Western Australian Legislative Council reform plan announced

Western Australia’s Legislative Council set to lose its system of six six-member regions under a new proposal for one-vote one-value.

The Western Australian government has declared its hand on reform for the state’s Legislative Council, with the release today of the report of the Ministerial Expert Committee on Electoral Reform. It recommends abolishing the state’s system of six six-member regions and having the entire chamber elected at large, similar to the situation that applies in the New South Wales and South Australia, but without their staggered eight-year terms.

Whereas the system currently allocates half the members to the metropolitan area and half to the non-metropolitan area, despite the former claiming roughly three-quarters of the state’s population, the proposed reform offers “one-vote one-value”. It naturally does so at the expense of existing regional representation, and is sure to alienate country voters who were repeatedly told by Mark McGowan before the March election that such reform was “not on our agenda”.

With the government apparently also planning to increase the number of members from 36 to 37 (it doesn’t say this in the report, but Attorney-General John Quigley said this was the plan at his press conference today), this means the quota for election will be a mere 2.63%, compared with the 14.28% quota that applies under the existing system, as well as at half-Senate elections; the 7.69% quota that applies for the Senate at double dissolutions; the 4.54% quota in New South Wales has when electing half its 42 members of the Legislative Council; and the 8.33% quota in South Australia when electing half its chamber of 22.

However, the report also predictably recommends the abolition of group voting tickets, so we may at least be assured that parties elected on small vote shares will be the most popular of their kind and not simply beneficiaries of preference harvesting, as was notoriously the case with Wilson Tucker of the Daylight Saving Party, who won a seat in the Mining and Pastoral region at the March state election from 98 votes.

As was done in the Senate, this will be complemented by optional preferential voting, so that abolishing the group voting ticket option does not oblige voters to number ever box on what threatens to be a very large statewide ballot paper. Whereas the Senate ballot paper advises voters to number a minimum of either six boxes above the line or twelve below it, while actually allowing as few as one or six respectively to constitute a formal vote, the recommendation is to direct voters to number any number of boxes above the line or at least 20 below it.

To mitigate against the dramatic expansion that looms in the size of the ballot paper, there are recommendations that the hurdles should be raised for parties wishing to seek election: a $500 registration fee; a requirement that parties be registered for more than six months before the election; tightening the requirement that parties have at least 500 members by requiring that none of them be members of other registered parties; hiking the nomination fee from $250 per candidate to $1000; requiring 200 electors to nominate independent candidates; and requiring at least three candidates for above-the-line groups.

This must all now go through parliament, and while it is more than possible the details will be refined during the process, Labor’s massive parliamentary majorities ensure that it is unlikely to amount to much.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

50 comments on “Western Australian Legislative Council reform plan announced”

  1. I get 2.63% for a quota (1/38).

    Interesting they went for full instead of half, and with no floor.

    I re-ran last election with new rules and got
    ALP 23
    Lib 7
    Nat 1
    Greens 3
    LC 1
    ON 1
    SFF 1

    So similar but different. Seems like a general win for ALP and to a lesser extend Libs and Greens (but will make Libs legislation harder to pass without natural partner of Nats).

  2. Out of curiosity, I had a go at estimating how the numbers would have went in earlier elections under these proposed changes, with differences to the actual results in brackets.


    Labor: 15 (+1)
    Liberal: 10 (+1)
    Greens: 3 (-1)
    One Nation: 3 (0)
    National: 2 (-2)
    Shooters, Fishers, Farmers: 1 (0)
    Christians: 1 (+1)
    Liberal Democrats: 1 (0)
    Animal Justice: 1 (+1)


    Liberal: 18 (+1)
    Labor: 12 (+1)
    Greens: 3 (+1)
    National: 2 (-3)
    Christians: 1 (+1)
    Shooters and Fishers: 1 (0)


    Liberal: 15 (-1)
    Labor: 14 (+3)
    Greens: 4 (0)
    National: 2 (-3)
    Family First: 1 (+1)
    Christian Democrats: 1 (+1)

  3. I feel like Victoria’s GTV system has thrown up more surprises, despite the higher quota. Interestingly the Senate data from 2019 shows the Nationals doing pretty well (1%+) in some of the more affluent suburbs of Perth. They polled a whole 1% at the Swanbourne booth, however having them on the ballot paper for all metro voters probably doesn’t make a diddly squat of difference. The problem is that this was the only option, as doing a 9-9-9-9 split (NM, EM, SM, and then everything else) wouldn’t have been very (if at all) representative. The natural path for the Nats to get more seats is to have policies which are palatable to metro voters.

  4. This looks sensible.

    GTVs gone – fantastic.
    Real PR – fair enough.

    If I were to tweak anything I think I would prefer to see the NSW style half elections. I think the small amount of political inertia is an important safeguard against unusual political circumstances delivering massive one-off votes for one party allowing basically unchecked power. And yes, I get that that is exactly the circumstances that have allowed this reform to be possible in the first place, but still.

  5. Having all 37 members elected by the state as a single electorate is insane! NSW has hundreds of candidates run for the LC just to elect 21 members. WA’s ballot size will be astronomical in comparison!

    We could have had a MMP system (with proportional representation) which would have given reasonable ballot paper sizes but disenfranchising rural voters took priority over having a sensible electoral system.

  6. I didn’t expect them to have the guts to get rid of the zonal system as a whole, but I’m glad. I was expecting a more nuanced tweak of the numbers of seats in each region, and maybe a merger of Ag with MiPa.

    The low threshold is a bit of a concern though, as is the likely expansion of the ballot paper size. I would definitely have preferred electing half the chamber at a time.

  7. The Right will scream blue murder as they try to make the case that a rural or regional vote is worth three times a metropolitan Perth vote. In the face of furious opposition, that is the point that the Government should emphasise in support of its reform – one vote one value. Some votes aren’t worth three times others.

    I would, however, go for staggered elections for half the chamber, eighteen seats at a time. I accept Jackol’s case for a bit of built-in inertia. The other issue is the number of candidates. The ballot paper might end up two metres wide. In NSW, ballot papers for Senate double dissolutions (12 members) and the State upper house (21) are about a metre wide on a system similar to what is proposed, admittedly for a population three times as large.

  8. Excellent approach. I’d be setting a 5% minimum requirement, with preferences of parties falling below that threshold on first preferences being automatically distributed to the others, to determine seats won.

  9. I’m not a fan of staggered terms, especially given recent times. It risks the defeated previous government still controlling the upper house then thwarting the new government’s legislative agenda all the while claiming that the new government ‘can’t govern the country’ and is ‘breaking its promises’, and its an all too successful tactic for getting back quickly for right wing goverments.

  10. I can live with a quota of 2.63% (only just) as long as they make it a MINIMUM requirement on primary vote. If you fall short on PV, your vote should be automatically distributed. That way the ballot papers hopefully won’t be cluttered with so many hopeless candidates that gum up the system. In fact, double the deposit required to get on the ballot paper with no refunds short of a quota.

    I like the concept of the state as one electorate. The LA is the ideal place for local candidates. The LC is the ideal place for the representation of minor parties that reach a quota.

    I also am not a fan of staggered terms. Gough used to go on about ‘contemporary parliaments’, meaning the upper and lower houses should be elected simultaneously. Gough was NEVER wrong!

  11. Why does WA need such a large upper house? Why not have 25 or 30 members in the LC and increase the LA to 65 or 70 members – i.e same number of parliamentarians. At least some of the extra would be directly representing regional WA.
    My other concern is about having 37 members elected from a single state wide list – I can see (particularly in the ALP and Libs) a whole lot of party hacks padding out the list and effectively representing no one. The quota with 37 would be very low and you would end up with dogs, cats, mice and rats.
    The Victorian upper house system of regions tied to lower house electorates at least forces MPs to represent an area (even though I think I only know who one of my 5 upper house MPs are).

  12. Yes WA might finally become a democracy now but is democracy really worth having a longer ballot to fill out and parties I don’t like getting elected? Impossible to say, according to very intelligent and well meaning people

  13. I’m mostly OK with this, but I’d rather have seen a 4*9 upper house. Regional representation, equal-ish votes, and a non-enormous ballot paper. Ahh well, at least it’s happening.

    Will the abolition of regions mean lower house seats can cross the invisible boundary between “city” and “country”? There’s a new seat just waiting to be drawn from Secret Harbour down to Meadow Springs, and currently the council boundary between Rockingham (city) and Mandurah (country) means if Baldivis and Warnbro keep on going over quota, the only way to fix it involves Darling Range (ie: a seat with Byford and Roleystone, plus the eastern patch of Baldivis 20 km to the west). Ugly, like the old seat of Serpentine-Jarrahdale was. Surely that can be fixed.

  14. https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/09/15/western-australian-legislative-council-reform-plan-announced/#comment-3704629

    If the current plan gets through unaltered, which I am assuming it will, 4×9 won`t be an option anymore (barring a referendum) if anyone tries to reintroduce regions.

    The artificial boundary was largely about the fixed boundaries of the malapportionment that is being scrapped. Flexible region boundaries would also allow seats across the metro boundary, like happens in Victoria.

  15. Will, you say the change is “sure to alienate country voters “. But is there any evidence that the ordinary voters in the outer regions – good, honest, fair-minded country folk – really believe that their vote should be worth several times more than the vote of one of their city cousins? Or is it just the National Party activists who think that way? (And of course their Conservative-alias-Liberal mates who benefit from the boost to National numbers.) A little survey of the opinions of the ordinary (ie non party-member) country folk would be interesting.

  16. The actual backlash in WA, even by way of the West newspaper, has been fairly restrained. The West conceded the Upper House needed “fixing up” but soothed the conscience of its country readers by ‘warning’ McGowan governed for all.
    Some have had an each way bet, admitting the Upper House needed fixing but somehow the weighting should protect those poor people in the country.
    A third group – mainly died in the wool Nationals – not willing to concede anything was wrong with a system that has never – in 128 years – allowed Labor control of the Upper House. Lots of meaningless talk of “House of Review” stuff, but no concession that such review has been along party lines like, for ever….
    May this change be swift and certain, as it is unlikely Labor will ever get this opportunity again.
    Of course, all talk of “not having a mandate”, “should have an election on the issue” and a “referendum” is now so much rubbish compared with the unilateral decision by Morrison to spend 200$ billion and counting on 8 subs due 20 years from now……..

  17. Alpo…the concept of one-vote-one-value is lost by some on the conservative side….Their view is that the inequalities (real or other) that the bush ‘suffers’ means weighting of votes is a “fair” means to balance this situation. They have even “written papers” on the matter to prove their point.
    These conservatives would like to go back to the days when only “men of substance” should get the vote – these being rich males, kind of like the gentry in the UK used to be I suppose.
    Surely, they ask themselves, one can see that a wheat/sheep farmer/miner/cray fisherman in the bush, must be worth at least 3-8 votes more compared with those latte-sipping, left-wing, woke trendies, Greens and other low life who live in the metropolitan area – like where 90% of the population live? You don’t see it that way….well what a surprise….You must be one of those…..latte-sipping etc. etc. type of persons!

  18. As a South Australian, I agree with a lot of what people have said here. Totally in favour of the reforms, I just personally would have gone with half the chamber being elected every 4 years. Its an arrangement that has worked well in SA with no government or opposition having a majority in the chamber since the 1st PR election in 1975. It also helps make clear that the lower house, with its more recent mandate, is supreme in government formation despite being made up of single member electorates. Under the WA model, I’m not sure what moral right the lower house would still have to be supreme.

  19. I agree with Max (Thurs, 8.45am) in regard to my ideal of a minimum 5% PV threshold for representation (as in Germany), but I can accept 2.63%. The higher the threshold and the higher the required deposit, the more whacky candidates would opt out. This would save them money and shorten the ballot paper. Leave the field open to serious candidates who have a genuine belief they can exceed the threshold.

  20. “Tricot says:
    Friday, September 17, 2021 at 2:20 pm….”

    Thanks for your post Tricot. Yeah, it reminds me of Socrates who was also of the idea that only “men of substance” should have a say in the Athenian democracy. But the majority disagreed with him and he was actually sentenced to death for undermining the democratic spirit of Athens….

    These days the anti-democratic conservatives should regard themselves lucky, we just reform the system when the system is unfair… and nobody is asked to drink hemlock!

  21. https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/09/15/western-australian-legislative-council-reform-plan-announced/comment-page-1/#comment-3704883

    Support for rural weighting would likely be significant outside Perth, as they are the beneficiaries, with reduced levels in partisan ALP and/or Green supporters who know their parties suffer from weighting.

    Support for the existence of regions is likely a lot higher as they make MLCs more local. I don`t think Victorians would vote to scrap Legislative Council regions (no rural/regional weighting), which are referendum protected in the Victorian constitution.

  22. The argument the conservative side puts up with regard to the Upper House being a house of review has some merit – if, and I mean if, the MLC’s were actually supported their local constituents first and the party they belong to second. In modern politics this largely, does not happen.
    When the Nationals under Grylls were selling themselves to the highest bidders a couple of elections ago – Liberal or Labor – to be in coalition, BG managed to squeeze Royalties for Regions from the Libs…..The country folk loved it as come what may, about a billion $$$ was diverted from the State budget to fund elaborate and expensive country projects.
    The Libs got to hate R for R but it was only when Labor got into office this rort (from my perspective anyway) was addressed.
    The crap about “house of review” meant absolutely nothing and all the Nationals were interested in was wagging the Liberal dog and to squeeze as much as could be squeezed by way of $$$ from their partners in office. The needs of metropolitan Labor voters, for instance, were laregly ignored……

  23. Tom F&B – you say “likely” this and “likely” that. It’s certainly possible, but my point was that everyone _assumes_ that because the political activists in the country areas are driven by narrow sectional interests then everyone in those areas is the same. It’s just possible that even rural people other than the Nat Party activists actually have democratic ideals. We won’t know until someone not connected with the Nats or CaLs* surveys some of them.

    Conservatives-alias-Liberals – their true identity.

  24. A lower quota is actually bad news for microparties. They’re basically chasing the last seat in every region, which is how Vic (8 regions) ended up with a liquorice allsorts upper house in 2018. One big region and no GVTs means there’s only one seat for some 1% party to get lucky with (eg: the Animal Justice Party in NSW). The upper house crossbench would tend to be Greens, Nats, minor right (Shooters / One Nation / CDP), maybe plus one of “who ordered that?”

  25. https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/09/15/western-australian-legislative-council-reform-plan-announced/comment-page-1/#comment-3705214

    Most voters have a tendency to be driven by their own interests or perceived interests. Tasmanians have strongly voted against referenda seen as reducing the Senate`s interest. It is quite obvious how rural and regional voters could quite like rural and regional weighting, as they are generally the beneficiaries. Among rural and regional voters, it is only the repeatedly outvoted rural and regional voters (a.k.a. the left) who have a countervailing interest in reducing the power of their own vote. Presuming most rural and regional voters don`t oppose reducing the power of their own vote, without strong evidence to the contrary, is a significant leap from logic.

  26. “the proposed reform offers “one-vote one-value””….

    Isn’t that the definition of….. Democracy?….

    I think it’s clearly not that simple. In a literal sense ‘democracy’ just means rule by the people (as opposed to kings, emperors, priests, etc). So democracy covers a lot of different potential forms of government and law making – citizen initiated referenda easily fits in a definition of ‘democracy’, although not one we’re particularly familiar with here; representative democracy adds a bunch of wrinkles as you throw in the method of selecting the representation.

    Basic FPTP, in a trivial sense, weights every vote the same but does it properly select representatives? Many people still think it does, though I would not. On the spectrum of different voting systems with preferential, PR with different sizes of electorates etc, there clearly can be a lot of debate around what one-vote-one-value actually means and whether it is the best way of selecting representation.

    I think removing the malapportionment is sensible and reasonable for WA; but I also see that there can be merit in weighting representation in different ways – I don’t think it’s inherently a bad thing for democracies to have different constituencies given different sized voices, provided there’s a broad understanding and acceptance of why this is done.

    Take the current Federal ALP leadership ballot rules, for example – having 50% weighting on the broad membership and 50% weighting on caucus actually seems fairly reasonable to me. A purely membership based vote loses the importance that needs to be placed on having a leader who can work with and lead their colleagues effectively. A purely caucus based vote is clearly not putting any power in the members’ hands. But it could be weighted differently, and it may well change over time for perfectly sensible reasons.

    I can see reasonable arguments for saying that regional areas could need a greater weighting to prevent regional areas from being forgotten or ignored by an easy/oblivious majority based out of Perth. And there are reasonable arguments that majorities in Perth shouldn’t be held hostage by unrepresentative regional MLCs elected on much smaller vote shares.

    Anyway, I’m sure I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said a million times before. All I’m saying is that it seems to me that “democracy” and what is “democratic” are such broad, malleable concepts that need to be adjusted based on real world considerations, and simple slogans don’t really capture how to make successful democratic institutions that are fit for purpose.

  27. @Bird of paradox

    My calculations are 1439168/37 = 38897 votes for a seat.

    After primarily quotas I get the following

    Legalise Cannabis 28,473
    Australian Christians 28,051
    Green + Labor 26,695
    One Nation 21,259
    Shooters, Fishers, Farmers 21,210
    Liberal 20998
    No Mandatory Vaccination 16,094
    Western Australia Party 10,496

    And with 5 seats available I can easily see 4 minor parties getting seats. (more then the 3 currently in the senate)

    Quota Seats:
    Labor 22 seats
    Liberals 6 seats
    Greens 2 seats
    Nationals 1 seat

  28. @ Tom the first and best

    There’s a not unrespectable argument waiting to be had before the High Court (based on a comment made by Kirby J in Marquet v WA) as to whether Victoria’s constitutional entrenchments of its Legislative Council apply at all unless and until they’re passed by a referendum in the first place. (They were only introduced by way of ordinary legislation.) Put another way, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the High Court would find that a State parliament can only entrench part of its Constitution by referendum by getting that passed by a referendum in the first place.

  29. Tom F&B – I’m not _presuming_ that rural voters don’t oppose reducing the power of their own vote. It seems you’re so dogmatic that you assume everyone else is being dogmatic without paying attention to what they’ve said. Read my actual words – I said “It’s just possible…” I’d like a survey (or failing that at least 50 bits of anecdotal evidence) before I’d start to form a conclusion either way. (One thing I will say dogmatically – you can’t assume that people who vote for Party X share all the views of the vocal party members – many of them are less extreme.)

    And more generally, for everyone, it’s worth noting Antony Green’s latest post analysing the preference distributions in the latest WA Senate election. It shows that only 28.4% of voters for the “Liberals”, 18.6% of Labor voters, and a far smaller percentage of all others follow the HTV through the first 6 preferences. In other words the great majority make up their own minds (and of course the number may be even higher because there may be some who follow the ticket because they agree with it). The voters – even most Liberal Party voters! -are not sheeple. This may have consequences for how the new LC voting system will work out.

  30. Catprog: Where you draw the line between minor and microparties is down to personal taste, I guess. I don’t mind Legalise Cannabis getting 2% (ish) of seats statewide if that’s the vote they got – what I do mind is them getting more seats than the Greens with a third of their vote. The relation between votes and seats should be monotonic. Parties with the vote of LC get elected in countries like the Netherlands; Daylight Savings wouldn’t get within cooee there (or in any sane system). That’s where I’d draw the line.

    Doing some numbers, here’s the new method applied to the 2021 election (using quotas instead of raw votes, it’s easier to read), and taking out the {22,6,2,1} for the largest four parties:

    ALP 0.93
    LC 0.75
    AC 0.74
    Lib 0.72
    ON 0.56
    SFF 0.56
    NMV 0.43
    Grn 0.42

    others: 1.89

    31 seats already decided, so 6 to go. The mish-mash of <1% parties would scatter everywhere without GVTs and shouldn't change the order much. Arbitrarily send one-eighth to each party:

    ALP 1.17
    LC 0.99
    AC 0.98
    Lib 0.95
    ON 0.80
    SFF 0.80
    NMV 0.66
    Grn 0.66

    That's another 4 seats basically decided (you don't lose on 0.95 quotas without preference harvesting shenanigans). One Nation and the Shooters are probably a good chance for the last two.

    Result: ALP 23, Lib 7, Greens 2, and one each for Nats, LC, AC, ON, SFF.

    All parties have a difference between % seats and % votes of less than 2%. A shade over 94% got the party they voted for elected. The Gallagher index is 2.37, which is pretty good. (Treating all non-winners as a block bumps it up to 4.75.)

  31. I just did this for a few other elections.

    2017: ALP 15, Lib 10, Grn 3, ON 3, Nat 2, one each for SFF, AC, LDP, AJP. (Labor need an extra 4 for majority – most likely ALP+Grn+AJP.)

    * Without the lucky draw in South Metro, the LDP seat in 2017 could’ve been an 11th Lib instead.

    2013: Lib 18, ALP 12, Grn 3, Nat 2, AC 1, SFF 1. (Lib+Nat majority.)

    2008: Lib 15, ALP 14, Grn 4, Nat 2, FF 1, CDP 1. (No clear majority.)

    2005: ALP 16, Lib 14, Grn 3, one each for Nat, CDP, FF, ON. (ALP+Grn majority.)

    2001: ALP 14, Lib 13, ON 4, Grn 3, one each for the Democrats, Nats and CDP. (No clear majority.)

    Largest crossbenches: 7 in 2017 and 6 in 2001 (both inflated by One Nation).

    The Greens would have a fairly reliable three seats and the CDP / AC an equally reliable one. Shooters would also have their little niche. The Nats never make it above two – no wonder they’re screaming. The rotten borough of Agricultural Region makes a big difference. Labor govts would still have to be good at horsetrading, but they’d be in a better position.

  32. Yes Catprog, that was A-G Quigley’s extra little touch on top of the Committee’s recommendations. Makes sense because it avoids the problems that could arise from an 18:18 split (like the gov’t being tempted to bribe an oppo member to take the Chair!) but it would have been better if he’d let the Expert Committee know it was in the offing. Then they might have considered other possible formulae for the regions – like 3 metro districts electing 9 Councillors each and 2 rural with 5 each. They might still have decided that election-at-large was best, but they would have had more options.

  33. There will not be universal disappointment in regional areas about losing their advantage. Many won’t care and some more will be like me who spent most of my life far from Perth. I would rather have a progressive Council that would assist the implementation of policy that I prefer.

  34. Another chestnut argument put by supporters of the status-quo, around the concept of “fairness”, is to suggest “the regions” will be disadvantaged because those Perth people do not understand “the regions”……
    I heard the Federal Member for Durack attacking the proposed changes during the week- making the point that her electorate (biggest in Oz?) needed special consideration merely because of its sheer size. This as maybe. However, it was when she then went on to pretend that all regions beyond the Perth metropolitan area were somehow homogeneous in their needs…and hence deserved special treatment, that it was apparent she was talking rubbish.
    In a land mass stretching from the tropics to cool temperate in the South-West, the large majority of this country voters still live within 500 kilometres of the metro area……………………….These souls are neither in isolated nor remote locations……The Kimberley and Pilbara are not Albany and then the miners of the Pilbara are FIFOs – mainly to and from Perth……The remote and isolated areas do need as much help as they can get but not to the point of 6-8 votes more than those in Perth…..

  35. Tricot, there is a simple solution to overcoming regional disadvantage, if in fact it is significant in the age of internet and jet aircraft. Just give the MP’s more staff on the condition they spread them across the electorate.

  36. Then they might have considered other possible formulae for the regions – like 3 metro districts electing 9 Councillors each and 2 rural with 5 each.

    I’ve never really been a fan of mixed numbers for regions. (Like the 1989-2008 upper house, with a mixture of 5 and 7 seats per region; quotas = 16.7% and 12.5%). Why should a party around the 10% mark have their chance of winning seats depend on where their voters live? The Greens never had cause to complain about that in the 90’s, as their strength around Fremantle made them just as likely to win in the 5-seat South Metro as the 7-seat North Metro, but it was still an anomaly, and not particularly fair.

  37. “Tricot says:
    Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 2:49 pm”

    Thanks Tricot, that’s an interesting insight into what’s going on in the mind of some Western Australians. Allow me some comments:
    a) “Another chestnut argument put by supporters of the status-quo, around the concept of “fairness”, is to suggest “the regions” will be disadvantaged because those Perth people do not understand “the regions”……”
    But then why should those regional people, who don’t understand Perth, be allowed an unfair advantage to impose their will on the rest?

    b) “I heard the Federal Member for Durack attacking the proposed changes during the week- making the point that her electorate (biggest in Oz?) needed special consideration merely because of its sheer size.”…. Have rocks, sand and bushes a constitutional right to representation in parliament?

    c) “However, it was when she then went on to pretend that all regions beyond the Perth metropolitan area were somehow homogeneous in their needs…and hence deserved special treatment, that it was apparent she was talking rubbish.”…. Yes, I agree, that’s a very rubbishy rubbish indeed.

    d) “The remote and isolated areas do need as much help as they can get but not to the point of 6-8 votes more than those in Perth…..”…. The reduced electoral power of remote and isolated areas is not zero…. They just have to learn how to use the power of their vote, as all other constituencies have learnt (or will have to learn) in due course.

  38. Tricot – well obviously the Member for Durack does not know much about State Seats in her electorate, as Kimberly, Pilbara, North West Coastal all have a quota due to their size. I mean North West Coast was won on less than 4000 votes.

  39. Everyone whingeing about the LC not having malapportionment can be happy because the LA is still scuffed as….

    NWC: 11K voters
    Butler: 33K voters

    Both elect one MP.
    The quota for a district is 29,097 voters.

    Butler is already 12% above quota.
    Those either way too small or way too big and would have to be drastically redistributed if the process is fair:
    Armadale 10.7% above
    Baldivis 11.9% above
    Butler 12.4% above
    Central Wheatbelt 11% below
    Jandakot 10.4% above
    Kalgoorlie 32.5% below
    Kimberley 45.9% below
    Moore 10.6% below
    North West Central 62.2% below
    Pilbara 20% below
    Roe 15.1% below
    West Swan 10.8% above

    The only metro electorates more than 5% below quota are…. oh wait, there aren’t any 🙁

  40. North West Central is so under quota because half of its voters come from the LDA rather than being physical human beings. When you get an extra 1500 phantom voters for every 100,000 sq km of land, in a district this enormous (larger than NSW!), it adds up. The LDA was only supposed to be used on remote electorates, but some of the wheatbelt ones are getting huge enough to trigger it. (The LDA is a necessary evil: without it, you’d get staggeringly huge seats like the old Murchison-Eyre.)

    The Kimberley and Pilbara regions deserve to be their own seats, both on community-of-interest grounds and the size they already are. If they’re under quota, the answer should be to increase the size of the lower house. Just add two seats, and you could do this:

    In the northern suburbs, revert to the 2008 boundaries, with one alteration: both Butler and Mindarie are seats. There should be two quotas worth of ppl north of Tamala Park rubbish tip (ie: the 2008 version of Mindarie), so that should be easy to draw, at least locally.

    In the far south: a new seat of Secret Harbour (or whatever it wants to be called), straddling Rockingam and Mandurah councils.

    Plus a few renamings:
    Cockburn -> Beeliar
    West Swan -> Ellenbrook
    Darling Range -> Byford

    These names date back to when those areas were the rural fringe of Perth, and refer to areas much larger than the currently-named seats. Time they were gone.

  41. LDA = Large District Allowance (jargon, sorry). I’ll borrow Antony Green’s words here:

    Districts greater than 100,000 square kilometres in area are granted a Large District Allowance (LDA), a number of ‘notional’ electors equal to 1.5% of the area of the electorate in square kilometres. The LDA is added to the enrolment, and the adjusted enrolment is permitted to be up to 20% below the quota, where for all other electorates a 10% lower bound applies.

    For example, the 2019 redistribution established an enrolment quota of 27,573. The Mining and Pastoral Region electorate of North West Central, by far the state’s largest in area, had only 10,904 voters. This was augmented by an LDA of 12,275 notional electors, giving the electorate a notional enrolment of 23,179, 15.9% under quota but permitted by the lower 20% variation allowed for districts with an LDA.

    North West Central also has one of the lowest turnouts in WA (typical for the remote seats). That all together meant less than 8000 people actually voted in NWC in March, compared to above 30,000 in some Perth seats.

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