Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    One vote one value is fair for all

    5/04/2005 12:00 AM

    Western Australia is the only State in Australia that has an antiquated system of vote weighting which disadvantages three quarters of the State’s population.

    Electoral Affairs Minister Jim McGinty said the whole of the Western Australian Parliament was elected on the basis of inequality where people in country areas get up to four times the say of people in Perth in electing their Government.

    “It would be like telling people voting in Australian Idol that if you live in Sydney or Melbourne then you get one vote. But if you live in WA your vote is only worth half a vote,” he said.

    Mr McGinty said all political parties should work towards ensuring the fundamental democratic principle of equality became part of WA’s electoral system.

    “I especially urge the Liberal Party members to take their heads out of the sand and to recognise that equality is a necessary part of a modern democratic society,” he said.

    Liberal Leader Matt Birney held a vested interest in opposing the legislation because he represented the smallest electorate in the State by population, the Minister said.

    “Mr Birney’s seat of Kalgoorlie has just 12,837 voters in 67 square kilometres. Compare that to the metropolitan seat of Wanneroo, which has 31,413 electors across 637 square kilometres,” he said.

    “You could say Mr Birney has the cushiest job in Parliament. No wonder he opposes the principle of equality.”

    Mr McGinty said the One Vote One Value legislation would bring representative democracy to WA.

    “Vote weighting is corrupt and cannot be justified in a modern, democratic society. No other State or Territory elects its Parliament in this outdated way,” he said.

    The legislation will ensure that lower house electorates in the State would have approximately the same number of voters - with a 10 per cent tolerance.

    Mr McGinty said that the legislation would protect the five seats in the Mining and Pastoral region to recognise the truly vast and remote nature of the area.

    The seats in the Mining and Pastoral region cover a land area of more than 2.2 million square kilometres - about 87 per cent of the State.

    Minister's office: 9220 5000