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August 28, 2010



This is an election result using AV where the minority party or independents decide who governs Australia.
If we change to AV it is more likely a minority party will decide who governs Britain.


Robert - As we have the LDs holding the balance of power now under FPTP I really doubt AV would make much difference!

Denis Cooper

I think you'll find that the decision on who governs Australia will be made by 70-odd members of one main party or the other, plus a few others to top up to a majority.


Denis - Surely the independents will decide which Party to support and therefore decide who governs Australia.


This of course iirc is Australia's first hung parliament since WWII.

Denis Cooper

Robert -

The independents will decide which party to support, but on the basis of the offers that the 70-odd members of each party decide to make to the independents to get their support.

Saying that the independents will decide who governs Australia is rather like saying that just four people decided who would be the MP for Fermanagh and & South Tyrone:


while ignoring the other 21,300 who voted for him.

It doesn't add up...

Denis - no that isn't the parallel here. The election in FST was won by a very narrow margin, but no voter or candidate got to decide after the votes were counted who would win. In Australia, it will be pork barrel politics offered by party leaders - some of it highly personal bribes such as offering the speakership - that will decide who governs. The decision between pork and principle rests entirely with four or five men.

Denis Cooper

But whatever is agreed, pork barrel or principle, will require the assent of the 70-odd members of one main party or the other, and in any case such things go on WITHIN parties all the time.

In FST one of the candidates won the vote by getting more supporters than his principle opponent, while to win a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives the Australian government must get more supporters than the opposition. In both cases it would be illogical to discount the mass of the supporters just because the final margin of victory was narrow.


Denis - the independents can choose EITHER PARTY therefore the independents will decide which party governs Australia.

Denis Cooper

In principle they can choose either party, or in principle they can refuse to choose either party and insist that the two of them must form a grand coalition for the good of the country, or in principle the two parties can both conclude that the demands of the independents are excessive and agree to form a grand coalition without them.

All kinds of thing could happen, but at the end of it all whatever government emerges will need to get its legislation through the House, where the independents have only four votes out of 150.

I realise that you prefer the simplicity and clarity of a single party winning a majority of seats and its leader immediately forming a government, and in some ways so do I, but on this rare occasion the Australian voters didn't want that to happen, just as the British voters didn't want it to happen in May.

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