Until Labor’s recent cynical turn against reforming the Senate, there was general agreement amongst the main political parties and electoral experts that something needed to be done to deal with the Senate. The number of candidates running for the Senate has skyrocketed, which has made it significantly harder for voters to vote (by making ballots bigger and making it harder to find who you want to vote for) and made it significantly harder for the ballots to be counted (as seen in the 2013 WA Senate count). It has also allowed minor parties on tiny votes to pile up votes and become viable candidates for election.
These aren’t the only reasons why Senate voting reform should happen, but they are the reasons why it’s so urgent and part of the reason why this issue has finally gained support from a major party after decades of major party indifference.
Apart from the current proposal, there have been a number of other “solutions” to these problems which, unlike the current proposal, do nothing to reduce the power and control of the major parties while making life harder for all minor parties, and would genuinely be bad for Australian democracy.
They should give fans of minor parties pause: there are alternative reforms which would make life much harder for small parties, and could be back on the table if the current proposal fails.