Helsinki and Canberra; comparing the electoral systems of the parliaments of Finland and Australia

This is a post for Ma & Pa Farmers (@lutajobe) on Twitter, who had some questions about the comparability of the Australian Parliament and the Finnish Parliament

A note before we begin; Finland is a semi-presidential parliamentary democracy in the European Union, while Australia is a constitutional monarchy and federal parliamentary democracy that is not. For the purposes of discussion, we are ignoring any parliament other than the national ones, the Finnish presidency, and Finnish members of the European Parliament.

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General blog update

All my pre-2016 content here has been taken down; over the next few weeks, it’ll annotated and sourced, and then restored. There are some posts that won’t be coming back though, because they’re crap.

That said, posts won’t be deleted simply because I don’t agree now with what I wrote back then. If that happens, the post will be edited to to say so in big red bold text at the top.

Mistaken about Machiavelli; what people get wrong about Il Principe

In 1513, the former Chancellor and Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence, Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, now disgraced and deposed, published what would become one of the most famous, and most reviled, political texts of the European Renaissance – The Prince. Over the centuries, thanks to this work, the man’s name has become synonymous with the kind of manipulative, underhanded, and utterly ruthless mentality personified by Frank and Claire Underwood in House of Cards; primarily because most people consider The Prince to be encouraging such amoral behaviour in politicians and leaders. Thus the adjective “Machiavellian”.

They’re wrong.

If I had to put my finger on a specific phrase most at fault for this error, it would be a tie between two lines. The first is the line “it is better to be feared than loved”. The second is the line “the ends justify the means”. Both lines encapsulate “Machiavellian” attitudes, and neither actually appears in the text.

Be warned; this post will quote The Prince at length, because truncating the work is what landed us in this mess in the first place. There are also spoilers for House of Cards.

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The Senate Voting Reforms in 600 words

So I’ve been reading Antony Green’s blog on the proposed Senate voting reforms, and from that, here’s a nice little rundown of the proposal as it stands right now.

I am assuming you know how the single transferable vote system used in the Senate works. If not, click here and brush up.

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