Election analyst Antony Green writes:
It may not have received as much coverage
as the voluntary voting proposal, but one recommendation in yesterday’s report
of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is an absolute stinker.
That is, the idea of abolishing group ticket voting for the Senate.
Group ticket voting is the method used by
95% of the electorate, where a single “1” vote is cast for a party “above the
line” on the Senate ballot paper. Because preference deals are nearly
impossible to find out about or understand, this voting has led to results that
do not necessarily reflect the will of the electorate. There is much finger
pointing at the manner in which Family First’s Steve Fielding was elected by
these deals, but he is only the beneficiary of a system wide open to abuse, and
all parties have fiddled around with rorting the process.
However, to simply abolish this system
overnight and revert to a system where voters must fill in preferences for all
candidates below the line, or all parties above the line, is a recipe for an informal
rate of 20% or more. Sure you wouldn’t have had to fill in preferences for all
78 candidates below the line on the 2004 NSW Senate ballot paper, but you will
have to fill in 29 preferences above the line. Whoopee!
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