PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA

Tel +613 9589 1802

Tel +61429176725

18 Anita Street

BEAUMARIS VIC 3193

 

info@prsa.org.au

www.prsa.org.au

2014-03-15

 

 

The Hare-Clark System of Proportional Representation

 

 

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The Hare-Clark electoral system is described by Tasmania's Parliament, and by the Electoral Commissions of Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Hare-Clark became Tasmania's lower house electoral system in 1907, and the Australian Capital Territory's system in 1992. See the Tasmanian Electoral Commission's brief videos on Hare-Clark, and on how to vote using it.

 

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Hare-Clark is a Quota-Preferential (or Single Transferable Vote) PR system that, unlike other PR systems, implements the vital principle of DIRECT ELECTION of representatives. PR should be used to fill an ODD - not an even number of places - to ensure majorities prevail.

 

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Robson Rotation governs printing of candidates' names on ballot-papers so no candidate has more or less chance of being in a more prominent position on a ballot-paper than any other candidate, thus neutralizing "donkey votes", and making Australia's widespread use of political parties' self-serving "how-to-vote" cards ineffective.

 

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Partial optional marking of preferences has always applied in Hare-Clark, so that those preferences beyond the small number of positions to be filled may be marked, but do not have to be marked, for a ballot to be valid.


In contrast, the Senate PR system - without any good public interest reason - controversially requires nearly all preferences to be marked for a valid below-the-line vote. In the 2013 election of six senators for New South Wales, there was a record 110 candidates, requiring 99 preferences to be marked for a ballot to be valid.

 

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The Droop quota, rather than the Hare quota originally put forward by Thomas Hare, is used in the Hare-Clark system, as in virtually all modern quota-preferential proportional representation systems, because it avoids some of the practical disadvantages of the Hare quota.


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Gregory fractional transfer is the system of transferring surplus votes by examining all relevant papers prescribed, and transferring a fractional part of their vote value to the candidate indicated as the next available preference.

 

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Countback ensures, unlike the undemocratic system of replacement of directly elected senators by party appointees used for the Senate and all of mainland Australia's Upper Houses except that of Western Australia, that the people that fill casual vacancies under the Hare-Clark system are directly elected by the voters. It has been part of the Hare-Clark system since 1918.

 

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Further information on Hare-Clark is in the Tasmanian Section of A Brief History of the PRSA and its Branches.

 

 

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