Saturday, October 15, 2022

Victorian Party Policies On Fixing Group Ticket Voting

The Scoreboard - Victorian Election 2022

The following parties have a publicly documented commitment to, or position of support for, scrapping Group Ticket Voting:

* Victorian Socialists (longstanding)
* Australian Greens (longstanding)
* Animal Justice Party (added 16/11 - conditional on single statewide electorate)
* Pauline Hanson's One Nation (added 17/11)
* Legalise Cannabis (added 22/11)

See comments below for what these parties have said about the issue.  

Other parties will be listed here when I become aware that they qualify.  Parties that have publicly documented commitments to policies that would clearly significantly reduce the Group Ticket Voting problem may also be noted in this section.  

Don't take too much notice of how short this list is in the early stages of the campaigbn - but if a party has not been listed in this Scoreboard section by voting time and electoral reform is important to you, please don't vote 1 for it. 

Some voters may wish to specifically avoid parties that are part of Glenn Druery's preferencing network.  All such parties are marked with a (D) after their name for the benefit of voters who may want to put them last.

Independents:

This article covers parties, especially with reference to the Upper House.  Independents will have a range of views on the issue.  If I become aware that specific Lower House independents have a published policy they will also be added here:

* Felicity Frederico (Brighton) supports "Reform of the Upper House electoral system" (not stated what, but presumably meaning Group Ticket Voting)

Why This Article Exists

The 2018-22 Victorian parliament has completely failed to address the problems caused by preference harvesting under the Group Ticket Voting system at the 2018 election.  As noted in my Electoral Matters submission and a previous article on this site, Victoria has retained a system that:

* undeservedly (in terms of support within regions) elected between a fifth and a quarter of the Legislative Council in 2018

* elected three MLCs who polled less than 1.5% in their region, including one whose party polled 0.62% in both that region and statewide, all these defeating parties with several times their level of support

* is bad for accountability because whether or not minor party representatives are re-elected has more to do with GTV preference deals and unpredictable events in the preference distribution than whether they have any real level of voter support

* denies voters the ability to direct their own preferences between parties above the line (which they will be used to doing so having done so twice since the last state election) and throws away voters' stated preferences and overwrites them with a group ticket vote if they do.  

* can structurally disadvantage minor parties that poll too well (other parties may be reluctant to deal with them)

* is a risk to the safe conduct of elections because it creates meaningless tipping points

To be clear I am not against parties getting seats off a few percent of the vote statewide but this needs to be in a system where those parties are accountable to those few percent rather than to preference harvesters, for instance by introducing a single statewide electorate as in WA, NSW and SA (in the latter two cases in staggered form.)  Ideally this is what Victoria should do, even if it needs a referendum.  Failing that (and temporarily pending that) Victoria should switch to a Senate style system and many of the current micro-parties should merge.

The Victorian Parliament has done nothing whatsoever about the problem in its entire term or the previous term.  The Electoral Matters committee could at least have made an in-principle finding about the parlous nature of the 2018 election but passed the buck back to the parliament by recommending it authorise a separate inquiry; the parliament then never did so.  Only the Greens (the main victims of 2018) have consistently opposed group ticket voting as a parliamentary party in this term. One more party (Reason) has pursued a reform that would make it harder for a single preference harvester to monopolise making money out of group ticket voting, but would probably do nothing to stop the core problem. 

The Victorian parliament's failure to fix Group Ticket Voting is among the worst failures in Australian electoral design since the days of Sir Joh's malapportionments.  That said, the creation of the current system in the first place is up there too.  The Bracks government did at least one good thing in this field (scrapping single-member seats) but at least four silly ones: including Group Ticket Voting in the first place when some hazards of it were already known, making the district magnitude (five members per region) too small, allowing the 8x5 system to proceed although it actually somewhat favoured the Coalition, and worst of all entrenching the 8x5 setup such that it may require a referendum to properly clean up the mess.  

I could have made this article just another rant about Victoria's failure but why duplicate Antony Green's efforts, and, indeed, I've said it all before to no avail.  Instead this is a resource page that will document party policies, history and comments on Group Ticket Voting going into the election.  I suggest that any party that does not have a policy of scrapping or at least substantially curbing Group Ticket Voting and display that policy on its website has failed the most basic test of supporting democracy.  Any such party does not deserve voter support and I strongly encourage voters not to vote 1 for any such party.  If you must vote 1 for such a party in the Legislative Council, please do it below the line and distribute your own preferences rather than allowing that party to send your vote goodness knows where.  In fact, please do that whoever you vote for unless you have viewed your party's submitted ticket and agree with it completely.

Voting below the line in Victoria is easy (you only need to number 1-5 and then you can stop) but I recommend numbering as many boxes as you can.

(By substantially curbing I mean changes such as allowing and encouraging an above the line preference option, and/or introducing a primary vote threshhold)

On with the show ...

Registered parties and their positions

Notice to parties:  If your party has adopted and published a position on Group Ticket Voting I will edit this article to reflect it, provided that your position is public (preferably on your party's official online presence).  Send me a link to your position or a report of your position via email (link in profile) or notify me on Twitter (@kevinbonham).

New parties will be added after they have been registered - not before.

Some more information about the position of some parties is available via 6 News interviews.  I have referenced some of those here but am expecting to edit this article as I find or am sent detail on others.  My gold standard is that a party needs to display a policy on its webspace so that there is no wriggle room based on a member speaking without authority in an interview.  

Angry Victorians Party

Form: New party.   The Angry Victorians Party is the state branch of Heston Russell's Australian Values Party which ran in the federal election to very little avail.  

Policy: Angry Victorians does not have any known public policy on its website concerning Group Ticket Voting but the party has endeared itself to this site considerably by leaking a video of pre-negotiations with Glenn Druery before it decided not to run with him, and reporting the video to IBAC.  6 News has reported that the party does not support Group Ticket Voting.

Animal Justice Party 

Form: The Animal Justice Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing during that parliament to fix Group Ticket Voting.  In the May 5 2021 debate Andy Meddick (AJP) defended the current system on the grounds that voters have a right to have issues raised in parliament even if the party they vote for has little support.  This ignores both the general willingness of MPs to allow views they disagree with to be aired via the petition process (for instance) and the fact that six parties contesting the previous election received no representation despite getting more votes than at least one party that did.  Meddick also stated that the Greens benefited from GTV in a previous election (presumably meaning 2014), which is false.  The Greens' representation in 2014 exceeded their primary vote but not because of GTV - in fact even in 2014 GTV cost the Greens two seats they would have won under a Senate-style system, while only arguably gaining them one.  The real reasons the Greens did well in 2014 were the district magnitude and the way their support was spread around the regions.  

Policy: The Animal Justice Party on its website supports reform to replace the current system with a single statewide division without group ticket voting.  They have previously appeared to support GTV, and have in the past engaged in some deals with the Druery network, but their position has shifted.   On 14 Nov 2022 (after the party hilariously ratted on a Glenn Druery preference deal) the AJP's election manager said "The Animal Justice party does not agree with the wheelings and dealings of a preference whisperer and the backroom deals of predominantly older, white males. That time has come to an end,"   Subsequently they posted the above linked discussion supporting a single statewide electorate and a referendum to achieve it on their site.  

Australian Labor Party 

Form: The Australian Labor Party has failed Victorian voters by being the government in the previous two parliaments and doing nothing to fix Group Ticket Voting.  A common theory about this is that Labor are secretly rather happy that the Greens were gutted in the 2018 upper house election and would prefer to work with a grab-bag of randoms than to have the Greens holding the balance of power alone (which is a rather likely outcome under 8x5 with a Senate-style preferencing system).  Two alternative explanations are (i) that Labor is concerned that going to an 8x5 system without Group Ticket Voting could lead to a Coaltition majority or blocking majority (although in 2010 the Coalition won a majority with Group Ticket Voting off a primary vote of just 43.2% - and major party vote shares have since decreased) and (ii) that Labor would do something about Group Ticket Voting but hasn't done so because it doesn't have the numbers.  View (ii) has some merit given the Victorian Liberals' hopelessness on the issue (see below) but if Labor were serious about reform they should have introduced legislation and pressured the Liberals to support it.

Outside Victoria the ALP has a mixed form guide on fixing Group Ticket Voting, having repealed it in three states (some more rapidly than others) but having opposed necessary Senate reform federally in 2016, making numerous incorrect arguments and since-disproved predictions in the process.

Policy: The Australian Labor Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  Labor has repeatedly been reported to have no policy of fixing Group Ticket Voting.  (This doesn't necessarily mean it won't, since in WA Labor abolished Group Ticket Voting despite going to an election saying it had no plans to fix the system.  But it does mean that it is very hard to predict whether it will ever do anything and if so what - especially as a majority is highly unlikely in Victoria.)  Following the Glenn Druery video sting scandal, Premier Andrews only flagged a further review and said the issue had been brought into "sharper focus".  This is disingenuous evasive garbage as the issue was in perfectly sharp focus after the last election's disaster yet his government did nothing,  

Companions and Pets Party

Form: New party.  The Companions and Pets Party has no known form on Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: The Companions and Pets Party doesn't have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. It appears that it may be opposed to Group Ticket Voting but more public detail is needed. According to Leonardo Puglisi of 6 News the party is "clear that they don't support it."

Democratic Labour Party (D)

Form: The Democratic Labour Party was represented in the 2006-10 and 2014-2018 parliaments (in both cases winning by preference spirals) but not the 2018-22 parliament, until Bernie Finn (ex-Liberal) joined it.  Its representative in the 2014-8 parliament quit the party before the 2018 election.  I can find no evidence of the DLP ever supporting action to fix Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: The Democratic Labour Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Derryn Hinch's Justice Party (D)

Form: Derryn Hinch's Justice Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  The two DHJP representatives did not speak in the May 2021 debate but voted against Ratnam's symbolic motion.

Policy: Derryn Hinch's Justice Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Family First Victoria

Form: New party.  Family First Victoria (a Lyle Shelton/Peter Bain outfit not to be confused with other Family Firsts that have existed or failed to exist) has no known form on Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: Family First Victoria is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  Family First Victoria claims to support protecting the "Australian democratic way of life" and attacks supposed threats to it but I'm not sure it's said anything about preference harvesting, which has already severely damaged Victorian democracy.

Fiona Patten's Reason Party

Form: Fiona Patten's Reason Party has failed Victorian voters by being represented in the current parliament and failing to support fully effective action on Group Ticket Voting, though it has supported action that would probably be ineffective.  Patten was initially elected by working with Glenn Druery but broke away from him and was re-elected in 2018 without his involvement.  In November 2020 Patten introduced the Electoral Act Amendment (Preference Harvesting) Bill 2020.  The text of the Bill has never been published because the Victorian Parliament seems not to publish Private Members' Bills that have only passed first reading (why?), but media reports indicated it would ban consultants from being paid by multiple sources to broker preference deals .  Druery responded that if so banned he would harvest for free.  There is no indication that the Bill would prevent parties from paying their own staff to broker deals, or that it would prevent each party from hiring its own consultant.  While this might (if effective) decentralise the organisation of preference harvesting, that wouldn't necessarily stop it from working, and might lead to an increase in wild-West harvesters who made deals with other parties then broke them.  Beyond her anti-Druery position, Patten and Reason (including under Reason's previous guise Sex Party) have repeatedly supported keeping Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: Fiona Patten's Reason Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. The party supports all kinds of tealy democratic accountability stuff with colour pattern to match but for voter preferences to be sent hither and thither via unaccountable backroom deals is cool and normal, so long as you-know-who isn't involved.  

Freedom Party of Victoria

Form: New party.  This party has been involved in some argy-bargy with Glenn Druery, saying it would orchestrate its own deals and not go through him and describing past deals as "as best unethical".  However as reported by 6 News, Deputy Leader Aidan McLindon thinks preference deals between likeminded minor parties without money changing hands are OK and says, regarding dumping Group Ticket Voting, "the problem is what you're going to replace it with".  He seems in that interview to be perhaps open to scrapping GTV but not very clear on the matter.

Policy: Freedom Party of Victoria is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. However it appears to have reservations about it.

Health Australia Party (D)

Form: The Health Australia Party has featured prominently in co-ordinated GTV preference spirals (especially in WA) but has so far never been elected.  

Policy: Health Australia Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  It has a so-called policy to " defend the political, legal, social and economic foundations of a democratic society" but apparently that doesn't include defending the foundations of democracy from parties like it being elected with next to no votes.

Legalise Cannabis Victoria

Form: Two Legalise Cannabis MLCs were elected in Western Australia by preference harvesting but subsequently voted for the reform that removed Group Ticket Voting and established a statewide single 37-member electorate.  In Victoria, the party has never been elected and has no known form on the issue.

Policy: Legalise Cannabis Victoria has issued a media release stating that they support "the abolition of Group Voting Tickets and the introduction of a rort-free system of proportional representation”.

Liberal Democratic Party (D)

Form: The Liberal Democratic Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  The party has a long history of supporting and defending Group Ticket Voting at state and federal levels and of mobilising incorrect arguments to do so.  In the May 2021 debate, alongside some of the usual pro-GTV myths, Tim Quilty (whose comments on electoral matters are often otherwise excellent) said GTVs were "brought in by the major parties when their votes began to splinter so they did not have to change their actual policies". In fact the GTV system was invented federally because scandalous Senate informal voting rates of around 10% needed to be addressed but the Australian Democrats and Coalition would not accept optional preferencing; another benefit being it was easy to count. It was then copied by various states.  

Policy: Liberal Democratic Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed, they have historically clearly supported it.  However on 17 November the LDP's David Limbrick finally issued a statement on Facebook that the LDP did not oppose scrapping GTV provided there was a NSW-style system.  I am not aware of a statement of this as official party policy at this stage.  

Liberal Party of Australia

Form: The Liberal Party of Australia has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  There were initially promising signs when the Liberal Party put in an Electoral Matters submission recommending that the committee consider introducing a Senate-style system (though it was only a recommendation to consider it, not a recommendation that anyone actually do anything).  

However further output has been disappointing.  Not only has the party failed to introduce any legislation that might put pressure on the government, but in the May 2021 debate David Davis MLC made an extremely silly contribution.  He said that the party was considering moving to amend the Greens' symbolic motion to replace "remove group voting tickets" with "reform group voting tickets" and argued that this "would have in a sense pointed to what we think is important—that group voting tickets or whatever arrangement you have electorally actually direct the voting outcomes in a way that most closely reflects what the community and the people want." 

This ignored that the reason we are having the debate at all is the overwhelming evidence that Group Voting Tickets cannot do that. They in fact direct voting outcomes towards utterly unnatural preferencing patterns that do not reflect what voters want when they choose their own preferences.   Not only was the Liberals' proposed amendment craven and clueless, but they were also too gutless to even introduce their gutless amendment.  The weird thing is that the Coalition was the second most GTV-diddled grouping in 2018, losing three seats where they had large leads to GTV preference spirals, and are at big risk of suffering a similar fate again in 2022.  Federally, the Liberal Party abolished Group Ticket Voting in its first term in office following the 2013-4 Senate election farce.  

Following the Angry Victorians video link Matthew Guy said "What’s clear is having a system where people can buy their way into parliament, like a third world democracy, that is deeply concerning and that needs to be fixed, [..]  If Daniel Andrews won’t fix it, I will because Victorians deserve a democracy they can be confident about.”  However it is not clear what particular fix he supports or if his party will implement it if he is not leader anymore.  

Policy: Liberal Party of Australia is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. On their website they for a while didn't even have a policies page at all - there was an "about us" page awash with democratic platitudes that are contradicted by not fighting Group Ticket Voting.  To find their actual policies I had to go to matthewguy.com.au where I could find policies on such things as stopping "Labor’s extermination of Victoria’s iconic brumbies" but nothing about stopping the extermination of electoral accountability.  Keeping feral pest horses is more important to the Liberals than removing pest electoral systems.  Noted.   (A policy document has since been added to the main page but it contains no mention of electoral reform.)

National Party of Australia - Victoria Division

Form: The National Party of Australia has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  Like the Liberals, the Nationals proposed that the Electoral Matters committee investigate switching to the Senate system, and like the Liberals they have done about a tenth of sweet stuff-all since.  I will however mention that in February 2019 Danny O'Brien (South Gippsland) spoke very well in the parliament on the need to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: National Party of Australia is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.   Like many parties the Nationals claim to support "Preservation of democracy in Australia through the Westminster Parliamentary system." but don't lift a finger for more than five seconds regarding the parliament containing parties that would not get elected in any other parliament of comparable size on earth.

New Democrats (D)

Form: New party.  The New Democrats are a vehicle for Kaushaliya Vaghela, an ex-Labor MLC who has quit the party pending imminent expulsion for crossing the floor. The party has no known form on group ticket voting although Vaghela voted against the Greens' symbolic motion on the issue while still a Labor MLC.  

Policy: The New Democrats are currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. I can find virtually no documentation of what this party stands for at this stage (14 October).

Pauline Hanson's One Nation

Form: One Nation has not been represented in Victoria before.  Historically One Nation was often a victim of Group Ticket gangups but over time its notoriety faded and it won seats under GTV at the 2017 WA election.  

Policy: Pauline Hanson's One Nation has issued a press release calling for an inquiry into preference gaming and stating that "Elections should be open contests of ideas and policy, not a free-for-all where votes are scattered to the winds. Victoria needs to have a good hard look at electoral reform after this election, particularly with respect to group voting tickets."

Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews (D)

Form: New party with no known form on Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: As of mid-October I can't even find a website for this party, only a social media presence for its founder.  Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews is a fake party started by Glenn Druery to attempt to take votes away from "cooker" parties like Freedom Party.  

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Victoria (D)

Form: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers have failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting. The party are veteran GTV junkies, having won five seats by preference harvesting in the WA and Victoria upper houses, most of them totally undeserved.  However in the only case of them winning enough votes in a GTV contest to clearly deserve a seat by actual voter support (Northern Victoria 2018), they were out-harvested by the Liberal Democrats and DHJP and lost.  The Shooters are almost as keen on GTV as they are on guns, openly supported it during the May 2021 debate and state that they will "deal with everyone and anyone except the Animal Justice Party".  (The diversity argument they advance is fair enough but the solution is a single statewide electorate.)

Policy: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers are currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed, they clearly support it.

Sustainable Australia - no I will not print its full silly name (D)

Form: Sustainable Australia Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  The party was elected by one of the more ridiculous preference spirals and it too has danced with the one that brung it, openly supporting GTV during the May 2021 debate including with a spurious football analogy.  (Clifford Hayes suggested winning by preference snowball was like winning an AFL game where your side has enough behinds to overcome having fewer goals.  It more resembles a game where if a team is losing badly, other teams run onto the field and try to score at both ends but whatever the other teams score at either end is credited to the team that was losing.)

Policy: Sustainable Australia Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed they support it.  Yes that's right, a party that rails against whatever it thinks corruption is in its full party name still thinks that parties with no real support buying seats in parliament through preference harvesting (with a little bit of luck) is fine!  That said Hayes does say he supports GTV "until we have a more democratic method of doing it" and says he is "happy to look at all of those systems that give a good range of opinions in the upper house" (like a single statewide division.)   Well in that case why not have a policy of abolishing GTV and replacing it with a single statewide division? 

The Australian Greens - Victoria

Form: When discussing the Greens' position on Group Ticket Voting it is important to distinguish between the party's position on the system and its willingness to try to "play the game" to get elected.  There is ancient history of the Greens sometimes leapfrogging other parties on Group Ticket preferences (most infamously NSW 2001, beating the Democrats on One Nation ticket preferences) and there are far more recent cases of the Greens making flaky or dangerous preference order decisions under GTV, and hence risking electing people their supporters would not want.  However, a party doing what it takes to try to get elected under a system is not inconsistent with it wanting to change the system.

Federally, the Greens have a long history of opposing GTV and were supporting scrapping it before the 2013 Senate debacle.  Unfortunately at Victorian state level the party was utterly asleep at the wheel during the 2014-8 term.  After winning 5/40 seats (one fewer than it would have won in a Senate style system on the same votes) the Greens do not seem to have raised the issue in that Parliament at all, not even with it being a major issue federally mid-term.  They do not appear to have even put in an Electoral Matters submission.

At the 2018 election the Greens were the main victims of GTV preference spirals, losing at least three and perhaps as many as five seats they deserved to win based on actual voter support.  Since this wake-up call the Greens have prominently and frequently argued against Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: The Greens have an explicit commitment to "Put the power to elect MPs back in the hands of voters by banning dodgy preference deals and by allowing voters to number preferences above the line." The Greens have also supported a motion to call on the Parliament to remove Group Ticket Voting, and moved to empower the Council to consider amending a regulatory bill in a way that would remove Group Ticket Voting.  (In both cases theirs was the only vote in support.)

Transport Matters Party (D)

Form: The Transport Matters Party was the most undeserving Group Ticket spiral winner at the 2018 election, being elected with 0.62% in its region and statewide.  That's not to say Rod Barton is a bad MP, just that he's one who has no mandate.  Actually, he is a bad MP where this debate is concerned, because his contribution to the May 2021 debate was among the worst.  He claimed that the introduction of GTV in 2006 was a deliberate anti-majority strategy (it was proportional representation that was the anti-majority strategy and indeed at the first two GTV elections micro-parties won just 1 and 0 seats) and also claims that the Greens won five seats by "backroom deals" in 2014 (false; see Animal Justice Party section).  

Policy: Transport Matters is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed, it appears to support it.

United Australia Party

Form: The UAP was not elected in the previous parliament.  Three UAP (then PUP) Senators were elected in 2013 (only one of them clearly on merit) but by the end of the term there was only one left, and that one voted against the abolition of Group Ticket Voting.  Clive Palmer seems to not be very aware of how the Victorian system works since he recently argued that Ralph Babet's victory under the non-GTV Senate system meant the party should win the sixth seat in every Victorian region.  (Each region has five seats, just for starters.)

Policy: United Australia Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Victorian Socialists

Form: At the 2018 election the Victorian Socialists spoke out against GTV preference deals and also ordered their preferences in a principled manner based on their own political views.  They outpolled Reason in the division that Reason won in but had much poorer GTV preference flows as punishment for their principled stand and did not get near to winning.

Policy: The Victorian Socialists have an explicit policy to "Replace group ticket voting for the Victorian Legislative Assembly [sic - should be Council] and give voters full control over their preferences."

9 comments:

  1. Hi Kevin,

    That is an excellent summary of the party policies on Group Ticket Voting in the upcoming Victorian Legislative Council election.

    Thankyou.

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  2. I feel like the student who's getting told by their favourite teacher about how they are so very, very disappointed...
    You can't expect the minor parties to vote for the GVT to be abolished while no other changes are made - we would be literally voting ourselves out of any chance of being elected.
    While the Greens definitely do support abolition without any other changes, because that would gift them 7 upper house seats and the balance of power, instead of the 3-4 their vote share would entitle them to in a single electorate 40 seat proportionate vote.

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    1. I don't expect the minor parties to vote for that but I do expect them to accept that the current system is wrong and to find an alternative they can call for, and that does give them a chance to be elected based on actual electoral appeal. There is no reason why most of the current minor parties cannot support the replacement of GVT with a single statewide electorate under which parties getting a few percent of the primary vote statewide would be represented.

      I am even more very very disappointed with the major parties who can work together to fix this in all kinds of ways without losing seats - in fact while gaining seats - yet have failed to do it.

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    2. If the 2010 Legislative Council results had been for a single statewide electorate and ATL preferencing, it is highly likely that the Greens would have received 5 seats, given that they got 12%. The Greens would still have been well in the running for a 4th statewide seat in 2018 (their worst election under proportional representation).

      I also think that a statewide referendum needed for scrapping regions would have a reasonable chance of failing, as a single electorate could seem too centralised to a majority of voters.

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    3. A referendum at least needs both major parties to stop being insanely useless and support it, but if even that looked like not being enough an alternative could be to merge the five metro regions into a single 25-seat region and merge the three rural/regionals into a 15-seat region.

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    4. I don`t think an abolish or even merge the regions referendum would get much Coalition support. The Nats are almost certain to be strongly opposed.

      The Liberals would probably not support it either for a number of reasons.

      Firstly, it may make the Legislative Council harder for them (they are unlikely to support it from opposition, even if they like the idea and if GTV is still around when they are next in government, simply scrapping GTV legislatively without scrapping regions would probably appeal to them more).

      Secondly, the Liberals generally seem to preselect their Legislative Council candidates through regional preselections where the region`s membership has a say, so region scrapping would risk upsetting the backing of the MLCs within the party. For erxample, in the western and northern suburbs of Melbourne, which mostly has safe ALP seats, getting influence in the preselection of the top legislative Council candidate or two is probably the political decision over which the regions` Liberal Members have most influence and their 2-4 LIberal MLCs are unlikely to want to be cut off from their base. The potential victory/loss of second Liberal MLCs in these regions is also the only electoral lever Liberal and potential Liberal voters have over a state Coalition government in most of these suburbs, further incentivising these Liberals members and their MLCs to oppose region scrapping.

      Thirdly, the Liberals probably don`t want to upset the Nationals too much.

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    5. Liberal submission to the Electoral Matters Committee in 2018 called for action on GVTs with implied support for Senate style system. Fair to say that liberals would have likely supported changes this term (it advantages them) but resigned to the fact that Labor was never going to change the system.

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  3. As I keep banging on, you may not even need a referendum. The idea that a State's Parliament can entrench parts of its Constitution by referendum *without putting the entrenchment itself to a referendum* - as happened with the Bracks-era changes to Victoria's Constitution - is one that the High Court could well knock on the head if it was ever asked to decide the point. It's a clear violation of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty - and sits very oddly with the fact that the Commonwealth Parliament can't entrench *anything* (outside the Constitution) by referendum or special majority even if it wanted to and had the numbers and/or votes.

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    1. There is plenty of literature out there suggesting that in principle certain "manner and form" requirements relating to constitutions and parliaments can be entrenched; the situation of the States and Commonwealth appears to be very different in this regard, eg https://lr.law.qut.edu.au/article/download/314/306/314-1-614-1-10-20120911.pdf A question seems to be not whether such entrenchment is possible but whether the "double entrenchment" requirement has been met, or whether it is possible to unpick the entrenchment by repealing the entrenching legislation. The prevailing view at the time seemed to be that it was being met though I would gladly welcome it if this turned out to be incorrect.

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