Political twit-erer

What is it about politics, especially Australian national politics, that makes otherwise intelligent people say really stoopid things?

Dr Andrew Leigh is no fool.  TAFKAS does not necessarily agree with him on much, but evidence suggests that Dr Leigh is not a fool.  Yet Dr Leigh, or someone on his authority, has this habit of using Twitter to say really stoopid things.  Take today’s contribution:

One can infer from this tweet that there is a proposal to reduce the number of Northern Territory members of parliament reduced from 2 to 1.

Let’s just go through how this works.  Please, before any experts jump in to correct TAFKAS, this is a gross simplification of the electoral boundaries process – for illistrative purposes.

There are say 15 million Australians eligible to vote (not sure the number is correct, but again it is meant to be illustrative).  There are also 151 seats in the parliament.  Thus, through division, each electorate should have roughly 100,000 people in it.  Should have.

The electoral boundaries people then set electorate boundaries with a view to 2 broad objectives.  To keep each electorate within a state or territory; there are no cross-border electorates, and to have as close to this average number as possible in each electorate.

It is never perfect because you can’t have half an MP representing a state, plus they use historical data so there is probably more art than science to this.  And also why each party and in fact everyone else, can make representations to the electoral boundaries people to make their case.

If a particular state/territory is losing or gaining an MP it is because its population relative to the rest has changed.  It is about relative population movements and not absolute movements.  It is also not about an increase or reduction in representation.  People within their particular electorate still have a local member who is there to represent them in parliament (or at least theoretically so).

What Dr Leigh seems to be suggesting is that Australia’s Indigenous people living in the Northern Territory and people living in the Northern Territory in general should have a disproportionately high say in the Commonwealth Parliament; that the electoral people should ignore population number when setting boundaries and instead look first at the racial composition of areas and then base electoral boundaries on that.  Basically, a race based electoral model.

What would be the next step?  A Tim Soutphommasane electoral model that sets racial targets for the House of Reps; that the members should be in proportion to their racial profile in the general community?

Honestly.  What goes through the minds of these people?

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25 Responses to Political twit-erer

  1. duncanm

    Honestly. What goes through the minds of these people?

    mostly tumbleweeds.

  2. Peter Greagg

    First, I am no expert, but broadly speaking I am pretty sure you are correct. The one wrinkle I am aware of is that Tasmania is guaranteed at least 5 HoR seats.
    So apart from that small issue you are correct.
    There is expected to be an electoral redistribution during the current parliament – which is probably the trigger for Lee’s Twit.

  3. Shy Ted

    Dr Andrew Leigh is no fool. Yes he is. He’s routinely ridiculed here and in other forums.

  4. philby

    What a racist twit typical labor greens.

  5. Beachcomber

    Dr Andrew Leigh is no fool.

    That’s debatable. But he is certainly a dickhead.

  6. Robbo

    I agree with other comments about Leigh. He’d be the guy who would lead calls for all MPs to “take a knee” before each days sitting rather than have that white racist prayer that is read by the Speaker. The Doctor (for he is Doctor you know) is just another left wing wanker and should be ignored by normal sane people.

  7. The BigBlueCat

    Well, some other ALP MP’s think that because Australia is roughly divided 50/50 males to females, that 50% of MPs should be female. It’s as though they haven’t heard of “representative democracy”.

  8. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Leigh has as tenuous a grasp of mathematics as Syphilis “91.3%” von Spuddentropp.

  9. H B Bear

    Was Dr Andrew Leigh the one who didn’t know how bank trustee companies work? That makes him a fool in my books – or rather an academic economist.

  10. H B Bear

    As a territory the NT should actually have ZERO representatives. And the ACT too.

  11. Suburban Boy

    Q: What goes through the minds of these people?

    A: “What can we do today to destroy Australia, its history and its achievements? Which lies will best deceive the people and make them despise their own nation?”

  12. mundi

    Such suggestions are very tame compared to what the rest of the left have proposed:

    -aboriginal only seats
    -women only seats
    -abolishing the senate (ala QLD)
    -Proportional representation for senate seats

    However something does seem wrong with NT having two senate seats, while also having the population for only two seats in the house of reps.

  13. Boambee John

    If a particular state/territory is losing or gaining an MP it is because its population relative to the rest has changed. It is about relative population movements and not absolute movements. It is also not about an increase or reduction in representation.

    This relative change in population has been caused by the propensity of new migrants to settle in Sydney or Melbourne. The population ponzi discriminates against the indigenous. You heard it here first.

    For the sake of our indigenous population, stop all immigration now

  14. @mundi. Wyoming. Vermont. Alaska. Delaware. Nth Dakota. South Dakota. Each have 1 congressman and 2 senators.

  15. Lee

    Such suggestions are very tame compared to what the rest of the left have proposed:

    -aboriginal only seats
    -women only seats

    Would a lesbian aboriginal woman count as filling three seats or only one under that system?

  16. Lee

    I just realised the “woman” bit in my last post is redundant.

  17. Perfidious Albino

    or is it Lee?

  18. Squirrel

    Clearly the solution to this outrageously racist….. action by the Electoral Commission is to relocate several federal department HQs from Canberra to the NT (along with their retinues of consultants and outsourced service providers etc.etc.) – that should pump up the NT population numbers enough to win them back their second House of reps seat.

  19. min

    Jacinta Price is talking about the threat to take the seat she stood for last election . Probably to do with lower numbers but she said physically impossible to service the area.

  20. H B Bear

    If you want a seat for life run in the Senate at No 1 or 2 on the Liar or Liberal ticket.

  21. Pyrmonter


    – Seats can cross territorial, but not state-state boundaries. It is conceivable that the ACT could be combined with NSW and the NT with one of SA, WA or Qld to deal with the ‘lumpiness’ of the allocation. If I recall correctly, Charles Richardson (see the side panel) has a few essays on the topic.

    – The allocation is done on the basis of population, not voters: older states (SA) have larger federal electorates than younger ones, with more people unable to vote.

  22. PoliticoNT

    TAFKAS – I saw stats last week from the NT Government claiming the current population is around the 245,000 mark. Don’t know if that means we should qualify for two HoR seats, AEC decisions always seem to have an element of the dark arts about them.

    But the NT? Maybe they should be thinking about lifting the numbers to three instead of dropping it to one. Fair/not fair? Well, all equal under the same law means, sure, 100,000 per seat. But that doesn’t balance out the grotesque malapportionment of the Senate. Although again….while our vote is worth less than a Tasmanian vote, it’s way more than a NSW vote.

    Darwin Rural gets lumped into Lingiari instead of Solomon basically to keep Lingiari a going concern under AEC rules. Lingiari for that matter also includes places as diverse as Canteen Creek, Kaltukatjara, Borroloola, Nyirippi, Kalkarindji, Alyangula, Tiwi, Christmas Island and Cocos & Keeling. Check em all out on a map.

    Do you really think it’s just a numbers game? Do you think someone living in Bees Creek should be included in the same electorate as Mutitjulu? Okay, so they’re only 2,000km apart, but might as well be on different planets. (Mutitjulu is a mess almost solely due to the misplaced intentions of CMWLTH governments.)

    Politics is politics. Anyone associated with politics in the NT will go into bat to keep the two divisions because they want to be perceived as understanding seats in Parliament equals access to a bigger share of the goods. This in spite of the fact politicians of all stripes in the NT are hopeless at securing pretty much anything. Why do you think the Darwin Port lease came about?

    There’s no rhyme nor reason to any of it. But rest assured as a potential future NT MP I’ll be making a submission to the Joint Standing Committe on Electoral Matters in support of the Electoral Act Amendment to ensure the NT gets a minimum two divisions.

  23. Hay Stockard

    The anorthen Territory. China’s bulwark against Australia.

  24. Leo G

    People within their particular electorate still have a local member who is there to represent them in parliament (or at least theoretically so).

    The local member represents the number of electors in their particular electorate, the people who fund their election campaign, the people who influence their income as an MP and in political retirement, and those people in the electorate who can be influenced to reelect them.

  25. a reader

    If the NT is effectively being given the same sovereignty as Tasmania it seems only fair that the same sort of lower house seat preservation number formula should be applied. Having 1 electorate with effectively 1/6 of the country is insane. Mind you so is Canberra having 3…

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