But as to voting for your local representative, s/he represents a party, as well as you. Otherwise we're
back to 19th century Britain, where individual reps need not follow any party line, except that line pointing > to a party to celebrate a new construction contract, such as 'tunnelling' a highway in your home state:
Oh, quite. I'm just a bit personally bitter about it - at the last
election, my local seat ended up with the worst MP in the country
(Belinda Neil, for those in Australia), based on an election campaign
which went something very much like this:
"Kevin Rudd has a very forward-thinking view for Australia. We should
vote for Belinda Neil because then Kevin Rudd will be Prime Minister
for Australia and everything will be wonderful"
The campaign worked, just well enough. Primary votes still favoured
the incumbent Liberal member despite a 7.8% swing against him (45.63%
of the vote to 42.93%) but after accounting for preferences, largely
from the Greens, Belinda Neil won the 2 Party Preferred race by 184
votes, making this the most marginal seat in the state.
That's really not how Representative democracy is supposed to work.
Particularly when, on the whole, the incumbent MP (Jim Lloyd) had been
politically effective and well liked by the community.
Which I guess speaks to a failing of Representative government, in
that the majority party leads alone - the community wasn't
dissatisfied with Jim Lloyd. They were annoyed that John Howard
refused to step down before the election. I don't know anybody (in my
own region) who voted for Labor based on policy - they just wanted a
new leader, and didn't much care if a new party came with it.