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Turnbull Government has no reason to consider changing Senate voting laws

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Media Release - Turnbull Government Has No Reason To Consider Changing Senate Voting Laws

Family First Senator Bob Day says new Special Minister of State Mal Brough is worrying unnecessarily about the Senate voting system, after the Minister’s comments on ABC Lateline last night indicating voting changes could take effect before the next election. “I look forward to sitting down with the Minister and discussing this in detail,” Senator Day said, “Its not as big a problem as he thinks.”

“Firstly, the carbon and mining tax repeals, and the migration reforms, got through the Senate with crossbench support. Labor and the Greens opposed all of those changes.”

“Secondly, it is the three major parties that are over-represented in the Senate, not the minor parties. Minor parties and independents now get 25% of the vote, but they get only 15% of the Senate seats. Even worse in WA, 30% voted for minor parties and independents but they got only 15% of Senate seats, and worse of all in my home state of South Australia the minor party and independent vote was 43% yet we got only 33% of the seats.”

“This relates to the claim that ‘hard right’ parties preference ‘hard left’ parties to win seats. It’s not only untrue, but if anything, when the major parties win the 6th and final seat, they get there on those ‘hard right’ or ‘hard left’ preferences, not minor parties.”

“Thirdly, 5 of the 6 new crossbenchers took Labor senate seats in SA, WA, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland. I return to the mining tax, carbon tax and migration point - would the Coalition prefer a larger obstructive Opposition or a larger crossbench?”

“The Senate President recently praised the crossbench for not being party to the abusive, unruly and discourteous conduct of the Senate. Its time to look at what is really happening.”

“If the JSCEM recommendations come into effect, all that will do is entrench the Greens as the balance of power party in the Senate, and I don’t think the two major parties want that.”

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

22 September 2015