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  • It's fair to say Prime Minister Paul Keating didn't think too highly of the Senate.

  • The Senate has been described as a:

  • and even been compared to the aliens in the bar scene of Star Wars.

  • It boils down to Australia's bicameral system.

  • A bicameral system is one that has two houses or chambers.

  • Having two houses of Parliament means that one chamber doesn't get too big for its boots.

  • In Australia we have the Senate and the House of Representatives,

  • named after our mates over there in the USA.

  • The House of Representativesor Lower Houseis the house of government.

  • That means that the party or formal coalition with the most seats there becomes the ruling party.

  • If a party or coalition gets 76 or more seats out of that 150 after an election,

  • they get to form government.

  • If they've got the numbers, they can call the shots.

  • The House is where most legislation, called bills, originates before becoming law.

  • Bills have to go through both houses of Parliament before they become law.

  • The Senate was intended to be a house of review, that is to keep a Government

  • that usually has power in the House of Reps in check.

  • Members of the House of Reps represent a geographic area

  • also known as electorates, or seats

  • made up of roughly 100,000 voters each.

  • The electorates match up with our population spread.

  • So New South Wales has 47 seats, while the Northern Territory has just two.

  • At the moment there are 150 members of the House of Reps,

  • but that's going to increase by one seat in the 2019 federal election.

  • That's to reflect an increase in Australia's population overall.

  • South Australia will lose a seatdue to it's shrinking population

  • while both Victoria and the ACT will each gain a seat.

  • The Senate, or Upper House, represents the states or territories.

  • So if you're a New South Wales voter, you're voting for the same candidates

  • whether you live in Byron or Batemans Bay.

  • Unlike the House, the number of Senators are spread equally across the states,

  • regardless of their populations.

  • 12 each in the states, and two each in the territories,

  • taking us up to 76 in total.

  • Which gives the less populated states an edge.

  • Because to be elected a senator, you need roughly 14 per cent of the vote.

  • 14 per cent of Tassie voters is a damn sight smaller than 14 per cent of Victoria's.

  • So that brings us back to this:

  • You've probably noticed that there are A LOT of independents and minor parties

  • that is, not the big twoin the Senate.

  • They're called the crossbench because they physically sit in between

  • the Government and the Opposition in the chamber.

  • And they have a tendency to really annoy the Government.

  • The ruling party does not need a majority in the Senate.

  • In fact, that's only happened twice in the last 40 years.

  • The last time a ruling party also had a majority in the Senate was way back in 2004.

  • Having a majority in the Senate means the ruling party can get through controversial

  • legislation without amendment, and often with very little debate.

  • Which would explain some of Paul Keating's vitriol.

  • You're probably wondering why there are so many independents and smaller parties elected

  • to the Senate.

  • It's got to do with how we vote in the Senate, a system called proportional representation.

  • We'll delve into the murky world of preferences at a later date,

  • but let's just for now that they're super important in determining the make-up of the Senate.

  • Under proportional representation, when a candidate hits the required quota to get

  • them elected, all subsequent votes go to either whoever the candidate has preferenced,

  • or who you as a voter has marked as your second-in-line.

  • That redistribution keeps on going until other candidates hit their limit for the quota.

  • Independents and smaller parties, who may not have the star power to hit a quota on their own,

  • are usually elected on preferences of voters who gave their first vote to another candidate.

  • Which is why people who only get a handful of primary votes, can end up as elected Senators.

  • Voters can vote above the line, which means they pick their favourite party and let the

  • party order the candidates how they please.

  • Or they can vote below the line, where they can choose whatever candidates

  • in whatever order they like.

  • Just before the 2016 federal election, then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull changed the

  • rules for how we vote in the Senate.

  • Before then, you either had to vote for one above the line,

  • or number each and every single box below the line.

  • In a state like New South Wales, there were literally dozens of candidates.

  • So it's no surprise that only 4 per cent of voters chose that option.

  • From 2016 onwards, voters will have to number at least 6 boxes above the line, or 12 below.

  • The idea was that it would give voters more control over where their votes go.

  • But in practice, it also reduced the iron-clad grip that major parties had on candidates.

  • Both Labor's Lisa Singh and Liberal candidate Richard Colbeck won spots in the Senate

  • from seemingly unwinnable positions on the ballot, by mounting a grassroots campaign

  • to get their supporters to vote below the line.

  • That's how you vote for the Senate.

  • The number of candidates per seat is substantially less

  • than the number of candidates on the Senate ballot.

  • Voters have to rank every candidate in order of preference.

  • So that cuts out those opaque backroom deals made between parties

  • that can sometimes happen in the Senate.

  • Political parties will try to influence your preferences with how-to-vote cards,

  • but really the ultimate power when it comes to voting for a House of Reps candidate

  • lies with you, the voter.

It's fair to say Prime Minister Paul Keating didn't think too highly of the Senate.

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眾議院VS參議院|政治解讀。 (The House of Reps vs The Senate | Politics Explained)

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    m925304 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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