The federal government today released its second Electoral Reform Green Paper, following on from a Green Paper dealing with election funding released in December 2008.
The document is a comprehensive examination of all issues around Australian elections, blowing out to 260 pages in total. Each chapter includes a section on areas for potential change, and in these areas the paper canvasses a mind-boggling range of options in terms of changing our electoral system and electoral practices. The mainstream media coverage has largely focused on issues like fixed four-year terms and lowering the voting age to 16, but the paper also covers issues such as:
- Introducing proportional representation in the House of Representatives, either through Hare-Clark or a list system.
- Creating special electorates for expatriates or indigenous Australians
- Requiring the registration of how-to-vote cards
- Regulating internal party processes such as preselections to ensure internal democracy
- Introducing optional preferential voting
- Reforming enrolment systems and many elements of AEC processes
- Abolishing compulsory voting (11.71)
- Allowing permanent residents to vote
- Disenfranchising the 157,000 British subjects who are currently enrolled without Australian citizenship
It’s well worth a read, if only for learning a lot more about how elections work in Australia. It’s fair to say that the paper brings up many options that are politically unpalatable and very unlikely, but it is a fascinating read.
Submissions can be made up to 27 November, while they will also have an online discussion forum from the 9th to the 13th November to allow interested persons to discuss the paper online.