Monday, 7 August 2017

Voting for a representative

 in parliament or in an organisation can be both simple and complex.
There has been a redrawing of our electoral  boundaries and this household is now in a new electorate. I am now represented by someone I didn't vote for and for whom I didn't have the opportunity to vote. 
In March next year I will have the opportunity to vote for someone to represent me at state level. I may not get my first choice but I will have voted and I will have to accept the result even if it doesn't go my way.
The problem in my previous electorate is different. The current representative was elected by a majority as a member of a particular party in order to represent the electorate in a certain way. Two months after the election - and without consulting the electorate - he switched sides and accepted a ministry in the government. He claimed to now be "independent" and that it was all about "stability" in government. I doubt many people believe that. He is seen simply as someone who switched sides for his own benefit.
This morning he is being quoted in the paper as saying that, after the next election, he will support whichever party can form government.  He apparently has no doubts that he will be re-elected. 
That may not be the case. He may split the vote and preferential voting may get him across the line. There are some who will support him outright but he may not have the numbers. A lot of people are still angry.
What bothers me about the situation is that this man ignored the will of the people who elected him. He also ignored the will of the state. The electoral boundaries were drawn up in such a way that the present government managed to retain power without obtaining a majority of the votes. "Fair" and "representative" electoral boundaries are notoriously difficult to draw but there was no doubt what the people in this man's electorate wanted and what a majority of electors wanted.  He should have gone to the people of the electorate. He will need to do so in March next year.
An organisation I belong to will have an AGM next month. All the positions are open and voting will not be preferential. Positions will  be won by a simple majority - or no vote at all if nobody contests the positions. We will then need to accept the results for the next two years. As there is no "opposition" as such there is no opportunity for people to switch sides but those elected need to recognise they are there to represent what the members want, not what they want. If that doesn't happen then the group won't function properly. If it does happen then we can make progress.
It's called "democracy".

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

You are not the only one who gets frustrated at the redrawing of the boundaries.

I was particularly incensed one election when the boundary was redrawn within weeks of the election and, like you, I was unable to have my chosen candidate represent me.
Sure, if the boundaries need to be redrawn to keep our electoral system fair according to population changes, redraw them, but they could at least wait until just before an election. The divisions should be more accurate too by then.