• Mark Shaw

Are we overly pampering to the wishes of the minority?

I will argue in this blog that indeed we are.

I will argue that we seem to be bend-over-backwards to recognise and support the rights of all minorities to the extent it causes a negative impact on the majority.

A great example of this is the proposed changes to how Australians vote for new Senators. In the 2013 election 96.5% of the voters voted “above the line” (see image) - Chapter 2, p13). The report continues

“Many voters were confused. If they voted above the line, the choice of where their vote would go was effectively unknown, and accordingly in many cases their electoral will distorted.

The ‘gaming’ of the voting system by many micro-parties created a lottery, where, provided the parties stuck together in preferencing each other (some of whom have polar opposite policies and philosophies) the likelihood of one succeeding was maximised. ….. Clearly, given the circumstances, this election did not represent the genuine will of the voters.”

Yet public commentator and Senate candidate, Derryn Hinch, is creating headlines arguing that changes are not necessary because “the changes will make it harder for minor party candidates like himself to get elected to Parliament” (

To me the debate is whether the wishes of the minority (Derryn Hinch and other micro-parties) should override the wishes of the majority (the 96.5% of voters who are confused and currently have no say in how their vote is cast). I’d argue a clear NO WAY.

I am all for recognising and supporting minority groups. My concern is I feel The 2% Effect is happening everywhere we look. I.e. by over-focusing on the views and needs of the minority, we are making it unnecessarily harder for the majority.

Now consider the workplace where The 2% Effect is especially true. In issues from recruitment to termination:-

· How many of our policies, procedures and practices are designed because of the 2%-ers?

· How much time and energy is spent on the ‘noise’ and ‘concerns’ of the 2%-ers?

· How costly is it to be distracted by the whims and issues raised by the 2%-ers?

· How expensive are the legal and associated costs when managing the 2%-ers goes ‘pear shaped’?

I argue there is a solution and I have almost 20 years’ experience to support this approach.

1. Understand The 2% Effect (an over-focusing on the views and needs of the minority and making it unnecessarily harder for the majority) AND AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS!

2. Develop policies, processes and practices that focus on the 98% AND separate policies, processes and practices that successfully resolve the issues raised by the 2%.

I believe we need to discuss this issue in an adult,open and objective way and in my view we need to balance resolving the issues raised by the minority (2%-ers) without bending over backwards and causing a negative impact on the majority (the 98%).

What is your view?

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