Stay with first-past-the-post

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 12:00am

Hong Kong should never consider introducing the Australian type of preferential voting suggested in a letter (November 24).

The original idea, around 1919, was that by having the voter choose two candidates in his order of preference, Australia could achieve a solid two-party government and opposition. It has not worked, even with the illegal system of limitless preferences now in place.

First, I believe in 'one man, one vote', voting for the man of your choice. In Australia, if there are 100 candidates you have to (illegally) vote for 100 in order of preference. 'One man, 100 votes'. It is idiotic and a bureaucratic and political corruption of the original idea, which anyway is seriously flawed. Or they allow you to block-vote for a party, whether or not you want them all elected - one-man vote for a whole party.

What is wrong with first-past-the-post? It works for the Olympics with one-hundredth of a second difference. Or is the correspondent suggesting some sort of consensus taken over the whole field of athletes to get a compromised solution as to the winner.

And yet preferential voting still does not work, as small parties or even an individual can hold the balance of power. Nothing wrong with them holding power, but this situation can lead to corruption and misuse, and did in Queensland. In Australia, the party forming the government may get only 35 per cent of the vote.

DON GUDGEON, Kowloon Bay