Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reforming the Parliament or Electoral Reform

An interesting grab bag of commentary. Firstly the "news" that the AEC will investigate the informal vote. Actually I think they do this every time. It will be interesting to see if it was a conscious or unconscious increase in informal votes.

Then some interesting commentary about the significance of postal vote campaigns. The postal vote is the closest we get to what happens with votes in voluntary voting where candidates spend resource in getting the vote out, not just on getting the vote decided.

But it does seem a tad old-fashioned given the advances in IT (anyone who previously had a postal vote can be invited to by the AEC), the greater availability of pre-poll voting, and the fact that all mail is now air delivered. Surely the closing date for postal votes could be brought forward. Similarly you'd think that even more of the pre-poll and absent votes could be counted quicker.

In discussion on parliamentary reforms the Greens seem to favour more time for private members bills. Really a bit pointless - unless like RU486 there is a conscience vote only legislation supported by the Government is worth debating.

There are better ways to fix this - including greater more effective use of the committee system.

Other calls have been for reform of question time. This largely misses the point that question time doesn't really sit well with party discipline - every second question is a government Dorothy Dixer, every other is part of that days orchestrated attack. Very very little is about genuine "ministerial accountability". Further, Senate Estimates that gets closer to that is mostly about similar crap.

Meanwhile our media is increasingly sanctimonious. Just witness the way Q&A spun the decision reached by Julia Gillard and Mark Arbib that David Bradbury would be a better choice for Q&A last night. Arbib would have been the topic - not just a discussant.

Meanwhile I have my own plan for reform. It is to invert the entire current process. The house of Government should be the one elected by proportional representation - so that front benchers are drawn from these list candidates. The upper house should be the one of constituent representatives - and they should not be able to be Ministers. The two houses sitting together would formally vote to appoint the Ministers. I've sometimes thought that the US Executive presidency makes more sense - but ultimately the President is chosen by an "electoral college".


Meanwhile - the NSW Right must be destroyed.

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