There has been a lot of misinformation and fear mongering from the ‘no’ side of the Proportional Representation debate, and as a young person concerned about our democratic future I’d like to take a look at some of the facts.
First, the spurious claim that Pro Rep will enable far-right or extremist parties. The electoral system, whether that be First Past The Post or Pro Rep, does not inherently lead to the rise of far-right agendas. These are a result of the political culture, and often gain popularity in response to harsh austerity measures and stark inequality.
And if you’re not convinced, remember that under the pro rep system, a party must receive a minimum of 5 per cent of the province-wide vote to win a seat.
It also important to note that Pro Rep systems are actually the norm across the democratic world. There are only four democracies left using the outdated FPTP system – the UK, US, India, and Canada. FPTP itself does not protect against far-right populists.
Nine out of 10 top OECD economies use Pro Rep systems. Research shows that countries with pro rep voting systems score better on numerous indicators – including tolerance, quality of life, income equality, and environmental performance.
This is because pro rep systems do not create false majorities, where parties can win 100% of the power with less than 40 per cent of the vote, and ignore the remaining 60 per cent.
Where cross-party co-operation is the norm, better public policy is produced, with a longer term view and broad appeal.
Under Pro Rep, every vote would finally count. So vote yes to pro rep in the upcoming referendum and let’s finally catch up with the rest of the democratic world.