'The two-party system is essential to the health of the health of Australian liberal democracy.’ Discuss.

| February 14, 2014

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Refer to Attached Reference Material to write essay discussing topic and will need to demonstrate the following:
1. A clear understanding of what a liberal democracy is with some consideration that democracy should reflect the will of the majority. That said, there are always voters who have values and aspirations that may not be in the majority but are still valid and deserve some consideration by governments, same-sex marriage is a good example of this.
2. Demonstrate that you understand what the Australian two-party system is and briefly describe how it has emerged in Australian politics. The two-party system is not one demanded by the Constitution but rather has developed since the 1940s. The electoral system has played a significant role in this development.
3. There are different methods used to elect members to the House of Representatives and Senators. In the House of Representatives (full preferential voting) more than 50 per cent of the vote is required to win a seat (http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/How_to_vote/Voting_HOR.htm) . This means a majority (more than 50%) of votes is needed to win the House of Representatives and a quota (based on proportional voting) is required to win a Senate seat (see http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/Senate_Briefs/Brief01 Because of this it is in effect easy for minor parties to secure a Senate seat. The Senate tends to be more diverse in terms of political parties while the House of Representatives is dominated by the two major parties. Is this good for voters and how does this reflect on the ideals of democracy?
4. You need to take a position. That is, based on evidence and argument does the two-party system that is relatively stable but because of the electoral system has consolidated the Liberal-National Coalition and the Labor Party’s dominance in the House of Representatives is this good for society or has it meant that two parties, who have similar political and ideological views, give voters little choice in who will form government and little policy difference?
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