Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has welcomed support for Senate electoral reform by Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane and outgoing Labor Senator Bob Carr.
“There is now a widespread sentiment that our Senate voting system needs an overhaul, including the support of more than 2000 Australians who have signed The Greens ‘Reform Senate Voting’ petition,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“We must end the backroom preference deals to safeguard the standing of the Senate.
“The Greens have consistently called for the abolishment of Group Voting Tickets that take preference decisions out of the hands of voters. The Greens proposal does not limit who can stand in elections. Former Senator Bob Brown made repeated attempts to have this reform legislated.
“In my discussions with representatives of other parties there appears to be a strong appetite for reform.
“The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters will play a key role in advancing these reforms. I will be requesting that the Greens private members bill for optional preferential above the line voting be considered as part of the JSCEM deliberations on Senate electoral reform.
“In 1999 my Greens plan for Optional Preferential Above-The-Line Voting for the NSW Upper House was agreed to by the state parliament.
“The Greens are keen to work with other parties on this federal reform,” Senator Rhiannon said.
Response to voter identification and enrolment comments by Brian Loughnane
“We are concerned with reports today that the Liberals are considering tightening voter identification laws and enrolment procedures. The Liberals have form in this area – of pursuing changes that make it harder for disadvantaged and minority groups to participate in elections. We will be strongly resisting changes that limit voter participation,” Senator Rhiannon said.
Reform Senate Voting petition:
In 2013 backroom deals saw candidates elected to the Senate with less than 1% of the vote.
This only happened because the current voting system takes power out of the hand of voters and gives control to political parties.
It encourages political parties to register “front parties” and funnel their preferences to each other regardless of their political persuasion.
Sign our petition to end backroom preference deals and give voters control over their preferences.
In NSW The Greens successfully reformed the electoral system after the 1999 giant tablecloth ballot paper election. Our plan for all preference decisions to be made by the voter was adopted.
The benefit of this reform is that it does not limit new parties forming but it removes the incentive for parties to form smaller front parties for the purpose of harvesting votes through preferences. It also means a candidate is much less likely to be elected off a minuscule vote.
We don’t support attempts to increase registration fees and other administrative burdens to squeeze out minor parties.
This recent election highlights the importance of reforming our Senate system to protect the role that minor parties play in our democracy, but also to ensure that voters are in control of their own preferences.
10/24/2013 – 00:00