Sunday, 22 August 2010

What does Australia's election mean for the UK debate on AV?

Green discusses the political deadlock

ABC election analyst Antony Green discusses the federal election outcome where neither the Coalition or ALP holds a majority in parliament.
Contains: video, image,

The question is relevant because Australia uses the alternative vote (AV) for the House of Representatives.

The answer is that we can't say - at least, not yet. Here, the ABC's Antony Green explains that the result of the Australian federal election -- which he describes as the closest in the country's history -- may not be clear for at least another week. And he believes that which party governs, albeit with the aid of Independents and in Labor's case, the Greens, will come down to just one seat: Hasluck, in Western Australia.

Labour voters surely hold the key to the UK's AV referendum. They should note that with 78% of the votes counted, the conservative coalition has won just under 44% of the primary vote, to Labor's 38%. So, had Australia used the first-past-the-post voting system, Tony Abbott would be prime minister. And Labor may not have won in 2007 either. The point will not have escaped British Conservatives.

Labor may now be in a strong enough position to stay in office because of AV. Green and minor party voters are much more iikely to give Labor their second and third preference votes. Under AV, in seats where no candidate wins 50% or more of the vote, every vote can count and the two-party preferred vote is what really matters.

And Julia Gillard has staked her moral claim to The Lodge on the assertion that Labor has won the nationwide two party preferred vote. But, as Antony Green points out, the election is so close that we won't know who has picked up that prize for some days yet.

Now, try this: what if Labor loses the two-party preferred vote but ends up with more MPs than the coalition; then Gillard manages to secure the support of enough independents to hang on? Perhaps pro-AV campaigners will not want to dwell too much on Australia's example.

Posted via email from Neil Stockley's posterous

1 comment:

James said...

It means the YES campaign is stuffed!