One of the advantages of reading constitutions is that you tend to have a better grasp of the rules of the contest. And, if you read more than one constitution, you’re likely to have a better grasp of the intersections between them. Better still, if you had a hand in writing one of them...
When the new Federal International Relations Committee emerged from the Party’s most recent governance review, I was the Secretary of its predecessor, and I realised quite quickly that someone was going to have to deal with the constitutional niceties. Given the makeup of the Committee, that was probably always going to be me, and so I arranged for the creation of standing orders, a communications plan and all of the other stuff required by the Federal Constitution.
It would be fair to say that there was some grumbling in terms of why this stuff was necessary. But, if you’re going to have a job, you need a framework within which it can be delivered.
One of my early tasks was to suggest how the new ALDE Party Council delegation would be determined, and I concluded that, regardless of how many places we were entitled to, two of our delegates should be the Party President, given their stated role as the principle public representative of the Party, and the Chair of the Federal International Relations Committee, which seemed obvious. The rest were to be directly elected.
This was accepted by the Committee, and, in due course, advised to the Party so that this could be dealt with as part of the election cycle. I note, in passing, that this didn’t happen this year, and all six of our delegates were directly elected. And whilst that’s a problem, it’s not one that I can fix.
However, wearing one of my other hats, I was considering a proposal within the ALDE Party for revising its membership fee structure and, by extension, member party entitlements. From that sprang a revised formula for determining how many Council delegates a member party is entitled to, and this turned out to be;
1 + number of votes received/500,000 + percentage vote/10
where the votes received and percentage vote related to the last Parliamentary election.
2015 hadn’t been a good year for us, and so, the calculation was;
1 + 2,415,916/500,000 + 7.9/10 = 6.62
which was rounded to the nearest whole number, i.e. 7.
2017 was, almost unbelievably, worse, and so, the calculation was;
1 + 2,371,861/500,000 + 7.4/10 = 6.48
which, rounded to the nearest whole number, became 6, the number used to determine how many would be elected this time.
Those of you who “get” numbers will probably now be thinking, “ah, I see where this is going...”.
Throwing the current polling numbers into the calculation, and assuming that turnout on 12 December is similar to last time, the formula produces this;
1 + 5,120,000/500,000 + 16/10 = 12.84
or, rounded to the nearest whole number, 13.
In other words, the Returning Officer will be required to rerun the election with a revised number of vacancies, and my race may yet not be run...