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2017 News
2017-12 REPEAL OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA'S FAIRNESS CLAUSE: The PRSA(SA) has advised that the obviously unimplementable Clause 83(i) inserted in South Australia's Constitution Act 1934 by a 76% YES vote at a referendum on 1991-02-09, which read, "In making an electoral redistribution the Commission must ensure, as far as practicable, the electoral redistribution is fair to prospective candidates and groups of candidates so that, if candidates of a particular group attract more than 50 per cent of the popular vote (determined by aggregating votes cast throughout the State and allocating preferences to the necessary extent), they will be elected in sufficient numbers to enable a government to be formed." has fortunately been included in a bill to repeal it passed by South Australia's Parliament this month.

The PRSA(SA) was the sole campaigner against the Clause in 1991, calling it 'constitutional window-dressing', and was pleased that the cross-bench MLCs gave the necessary support for the repeal.

3RD REFERENDUM ON BRITISH COLUMBIA ELECTORAL SYSTEM: The new British Columbia Government of the New Democratic Party backed by the Greens Party has introduced legislation for a referendum in 2018 that will give voters a choice between PR systems and the existing plurality system.

Unlike BC's 2005 and 2009 referendums on this subject, the outcome will be binding if it receives the vote of an absolute majority of voters. At Prince Edward Island's second advisory poll, in 2016, with 36% turnout, PR-STV was not an option, and MMP won, but it will not take effect until confirmed at a new poll.

2017-11 BRITISH MPs DEBATE PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION: See and hear some members of the House of Commons - all of whom are elected by a single-member electorate system - respond in debate about a petition of over 100,000 signatures that seeks some type of PR system for UK general elections.

2017-10 ELECTION OF PRSA NATIONAL OFFICERS FOR 2018-19: The Returning Officer's declaration of the election appears here.

2017-10 CONDOLENCES FROM JSCEM: The PRSA National Treasurer, Julie McCarron-Benson, notified the Federal Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters of the death of the PRSA National President, Bogey Musidlak, and received a letter of condolence from its Chair, Senator Linda Reynolds.

2017-09 A.C.T. ASSEMBLY SPEECHES ON BOGEY MUSIDLAK: The A.C.T. Legislative Assembly's adjournment debate on 19 September began with members reflecting on the life of the late Bogey Musidlak, and his major contribution to the A.C.T. Assembly benefiting from an entrenched Hare-Clark electoral system.

DEATH OF PRSA NATIONAL PRESIDENT: The PRSA reports the sad news of the untimely death, at only 63, of Bogey Musidlak, who had been the National President of the PRSA for over 23 years since he first gained that position in 1994.

Bogey’s funeral took place on Friday, 08 September 2017, and he was buried at the Woden Cemetery in Phillip, ACT. Online tributes include those from Bogey’s sister, Clarissa; members of the family of the late Senator David Vigor, for whom Bogey worked; and various PRSA members. Malcolm Mackerras AO provided an obituary to The Canberra Times under the title of  'Father of the ACT's Hare-Clark electoral system'. A tribute under Bogey’s full name of Boguslaw Czeslaw Musidlak appears in The Adelaide Advertiser, as Bogey had family links to Adelaide, where he was born.

Malcolm Mackerras had known Bogey well since he worked with him on the PRSA(ACT)’s two successful campaigns
  • in 1992 to win Hare-Clark at an advisory poll, and repel a Government move to impose a Group Voting Ticket option on it that was not disclosed until after the advisory poll was won, which is a major reason why politicians prefer advisory polls to binding referendums; and 
  • in 1995 to entrench Hare-Clark in a binding referendum.
THE NEW PRSA NATIONAL PRESIDENT: The Returning Officer at the most recent election of PRSA National officers, Deane Crabb, has duly declared, under Section 16 of the PRSA Constitution, that Dr Jeremy Lawrence, who is the current Vice-President of the PRSA’s Victoria-Tasmania Branch, was elected as the PRSA National President for the remainder of Bogey’s 2016-17 term, as Jeremy was the only other candidate at that election.

2017-07 SUBMISSION TO ELECTORAL MATTERS COMMITTEE: The Branch made a written submission to the Committee's Inquiry into Civics and Electoral Participation in Victorian State Parliamentary Elections.

2017-06 ANTONY GREEN AO: With this year's Queen's Birthday Honours List, the PRSA can congratulate Antony Green on having joined Australia's other leading psephologist, Malcolm Mackerras AO, in becoming an Officer of the Order of Australia. Each has made - in different ways - distinguished contributions to public awareness of electoral systems in Australia. Each has been the Guest Speaker at an annual general meeting of the PRSA's Victoria-Tasmania Branch, in 2011 and 2009 respectively.

The ruling of the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, was that the method of filling the Senate position for South Australia that Robert John Day AO was declared not to have been validly elected to is stated in the answer to Question (b).

That answer states that the vacancy should be filled by applying the provisions of s 273(27) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) by analogy by filling the vacancy by a special count of the ballot papers. That recount would be a total recount, not a Tasmanian-style countback.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ordered that two councillors that the Victorian Electoral Commission declared to be elected at the MCC general election in 2016 be declared not to have been elected, and that one candidate then is now declared elected.

Moves by Labor and the Greens seem similar to 2016 Senate reforms supported by the PRSA. They do, in addition, include a correction of the Legislative Council's pronounced malapportionment of its electoral districts. The WA system would still retain its undesirable imposition like the Senate's above-the-line, party-empowering - as opposed to voter-empowering - contrivance, but WA's present Weighted Inclusive Gregory Transfer is much superior to the Senate's Unweighted version, as is WA's method of filling casual vacancies, although the Tasmanian and ACT countback system is better still.


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