UNFAIR: Council divisions cause ‘compulsory donkey voting’
Letter to the Editor
In reaction to: Councillor weighs in on Gympie divisions debate (Gympie Times).
(Letter to the Editor - from Bruce Devereaux, Gympie Regional Council Division 4 Councillor).
I wanted to vote for a Gympie councillor I thought would do a good job, but I was not allowed to because he did not live in my division. To make things worse, voting is compulsory, so I had to vote for someone who was definitely not my first choice.
Compulsory Donkey Voting - that is what this divisional voting creates. It is unfair. I can‘t say it is undemocratic, you still get to vote, but the value of your vote is diminished.
The person I thought would be best as a councillor does live in the Gympie region - and I was voting for a Gympie councillor - so why can’t I vote for him? I don’t really care where my mayor or councillor lives - as long he or she is within a commutable distance to Gympie. I should be allowed to vote for who I think is best for the job.
I am a firm supporter of proportional representation in all voting. It makes so much more sense. It is a fair and transparent system. The person or party who gets the most votes wins the election.
You may think that is what we have in Australia. This is not the case. Labor + Greens got the most votes in the last federal election but did not get to govern because they did not get enough seats. (Although Labor + Greens would have had to reconcile some issues to form a coalition.)
For me this is just another example of unfairness created by a divisional system we inherited from an archaic British mindset.
At the time this was probably the only viable way to manage the voting, but times have changed. We now have instant mass communication, computer aided counting and cross checking. (Note that I am not saying computers should ever replace humans doing the counting.)
As an extra insult to voters in Australia, voting is compulsory.
All that compulsory voting does is mask engagement by voters. Because it is compulsory, people who cannot decide will vote randomly, and in that case it would be much better to not vote at all.
And that is why I am against these archaic divisional systems, in federal elections, state elections and most especially local elections.
John de Wit, Gympie
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