Changing Electoral Structures and Regional Representation in Western Australia: From Countrymindedness to One Vote One Value

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Abstract

Electoral systems in Australia have a long history of favouring ruralvoters over those living in cities. These systems of electoral malapportionmenthave their origins in the 19th and early 20th centuries when rural Australia wasthe driving-force behind the nation’s economy. The widespread view was that,without strong political representation, those areas generating the nation’swealth might be left behind at the expense of the city. Nowhere were malapportionmentand the accompanying set of ‘countryminded’ values moreentrenched than in Western Australia. Since 1890, a system has enduredwhereby rural votes are, in real terms, worth nearly twice those of metropolitanvotes. Only recently has legislation been passed introducing the principle of‘one vote one value’. This paper examines the transformation of the electoralsystem in Western Australia, focusing on the socio-political conditions thatgave rise to, and sustained, vote weighting, before considering the range offactors that contributed to its demise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-225
JournalSpace and Polity
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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