Thursday, 12 March 2015

Political Parties in Australia

Good Morning Reader,

It's been a little while since my last post, things have been a little crazy with work and uni since I'm doing an additional unit this term (in robotics for those interested). But I've had a little time to consider one of my favourite topics, elections in Australia. This time specifically about the parties and the requirements of a party to run for office in the magical land of Oz.

Currently, and for a very long time, one of the main requirements for any party to run for a seat in parliament is that they have 500 registered, paying members of their party. Parties who do not meet this requirement can not run and if it is found out post-election that they did not have the necessary members it may result in a High Court enquiry and a Bi-election, an expensive outcome for taxpayers especially given the cause. Elections are costly and re-running an election because of an under-supported party with less than 500 members is a particularly undesirable event in my eyes.

But when you consider the requirement itself it may be that we aren't doing it right. 500 people out of the (approximately) 23 million current population of Australia is not very much. 0.00217% of our population in fact. Does having 0.002% of the population really merit a genuine run for office where you are suppose to be representing an electorate of roughly 15,000 people. It seems to me that it would be far more appropriate for us to set the minimum membership requirement as a percentage of our population, ensuring continued fairness of this requirement and preventing the need to review it as our population grows. My personal opinion is that parties should be required to enjoy the support of at least 0.05% of the population (although I think this is still rather low considering what they are running for). Perhaps that would be a good transitional level to set it at with the goal of building to a minimum of 0.5% of the population eventually.

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