Monday, 30 March 2015
Preferential voting is the way they choose their representatives in Australia. Voters put a '1' against their first choice, then 2, 3 etc against all but one of the other choices.
The counting is started with the 1st preference. If nobody gets an absolute majority, the candidate with fewest votes gets eliminated and those votes get re-allocated to the voters' second preference.
The process goes on until you get to a majority using subsequent preferences.
In this way no vote is 'wasted', ie used on an unelectable candidate, and minority parties get a genuine chance to show they can build a majority.
It's a process where you still get an individual representing a specific constituency.