Monday, March 15, 2021

Australian rep-by-pop, and election updates

 German states: Not much appears to have changed. It's still possible the Greens and SPD could have a combined majority in both states, but it is currently below that in both as well. It also still remains likely that the incumbent coalitions will remain. 

Western Australia: Also not much has changed. Liberals look set to take 3 (vs the original 2) but National might also only take 3. Beyond these 3, there are two additional seats that might go Labor that National could take. 

However, what I really want to talk about is the Australian way of drawing constituencies. 

The map here is a representation. It shows an example of a fictional region, with a city, suburban areas, farming areas, and remote areas with sparse population. 

The first map, which is what we are used to here in Canada, draws remote ridings to contain less people. In my example, these 3 ridings have the population of 1 normal riding; this is actually somewhat unusual, at least on the Federal level. Ontario's northern ridings average about 80K people, while the southern ridings are closer to 110K. 

You can see the "true" populations by looking at the second map, which shows how Australia currently draws its boundaries. You may wonder why Australia would allow such large ridings. The reason is shown at the bottom; at one time, Australia over-represented not just the remote areas, but the farming areas, and did so heavily. This lead to repeated elections where urban and suburban voters would be defeated by rural voters. As a result, Australians became very wary of over-representing any area.

This will be a concept I plan to touch on more at a later date. For now, I'd simply like to introduce the idea so that it can be linked to when it is discussed in the future. 

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