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View Diary: Proposal: Draft new petition on whitehouse.gov - Instant Runoff Voting for all Federal Elections (15 comments)

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  •  We call it preferential voting (4+ / 0-)

    We have had this in Australia since about 1920. It was actually introduced by the conservative side of politics, when an agrarian party, then called the Country Party, no known as the National Party, broke away from the urban based conservative party, which was then called the Nationalist Party, but morphed later into the Liberal Party.

    Fast forward to today, and preferential voting is the salvation of the left, because we have a strong Green Party that gets around 10 % of the vote, but 80% of their preferences go to the Labor Party, which can be regarded as a sister party to the Democrats in the US. The whole thing works well, because it means people can vote for the candidate they like the most and not worry that they are thereby wasting their vote.

    •  How has preferential voting affected (0+ / 0-)

      conservative parties in Australia?

      •  Reply to Anthony de Jesus (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thorgamma

        He asks how preferential voting has affected conservative parties. Well, for starters, it means there are two of them (Liberal and National). It's just my theory, but I think that helped them a lot in the past, but now, not so much. For instance, in my state, Western Australia, at the last election approximately 25% of National Party (the rural conservatives) "leaked" to Labor, while only 20% of Greens preferences "leaked" to the conservatives.

        With respect to third parties, we used to have a "Democratic Labor Party" that was effectively a Catholic conservative rump that broke away from Labor in 1955 and directed preferences to the conservatives. An interesting question is why the Catholic conservatives didn't just join the regular conservatives. Now I can't find supporting references that easily, but my older friends tell me that, until 1970 or so, Australia was a seriously sectarian country, like Ireland or Scotland today, and, basically, the regular conservatives refused to select Catholics as candidates. All that has changed now, so much so that the leader of the conservative bloc in Australia, Tony Abbott, is himself Catholic.

        Today, we have quite small right wing (Protestant) Christian parties, but they are, firstly, quite a bit smaller than the Greens (maybe 5% in their best areas) and, secondly, their preferences leak heavily to Labor, up to 40 %. So, at least for now, preferential voting is a substantial boon for Labor and a near disaster for the conservatives.

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