My Drum column this week criticises the calls from the major parties to reform the Australian electoral system to keep out minor party preference deals as undemocratic:
Think of a vote for a micro-party as a vote against the mainstream, rather than intellectual support of the full platform of, say, the HEMP Party or the Secular Party of Australia.
… All those micro-party votes pool together through the preference system and throw up a micro-party representative.
In past elections micro-party votes would just dissipate, because the micro-parties weren’t working together and there weren’t as many Australians voting against the big players.
Yes, Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party got a tiny number of direct votes. But it’s not about him. A Senate seat isn’t a personal reward. Muir represents all those in Victoria who voted “other”.
If we rewrote our electoral system to prevent micro-parties from preference aggregation we would, in a very real way, be disenfranchising those who rejected the majors.