The Australian election has been fun to observe from the other side of the planet, what with the back-stabbing of Kevin Rudd, the shaky campaign and the hung Parliament.
I have a curious fact about voting Down Under which you may not know about. In elections for the senate (their upper house) there are multiple candidates for some states such as Victoria and New South Wales. Because the system is AV* you have the “below the line” choice of listing up to 80 candidates in order of preference.
Hard to imagine quite how anyone would have the knowledge or inclination or time to bother.
To be fair, voters also have the choice of voting “above the line” whereby they can just name their favourite party. So it’s not quite as bonkers as it may at first appear.
I was told this by Rob Hayward, the Tory psephologist, who is always worth listening to, and it was confirmed by the Australian High Commission in London. If you want to know more there are details – and an illustration – on this website.
UPDATE: A reader writes in to point out that it’s not AV strictly speaking but rather a different form of PR – although it has the similar system of listing candidates in order of preference.