Representative function

  • Representative government is a central idea to democracy
  • The government should represent the views of the majority of the people
  • There are two parts: that representation is fair (no malapportionment), and that all the views in the country are represented
  • Our voting system determines this: former in the HoR, the latter in the Senate

Parliament is elected by the people. In the HoR, the candidate with an absolute majority, and therefore the most preferred, wins the seat. In the Senate, seats are divided based on the proportion of voters who vote for them. This means that the Parliament should be representative of the people.

It is directly answerable to the community; if a members fails to adequately respond to the needs of the electorate, they will not be re-elected.

The bicameral nature of the Parliament ensures that the Lower House represents the people, while the upper house represents the states and territories. This ensures that the interests of the minorities are protected, as it is easier for minor parties to enter the Senate. In the states, the upper house is divided depending on the interests of each region, thus protecting the industries and regions’ interests.

However, the Parliament is now becoming more and more representative of their parties rather than the electorate, so the interests of the community may not reflect the party view. An argument for this is that the people vote for the party rather than the individual, so the community is actually getting what it voted for.


See mandates.


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