11 January 2013
Acting Coalition Leader Warren Truss is demonstrating some real commonsense in rejecting outright the calls from within the Liberal Party to change Australia’s system of voting, Special Minister of State Gary Gray said today.
“He is to be congratulated on his position,” Mr Gray said.
“The unique and time-honoured characteristics of Australian voting – compulsory enrolment and voting and full preferential voting – have been in place for nearly a century and should not be changed for short-term partisan advantage.”
Mr Truss yesterday rejected a call supported by the Liberals’ Bronwyn Bishop for a change from compulsory preferential voting to optional preferential voting, in which voters have the option of marking a ballot paper to support one candidate or provide all their preferences.
“This is another policy-light idea and people like Barnaby Joyce are already publicly attacking it. The Coalition is in a hopeless policy tangle.”
Mr Gray said on three occasions, under the chairmanship of Liberal politicians, the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters had supported the current electoral system after performance reviews of the 1998, 2001, and 2004 elections.
He said there were justifiable concerns about the number of informal votes cast at elections and the Joint Standing Committee had proposed a remedy that with Opposition support he would be happy to pursue.
‘This recommendation deems that if you vote ‘one’ for only one candidate at an election, then your vote will be fully cast according to the preferences of that candidate’s party. This is what already happens in Senate elections.
“I will write to Bronwyn Bishop offering to introduce legislation to Parliament next month, based on the committee’s recommendation, in order for it to be in place for the election expected later this year.”
|John Arthur - 0408 991 261||www.smos.gov.au|