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Vote 1 for Senate Reform



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13/11/13

VOTE 1 FOR SENATE REFORM Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, will be introducing a bill today to reform the Senate voting system that will remove the ability for parties and candidates to make backroom preference deals, instead giving power back to the voters. The bill establishes a system allowing voters to number more than one square above the line on the ballot paper, or at least six squares below the line. Voters will also no longer have to number all the squares if they decide to vote below the line. “A lot of voters were dismayed by what happened in the last election” Nick said. “There were a record number of candidates, and complex preference deals between the parties meant you didn’t really know who you were voting for.” “The system proposed in this bill is similar to the one that’s been operating in New South Wales for Legislative Council elections since 1999,” Nick said. “It takes the power away from the parties and ‘preference whisperers’, and gives it back to the voters by removing the possibility of bizarre preference deals.” In the recent election, two candidates were elected to the Senate with less than one per cent of the primary vote, instead relying on muddy preference deals. “Most Greens voters, for instance, might not realise that Greens preferences got a Palmer United Party candidate elected to the Senate in Queensland, and vice versa in South Australia,” Nick said. “This isn’t about pushing minor parties out of the system, far from it,” Nick said. “But it means no one, including the major parties, can rely on preferences to get them over the line.” “Under this system, if candidates want your vote, they’re going to have to go out and get it,” Nick said. For more information contact Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677