by the Professor's comments this morning. Dean Jaensch is Professor of Politics at Flinders University. He is a knowledgeable man and I have, over the years, managed to learn a good deal from his regular column in the 'Tiser - as our state newspaper is sometimes known.
This morning he has written about the conduct of the election. In it he mentions the "constitutional guarantee of one person, one vote, one value". I have to disagree.
It should be the case but, while we are entitled to vote and each person is given one vote, that vote does not have equal value. This is because, in order to have a valid vote, we are compelled to vote in order of preference. Put simply, some candidates get two bites at the cherry - and they steal the second bite, or even a third, fourth or fifth bite. It depends on how many candidates there are on the ballot paper.
Say there are three candidates on the ballot - A, B and C. The voter votes for A because s/he violently disagrees with B and C. But, A is a minor party candidate and gets 10% of the vote. In order for the vote to be valid however the voter has been forced to 'preference' B and C. The vote they have given A is given to B or C despite the voter not wishing to vote for either B or C.
I imagine that this was a dilemma for thinking voters from minor parties. Major party voters do not have this problem - and perhaps that is precisely what the system is designed to do.
The problem increases with the number of candidates and when there are 74 candidates as there were in the Upper House Elections there is the quite ridiculous situation of candidates who are diametrically opposed potentially benefitting from the votes of the other side as the preferences flow on up the line.
Whatever we may think of the system I do not believe the good Professor is right to say that one vote has one value...it clearly has many values indeed.