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Electoral reform: “This is about empowering the voter”

Oliver Peterson
Article image for Electoral reform: “This is about empowering the voter”

Proof of ID, tighter rules for the use of Party names, optional preferential voting, and an entirely new Electoral Act have all been recommended by the Parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee.

Liberal Senator and Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters Chair James McGrath told Oliver Peterson you have to show ID at the pub, so why not voting.

“Why is that when you go and exercise one of the most important things you do in society (ie voting), you don’t have to show ID?

“Most Australians I speak to expect to have to show ID.”

A provisional vote would be issued to anyone who doesn’t have ID, with Senator McGrath saying this shouldn’t deny a person of their democratic right.

The committee has also suggested further as to whether they should continue.

“Do we have an alternate method of choosing replacements of MPs who step down for family reasons or ill-health,” said Senator McGrath.

The Committee recommended:

  • Voter ID should be introduced for all voters with savings measures similar to provisional votes. Likewise, all electoral enrolments, whether new or changes should require proof of ID.
  • The rules governing the use of Party names should be tightened to restrict the use of existing party names by new political entrants.
  • To maximise voter choice compulsory preferential voting should be replaced by optional preferential voting.
  • To increase fairness and to reduce the luck of the ballot draw while minimising the so-called donkey vote, the Robson Rotation of candidates on the ballot paper should be introduced for the House of Representatives in tandem.
  • The pre poll voting period should be reduced from three weeks to a maximum of two weeks. Voters who choose to vote early should be required to explain why they are unable to attend on the day rather than it being a matter of convenience.
  • The Electoral Act should be completely rewritten to make it fit for purpose. A new offence of political violence, both physical and verbal should be introduced.

Click PLAY to hear the recommendations explained:

Oliver Peterson