Andrew Gilligan, Daily Telegraph:
"In Britain’s proposed version – as in New South Wales and one other Australian state, Queensland – ranking will be optional. You can, if you like, cast what is effectively a first-past-the-post vote, by only marking a first preference and leaving all the other candidates blank.Another classic example of politicians wasting money that is not theirs!
Last month, when NSW’s scandal-ridden Labor government finally faced the voters, quite a few people did, in fact, do just that. Labor was massively defeated. As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s election analyst, Antony Green, noted: “AV behaved very much like first past the post.”
In only one constituency, out of the total of 93, was the candidate who led on first preferences defeated after the distribution of second and lower preferences. Nor is this unusual. In the previous NSW election, in 2007, only two of the 93 constituencies went to the candidate who “came second”. In the last Queensland election, in 2009, the figure was three seats out of 89.
In other words, as Mr Green puts it: “The impact of AV is likely to be much less than its advocates in Britain suggest, and certainly less than its UK opponents warn.” The big claims on either side of the British debate are probably misplaced. The public indifference to next month’s referendum might, in fact, be the correct response."