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Greens to amend senate voting reform legislation

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 2 Mar 2016

Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale was joined by Greens Democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon to announce the Greens response to the JSCEM inquiry.

“The Greens are extremely proud to be one step closer to a more democratic voting system,” said Senator Di Natale.

“We believe giving voters control over their vote is a hugely important democratic reform that must be in place as soon as practicable. 

“The AEC made it very clear that they needed a minimum of three months to prepare for an election under these reforms and the Greens want to ensure that they have the time they need. So we will be moving an amendment to ensure that the reforms will only apply to elections held after June 30. 

“We’re not interested in playing political games. This is about putting an end to a corrupted electoral system before the next election, whether it’s a double dissolution or not.

“My advice to the PM is that running to a double dissolution would just make him look weak and cowardly. But if that’s what he decides to do, the Greens are ready to take it up to him and prove once again that we are the biggest opposition to the Coalition in this parliament.

“Unlike the ALP we believe the way to stop the Coalition’s agenda is to beat them, not to rely on a broken system.”

Senator Rhiannon said the Greens were pleased that the government has accepted the recommendation of JSCEM regarding below the line voting. 

“The Greens submission to the JSCEM inquiry into voting reform called for optional preferential voting below the line, with voters required to number at least 12 boxes. The committee’s report this morning has also made that recommendation.

“This has always been our position and we have long campaigned for it. We informed the government that we would like to see it reflected in the bill and we are pleased that they have agreed. 

“Many of the 100 plus submissions as well as expert witnesses at yesterday’s hearing made the clear case for OPV below the line, as it would enable elections to translate the preferences of voters into electoral outcomes with even greater accuracy.”

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