Australia General Election 2013

A federal election has been called for 7 September 2013. Below I will post links to sites which may be of some use to those following the parties and issues. This post will be updated as more interesting links come to my attention, so please check back often. And if you know of a site which should be listed here, please let me know in the comments, or by using the contact form. Vote Compass Australia 2013 Not certain which party to vote for? Vote Compass is an interactive electoral literacy application developed by Canadian political scientists and run during election campaigns. It offers an accessible framework for learning about party platforms, stimulates discussion on a wide variety of election issues, […]

Despite leadership spills, party discipline in Australia is still strong

Back in 2012, I wrote a post about an attempted leadership spill in Australia, as former Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd challenged, unsuccessfully, the leadership of Julia Gillard, who herself had challenged – successfully – Rudd’s leadership prior to the 2010 general election. Of course, if you follow the news at all, you will know that Kevin Rudd again challenged Ms. Gillard’s leadership at the end of June, this time successfully, and is now, again, both leader of the party and Prime Minister. Such leadership changes are possible in Australia because it is the party caucuses which choose their leaders, as I explained in that 2012 post. Because the caucus can withdraw its support from the leader and cause a […]

Some interesting links and websites

Apologies for the lack of blogging, but real life has been rather busy of late. However, in the interim, here are some links to interesting reports, sites, etc. UK LINKS and SITES Communicating statistics – Not just true, but also fair The UK House of Commons Public Administration Committee has released a report recommending that departmental press officers and government statistics staff should work together much more closely to ensure that press releases give an accurate and meaningful picture of the truth behind the figures. As the Committee Chair, Bernard Jenkins, MP, explained: “Politicians tend to promote the statistics that best present their case. Finding the whole truth about government statistics is not always easy, and it should be. The […]

Politicians still don’t understand the internet

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post outlining how far too many politicians simply don’t understand the internet in general, and social media in particular. Sadly, the situation hasn’t improved much. Recently, a point of privilege was raised in the provincial legislature of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, over one Member’s alleged membership in an anti-government group on Facebook. Several comments on the group’s page involved death threats against the Premier of the province. In his point of privilege, the Government House Leader noted that the Facebook group had a membership list and among the listed members was the MHA for St. John’s Centre. The Government House Leader argued that online, as in public, one would […]

The preferential ballot favours the party with the most first preference votes

I have written several posts looking at the growing popularity of the preferential ballot/the alternative vote (AV) here in Canada – see this recent one, for example. I even attempted a redo of the 2011 Canadian federal election using the preferential ballot rather than our current FPTP. As I explained in that post, and in others, the big problem in attempting to forecast how the election would have played out using AV was the absence of data concerning voters’ preferences. Some polling firms would (and still do) regularly ask people which party was their second choice, but no one ever looked at voters’ potential 3rd, 4th, etc. choices. However, a new poll by Abacus Data has done just that. According […]

Preferential voting isn’t the solution some think it might be

There have been a growing number of columns and articles in various Canadian media over the past few months bemoaning the state of our parliamentary democracy and proposing various changes which might improve the situation. More often than not, electoral reform is mentioned – either in the column itself, or by a reader commenting on the piece. There does seem to be a growing recognition or acceptance that the First-Past-the-Post voting system doesn’t quite work the way people would like. I won’t say it doesn’t work the way it should because it works exactly as it should. It simply isn’t the ideal system for multi-party democracies. Inevitably, in these discussions, someone proposes some form of proportional representation, usually Mixed-Member-Proportional, where […]