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Greens call for unity on long overdue voting reform

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 22 Feb 2016

The Greens have today welcomed news that a bill for Senate voting reform will be introduced into parliament this week, calling on opposition leader Bill Shorten to back the changes that are supported by many within his own party.

"Over 12 years the Greens have been putting forward legislation for Senate voting reform that ends back room preference deals and puts power back into the hands of voters," said Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.

"The only people who support the current system are the faceless men and factional operators who can wield power and influence in back rooms.

"We will be looking very closely at this bill through the inquiry process to ensure it achieves the goal of putting power back in the hands of voters," Senator Di Natale said.

Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"It is vital that Senate voting reform is in place before the next election.

"The Greens had proposed a series of changes to how the Senate is elected including allowing voters to determine their own preferences when they vote Above The Line. We understand that the proposed new voting system would instruct voters to number at least six boxes.

"We are pleased that the Bill will end the era of back room party preference deals with the removal of Group Voting Tickets.

"The big winner is the voter who can determine their own preference flow when they vote Above The Line.

"We will examine the Bill closely to ensure that there are no loopholes. The inquiry process will help to fine tune this Bill.

"Labor should continue their long-standing support for democratic voting reform. Labor voted for similar reforms in NSW in 1999 and backed it again in the 2014 joint parliamentary inquiry.

"If Labor flip-flop and give in to their internal power-brokers they will consolidate the perception that they are a party stuck in the past, happy to do back room deals rather than put the voter first.

"Mr Shorten needs to resist lining up with the self-serving preference whisperers and back a fairer Senate election system where voters decide their own preferences," Senator Rhiannon said.


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