• Banno
    It's nice to see the Aussie word "Mate" getting a good run, too.
  • romanv

    Do you always hang about like a bad smell?
  • Banno
    It's my feet.
  • xyz-zyx

    Good insights. I have also identified a crucial need for the ability to vote negatively in a democracy.
  • romanv

    Glad you agree. And I bet you don't have smelly feet either. :)
  • angslan

    Your response didn't really answer my question. NOTA functions for single-member seats, but I am curious if it could function for multi-member seats. Single-member seats are, in my opinion, flawed.

    Saying that a "no" vote on any legislation "aligns with the will of the electorate" is also problematic. Representatives are a collection of fixed outcomes on issues - they are the conduit for ongoing engagement with a constituency. This is completely lost with an empty seat: there is simply no representation at all.
  • romanv

    It didn't? I thought it did. Perhaps I misunderstand how multi-member constituencies are elected. As I understand it, to get elected, a candidate must achieve a given threshold of votes that depends on the possible number of seats for that constituency.

    So with NOTA on the ballot, if it achieves the given threshold, that seat 'belongs' to NOTA.

    Our white paper does not go into MMS, but we always follow the foundational principle of democracy. ie sovereign power is vested in the people. So what they want is what they get. No more, and no less.

    Which is why I posted in a philosophy forum. I wanted to see if our conceptual framework is sound.

    While what you say is true. What is also true is that, in spite of what you say, they have chosen NOTA, and that is a rejection of all the candidates on the ballot. So naturally that means:

    a. The seat must remain empty until the next election, as those voters don't want any of the representation on offer.

    b. Those empty seats automatically count as a vote against any proposed legislation. Why? These voters have rejected all the policies proposed by choosing NOTA, so an empty NOTA seat should count as being against all proposed legislation.

    This is consistent with governance being with the consent of the governed, a key principle that must be obeyed if a democracy is to exist. If over 50% of the seats are unoccupied due to NOTA then no legislation can be passed, and that is how it should be, as the consent of the majority is not possible in this scenario. This is not possible unless the consequence of an empty NOTA seat is a vote against all proposed legislation.

    It is meant to be problematic. This is what will incentivise the legislature to ensure that the number of empty NOTA seats is kept minimised, and that can only be done if the legislature is focused on maximising the common good, this means they are aligned with their electorate, as that is what their electorate wants them to do. Represent their best interests at all times.

    We should bear in mind that voters live with the consequences of their choices, so they are incentivised to make the best choices in candidates and policies, in the long run anyway, and to interfere with that process will lead to sub-optimal results.

    We must allow the true voice of the people to manifest itself, and only then will we get the best results for as many as possible.

    As a side note, we should remember that if power is vested in the people, then that means the people must be free, unfree people cannot have power, that means we have certain rights that guarantee our freedom. Democracy rests upon and is sustained by our rights, and no real democracy can take away the rights of anyone living within. I mention this as some people fear the power of the mob, democracy is not the mob.

    The state does not protect our rights, our rights constrain the state.

    What do you think? Does this make sense to you?
  • angslan

    I think that my biggest issue is that it is a little simplistic to imagine that a NOTA vote is a vote against all legislation. As it stands currently, this is not analogous to how representatives behave. Representatives do not always vote in parliaments/assemblies in accordance with their constituents, and this is not always seen as problematic, especially where representatives take on a more 'trustee' representative role and advocate for their constituents' interests without necessarily adhering to their preferred policies. Moreover, sometimes representatives are in a position to inform and educate their constituents. Where representatives are members of parties, electoral lines can become blurrier. In addition, in almost no cases will the majority of voters for a representative have their preferences on issues and legislation align completely with the interests and legislative preferences of a representative.

    So the biggest issue here is that representatives are not exact proxies for legislation, and that considering a NOTA vote as a vote against all proposed legislation is therefore not necessarily representative of a NOTA vote.

    In a scenario where more than 50% of the legislature is unoccupied, the issue is more serious than NOTA can rectify - NOTA will not necessarily incentivise more responsive representatives. In fact, parties may be motivated to push for NOTA outcomes in various electorates as a type of disenfranchisement. Think about parties who are happy for the government to stall while they push rhetoric. Mainstream parties may be happy to have minor parties swallowed up by NOTA and encourage such.

    It sounds like perhaps what you should be aiming for is a system that enables positively, rather than incentivises negatively, more responsive representatives.
  • romanv
    I think that my biggest issue is that it is a little simplistic to imagine that a NOTA vote is a vote against all legislation.

    Maybe its easier to understand if you think of NOTA is the withholding of consent. What should happen instead? The consequences of choosing NOTA are defined, and if that is what voters choose, then that is what they should get. Treat voters as adults, not as children who must be forced to have a guardian, whether they like it or not.

    While it certainly is true that NOTA voters may not necessarily reject all legislation, but NOTA must function within the confines of an electoral system. The opposite is also true. People who vote for candidates do not support all the legislation that is proposed. While you may not see that as problematic (and why you find the opposite equivalent situation a problem?), the people who do can choose NOTA until their parameters are met. This choice can only find its expression in a limited blunt form, just as those who vote for a candidate can express themselves in a limited blunt form. It's up to the voter to decide whether on balance NOTA is the choice for them or not.

    NOTA is designed to be a reliable indicator of public dissatisfaction. If more than 50% choose NOTA, then isn't this worth knowing? How can you fix anything without acknowledging there is a problem. I don't agree with your analysis, NOTA is not disenfranchisement, its the opposite, it ensures that governance only occurs with the consent of the majority. Parties only indulge in the behaviour you describe, as they will still be elected no matter how badly they perform. Once they can be denied being elected, will these tactics stop. If I may be blunt - your position is one of total nonsense. The behaviour you describe is exactly the type of behaviour the presence of NOTA will stop. Either representatives work to maximise common good, or large swathes of them will have to find new employment, come to the next election.

    It's the current system, without NOTA, that encourages this behaviour.

    With all due respect to minor parties, elections were not created for them, they were created so voters can have adequate representation. If anything, the views of minor parties will have more influence, as their supporters can withhold their consent, until some positions advocated by minor parties are taken up by major ones.

    I cannot for the life of me think why giving voters the ability to say No, is seen as negative. If you were the boss of a company, to form a loose analogy, is it 'negative' to say No from time to time? What is negative is being forced to choose between various forms of inadequate representation, and not be allowed to reject all of them.

    What is your positive alternative?
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