Regional vote scrapped by the House of Councilors of Western Australia

Western Australia (WA) will no longer have equal representation by region after seismic reforms to the state’s Legislative Council or House of Councilors, even though election promises have ruled out the possibility.

Previously, the WA House of Councilors functioned like a federal House of Councilors, representing regions of different populations equally. Specifically, Washington has confirmed that each of the six constituencies has won six seats in the Legislative Council.

Epoch Times Photo
Six Regions of the Western Australian Senate (Maltonaj83)

The new Election Equality Bill 2021 has overhauled this and amended the Constitution and Election Law to form a representative region across the state, with a total of 37 seats.

This is because there was an imbalance in voting in the last state election, voting in one rural area was 6.22 times that of metropolitan areas, and one seat was elected after only 98 votes were obtained. Following the concerns of the WA Labor Party government.

The bill was passed unimpeded by the previously scrutinized House of Councilors following an overwhelming victory in which the Labor Party dominated 53 of the 59 seats of the House of Representatives and 22 of the 36 seats of the House of Councilors. This means that the laws proposed by workers are passed almost without exception.

The Government of Western Australia said the March election “exposed a broken undemocratic system.”

“One person’s vote shouldn’t be more valuable than another’s vote just because they live elsewhere in the state,” said Mark Magawan, Premier of Western Australia. .. Said..

“The era of unfair voting is over. Election equality is here.”

However, August Zimmermann, a former law reformer and director of legal affairs at the Sheridan Institute for Higher Education, expressed concern that the law would seriously undermine representatives of local voters.

“The House of Councilors may play this role on behalf of the region, so there is a Senate in federal-level governments that represent people in different states and regions of the country,” Zimmermann said in November. I told the Epoch Times on the 17th.

Epoch Times Photo
Premier of Western Australia Mark Magawan (Matt Jeroneck / Getty Images) at a press conference in Perth, Australia on February 4, 2021

This is evident at the national level, with New South Wales, which has a population of over 8 million, and Tasmania, which has a population of over 500,000, both having the equivalent representation of 12 seats in the Senate. This is equivalent to 16 times the vote. In a small state.

Zimmermann disagreed with a statement by the Government of Western Australia claiming that the move was in favor of democracy.

“That’s not true at all, because in democracy we represent not only our citizens, but our communities, and that’s why the state has a federal system represented by the Senate. “

Epoch Times Photo
August Zimmermann is a professor and director of legal affairs at the Sheridan Institute for Higher Education in Perth.

Despite its small population, Australia’s rural areas and its mining sector are the main drivers of the state’s booming economy and $ 5.6 billion in budget surplus.

Zimmermann pointed out that these voters would face the risk of deprivation. In particular, all 37 Senate seats currently awarded based on state-wide votes could theoretically be granted to candidates in large cities.

“They are also Australian citizens and if there is no representative in Congress, they will not hear their complaints or voices. They basically lack proper wording, which undermines the basic principles of democracy. “Mr. Zimmerman said.

This comes despite the election promise by Western Australian Premier Mark Magawan that reforms will not be brought to the House of Councilors.

“I’ve answered this question many times, it’s not our agenda,” McGowan told reporters earlier.

“Strengthened regional representatives will continue.”

Daniel Kumerev


Daniel Khmelev is a Perth-based Australian reporter working on energy, technology and politics. He has a background in mathematics, physics and computer science. Contact him at [email protected]