Electoral Matters Committee Continues To Fail Victorians By Delaying Voting Reform
The Electoral Matters Committee has let down Victorian voters by failing to address upper house voting reform in its recently tabled report on the 2018 state election.
This is despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of submissions to the Committee called for the urgent abolition of group voting tickets.
Victoria is currently one of only two jurisdictions in Australia with a group voting system. This results in political parties deciding where votes go rather than voters deciding themselves.
The system leaves many voters completely unaware of where their votes will end up in the upper house on election day due to back-room preference deals brokered by consultants.
The 2018 state election saw candidates pay tens of thousands of dollars to enter a preference deal arrangement in order to game the system and effectively buy a seat in parliament.
Victorian Greens spokesperson for integrity, Dr Tim Read, said the system was opaque and unrepresentative, leaving many Victorians unwittingly voting for people they may not have even heard of.
https://t.co/xg7tnSE1wJ Victorian Electoral Matters committee has reported on 2018 election. Concerning the Group Ticket Voting farce it provides an extensive summary of submissions but recommends only that an inquiry specific to that topic be referred back to it. #springst— Kevin Bonham (@kevinbonham) August 18, 2020
Despite the volume of submissions from voters and experts calling for group voting to be scrapped, the Committee decided to defer consideration of upper house voting to a later, yet to be announced inquiry.
Instead, the Andrews Labor Government announced earlier this year that the Electoral Matters Committee would undertake an inquiry into the influence of social media on the state election.
The Government must guarantee that the Committee will review group voting in time for the recommendations to be adopted before the 2022 election.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for integrity, Tim Read MP:
"The upper house voting system in Victoria misleads voters into electing parties they’ve never heard of and may not support.
“The Commonwealth and nearly every other state has scrapped group voting systems because they can be manipulated, and it’s time for Victoria to do the same.
“The Labor Government must reassure Victorians that they won’t be stuck with this discredited system again in 2022.”
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