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?