Equitable representation and power distribution in Houses of Government

Stream: Panel 91 - Comparative Politics: Representation, Party Systems and Electoral Systems 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm


This presentation will discuss the fundamental points of contention when selecting the most appropriate electoral systems for parliamentary lower houses, particularly as they apply to Australian State and Federal parliaments. It will consider what have appeared to be incompatible objectives. A lower chamber (house of government) electoral system which both: - incorporates the positive features of an STV proportional representation system (such as Hare-Clark) [These include: 1) a distribution of seats between parties reflecting votes and preferences cast jurisdiction wide more heavily than, what can be, the distortions of single member district pluralities or majorities, 2) greater inter and intra party competition and accountability within multimember districts, and 3) a better realisation of the one vote one value principle by avoiding both the surplus/wasted votes of safe single member districts and the safe vs marginal seat divide (which distorts the value of votes and encourages pork-barrelling based on geographic location).] - while also providing a more equitable distribution of power between parties and members than do either proportional representation or single member district (plurality/majoritarian) systems [Thus, avoiding situations in which independents, minor parties, and renegade major party members are provided with greater real power in negotiating coalition governments, and the policy directions and decisions of those governments, than what their share on votes should rightfully entitle them.]


Jesse Clark (Presenter), University of Adelaide
Jess Clark is a PhD Candidate at the University of Adelaide, supervised by Prof. Lisa Hill. His PhD thesis topic is related to trends in Australian political engagement. He has previously worked with Clement Macintyre and Dean Jaensch on an electoral reform report commissioned by the South Australian Liberal party opposition and has also contributed to electoral reform debate online using his Facebook page "Fair Vote Australia". His main areas of interest include electoral, constitutional and federation reform, basic incomes and the economics of automation, modern liberalism, and freedom of movement within (and economic and political integration of) the Anglosphere.