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Conroy Says Senate Voting Reform Would Give Coalition A Blocking Majority

The ALP’s Senate deputy leader, Senator Stephen Conroy, says that the proposed reforms to the Senate voting system would give the coalition a blocking majority in the event of a double dissolution election.

Conroy spoke after today’s public hearings by the Senate committee examining the legislation.

Quoting the ABC’s election expert, Antony Green, Conroy said the coalition could win six seats in each state at a double dissolution election, or three seats in a regular half-Senate election. With one senator in each of the territories, this would give the coalition 38 seats at a double dissolution. [Read more…]


Party Discipline Trumps Policy Commitment: Gary Gray Supports Senate Voting Reform But Will Vote Against It

Gray Gray has reaffirmed his support for reform of the Senate voting system but committed himself to supporting the ALP Caucus decision to oppose the bill currently before the Parliament.

Gray, the Labor member for Brand in Western Australia, spoke in the House of Representatives today on the Turnbull government’s Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill which proposes elminating group voting tickets and introducing optional preferential voting above-the-line in Senate ballots.

Gray was a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) which made bipartisan recommendations in favour of sweeping changes to the Senate voting system. Gray said he supported the government’s bill but it would be a better bill if the JSCEM’s recommendations were adopted in full. [Read more…]


Turnbull Announces Senate Voting Reforms; Group Voting Tickets Abolished

Senate group voting tickets are to be abolished and optional preferential above the line voting is to be introduced, in electoral reforms announced today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The reforms are the result of an agreement with the Australian Greens and independent Senator Nick Xenophon. The agreement guarantees 44 Senate votes to pass the legislation.

The key change is the abolition of Senate group voting tickets. This will mean that political parties will no longer control the direction of preferences cast by electors who vote above the line in the Senate. This eliminates the preference harvesting that has resulted in candidates with tiny first preference support being elected as the result of complex preference swaps. [Read more…]


Changes To Senate Voting Methods Recommended; Liberals, ALP And Greens Agree To Stamp Out Preference Gaming

An interim report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has recommended the abolition of group voting tickets in the Senate in a move, supported by Liberal, Labor and Greens members, that will cripple micro-parties and prevent them from “gaming” the electoral system.

The Committee’s chairman, Tony Smith, the Liberal member for Casey, and his deputy, Alan Griffin, the ALP member for Bruce, presented the report today and held a media conference to discuss its recommendations. The Committee includes members from all parties and both houses. Its report was unanimous.

Ballot [Read more…]


Clive Palmer Releases Memorandum Of Understanding With Motoring Enthusiast Party

Clive Palmer has released the text of a Memorandum of Understanding his party has with Senator-elect Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party.

The document, dated October 6, says “each of the parties intends to work together and where it is practicably to vote together in the Senate”. The parties express “a desire to cooperate and assist each other as may be appropriate”.

The agreement permits each party to vote in Parliament in accordance with their policies, principles and conscience.

The document lists four points numbered 1, 2, 4 and 5. It itemises three statements as A, B and D. [Read more…]


Queensland To Introduce Voter ID Law, Increase Funding Threshold, Allow Unlimited Donations

Requiring electors to produce identification when they vote is part of a package of electoral reforms to be introduced by the Queensland government.

Voters will be required to produce a driver licence, passport, utility bill, Medicare card or similiar identification when they turn up to vote.

The government is also proposing to increase the primary vote threshold for public funding from 4% to 10%, a measure that will severely affect the level of funding provided to minor parties, including the Greens and the Palmer United Party.

The government is proposing to publish how-to-vote cards on the Electoral Commission’s website during elections.

The most controversial measure proposes to abolish caps on political donations and expenditure. The government plans to bring donation disclosure regulations in line with federal laws.

Media statement from Jarrod Bleijie, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.

Voting revolution for Queensland

Voting will be revolutionised at the next state election under electoral reforms introduced in Parliament today. [Read more…]


The State Of The Federation: Ted Mack

This is the text of Ted Mack’s Henry Parkes Oration, delivered in Tenterfield tonight.

MackTed Mack was an independent councillor and Mayor of the North Sydney Council in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was elected as the independent member for North Shore in the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1981 and was re-elected in 1984 and 1988, retiring two days before he became eligible for a parliamentary pension.

In 1990, he was elected as the independent member for the federal seat of North Sydney, defeating the incumbent Liberal, John Spender. He was re-elected in 1993 and retired in 1996.

In this speech, Mack argues that “no serious observer of politics in Australia, except those with specific interests, can pretend that we do not have major problems with our system of government or that we are incapable of achieving any improvement after a century of experience”. [Read more…]