In Australia, one vote, one value is a democratic principle widely valued in Australia and applied in electoral laws governing redistributions of electoral divisions of the House of Representatives. The principle calls for all electoral divisions to have the same number of enrolled voters (not residents or population), within a specified percentage of variance. The electoral laws of the Commonwealth for the House of Representatives and all states follow the principle with some exceptions. The principle does not apply to the Senate, as each state is entitled under the constitution to the same number of senators irrespective of the population of the state.
Currently, for the House of Representatives, the number of enrolled voters in each division in a state or territory can vary by up to 10% from the average quota for the state or territory, and the number of voters can vary by up to 3.5% from the average projected enrolment three-and-a-half years into the future.The allowable quota variation of the number of electors in each division was reduced from 20% to 10% by the Commonwealth Electoral Act (No. 2) 1973, passed at the joint sitting of Parliament in 1974. The change was instigated by the Whitlam Labor government.
However, due to various reasons, such as the minimum number of members for Tasmania, larger seats like Cowper (New South Wales) contain almost double the electors of smaller seats like Solomon (Northern Territory).
While all states (other than Tasmania) historically have had some form of malapportionment, electoral reform in recent decades resulted in an electoral legislation and policy framework based on the "one vote one value" principle. However, in the Western Australian and Queensland Legislative Assemblies, seats covering areas greater than 100,000 square kilometres (38,600 sq mi) may be drawn with fewer electors than the general tolerance would allow.
In 1988, the Hawke Labor government submitted a referendum proposal to enshrine the principle in the Australian Constitution.The referendum question came about due to the widespread malapportionment and gerrymandering which was endemic during Joh Bjelke-Petersen's term as the Queensland Premier. The proposal was opposed by both the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia. The referendum proposal was not passed.
The House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the upper house being the Senate. Its composition and powers are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of Australia.
The Australian electoral system comprises the laws and processes used for the election of members of the Australian Parliament. The system presently has a number of distinctive features including compulsory enrolment, compulsory voting, majority-preferential instant-runoff voting in single-member seats to elect the lower house, the House of Representatives, and the use of the single transferable vote proportional representation system to elect the upper house, the Senate.
Electoral systems for the legislatures of the individual Australian states and territories are broadly similar to the electoral system used in federal elections in Australia.
The Western Australian Legislative Assembly, or lower house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of Western Australia, an Australian state. The Parliament sits in Parliament House in the Western Australian capital, Perth.
The House of Assembly, or Lower House, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of Tasmania in Australia. The other is the Legislative Council or Upper House. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Hobart.
The Tasmanian Legislative Council is the upper house of the Parliament of Tasmania in Australia. It is one of the two chambers of the Parliament, the other being the House of Assembly. Both houses sit in Parliament House in the state capital, Hobart. Members of the Legislative Council are often referred to as MLCs.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is the independent federal agency in charge of organising, conducting and supervising federal elections, by-elections and referendums.
In Australia, electoral districts for the Australian House of Representatives are called divisions or more commonly referred to as electorates or seats. There are currently 151 single-member electorates for the Australian House of Representatives.
Referendums in Australia are polls held in Australia to approve parliament-proposed changes to the Constitution of Australia or to the constitutions of states and territories.
The Legislative Assembly of Queensland is the sole chamber of the unicameral Parliament of Queensland established under the Constitution of Queensland. Elections are held every four years and are done by full preferential voting. The Assembly has 93 members, who have used the letters MP after their names since 2000.
Apportionment is the process by which seats in a legislative body are distributed among administrative divisions entitled to representation.
The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 is an Act of the Australian Parliament which continues to be the core legislation governing the conduct of elections in Australia, having been amended on numerous occasions since 1918. The Act was introduced by the Nationalist Party of Billy Hughes, the main purpose of which was to replace first-past-the-post voting with instant-runoff voting for the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In Australia, a redistribution is the process of redrawing the boundaries of electoral divisions to reflect changes in population and changes in the number of representatives. The Australian Electoral Commission, an independent statutory authority, oversees the redistribution process for federal elections, taking into account many factors. Politicians, political parties and the public may make submissions to the AEC on proposed new boundaries, but any interference with their deliberations is considered a serious offence.
The 2010 Australian federal election was held on Saturday, 21 August 2010 to elect members of the 43rd Parliament of Australia. The incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard won a second term against the opposition centre-right Liberal Party of Australia led by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Coalition partner the National Party of Australia, led by Warren Truss, after Labor formed a minority government with the support of three independent MPs and one Australian Greens MP. As of 2020 this remains the last federal election victory for the Labor party.
The 2008 Western Australian state election was held on Saturday 6 September 2008 to elect 59 members to the Legislative Assembly and 36 members to the Legislative Council. The incumbent centre-left Labor Party government, in power since the 2001 election and led since 25 January 2006 by Premier Alan Carpenter, was defeated by the centre-right Liberal Party opposition, led by Opposition Leader Colin Barnett since 6 August 2008.
Redistribution is the process, used in many Commonwealth countries, by which electoral districts are added, removed, or otherwise changed. Redistribution is a form of boundary delimitation that changes electoral district boundaries, usually in response to periodic census results. Redistribution is required by law or constitution at least every decade in most representative democracy systems that use first-past-the-post or similar electoral systems to prevent geographic malapportionment. The act of manipulation of electoral districts to favour a candidate or party is called gerrymandering.
Section 13 of the Constitution of Australia provides for three aspects of the terms of members of the Australian Senate: the timing of elections, the commencement date of their terms and for the Senate to allocate long (six-year) and short (three-year) terms following a double dissolution of the Parliament of Australia. While members of the House of Representatives and territory senators have a maximum three-year term, state senators have a fixed six-year term, subject only to the parliament being dissolved by a double dissolution.
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McGinty v Western Australia, was a significant case decided in the High Court of Australia in 1996. It concerned a challenge by the Western Australia Labor Party leader Jim McGinty of the 1996 election results on the basis of malapportionment. The plaintiffs sought to enshrine the principle of ‘one vote one value’ in the Australian Constitution, and has had a significant impact on how the High Court approaches matters of the franchise, as well as malapportionment. The plaintiff's submissions were unanimously rejected by the court, who found that the interpretation of sections 7 and 24 of the Australian Constitution did not require that all votes hold the same value. The High Court exercised its original jursidiction in hearing the matter, and the case did not need to proceed from an appeal to the Western Australian
The next Australian federal election will be held in or before 2022 to elect members of the 47th Parliament of Australia.