When the major parties come together to tinker with electoral systems, there is one thing guaranteed; the citizens will get screwed.
The last time this was done was but a few months ago when the Liberal and Labor parliamentary parties colluded to take ownership of the words ‘Liberal’ and ‘Labor’. This despite there being nothing liberal about the Liberal Party and no interest in labour within the Labor Party.
But one of the key things coming out of this election is the rapidly declining primary vote support for the majors. Yes. They have given themselves a guarantee of political power through compulsory preferential voting, but the declining primary vote has an economic effect.
Following national elections, the Australian taxpayers kick over a certain amount of money per primary vote to:
candidate(s) or group(s) who receive(s) at least four per cent of the total first preference votes in an election.
$2.914 per eligible vote
A declining primary vote not only changes the electoral calculus for the majors but changes the economics.
An across the board fall of (say) 200,000 primary votes for either major party translates to a loss of $600,000 of tax payer money kick-backs. This could pay the salary of several head office hacks.
It is not small money for the parties who will not sit quietly and allow the people to express their will electorally.
Thus no matter who wins the coming election, watch out for the bipartisan committee on electoral matters review of election funding and their bipartisan recommendation to increase funding for the ‘larger’ parties. There will probably also be an attempt to loosen the definition of staffer duties to expand the scope of party work within elected official offices.
Nothing will get between our political establishment and the public money trough.
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