December 9th 2005

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Debate on voting (letter)

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Debate on voting (letter)

by Robert Bom

News Weekly, December 9, 2005


David Perrin's support for the optional preferential system of voting (News Weekly, October 14, 2006) comes as a surprise, at least, for some of us in Queensland.

The system has proven to remove competition between the major conservative parties with the voters losing out on choice. The value of votes for independents is usually lost.

Our Premier Peter Beattie is very happily using the system, telling people to just put "1" in the ALP ballot paper box. Forget the rest. He has made it a "de facto first past the post" system.

That nice Mr Beattie, of course, who makes it so easy for voters, now gets most of the votes. The fateful merger between the National and Liberal parties in Queensland was in some ways an attempt to claw back some ground lost by the optional preferential voting system.

In most city and regional centres, the ALP usually commands the largest single block of voters. First-past-the-post and optional preferential voting are ideal for them. At this rate, we will have an ALP government in perpetuity.

In opposition, the conservatives here first need to press for a change to the system, even it if were a return to preferential voting. What we have now is far worse than any perceived gerrymander that the ALP claimed we had years ago.

If conservatives do not want to act on this, they will be in the wilderness for a long time to come in Queensland.

Robert Bom,
Rockhampton, Qld.

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