4 March 2014
Greens to introduce legislation to reduce barriers for minor parties
The Greens will give notice today for a Bill to lift barriers that make it difficult for minor parties to run in elections.
Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Rhiannon will introduce the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Reducing Barriers for Minor Parties) Bill 2014 which will reverse legislation passed by the Coalition and Labor last year that doubled nomination fees for candidates running for election to the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“An absolute cornerstone of our democracy should be the right of all citizens to run for election, either individually or collectively as political parties, regardless of wealth and background,” said Senator Rhiannon.
“The Coalition and Labor last year joined forces to double nomination fees for candidates. This move was designed to increase the cost of election campaigns in order to make it harder for new and small parties.
“The Greens strongly support the right of all political parties, and future political parties, to register and run for election without having to pay exorbitant fees.
“In the last federal election we saw a significant number of minor parties, including new parties, register and run. There is a growing concern that the major parties will take further steps to limit the role played by minor parties.
“In a similar vein to Labor’s doubling of nomination fees last year, the Campbell Newman Liberal National government in Queensland is pushing for a ten per cent threshold required before parties become eligible for public funding.
“This Greens Bill will return nomination fees to $1,000 per Senate candidate and $500 per House of Representatives candidate. It will restore some fairness to our electoral processes.
“The Greens recognise there is a need for electoral reform. The solution lies with Optional Preferential Above the Line voting in the Senate not increasing election costs”, said Senator Rhiannon.
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