By Andreas Bimba
The table above of the House of Representatives vote for the current federal election shows how the smaller parties and independents are grossly unrepresented. The table needs to be updated to reflect the latest results, but nevertheless shows the situation clearly.
Malcolm Turnbull is not the legitimate Prime Minister as his Liberal and National Party coalition are usurpers of power and are illegitimate. For the Governor General to recognise the authority of this government is to accept a serious corruption of our political system.
If we had a proportional representation voting system for the House of Representatives, the Greens would have 15 lower house seats, rather than 1, NXT would have 3 rather than 1, other small parties and independents would have 16 seats rather than 3 while the corrupt duopoly would each have about 10 to 20 less seats.
About 58% of us didn’t vote for either the Liberals or Nationals as their first choice for the House of Representatives and those 58% should be out on the streets protesting and shutting down the functions of government.
If we had a proportional representation voting system for the House of Representatives, like for most countries in Europe and also for the lower house of the Tasmanian Parliament (they use the Hare Clark system); we would either now have a Labor – Greens government or a Labor – Micro’s and Independents government and Bill Shorten would be the Prime Minister.
You can read more about proportional representation voting in this Wikipedia article.
Our seat-based system for the lower houses of our Parliaments is fundamentally undemocratic as the voting intent of up to 50% of voters minus 1 vote (if a seat is won by the smallest margin) is discarded for each seat and not considered further. Small parties that have a dispersed voting base are thereby grossly unrepresented in Parliament due to this deficiency.
That is not the end of the story. Because the duopoly of the LNP Coalition or the ALP receive large donations from corporations, that always come with strings, they are able to greatly outspend the smaller parties and independents during campaigning and can saturate the mass media with advertisements as well as have an overwhelming presence on bill boards and at polling booths. These parties can also afford professional advertising companies, marketing researchers and consultants and can undertake other election campaign activities such as polling, telephone marketing and deliver party brochures and Party focused postal vote forms and so forth by commercial means rather than just by using volunteers.
Now let us have a look at our commercial mass media. The vast bulk, especially the Murdoch press displays blatant and heavy bias towards the Coalition especially during election campaigns but also on an ongoing basis. The reality of the wider world is filtered and re-framed in accordance with a political and economic agenda of the media proprietor and this is so effective that for a large portion, possibly even most, of the Australian population their world view is far from where it would otherwise be if they had instead been exposed to a balanced and relevant mass media.
Apart from the natural attraction of conservatism, especially for the older demographic and habit and tradition, how else can you explain most of the vote for the Liberal and National Parties after the appalling Abbott and Turnbull-labelled-Abbott Government?
Current appalling examples of the commercial mass media re-framing reality are the obsession with the debt of the Federal Government and the false logic that balanced Federal Government budgets, or even worse surpluses, are beneficial when the reality is that they are inherently contractionary to the economy. Another example is the false narrative that unemployment is unavoidable when in fact it can be near to zero if the Federal Government ran ongoing deficits of 3 to 5% of GDP just as both the ALP and Coalition did in the post war period up to the mid 1970’s. Other examples were the lies about the proposed mining tax and the carbon tax during the previous Labor Government and more recently the lies and media beat up about the CFA dispute in Victoria.
The commercial mass media is shared amongst very few proprietors and nearly all follow the same destructive neo-liberal agenda that holds our country back, entrenches wealth inequity and poverty, prevents the serious problems such as global warming, habitat destruction, poor infrastructure and excessive gambling for example from being addressed.
The commercial mass media by omission or by framing the public mindset or by fostering a feeling of powerlessness in the public, also enabled gross crony capitalism to become entrenched in our country, for example chronic tax avoidance by businesses, corporations and the affluent, low royalty payments from the Mining and Energy sector, massive subsidies for the Mining and Energy sector, massive fees for super fund managers (currently $25 billion p.a.), massive mortgage repayment windfalls for the major banks (currently ~$40 billion p.a.) due to the real estate price bubble, and the generous tax concessions such as super contributions, negative gearing and CGT concessions that enable the most wealthy to take advantage of what has become an ‘inverted’ progressive tax system where they now have the opportunity to pay a lower percentage of tax on their income than low paid workers.
The government-owned mass media also tries to present a balance between the Coalition and the ALP but has almost forgotten that about one quarter of Australians do not vote for the duopoly and very little media exposure is provided of that alternative, apart from ample negative stereotypes and a big surprise after the election about ‘what the cat dragged in’. For example, I would be surprised if more than 1% of the Australian population saw the Greens campaign launch on the 26 June 2016 or even a summary of it in the news.
Some links on the Hare Clark voting system:
And New Zealand’s Mixed Member Proportional – MMP voting system:
MMP Voting System
Canada’s truth in the media laws:
A Law Against Lying on the News
Regulators Reject Proposal That Would Bring Fox-Style News to Canada