Green paper deadline looming


I have previously blogged about the Federal Government’s second Green Paper on electoral reform. The government has new set up a forum for people to discuss the issues raised in the Paper (although it doesn’t seem particularly productive).

In addition, submissions will close on November 27 for those interested in commenting on the Green Paper. I plan to put in a submission, and hopefully I’ll be able to post some ideas later this week, but I thought commenters might have their own suggestions about what to put in submissions to the Green Paper.

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  1. I’d like to do a submission, too, but I’m really time-poor at the moment, and haven’t even had time to read the green paper yet. One thing I’d like to see is the abolition of senate group voting tickets. I’m interested in what people from minor parties think about this, and whether what is currently done for the NSW legislative council is a better way to go. If group voting tickets stay, I’d definitely like to see the time increased for when they need to be lodged from the current 24 hours after the announcement of nominations and the ballot draw, especially as the AEC doesn’t progressively announce nominations as they receive them. 24 hours just isn’t enough time to thoroughly check-out previously unknown candidates.
    I don’t think group voting tickets have worked out as a good solution to informal voting in the senate.
    I’d also like to see some of the restrictions on who can nominate as a federal candidate removed, as at the moment, millions of voters aren’t eligible to be candidates, which just seems ridiculous to me – although I do understand that this requires a constitutional change that will be extremely difficult to achieve.

  2. Polly – GVT’s are useful for particularly useful to parties, so I don’t see that being changed completely. However, an interim measure might be to introduce an ability for an elector to number groups instead of all candidates (ie; you’d be able to number all boxes below the line, all boxes above the line or one box above the line.

    Personally, I’d prefer to retain compulsory preferential voting but abolish the GVT. I don’t think it would overly effect minor parties, except where they are able to gather large numbers of votes surreptitiously (ie; Outdoor Recreation Party style) or through deals (ie; Family First). Certainly it would put the power to select Senators back into the hands of the elector. While in smaller states like Tasmania numbering every box to get the outcome you want isn’t too bad, doing it in somewhere like NSW, with multitudes of groups and candidates, is really onerous, and is far too prone to mistakes and confusion.

    On the issue of Constitutional change, I would have thought something that said “If you can vote then you can run” would be fine, and it would throw the spotlight back on what criteria should exist for voters. If you are worthy enough to be considered part of the citizenry then why aren’t you worthy enough to be a representative of the citizenry? The rest of the citizenry still have to select (ie; vote) for you, so if they don’t think you’re good enough, then you don’t get it.

  3. I hate it when something like speeding offences makes you ineligible for public office in the eyes of the media. She’s had a lot, sure, but really who cares?

  4. I was gonna make a list and post some of the more interesting ideas for discussion here, but unfortunately I’ve got a bit of a problem and just aren’t up to doing it at the moment. If I feel better in a few days time I’ll come back to it then.

  5. Hey,

    I think the best way to change Senate voting processes is through eliminating GVTs and having compulsory preferential voting either above or below the line. This way people can have a greater choice over who they want to vote for, but don’t have to number 90 boxes or so. It wouldn’t be to difficult either as it would simply require having a system that is just like the house of representatives.

    I also agree that we need to change eligibility status. It should simply be that if you can vote you can run. For example, I currently cannot run for office as I hold two citizenships – I think this is grossly unfair as given that I have a citizenship of Australia I should be able to run. It doesn’t matter where else i have citizenship for.

  6. I reckon there are a few instances where people who are eligible to vote should be prevented from running for office. I think there’s a good case for people such as senior public servants, serving defence personnel, and members of the judiciary being barred from standing, but I guess it would be better to have those kinds of restrictions in legislation rather than in the Constitution.

    It seems legitimate to argue that if you’re a citizen of another country you perhaps shouldn’t be an MP, but I guess this is unnecessarily restrictive in a modern, open, globalised world.

    What do people think about pre-poll voting? Why shouldn’t pre-poll voting be available to all voters regardless of where they’re going to be on election day, with votes cast in the voter’s home division treated as ordinary votes?

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