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Friday, 2 December 1983
Page: 3209


Senator PETER BAUME(10.07) —I move:

(12) Page 117, paragraph 98 (b), proposed new sub-section 123 (1B), lines 33 to 36, leave out the proposed sub-section.

This amendment seeks to leave out proposed new section 123 (1B), lines 33 to 36 on page 117. This clause introduces a new method of recording a vote by the use of a tick or a cross as opposed to writing a number. It is perhaps the first step down the road which could, in the end, take one to first past the post voting. One of our objections to what is proposed is that it suggests that for the Senate one can use a tick or a cross; for the House of Representatives we understand that numbers will still be required. We would not disagree with the aim of the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform to reduce informality in voting. The argument here is an argument only as to the methods people will use.

The words to which we are objecting which we are proposing should be omitted are words which permit the use of a tick or a cross rather than a number. We do not believe that a valid case has been made for using a tick or a cross; that is the first think. We believe that this will require electors when they vote to follow two different sets of criteria: A set for the paper they will have for the House of Representatives and a different set for the Senate where they will be able to put a tick or a cross. If it is the will of the Parliament that they should be able to vote for a list-we are opposed to that-we think they should do it by number. They should use a number on all occasions. We believe that the way to reduce informal voting is to give people some consistency in what they do. We do not believe that using that kind of mark will help electors in the long run. While we applaud the idea or reducing informality in voting, we do not think this is an appropriate way to go. The Opposition asks the Committee to support the amendment which I have moved.