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March 21, 2009

Western Australia Local Gov to Return to First-Past-the-Post

"Council elections will be more transparent and less able to be manipulated by big political parties under plans to abandon the proportional preferential voting system (PPV)."

Those words are from the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA). In 2007 the state of Western Australia, with a population about half of British Columbia's, imposed a proportional preferential voting system on all municipalities. What they call PPV is the same as STV as you can see from the quota and counting rules.

WA Local Government Association President Cr Bill Mitchell said: "Under the first-past-the-post system candidates need only to win the support of their local community whereas under the PPV system there is a greater focus on running mates and back room deals that mostly suit the organized, larger political parties."

WA Local Government Association, the same as our B.C. Union of Municipalities, ran a television and advertising campaign opposing the introduction of the preferential voting system. In January 2009 a new government in Western Australia announced plans to return to First-Past-the-Post voting in time for their next council elections in October 2009.

It is ironic that British Columbians are considering adopting the system that disappointed voters in Western Australia. Before we vote on BC-STV, British Columbians should consider the experience in Western Australia where they found it is manipulated by big political parties.

British Columbians can also benefit by following politics in Ireland which has used STV since 1918. Its coalition government, only two years old, may collapse after an emergency budget is tabled on April 7th.

 
 

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