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Greens committed to reform that gives voters control over preferences

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 14 May 2015

Australian Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Lee Rhiannon has today affirmed her party's support for the abolition of group voting tickets in the Senate that allow political parties to control voter's preferences.

"The current Senate voting system does not allow voters to control their preferences - instead it gives that power over entirely to political parties," Senator Rhiannon said.

"This creates an incentive for backroom operators to create ‘front parties' in order to harvest voter's preferences without their knowledge and support.

"Academics, electoral experts such as the ABC's Antony Green and the Greens have been arguing for years for the current system to be scrapped and control over preferences to be handed back to voters.

"Allowing voters to choose their own preferences, similar to the method used to elect the NSW Upper House, does not hinder the ability of small parties to run and get elected. It simply means preferences will be determined by voters and not by political parties.

"It is disappointing, but unsurprising, to see those who orchestrated deals that saw Labor preferences elect Steve Fielding to the Senate with two per cent of the vote strongly resisting the push for reform.

"The current system entrenches the power of political parties in deciding preferences and allows professional operatives to effectively game the voting system - something David Leyonhjelm freely admitted to a Senate inquiry.

"Senate voting reform is not about benefiting one party over another, it is simply about ensuring voters control their preferences," Senator Rhiannon said.

Contact: Brami Jegan 0487 350 880

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