Watching the hysteria surrounding the Senate outcome is quite bemusing. Right now it looks like the Australian Sports Party in WA will get a Senator with 1,996 votes out of 896,941 formal Senate votes cast in that State. In Victoria, the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party is likely to get a Senator with 12,473 votes out of 2,474,487 formal Senate votes cast in that State.
A whole bunch of people are coming out and saying that our Senate is a laughing stock (this might be true for other reasons), and this is unacceptable, and making all sorts of proposals for reform and so on. Blah, blah, blah.
But nobody is pointing to, say, Indi where Sophie Mirabella is sitting on 34,572 votes out of 77,883 formal votes cast (i.e. nearly 45% of the primary vote) and looks like she’s going to lose.
If Sophie losing her seat is acceptable, why isn’t the Australian Sports Party winning acceptable too?
Preferential voting has long worried me – I can think of no reason why somebodies second, third, fourth, what have you, choice should trump somebody else’s first choice.