year electoral cycle, where the two major parties go at each other and come up with short-term promised outcomes, only to go back on the same if they manage to scramble into power.

The wind out of her Sales

Mary Laughren writes: Unlike your columnist, I, and others I know, have not been hanging out for Leigh Sales’ return to the 7.30 Report on ABC TV. Although it took me a couple of viewings to warm to Sarah Ferguson as she seemed a little scary at first, I was very sad to see her go, and experience the return to lame interviewing. Ferguson always seemed capable of asking that follow-on question that one had framed in one’s own mind, or was not content to let a non-answer rest. How many times does one watch these interviews filled with frustration that the most obvious follow-up question is not posed! Ferguson seemed to have done her homework and had thought through the issues herself, hence she had a logical, intelligent, line of questioning to pursue. She wasn’t just a question machine that mindlessly runs through the prepared fare. How weary one is of that sort of interview style.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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