22 November 2013
Conservative electoral changes damage democracy, benefit major parties
Commenting on proposed Queensland election law changes, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the Newman government plan could be a forerunner for a federal Coalition push to use electoral reform to consolidate their power.
Senator Rhiannon said “The conservative plan to allow corporate money to again be donated to political parties in Queensland while locking out disadvantaged voters and weakening the rules on postal votes are a serious setback for Australian democracy.
“The Newman electoral changes could signal a future direction for the Abbott government, where the era of corporate money politics dominates.
“Abolishing the caps on election spending introduced by the last state Labor government, raising the threshold for political donation disclosures and lifting the public funding threshold from four to ten per cent, benefits the major parties.
“If the Queensland government is successful in changing the electoral law, voters will be required to show identification for the first time in this country.
“The proposed laws will also strip away restrictions on political donations and spending.
“Plans to raise the public funding threshold will hit new parties which obviously struggle in the early years to establish their support base.
“These changes are a cynical attempt by the Newman government to manipulate the voting system by letting big money run wild while locking out disadvantaged voters and restricting smaller parties.
“There is practically no evidence of voter fraud in Australia being committed by someone impersonating another voter in the polling place. Yet we have no idea how many people may not have correct identification, or who might be discouraged from voting by the new laws,” Senator Rhiannon said.
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