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05 May 2011 @ 10:40 pm
AV/Preferential voting  
Life is still chaos. HOWEVER, in the interests of accuracy, I need to make a short post on AV for the Britflist.

'Australians' DO NOT want to get rid of AV, and there is not a massive move to 'go back' to life before AV.

For a start, there are very few 114-year-old Australian voters. AV has been in place here since 1918. The 'going back' idea is a fiction.

There was a poll taken that came out with more Australian voters in favour of FPTP than AV, however, the poll itself is pretty bloody questionable -- for a start its main question asks about hypothetical perfect models rather than saying: 'do you like the way we vote in Australia, or would you rather vote the way people vote in the UK/US?'

This was an intentional decision as the people who commissioned the vote were a think tank who are in favour of FPTP voting. Now, people commission dodgy polls all the time. That's fine, I'd probably do the same if I thought I could get linked-up cycleways in Sydney through. But it's a CRAP reason for someone to vote no in the UK.

Vote no if you believe in the No case, absolutely.

But in Australia, people are by and large very happy with the way we vote, even if it ends up with comedy parliaments like our current one. The people who are actually against AV are politicians who have lost out because of it (most recently the local BNP-like lupin) and people who find it annoying to have to number a ballot one to eight. In the UK, with non-compulsory voting, this second set could stay home and rest their delicate wrists.

For a clear and concise history of how AV has affected results in Australian federal elections, check out the excellent Anthony Green here.

Make up your own minds, but don't for a moment swallow the 'The Aussies hate it!' line. Oh, and you can safely ignore the 'It's really hard!' line, too. FFS, Australians can do it!
not your typical annihilatrix: canadafuriosity on May 5th, 2011 12:58 pm (UTC)
FPTP just saddled Canada with a conservative majority in Parliament for the next 4 years, even though well over 50% of the population did NOT vote for the Tories.

Where do I sign up to vote "yes to AV" for Canada? :|
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 5th, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC)
I read that Harper won in my v quick perusal of the world this week (and let me tell you, this has been the WRONG week to have to scan the news!) and just could not work out how that happened. Did he buy everyone a puppy?
Kitten Kommissar: cutechickenfeet2003 on May 5th, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)
Harper is a cat person. It's the only thing I like about him.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 5th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
He wooed you all with LOLcats?
Kitten Kommissar: cutechickenfeet2003 on May 5th, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC)
Well he didn't woo me at all but his family does foster kittens for the Humane Society.
not your typical annihilatrix: canadafuriosity on May 5th, 2011 01:14 pm (UTC)
I think it was a combination of things, but chiefly, the Liberal Party made a SPECTACULAR failure of itself (its leader in particular). A lot of the Liberal voters defecting to the NDP as a result (to the point that the NDP is now in official opposition instead of being a distant third), and the left-leaning votes therefore split to the point that it allowed the Tories to take the lead even in ridings thought "safe" for the Liberals. My riding has been red (with the same MP) since 1993, yet on Monday he lost spectacularly not just to the PC candidate but also to the NDP one.

A number of Liberal voters simply refused to vote at all since they couldn't in good conscience vote red (seriously, the Liberals are a disaster.)

I also think that Osama bin Laden's death announcement was a tiny contributing factor -- I think many who were on the fence, particularly in affluent white liberal areas saw the news and decided that the military spending in Harper's platform is a splendid idea after all.

Seriously, Toronto went blue. Toronto. Jesus wept.
(Deleted comment)
not your typical annihilatrix: zurafuriosity on May 6th, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
Yeah, the "I'm not voting since I can't vote for the party I like without feeling bad" is really not an acceptable position to me, especially not from fellow liberals in a country where there are three "known" parties with socially (and, to varying degrees, fiscally) liberal platforms. Yeah, a vote for, say, the Green Party may be "wasted" in the "that one MP can't possibly win" sense, but in the end the numbers will speak for themselves even if they don't lead to personal accomplishment by any particular member of parliament.

I really, really love the idea of AV and think it would fit our multi-party system very well. But our fearless Tory leaders are hell-bent on convincing us (and our esteemed southern neighbours) that we are JUST like the USA, except our liberal/conservative colours are switched from theirs. At least the good thing that came out of this year's election was that we very clearly proved we are not like the USA, seeing as we have a new opposition party that is neither red nor blue.

(And I got that you meant the general you, no worries. :))
Kitten Kommissar: canadachickenfeet2003 on May 5th, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC)
Both BC and Ontario have had referenda on alternative voting methods. In both cases citizen panels proposed a hybrid list system as superior to AV, with which I concur. In both cases indifference, ignorance and scaremongering by the right wing press led to narrow rejection.
not your typical annihilatrix: canadafuriosity on May 5th, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
indifference, ignorance and scaremongering by the right wing press
Just like pretty much every other vote we've ever had. Oh, Canada. :|
Kitten Kommissarchickenfeet2003 on May 5th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC)
I also suspect that AV wouldn't have changed the result much. With the Liberals running third in so many places it's quite possible that Liberal second preferences would have gone to the Tories in sufficient numbers to push their candidates past 50%.
not your typical annihilatrix: canadafuriosity on May 5th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
I don't think that's true. The NDP's new status seems pretty much proof positive to me that a very significant proportion of defecting Liberals went with the NDP, not the Tories.
Kitten Kommissarchickenfeet2003 on May 5th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
But that's not necessarily a good predictor of where the remaining Liberal vote would have gone. I think it's clear that in a significant number of Ontario seats the Liberals would have defeated the Tories under AV by virtue of NDP second preferences but I'm not convinced it would have helped in seats where the Libs came third.
not your typical annihilatrix: canadafuriosity on May 5th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)
I think platform policies are generally fairly good predictors of how someone will vote -- the NDP and Liberals are obviously hardly the same party but both platforms emphasise similar issues (many of which are completely absent from the Tory platform). I haven't done any wider research but just in my riding, which does have Liberals in third now, the PC candidate got about the same number of votes as in 2008 (up by just 1K); the Liberal incumbent's votes dropped by 6K, and the NDP dude gained close to 14K. If that doesn't indicate a Liberal -> NDP shift, which I think it clearly does, it certainly does not indicate a Liberal -> PC shift, either.

(Though of course with something like AV, hardline partisan voters would deliberately rank their most hated parties last instead of looking at platforms like they're supposed to, which would see a lot of Green/Marxist/Pirate/etc second/third/fourth choices. :|)
FEELS TERRORIST!: MCR Gerard yeah?momebie on May 5th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
Can you give me a little rundown of what AV is? I know it's Alternative Voting(?), but my Google search is coming up with lots of propaganda one way or another and not much explanation of what that exactly entails. I did find a wiki page on AV+, but it says that the system hasn't been implemented anywhere in the world, so that may not be what you're talking about? Or it may be wiki tampering. [/nosy ignorant American]
rosathome on May 5th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
Try here for a good explanation and analysis of the system.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 5th, 2011 02:30 pm (UTC)
Ha! Inquisitive and involved American, as all the best are!

AV and preferential voting in Australia are not identical, but they are close. For how the proposed AV system would work: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11243595

For how Australian preferential voting works, we return to the redoubtable Mr Green (who is one of my fave election analysts in the world): http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2004/guide/howpreferenceswork.htm

And for some good links over where the debate in the UK has turned into something quite mad, this page was quite neatly written: http://www.involve.org.uk/the-av-referendum-how-we-can-get-the-conversation-back-on-track/
Geoviki: animals - du-u-u-degeoviki on May 5th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
I wish the US had it, for what it's worth. It would permit more choice.

(And I had to get my mind out of the gutter: 'AV' is a common term in yaoi storylines, meaning "adult video". Heh, yep, everyone should have adult videos!)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 5th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
HEE! That would actually make politics a lot more fun, were they seen as a plus rather than as a campaign killer. Although there are a lot of people who you would pay NOT to make one.
Shari: Thank youoncelikeshari on May 5th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I am so annoyed that people have accepted the reason to vote no is 'because you're too stupid to understand it'

Who calls the voter stupid and wins?

Oh yeah, the British!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 5th, 2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
It's embarrassing! There are some valid reasons why sensible people would chose to vote no, and I can respect everyone campaigning on those. But to say 'Oh, your rationally developed belief that yes is a good idea is flawed, because you're underestimating the public's thickitude ...' I say again, Australians can do it!

The average Brit and the average Aussie are very averagely similar!
mrsquizzical: stephenfryteabritishdingalingmrsquizzical on May 5th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
i love this comment more than i can say.
Really great hairseshat1 on May 5th, 2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
Sadly that is one of the many lies in the No 2 AV campaign... :( I'm hoping most of the No's will not vote as it's been publicised they're in the lead (not convinced, but again, lies!) so they are lazy and the Yes's will all vote as they actually care about changing the system.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 5th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
We can only hope! I think that it would be an improvement because my time in Australia has shown me that it leads to governments that more accurately reflect the voting intentions of the public, with minimal negatives to offset this large positive. The last election demonstrates this very well, as we were effectively sick of both major parties, and it showed!
מִרְיָם רִבְקָהangelofcaffeine on May 5th, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
There's an ad at a bus stop down the road from me that labels AV - I kid you not - 'the least popular voting method in the world'.


Also, LOL at 'you're too stupid to understand how to count to eight!' The No-to-AV arguments are rather bewildering.
lyraslyras on May 6th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
I've been here almost five and a half years, and I've never heard an Australian complain about preferential voting. So frustrating to see that line pushed in the UK!
It's that Bucket woman!curia_regis on May 6th, 2011 08:55 am (UTC)
The most I've ever heard are people complaining about getting hand cramps from numbering all those boxes below the line!

I get sad when I look at my ballot paper. So few choices here!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 6th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
It's worth it in NSW to put Pauline Hanson last!
illereynillereyn on May 6th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
Totally agree with that!

I laugh (with relief) every time she fails an election.