Letter to Mr Albanese re Westconnex

Reply to Mr Albanese – 28 November 2014

Dear Anthony,

I appreciate your response and your concern. I have read your letter and op-ed previously, hence my statement saying that community expects more.

Specifically, though, can you answer:

  • Why there has been no official statement/press release from you in relation to WestConnex this year raising the concerns you outline below?
  • What has or is being done with regards to reduce the share of freight moved by truck out of Port Botany from its 86% share (2011)? I have read your comments to the AusRail conference, but this does not adequately address the question.  I also note that while rail makes up 48% of transport Australia-wide, only 25% of freight is moved up the Sydney-Brisbane corridor alongside the horrific Pacific Highway.  Presumably when the rest of the road is upgraded, it will make rail even less competitive, and that 25% share will fall.  Also, decisions to allow B doubles up the length of the highway, and the possible introduction of B triples will further erode the competitiveness of rail vs road.

It would seem to me to be logical to raise the cost benefit of any of these exercises. Surely it would be prudent to take the “low hanging fruit” like rail intermodals that can be developed at a fraction of the cost of a motorway that doesn’t even go to Port Botany. Again, trawling through Infrastructure Australia’s website, I see no document with a table of projects and their expected cost benefit. Wouldn’t a document such as this exist? If it does could you point me to it?

You’ll forgive me if I don’t have much faith in the disclosure of information by Infrastructure Australia. When you search for “WestConnex” on their website, you get 3 unrelated links mentioning the existence of WestConnex. Given that you were minister when WestConnex was announced, where is the disclosure of information for the public to make any assessment of what government is deciding to do?  Where is the effort to engage the community? How can we properly assess how our tax payer money is being spent if there is no transparency?  A $13bn project with no cost benefit analysis, no business case and questionable finances? Why are you not railing against this (excuse the pun) in Parliament and via official press releases?  You can bet that your numbers opposite would have levelled this charge against you, saying how reckless you are with taxpayers dollars etc.

Labor’s stated position in relation to roads and rail is that it “favours neither roads over rail nor rail over roads” (Senator Moore 24th November). I understand, and largely agree, that roads and rail both need investment, and I think the Labor Party’s policy as stated is prudent compared with that of the Liberal (roads only).  However, does Labor concede though that a disproportionate investment has been made in roads vs rail over the last 40 years?  For the forward years the amount of spending on roads vs rail is as follows and I’m afraid makes a mockery of Senator Moore’s statement to the Senate:

State Roads $m Rail $m Rail share %
NSW 32,727 1,273 3.89
VIC 15,074 98 0.65
QLD 16,585 988 5.96
SA 3,121 1.5 0.05
WA 9,886 329 3.33
TAS 896 303 33.82
NT 541 0 0
ACT 294 0 0
Australia 79,124 2,993 3.78

 

You’d have to agree that 3.78% is an awful long way from 50%.  Source: Infrastructure Australia

Here is a great historical example of a road to nowhere as you call it:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_North_Road_%28New_South_Wales%29

 

Sincerely,

etc

 

Response from Mr Albanese – 24th November 2014

Dear x,

Thank you for your email. Sorry for the delayed reply.

I too am concerned about the current proposal for WestConnex which I have described as a road to a traffic jam.

From what has been announced, the proposal to duplicate the M5 and dump traffic at a “St Peters Interchange” is absurd, particularly given that, as you say, the stated objective of any duplication of the M5 was to take freight to the Port.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald this month, I have written to Chair of the WestConnex Delivery Authority, Tony Shepherd, and the NSW Roads Minister, Duncan Gay to inform them of my views on this. Here is the link to the SMH article: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/shadow-transport-minister-albanese-rubbishes-westconnex-interchange-plan-20141109-11jbyt.html

I have consistently fought to force the Abbott Government to have the WestConnex proposal independently assessed by Infrastructure Australia, a body I set up as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport to make sure government investment in infrastructure was guided by evidence not ideology.

Here is the link to my opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph in May, calling for proper planning and assessment of WestConnex and other roads projects: http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/tony-abbott-is-taking-the-roads-to-nowhere-path-opinion-the-daily-telegraph

In government we invested $3.4 billion in freight rail, including building or rebuilding 4,000km of track. We also delivered more investment in urban public transport than all other federal governments since federation combined. Here is the link to my address to the Ausrail Conference earlier this month outlining the positive agenda you are calling for: http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/effective-rail-and-the-importance-of-integration-ausrail-conference-speech

I have raised questions in the Parliament about the Government’s failure to consult with local residents about WestConnex.

I have also raised directly with Mr Shepherd and the WestConnex Authority, the flaws in the current proposal and their failure to be transparent and properly consult with the community.

I will continue to argue for real solutions to Sydney’s congestion issues, which as Infrastructure Australia has identified, must include public transport and not just roads.

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Albanese MP

 

Letter to Mr Albanese re WestConnex – 11th November

Mr Albanese,

According to your website, you have not issued a press release on Westconnex this year.

http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/media-centre/shadow-ministerial-media-centre/shadow-ministerial-media-releases

As a member of your electorate where we will see untold ramifications on local residences (albeit some told) and local businesses as a consequence of this “development” , and given your position as Shadow Minister for Cities, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, with due respect I would have expected some official statement from you to state your party position.  Again, with due respect, while an important step, your electorate certainly expects way more than a letter to the so-called “WestConnex Delivery Authority”.

Could you please answer the following?

  • What is the official position of the Federal Opposition in relation to WestConnex?
  • What is the view of the Federal Opposition about the positioning of the exit for Port Botany – the whole rationale for the WestConnex – being so far from the Port, and so close to areas like Newtown and Marrickville that will no doubt severely impact on the liveability of the area?
  • With road freight transfer rates currently at 86% (without a new motorway to increase capacity and reduce costs), what is being done to reduce the costs of rail freight transfers at Port Botany to intermodal transfer stations and therefore reduce the volumes of container trucks on the roads? A report done by the NSW State Government appears to identify the problems:

Capture

The stated rationale and design intent for the WestConnex was to connect Port Botany and reduce the numbers of trucks on surface roads – but the proposal as put forward ON MELBOURNE CUP DAY does nothing to address this.  The areas surrounding this “St Peters Interchange” will be swamped by trucks that could be easily replaced by rail, at a fraction of the cost of building this massive white elephant of a motorway.  It will most likely turn an already overburdened King Street into another Parramatta Road disaster.

I honestly fail to understand why the Federal Opposition is not taking an official position on this horrendous piece of transport policy funded by the Federal Government.  This clearly fails to address the design intent of the original proposal, making it just another motorway – but in this case a motorway to an already congested, high density area that will make living and working in the area intolerable.

We would expect from you and your party condemnation of this proposal, and for you to take whatever measures you can to at the very minimum return this unnecessary motorway back to the original design while at the same time promoting a positive agenda to reduce costs and increase efficiency of rail.  There is no justification for 86% of freight being moved by road in the middle of an already congested city – the Labor Party should advocate policies aiming to increasing the share of rail freight transfers to intermodal terminals to 100%.

US Voter Discontent at Record High

Based on research released by the Gallup company in the United States, US voter discontent is at a record high, with 42% of the respondents surveyed not identifying with either of the major parties.  The GOP, set to retain control of the US Congress and win the US Senate, are at a record low of 25%, a full 6 percentage points behind the Democrats at 31%.

Throughout recent history, voter support has been split between the major parties and independents evenly, but since the horrific consequences of Bush II’s  Iraq War II, the GOP has slid from the the low 30% to 25%, and they appear to be on a downward trajectory.

Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2013

This is of course a shocking number and points to how increasingly dysfunctional the US electoral system is.  In fact, it almost perfectly seems to mirror the rise in dissatisfaction that is echoed throughout the internet across the globe.  No wonder a bunch of marauding thugs in a desert in the Middle East think that the United States is weak.  Ideologically, its true.

A mere 56% of Americans believe that their government represents them.  I say this because the grand total number of independents in the US congress since 1877 have been 111.  The two major parties have total control over representation in the country.  They are effectively saying that they can adequately voice the concerns of the entire populous, despite the common view that the GOP are essentially a party of rich white men – a view that lead the GOP to issue this ridiculous campaign entitled “Why I’m a Republican”.  The ad was a brutal and obvious ploy to try to court minorities to the Republican cause.  I wonder how that’s working out for them.

The biggest joke is that now that the major parties level of representation nears the 50% mark, the whole reason for the war of independence becomes a bit laughable given the slogan around the time and the primary reason for grievance was “no taxation without representation”.  Perhaps this explains the pervading view that government should tax less and play less of a role in society.

Instead the view should be – how do we make these people accountable to the voter?  How do we bridge the gap shows that 42% of the population have less than 1% representation?  Why do we keep electing these corrupt people?  How come there are only a handful of senate and house races that are actually contests?  Why do we have a system that allows for wholesale gerrymandering?  How has our partisanship eroded our democracy?  What is the effect of lobbyists in maintaining the status quo?  How can two parties possibly hope to represent the complex views and opinions present in society?

Well the answer to the last one is easy – they can’t.

 

More reading:

The High School Debating Team in Parliament

I have a theory about the cause of the state of political dysfunction – and stick with me on this: school debating teams. Particularly those found in places containing the use of the following words to describe them: exclusive, private, and boys. Having gone to one I’d also add: detached, from, and reality. If the school was a bubble, the debating team was a bubble in a bubble. The cause is the Westminster tradition and the debating techniques adopted with relish by pubescent boys with a simple outlook on life with whom there is only an affirmative and negative. This unfortunately imbues the detached political classes with the same approach through to their seemingly inevitable spells in parliament, which of course are met with a knowing grown from the populous, recognizing that inevitability. They understand the way it works now. Be rich, powerful, well connected and send your boy (hey, I’m addressing the gender ratio of the front bench here) to an institution to foster and ingrain the principles of conflict and cheap debating tricks to confront complex and serious issues.

The good news for the boys of the debating team is that they can go to a good university – one made of sandstone – that continues the tradition of debating via the poisonous, vile vehicle of student politics. Orientation day is fertile recruiting ground for our little debating team, fresh from school and no doubt seeking to do something positive rather than show off their excellent debating skills from their excellent debating team from their excellent private school. So they find their affirmative and negative debating action first amongst themselves with their petty factions, and then when they reach the zenith of their debating talents, publically against the another team.

Exciting stuff! They can now join the party and get involved with Young Laboral (if they were remiss and didn’t apply at age 16) and have even more debates full of false dichotomies! What’s more – they can now pass resolutions and send letters to the important people in the party.

Now we’re making a difference, one debate at a time. Insert visions of debating in parliament. Insert montage. Now you see him (yeah, the gender thing) in Parliament. I don’t need to name anyone, but there are many examples. Far, far too many.

The method of presenting complex issues in three, or now two word slogans I don’t believe to be the fault of the media directly – they lap up simplicity and conflict as good for television, and don’t those high school boys from the debating team sure love the attention. You may as well be blaming the existence of television or capitalism or vanity on this state of affairs. Naturally a media proprietor wishes to make money by attracting audiences, and if you have to show politics, you might as well show a bit of biffo – the punters love it.

Anyway, now I have your attention with all that private school boy stuff (not that I take it back).

The principal problem with all political debates in Australia is the simple fact that there are only two major political blocs that in both houses that manage to gain disproportionate levels of representation in elections at the direct cost of any other party except for, you guessed it, them. Where it suits, the incumbent political classes gang up on newcomers in a move to protect their position of status and power.

And what better way to protect your position than to belong to a major party with a diminishing membership base that is now smaller than the waiting list for the Melbourne Cricket Club. Just setup a system of elections that transfers “wasted” votes to a winner, and just disregard their choices – this is what our Electoral Act does. Well, I say it is impossible to have a plural debate without decent representation.

Take this one bit of objectivity: the difference between the percentage of votes received and the percentage of seats a party obtains is a measure of how representative a parliament is. Run the calculations and Australia historically runs a disproportionality of between 8 and 15%, with an average a little over 9%. The trend, however, is increasing disproportionality; from 1949-1974 the average was 7.5%, while the period 1975-2013 averaged 10.5%.

The cause? Many – unfortunately they cannot be adequately explored in 800 words. Principally I would point to a decline in public debate and the despondency that results. Take examples like the budget, or in a bizarre sighting in the same sentence, gay marriage. The cause of the decline is the rise of the detached political class, the resultant decline in party membership and the display we see daily on the news.

It’s a cycle that we must break before the dysfunction gets any worse – after all, we the public employ them. I think it’s time the parliament truly represented the people by adopting reform of the electoral system. This will break the grip of major parties, drive reform, and provide a voice to those not represented in parliament. And best of all? By nature it would get rid of those pesky high school debating antics. Who knows, they might even end up treating us like adults.

For the record, I was not a member of the school debating team. Ick.

Toward a new Electoral System

Currently I live in three different government areas.  One for each tier of government.  Each with different boundaries.  This makes for blurry lines between whom is responsible for what.  And why?  It is totally illogical.  Why would each member of parliament have such markedly different areas to administer?  Sure, there are fewer federal parliamentarians than state, so naturally their boundaries cover more people.  But casting all that aside, how could we create better accountability for parliamentarians by making it clear to all whom is responsible for what?

Map Of Confusion

I term this the “Map of Confusion” or “So, Who is Responsible?”. Good luck remembering too, they change all the time.

As part of the ongoing work of the site, we strive to change Australia into a true democracy – and a key part of this is changing the way we perceive and organize power structures.  What we propose is something that changes government from top to bottom, creating proportionality and accountability, with clear lines of responsibility and demarcation between areas of government.

Imagine this crazy idea.  You live in a council area.  It comprises roughly 150,000 people.  Your neighboring council also comprises 150,000 people.  As do all of them.

You have a local member of parliament.  Their seat has the same boundaries as the council.

You have a national member of parliament too.  How does this work?  This is known as the party list vote, because you pick your party.  The party then gets a greater number of national seats if they have a disperse vote to counteract high concentrations of one voter. It also has the handy ability to counter any possibility of gerrymandering.  And your vote isn’t wasted if you live in a safe seat.

An alternate system of government. One where  you have one government area.

An alternate system of government. One where you have one government area.

 

At the end of the day, this means that if 10% of people vote for XYZ party, then XYZ party will obtain 10% of seats in either local or national level. Simples.

Second Sydney Harbour Rail Crossing

More NSW Government Transport Chaos

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Another favourite plaything of the two major parties at a state and federal level is public transport and a great example is the debacle of the debate surrounding the second Sydney harbour rail crossing. There are extreme ideological differences between the approaches taken by either side of the political coin when it comes to funding roads vs rail.  Labor funds and supports public transport, albeit begrudgingly when there is a state Liberal government as we saw in the run-up to the 2013 federal election.  Liberals support roads, roads, roads, for example with Abbott scrapping federal funding for the Melbourne cross city rail project and diverting funds to the new toll road tunnel project.  Barnett, the liberal premier of WA has scaled back the implementation of the hugely successful rail and light rail projects in Perth and again diverted money to roads.  The history of many transport projects is mired by this ideological division, and in the case where there should be no disagreement – say a new airport for Sydney – somehow becomes a political wedge driven down from federal through to state and even down to council level.  Inaction is costing our economy due to capacity constraints, not only in freight, but also simply in terms of the wasted hours spent each day commuting through our cities.

Reading the Wikipedia page for transport plans announced for Sydney incites despair as your realise the amounts of time and taxpayers money wasted over generations with very little to show for it other than inaction.  When a change of government occurs at a state or federal level, you immediately see the incoming government’s attitudes on display – new transport plans are announced and much rubbishing of the previous transport plan takes place.  No-one is clear who is responsible for delivery of infrastructure. NSW Labor managed to be in office so long they ended up rubbishing their own prior plans.  Here are some of the plans from the last 25 years – for rail alone:

  • MetroWest, 1990
  • Action for Transport, 2010
  • Action for Transport, 1998
  • Bondi Beach railway, 1996
  • Christie proposals, 2002
  • Western FastRail
  • Metro rail expansion programme, 2005 including:
    • Parramatta rail link
    • North west rail link
    • South west rail link
    • CBD rail link
  • Metro, 2008-2031 Sydney Transport Blueprint, 2009
  • Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities, 2010
  • NSW Transport Masterplan, 2012

This is another exemplar of how having these two ideological blocs means that nothing ultimately gets done because no sensible middle ground is ever found.

Much of the funding for these large scale infrastructure projects needs to come from the federal government via Infrastructure Australia (IA).  Infamously the previous state Labor government failed to secure funding from IA because the plans were written on the back of an envelope.  If you set aside laziness or incompetence for a second, the success or failure of state based infrastructure projects can rest on which combination of parties is in power at the federal and state level.  The display between Kevin Rudd and Barry O’Farrel during the 2013 federal campaign, or the backlash from state based education ministers against their federal counterpart, or the obstinate blocking of Gonski by the Liberal Queensland and Western Australian premiers against the interests of the community are all examples.  Probably the most telling display from Abbott was his decision to withdraw federal funding from all state based rail infrastructure projects, with the money instead being diverted to roads, for example leaving Melbourne’s much needed cross city rail tunnel in jeopardy.   Ideology should not be able to influence public policy in this way – the pendulum on all policy fronts needs to halted dead in the middle so long term projects can be properly planned, agreed upon by many parties and built without obfuscation.

A Second Sydney Harbour Rail Crossing

There has been much talk in Sydney over the years, and you can see these on display in the transport plans, of a second sydney harbour rail crossing.  All transport planners recognise the desperate need for a second crossing, particularly with the north-west rail link increasing numbers on the already overcrowded Chatswood – Wynyard section of the north shore line.  The tunnel option is an unbelievably expensive solution, conservatively estimated at $5bn at the time of Bob Carr’s premiership, so you could probably comfortably double that number to get an idea of the cost being proposed here.  It is staggering.  One quarter the cost of Labour’s much vaunted NBN scheme depending on whose numbers you believe.  And it seems impractical.  The tunnels would reportedly have to go 80m below sea level, meaning they would need to extend from St Leonards through to Central/Redfern and would be one of the steepest grade lines on the network (side-note, the millennium trains can’t use the existing lane cove tunnel due to the steep grade).

The solution is obvious and right before our eyes.  All we need to do is phone or perhaps send a telegram to 1932.  No need for artists’ impressions – this existed until 1958.  Repeat.  We had a second harbour train crossing.

RIP 1932 – 1958, aged 26 years.
Died of political short-sightedness.

The northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1930s showing the original arch rail bridge. Second harbour crossing for rail and second platform at Milsons Point shown.

Figure 1 – The northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1930s showing the original arch rail bridge. Second harbour crossing for rail and second platform at Milsons Point shown.

 

Figure 2 - The northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1950s. The arch bridge has now been removed and the wall buttressed which is easily visible today. The eastern approach was converted to a car ramp for the Cahill Expressway

Figure 2 – The northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1950s. The arch bridge has now been removed and the wall buttressed which is easily visible today. The eastern approach was converted to a car ramp for the Cahill Expressway. The tram line has a kink in it to divert it to the road level – in the original plan the bridge would have met up with the North Shore Line to take 4 lines into North Sydney stationas now been removed and the wall buttressed which is easily visible today. The eastern approach was converted to a car ramp for the Cahill Expressway

A Trail of Destruction

Bradfield planned for these kinds of capacities for the rail network over 100 years ago, but typical of the NSW government, the plan became tangled up in ideological crusades as governments changed.  Much of the plan wasn’t built, but some very key pieces of infrastructure were built and were either used and abandoned or never used at all.  The level of waste and lost opportunity is extraordinary.

Used and abandoned or demolished:

  • Rail arch bridge crossing the roadway on the northern approaches to the bridge (demolished)
  • Second platform for Milson’s point station (paved over)
  • Second set of tracks on eastern side of the bridge (removed)
  • Approaches to Wynyard from the bridge have been covered to service the Cahill Expressway
  • Second set of rail tunnels on the eastern side from the bridge to Wynyard, now used as a hotel car park driveway
  • Platforms 1 and 2 of Wynyard station, currently used as a hotel car park.  These sit side-by-side with platforms 3 and 4 (north shore line).  The platform numbering has never been altered, and you can clearly see where stairwells to these platforms from the lower concourse and main concourse have been boarded over.
  • Stub tunnels leading from Platforms 1 and 2 of Wynyard.  These only extend a short distance south of the station, enough to act as a turnback for trams.

Built but never used:

  • Double flying junction stub tunnels to the north of North Sydney station for Bradfield’s proposed northern beaches line
  • St James inner 2 platforms.  This would have serviced the proposed western line and eastern suburbs line on a course down Oxford Street.  These are clearly visible when in the station and the tunnels are obscured by a false wall.
  • St James stub tunnels – these twin tunnels extend a considerable length from the Oxford Street corner of Hyde Park through to the State Library on Macquarie Street and round towards O’Connell and Bridge Streets.  They have been used but only for sidings or turnbacks.
  • Central Station ghost platforms – when the Eastern Suburbs line was built, an additional 2 platforms were placed above the now current subway platform, along with relatively short stub tunnels.
  • Redfern Station ghost platforms – again, a duplication was put in place when the Eastern Suburbs line was built.  The intermediate level above platforms 24 and 25 was the concourse for these unfinished platforms.

Linking the removal of trams with the demolition of the eastern lines over the harbour bridge was unbelievably short-sighted.   When the Cahill Expressway was in full use this may have been understandable, but for the last 22 years the Sydney harbour tunnel has serviced the eastern side of the CBD very well, and according to RTA/RMS the use of the Cahill has halved since 1992. It’s demolition would only adversely affect those coming from North Sydney to the eastern Sydney, for which a new overpass at Berry Street or vicinity or alternatively a new entry into the cross-city tunnel from north to east could cater for.  Fortunately the eastern tracks and approaches could be reclaimed and restored to it’s intended use with minimal capital expenses in comparison with the rail tunnel alternative.  This would deliver the second Sydney harbour rail crossing in comparatively little time by exploiting the existing and abandoned infrastructure and extending it to the original plan.

 

An O' Class tram emerging from the Wynyard stub tunnels approaching Platform 1

Figure 3 – An ‘O’ Class tram emerging from the Wynyard stub tunnels approaching Platform 1

Figure 4 - The south-east rail approach leading to Wynyard platforms 1 & 2. This is now covered by a car ramp for the Cahill Expressway

Figure 4 – The south-east rail approach leading to Wynyard platforms 1 & 2. This is now covered by a car ramp for the Cahill Expressway

 

Figure 5 - As viewed today - There is a road deck above to bridge the graded track.

Figure 5 – As viewed today – There is a road deck above to bridge the graded track.

Figure 6 - The abandoned Wynyard train tunnels , overhead view

Figure 6 – The abandoned Wynyard train tunnels , overhead view

 

Figure 7 - Stub tunnels for the Northern Beaches line leading out of the north of North Sydney station and have never been used.  They would have led to the Northern Beaches via Northbridge in the Bradfield’s plan.

Figure 7 – Stub tunnels for the Northern Beaches line leading out of the north of North Sydney station and have never been used. They would have led to the Northern Beaches via Northbridge in the Bradfield plan.

 

Figure 8 - St James station - the two unused platforms. You can see the platform edge as a line in the concrete running of into the distance. The tunnels are obscured behind false walls at the end of the frame. Access to the tunnels is via the doors at the end, which are routinely open as the unused platforms are used for cleaners’ storage.

Figure 8 – St James station – the two unused platforms. You can see the platform edge as a line in the concrete running of into the distance. The tunnels are obscured behind false walls at the end of the frame. Access to the tunnels is via the doors at the end, which are routinely open as the unused platforms are used for cleaners’ storage.

 

Figure 9 - St James station - an unused platform visible behind one of those blue doors. Instead of having trains rolling along it, it was decided that mop and bucket storage was a better use for the space

Figure 9 – St James station – an unused platform visible behind one of those blue doors. Instead of having trains rolling along it, it was decided that mop and bucket storage was a better use for the space

 

Figure 10 - Central Station ghost platforms. These are located above the existing Eastern Suburbs subway station underneath Chalmers street. It has never been used.

Figure 10 – Central Station ghost platforms. These are located above the existing Eastern Suburbs subway station underneath Chalmers street. It has never been used.

 

By looking into the past and gaining an appreciation of the vast vision encapsulated in the Bradfield plan while trying to mask the debacle of policy over generations that has followed, you find an ingenious solution to our existing transport headaches.  If only his plans were followed through we would have a vastly superior public transport system in Sydney.  Perhaps if all else fails, trust the guy who had the vision in the first place.  It would seem that his vision extended well beyond his era – it applies today.

Figure 11 - Bradfield's plan

Figure 11 – Bradfield’s plan

Some reasons why this plan should be adopted:

First and foremost – make use of existing infrastructure that has either:

  • Never been used
  • Used but abandoned
  • Used but misused

To reduce cost and speed up delivery of increased capacity for commuters in Sydney.

Why Bradfield’s Plan?

  1. Two new train lines would run through the heart of the CBD, drastically increasing northbound traffic over the bridge, as well as east and western bound trains via St James.
  2. The North Shore line will drastically increase in patronage shortly with the forthcoming opening of the north west rail link that will terminate at Chatswood.  Patrons will then have to change trains to get to the city on already busy services.
  3. Heavy rail with single deck high capacity carriages can move up to 60,000 people per hour per line into the CBD – so with 2x lines 120,000 people/hour, compared with buses over the harbour bridge at a current rate of 20,000 per hour
  4. Wynyard tunnels – the approaches to the bridge on the southern side – are all built but currently have a roadway over them for 1 bus lane to the city and 1 car lane to the Cahill Expressway
  5. Allows for future capacity increases with the completion of the Parramatta – Chatswood line and would open up the opportunity to complete the northern beaches line
  6. Build bus interchanges along all north shore train stations – anyone that has sat in a CBD bound bus in the morning knows that it would be quicker to change to a train than be queued up on an approach to the bridge
  7. Redirect all CBD bound buses to these new bus/train interchanges, particularly the high capacity North Sydney and Milsons Point stations from Mosman and the northern beaches areas
  8. Initially the eastern track could service Milsons Point and North Sydney, doubling capacity.  In medium term, begin tunnelling from North Sydney stub tunnels through to Northern Beaches via Northbridge as per the original intent
  9. Tunnelling from Wynyard stubs on platforms 1 and 2 back through to Town Hall or adjacent area and onto Railway Square and Redfern would solve capacity constraints through the CBD and service the new transport interchange for light rail at Railway Square
  10. Future northern beaches line would drastically reduce the reliance on car and bus travel to the north east, reducing vehicle numbers through Mosman, spit bridge and the harbour bridge
  11. Remove all bus stops and bus lanes around Wynyard as these would be surplus to requirements
  12. York Street would be open to traffic from the bridge, reducing congestion on approach to city
  13. Only one car lane would be lost on the bridge which feeds the now largely redundant Cahill Expressway
  14. The Bradfield Highway ultimately narrows down to 6 lanes, so this would have to occur prior to the restored arch bridge on the north approach, approximately 500m further north than present – this should pose no detrimental effects to traffic
  15. Long term, deal with car capacity issues by duplicating the road deck of the bridge, again part of Bradfield’s original design
  16. The road deck of the Cahill Expressway could be removed, opening up Circular Quay as per Jan Gehl’s vision for the City of Sydney.  In the longer term Circular Quay station could be moved underground to completely transform the harbour and quay.
  17. St James tunnels from the state library to Oxford street are all built, lying abandoned and should be used
  18. St James ‘ghost’ platforms could be utilized almost 100 years after construction
  19. A subway line down Oxford Street, then through to the entertainment district would funnel shoppers up to Paddington, concert and sports fans to the football stadium and SCG and onto UNSW.  Doing so would increase capacity of the network and drastically reduce car and bus traffic during large events that chokes up the journey across the eastern distributor and Anzac parade
  20. Unused central subway ghost platforms, existing above the eastern suburbs line, could service the needs of the Yellow line in Bradfield’s plan
  21. Railway Square subway would be a welcome addition to anyone who has trekked through the Devonshire street tunnel.  This would increase capacity drastically especially given the plans to make this area a transport interchange for light rail and buses.
  22. Although the eastern suburbs line took an alternate path, the Bradfield plan could still be adopted in addition to the existing line
  23. Pitt Street and O’Connell Street stations would reduce demand at Wynyard and Town Hall.  It would also both to reduce interference to the existing operation of the network, but also to reduce the bottleneck that Town Hall station currently is.

 

Figure 12 - Restoring Bradfield's northern approach including steel arch bridge and second platform for Milsons Point station. North Sydney station would run at full capacity with 2 lines direct to the city, with expansion to the North West now and northern beaches in future.

Figure 12 – Restoring Bradfield’s northern approach including steel arch bridge and second platform for Milsons Point station. North Sydney station would run at full capacity with 2 lines direct to the city, with expansion to the North West now and northern beaches in future.

 

Figure 13 - The much shorter arch span in Cleveland, Ohio. This shows a similar construction to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but with a double deck arrangement.  Bradfield envisaged that a second deck could be added to the bridge to cater for future capacity needs.

Figure 13 – The much shorter arch span in Cleveland, Ohio. This shows a similar construction to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but with a double deck arrangement. Bradfield envisaged that a second deck could be added to the bridge to cater for future capacity needs.

Figure 14 - "Double-decker bridge to break the gridlock" - Sydney Morning Herald, April 30, 2005. http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Doubledecker-bridge-to-break-the-gridlock/2005/04/29/1114635748181.html

Figure 14 – “Double-decker bridge to break the gridlock” – Sydney Morning Herald, April 30, 2005. http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Doubledecker-bridge-to-break-the-gridlock/2005/04/29/1114635748181.html

 

 The part of the plan surrounding the restoration of the eastern line of the bridge and the Wynyard tunnels was being “seriously considered” by the state government in 2001 – They even had a project name “Project Star”.  Once again this plan was mulled over, announced, included in a transport “masterplan” and then quietly forgotten.

Underground; upbeat … Iemma and Frank Sartor say the abandoned tunnels in St James station could be used by the metro. Photo: Nick Moir (SMH)

Figure 15 – Then Premier Morris Iemma and planning minister Frank Sartor saying the abandoned tunnels in St James station could be used by the metro in 2008. The plan was scrapped by the incoming O’Farrell government.
Photo: Nick Moir (SMH)

In conclusion it seems that this option is entirely logical, would have the best possible cost benefit analysis applied to it but has not been properly debated, presumably because of the expected backlash of removing one car lane that leads to the largely redundant Cahill expressway in the wake of the harbour tunnel.  Or because of incompetence.  Or both.  If the government is serious about saving money, or spending taxpayers money in the most prudent manner, surely the above should be seriously considered instead of the far more expensive tunnel option, and if rejected, come with a damn good explanation as to why.  A $5-10bn tunnel, or 1 bus and 1 underutilized car lane – these are your options. We certainly shouldn’t be taking the expensive route if it is to be a public private partnership – the infrastructure for a second Sydney harbour rail crossing already exists, has been paid and should be utilized first before resorting to more expensive options.  It is time for the two major parties to balance their ideology against community interests by working together to enact a plan regardless of which party is in power – in short to act in the best interests of the economy and citizens in general.

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Sources

  • Figure 1 – http://www.flickr.com/photos/state-records-nsw/8368179943/in/set-72157606328090593/
  • Figure 2 – http://www.sydneycyclist.com/forum/topics/cbd-cycling-tunnels?commentId=1321712%3AComment%3A194538
  • Figure 3, 7, 8 – http://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/sydney/nsw_sydney_citytunnels.htm
  • Figure 4, 5, 7 – http://sydneyforeveryone.com.au/city/sydney/unfinished/abandoned-railway-tunnels-on-the-city-circle/
  • Figure 6 – http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=4800281
  • Figure 9 – Author
  • Figure 10 – http://www.trainman.id.au/photos/nsw/tunnels/
  • Figure 12 – Google Images, edited by author
  • Figure 13 – http://bridgestunnels.com/2012/08/14/clevelands-detroit-superior-bridge/
  • Figure 14 – http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Doubledecker-bridge-to-break-the-gridlock/2005/04/29/1114635748181.html
  • Figure 15 – http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/tunnel-trouble-wont-hurt-metro/2008/03/19/1205602483747.html

Paul Howes National Press Club Speech

How to get off the ideological See-Saw

A response to Paul Howes National Press Club Speech, 5th February 2014

In a recent Press Club speech, Paul Howes, the National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union, posed the question – how do we get off the industrial relations see-saw?  I think of pendulums, but whatever your analogy, the fact remains that we have two political blocs whose main differences revolve around the organization of Labour.  Paul Howes argued passionately that it was in no-ones interest, be it union, government or employers to see the pendulum shift backwards and forwards with the changing political moods.  He listed eight significant legislative changes since he joined the union movement in 1998, pointing out that if we had simply found the middle ground and stuck to it, we would be in a significantly better position in terms of productivity and certainty for business, and all the consequent factors revolving around investment and creation of jobs.  Howes said “We’re not being dragged down by the detail of any particular raft of industrial relations legislation.  Australia is being dragged down because we’ve had far too many of them”.  To me this was an “ah-ha” moment – someone is seeing this as a major impediment to the progress of the nation.  So to come back to his question – how do we get off this interminable see-saw?  In short, I propose that we simply remove the see-saw altogether.

Paul Howes at the National Press Club, 5th February, 2014 Source: smh.com.au

Paul Howes at the National Press Club, 5th February, 2014
Source: smh.com.au

The see-saw in Howes’ is a clear representation of the two-party state, as it is the two blocs that push the industrial relations legislation from one ideological extreme to the other as they shift in and out of government.  The inherent, and sad irony is that while the Labor Party strongly believes that it is representing union interests, and that the Liberal/National bloc represents the business and farming interests, ultimately from this we get no middle ground and no sensible policy outcome – only a policy that benefits one sector in society over another along with the inevitable shift back to the other extreme with a new government.  This is of course why the accords of the Hawke-Keating era were so ground breaking – there was an effort to bridge these interests in the common good.  Ultimately it is the job of the politicians, not unions or business, to enact a balanced set of policies and create the regulatory framework of relevant institutions, not only in the industrial relations area, but across the board.  After winning a double majority in the 2004 election, the Howard government’s introduction of Work Choices showed the results of raw ideology from one party being enacted, and marked a new low-point in policy outcomes.  The shift taken against Work Choices by Labor in 2009 was no doubt also taking things too far in the other direction, evidenced by Labor’s own Fair Work Amendment Act of 2012.  Howes was prepared to go further, conceding things were still not in the middle.  To bridge this gap and return to the sensible middle ground, he advocated a compact with business – in effect a return to the accord era.  This extending of an olive branch was flatly rejected by his Labor colleagues and was met with derision from the government and Prime Minister.  This is just further evidence that the two party state is doing us no favours when it comes to the determination of balanced public policy, with industrial relations being one amongst many of examples.

All political parties determine a unified position in their party rooms before presenting their ideas and policies to the public, media and parliament.  In the case of the Howard double majority era subsequent to the 2004 election, this was disastrous for public policy outcomes – we ended up with a vastly skewed industrial relations system obviously tilted in favour of the employer which was subsequently amended by the government of the day because they themselves (presumably after reading opinion polls) determined that the policy regime was in fact too extreme – echoed by Labor in government with amendments to the Fair Work Act.  The decisions determined behind the closed doors of the coalition parliamentary party room after the 2004 election were enacted as law with the parliament acting as a rubber stamp.  None of it determined, debated, examined in detail in public before being presented as a bill, and no amendments needed to secure passage.  Now, if there had not been the majority, there is no way that the Howard government could have acted in this extreme way – policies would have been debated in parliament, amended, re-debated and so-on until everyone reached a compromise – the way parliament was intended to operate.  A double majority or even a single majority severely undermines the parliamentary process as policy outcomes will be extreme and ideological – the parliament is simply used and abused as a rubber stamp at the whim of the party room – the result is the opposite of rational, clear, transparent and well thought through policies that we should expect from our well paid political classes.

John Howard introducing the fairness test amendment to work choices into the House of Representatives, 31st May, 2007

John Howard introducing the fairness test amendment to work choices into the House of Representatives, 31st May, 2007 Source: smh.com.au

 For the above reasons I rail against any one bloc that consorts behind closed doors to have a majority in either or both houses of parliament – it is a distortion of the political process and ultimately it is extremely undemocratic and unrepresentative.  I cite the Electoral act as my evidence.  In our compulsory preferential system, votes are given to the first and second candidates, with the votes from the losers transferred to the first and second candidates.  Great, “your vote isn’t wasted” we’re told by the AEC.  But what if I don’t want to vote for a major party – I don’t want my vote “transferred” – how can I do this without casting an informal ballot?  Going back to our thread of industrial relations reform, let’s analyse the 2004 election that gave the Howard government this double majority.

Table 1 – 2004 Federal Election – First Preferences by Party (for those above 100,000 vote threshold, except the CLP) Source: Australian Electoral Commission
Party Votes % Total Primary Vote
Number of Seats Allocated
% Seats Allocated
% Distortion (Seats-Primary)
Votes required to win a seat on av
Liberal 3,880,695 40.31 74 49.33 +9.02 (!!) 52442
Australian Labor Party 3,685,137 38.28 60 40 +1.72 61419
The Greens 671,692 6.98 0 0 -6.98 (!!)
The Nationals 559,861 5.82 12 8 +2.18 46655
Independent 231,107 2.4 3 2 -0.4 77036
Family First 192,837 2 0 0 -2.0
Democrats 113,101 1.17 0 0 -1.17
One Nation 110,602 1.15 0 0 -1.15
CLP – The Territory Party 32,196 0.33 1 0.67 +0.34 32196

 

If you take the Liberal/National as a coalition, that means they ended up with 46.5% of the vote but were allocated 58% of the seats in the HOR and managed to control both houses of parliament, aided by that 11.54% distortion of the vote.  If I bothered to look I could no doubt find thousands of claims they had a mandate – one of the most annoying and irrelevant words in use in politics today.  You simply cannot claim to have a mandate when you have a two party system with those kinds of distortions – there are many reasons why people vote or have their vote “transferred” one way or the other.  And anyway, probably due in part to the system in Australia, it seems it’s less about voting for the opposition of the day, but more voting against the government.  The Australian electoral system is clearly not representative and for anyone to claim a mandate in the present framework is most likely trying to push through a ridiculous ideological agenda with no compromise that will cause a see-saw backwards and forwards with a change of government.

The Australian Electoral System

Our electoral system is to blame – one written by the two major parties over the course of the 20th century that benefits their interests over that of the general community.  This circumstance may have been fine in that epoch, but it certainly isn’t today – the principal reason is the declining membership in the two major parties (not that you can get accurate figures), the splintering of votes to minor parties and the increasing disenfranchisement that is felt across the community at the some of the outrageous behaviour exhibited by our elected “representatives”.  As Cathy Alexander from Crikey pointed out on the 18th July 2013 – “There are more people on the waiting list to join the Melbourne Cricket Club than there are rank-and-file members in all Australian political parties put together.” But if again we take a look at table 1 – or pick any election to see this trend – there is a gross distortion in relation to the national vote and the number of seats apportioned.  Distortion in the apportionment of seats can be expressed in one word: disproportionality.  In table 1, you can see the number of votes required to win a seat for each party.  The variances are wildly out for in particular the Greens and the Nationals – despite the Greens having almost 112,000 more votes than the Nationals, the Greens have 0 seats, the Nationals 12.  Obviously this is because the Nationals vote is concentrated in particular areas of the country with the Greens spread nation-wide.  Given that the electoral system is skewing results like this, you have to ask the question as to why do we perpetuate a system that delivers these ridiculously distorted outcomes.

We can take stock that our neighbour across the Tasman acted on this very issue way back in 1992, albeit they were previously using an even less democratic first past the post (FPP) system, but nonetheless the cause for change was brought about when, in two consecutive elections (1978 and 1981), the National party won more seats despite Labour winning more votes.  This happened infamously in Australia in the 1990 federal election, where the coalition parties won 43.46% of the primary vote compared with the ALPs 39.44%, yet the seats were split 78/69 in favour of the ALP – clearly a gross distortion of the electoral process if ever there was one.  Faced with the same issue, New Zealand proposed to change to the German style Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system, which, given the community outrage at the time, passed in a referendum with overwhelming support.  The first question of the initial referenda resulted in 85% of people dismissing the FPP system, and in a second question MMP won the day (65%) against preferential voting (6%), supplementary member (5%) and single transferrable vote (16%).  Worth noting in there that the system we use in Australia attracted a mere 6% of the vote when put to a popular election.

Disproportionality - Australia vs New Zealand

Table 2 – Disproportionality – Australia vs New Zealand including trend lines. Note the dramatic drop when NZ changed to MMP. Note also Australia’s trend is increasing disproportionality.

The success of an electoral system or otherwise can be determined and ranked using the Gallagher index of disproportionality.  The index is determined by deriving the difference between the percentage of votes received and the percentage of seats a party obtains – a measure of how representative a parliament is.  Australia historically runs a disproportionality of between 8 and 15%, with an average a little over 9% over history.  The trend, however, is increasing disproportionality; from 1949-1974 the average was 7.5%, while the period 1975-2013 averaged 10.5%.   The 2004 example used above was the best result since 1993 at 8.6%, but in the other example of 1990 we had the figure at 12.48%, peaking at almost 15% in 1977.  New Zealand was outraged at 17.2% – what they termed a “winner takes all” system – and enacted change.  The 2010 election here in Australia produced a number of 11.29%.  The fledgling nation of Timor Leste did better than us in 2007 with 4.48%, Cambodia managed 5.38% in 2013 and Egypt 7.71% in 2011.  On average, Australia ranks 73rd out of 98 countries on disproportionality as shown in table 3. Consequently, we are hardly in a position to lecture other nations about their respective level of democratization.

Table 3 – Disproportionality in Australia and New Zealand using the Gallagher Index showing the huge decline as a consequence of the introduction of MMP in New Zealand – Source: http://www.tcd.ie/Political_Science/staff/michael_gallagher/ElSystems/Docts/ElectionIndices.pdf
Year Disproportionality – Australia Disproportionality – New Zealand Electoral System in New Zealand
1983-4 10.31 15.40 FPP
1987 10.42 8.89 FPP
1990 12.48 17.24 FPP
1993 8.12 18.19 FPP
1996 10.97 3.43 MMP
1998-9 10.87 2.97 MMP
2001-2 9.37 2.37 MMP
2004-5 8.60 1.13 MMP
2007-8 10.27 3.84 MMP
2010-1 11.29 2.387 MMP
2013 9.54

 

As disproportionality rises, community anger about the misrepresentative nature of the electoral system rises.  As the table above indicates, as soon as New Zealand adopted the MMP electoral system, disproportionality dropped by over 80% – a huge success.  What I find curious about Australia is that this debate about the Australian electoral system has not really happened, ever.  No-one seems dare question the basis of how we determine the representatives we have.  There has been talk of Senate reform, which is a topic in itself, but here the discussions are about removing minor parties, not opening up the process to more rigour and less disproportionality.  The senate itself is a curious mix of proportionality in terms of the voting system, but extreme disproportionality in terms of the equal numbers of senators apportioned to each state.  Australia needs to start at the House of Representatives and then open up this debate more broadly – the minor parties who are adversely effected as a consequence of the current system should be shouting from the rooftops as to the inequity and injustice to their constituency of the system with which we find ourselves with presently.

Australia needs to take a look at itself and ask if we can move forward as a nation when we seem to perpetually have a public policy debate full of false dichotomies.  The language of public debate has been lowered to the point of arguments being made in this manner: “If you don’t repeal the carbon tax, then you don’t support Australian business”; or “This government is either for Australian jobs or for exporting Australian jobs”.  These are classic false dichotomies and are used liberally in press conferences to get the cut-through messages across.  While both major parties are highly adept at this tactic, Tony Abbott took it to the next level as opposition leader.  Instead of this, nuance needs to enter into the debate.  More than two dominant views would be handy – A black and white perspective is dangerously misleading and disingenuous to the public at large.  Perhaps the source of this political culture emanates from school debating teams – no doubt many of the politicians in Canberra presently would have been guilty of participating in these in their past, causing to perpetuate the style of adolescent politicking nurtured through university by the young *insert political party name here*, or worse, student politics.  After all, many of the arguments proffered by our representatives could have been lifted from the pages of a Year 7 debating captains’ notebook.  Well, I hate to break it to you, but a nuanced debate has more than just an affirmative and negative team.  The underlying cause for Australians distaste and apathy for the public debate stems from listening to the politicians engaging in what many regard as school-aged antics.  A political system that has two major parties plays into this false-dichotomy-masquerading-as-public-policy conundrum.  More voices in parliament would halt this, would introduce the nuanced debate that we all crave, and would undoubtedly get us off this interminable see-saw by finding the middle ground on policy determination every single time.

Australia clearly has a disproportionate electoral system that skews outcomes typically in favour of the two major parties.  It is a system that is all too convenient for the authors of legislation to perpetuate – it affords them power and funding to continue their tribe.  However, this crop of politicians need to recognise that change is inevitable, and their intransigence over accepting other parties must stop in the national interest.  The public should begin to think about the method used to appoint our representatives, and affect change in order to produce a parliament that is plural, will guarantee that no one party will obtain a majority, will remove the era of the false dichotomy and will allow all views of more Australians to be properly represented in policy outcomes.  In short, by removing the see-saw, the see-sawing of policies will abate. Taking these actions will allow Australia to prosper and face the vast policy challenges of the future in a considered, nuanced and more mature approach.  I think it is beholden upon us to demand change and demand better policy outcomes for Australia.  It’s time to grow up.  It’s time to look at the Australian electoral system.

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How does the Australian electoral system rank?

Poorly.

73rd of 98.

This table shows the most to least democratic nations.  Note the disproportionality is measured across all legislatures, not just the lower house/parliament.

Table 4 – Disproportionality by Country since 1996, ranked best to worst, excluding counties with less than 3 elections (1996-2013). Source http://www.tcd.ie/Political_Science/staff/michael_gallagher/ElSystems/Docts/ElectionIndices.pdf
Rank Country Disproportionality (lower is better) Electoral System for Lower House/Parliament
1 South Africa 0.28 Droop quota (Closed lists)
2 Namibia 0.91 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
3 Uruguay 1.01 D’Hondt method
4 Netherlands 1.01 D’Hondt method
5 Guyana 1.04 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
6 Denmark 1.17 D’Hondt method
7 Malta 1.63 STV
8 Sweden 1.69 Sainte-Laguë method
9 Cyprus 1.90 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
10 Israel 2.27 D’Hondt method
11 Greenland 2.35
12 Faeroe Islands 2.47
13 San Marino 2.54 SMPR
14 Kosova 2.63
15 New Zealand 2.69 MMP
16 Germany 2.74 MMP
17 Austria 2.78 D’Hondt method
18 Brazil 2.94 D’Hondt method
19 Switzerland 2.99 D’Hondt method
20 Norway 3.00 Sainte-Laguë method
21 United States (HOR) 3.06 FPTP
22 Finland 3.14 D’Hondt method
23 Liechtenstein 3.40 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
24 Sri Lanka 3.41 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
25 Luxembourg 3.46 D’Hondt method
26 Slovenia 3.48 D’Hondt method
27 N Ireland 3.55 STV
28 Honduras 3.68 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
29 Iceland 3.69 D’Hondt method
30 Nicaragua 3.77 D’Hondt method
31 Belgium 3.82 D’Hondt method
32 Montenegro 3.88 D’Hondt method
33 Cabo Verde 3.88 D’Hondt method
34 El Salvador 3.96 D’Hondt method
35 Bolivia 4.06 Supplementary Member System
36 Estonia 4.15 Party list
37 Latvia 4.45 Sainte-Laguë method
38 Serbia 4.77 D’Hondt method
39 Mozambique 4.97 D’Hondt method
40 Portugal 5.32 D’Hondt method
41 Sao Tome e Principe 5.39 Party list
42 Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.40 Sainte-Laguë method
43 Spain 5.43 D’Hondt method
44 Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus 5.52
45 Romania 5.63 FPTP
46 Costa Rica 5.83 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
47 Russia 6.20 Largest remainder (Closed lists)
48 Czechia 6.26 D’Hondt method
49 Ireland 6.39 STV
50 Slovakia 6.53 Hagenbach-Bischoff (semi-open lists)
51 Ukraine 6.53 Parallel
52 Sierra Leone 6.59 FPTP
53 Bulgaria 6.72 D’Hondt method
54 Chile 6.80 Binomial System (open list)
55 Poland 6.91 D’Hondt method
56 Mexico 6.98 Parallel
57 Gibraltar 7.16
58 Bermuda 7.28 FPTP
59 Paraguay 7.32 D’Hondt method
60 Scotland 7.33 Additional Member System
61 Greece 7.67 SMPR
62 Korea 7.91
63 Trinidad and Tobago 8.03 FPTP
64 Moldova 8.50 D’Hondt method
65 Macedonia 8.53 D’Hondt method
66 Peru 8.63 Largest remainder (Hare quota)
67 Italy 8.76 Complex
68 Croatia 8.79 D’Hondt method
69 Hungary 8.97 MMP
70 Surinam 9.19 Party list
71 United States (President) 9.36 Electoral College
72 Dominica 9.52 FPTP

73

Australia

10.13

Instant Runoff Voting – IRV

74 Lithuania 10.17 Parallel
75 Wales 10.21 Additional Member System
76 Andorra 10.42 Parallel
77 Panama 11.26 Complex
78 Canada 11.29 FPTP
79 Zambia 12.25 FPTP
80 Fiji 12.57 IRV
81 Jamaica 12.76 FPTP
82 Albania 12.88 List-PR
83 France 12.95 Runoff
84 Japan 13.56 Parallel
85 Lesotho 13.86
86 Antigua and Barbuda 14.14 FPTP
87 St Vincent and the Grenadines 14.28 FPTP
88 Seychelles 14.52 Parallel
89 Barbados 16.00 FPTP
90 St Lucia 16.06 FPTP
91 United Kingdom 16.09 FPTP
92 Senegal 16.26 Parallel
93 Belize 19.52 FPTP
94 Bahamas 19.67 FPTP
95 St Kitts and Nevis 20.06 FPTP
96 Botswana 21.29 FPTP
97 Grenada 25.04 FPTP
98 Monaco 30.17 Parallel