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Greens Move To Scrap Victoria's Undemocratic Voting System

The Victorian Greens will today introduce a motion calling on the Victorian Labor Government to overhaul the state’s flawed and undemocratic upper house voting system.

It will be the first time the upper house has debated and voted on the issue since group voting tickets started being used in Victoria in 2006.

The Greens’ motion will:

• Call on the government to get rid of group voting tickets in time for the 2022 election
• Acknowledge that group voting tickets are unfair as they allow parties to be elected that are not representative of the will of voters
• Condemn the practice of ‘preference whispering’, whether for payment or not
• Affirm that in a representative democracy like Victoria, the will of the people should be reflected in those elected to parliament

Victoria’s current system allows micro-parties to game the system by paying tens of thousands of dollars to ‘preference whisperers’ like Glenn Druery who then coordinate group voting tickets.

This leaves many voters completely unaware of who they will elect in the upper house.

This outdated system has been scrapped by the Commonwealth and other states, and is about to be dropped by WA, leaving Victoria alone as the only state willing to tolerate it.

The 2018 state election saw a number of candidates with very small primary votes elected to the upper house, at the expense of others who had received ten times as many votes.

For example, the election of the Transport Matters party to Eastern Metropolitan in the 2018 Victorian election on 0.6% of first preference votes, or the election of the Liberal Democrats to South Eastern Metropolitan in the 2018 Victorian election on 0.8% of first preference votes. And last month, the Daylight Saving Party was elected to the WA upper house with just 98 first preference votes.

Until Victoria overhauls this system, our elections will continue to be open to corruption and our upper house will not represent the people it serves.

Victorian Greens spokesperson for integrity, Dr Tim Read, said Victorians deserved to know exactly where their votes went on election day, rather than having them pinballed between a number of micro-party candidates who they may not know or support.

Dr Read added that if the government didn’t act now, then in December 2022 we could be wondering how Victorians managed to elect the Very Silly Party or a group of neo-Nazis, because we ran out of time in which to fix this ahead of the election.

Group voting tickets are undemocratic and yet the current Labor Government has done very little to scrap them. This could be because it’s far easier for them to divide and conquer a crossbench made up of several micro-parties with no substantial platform or policies, than a crossbench truly representative of the Victorian people.

The motion will be introduced today, and then debated and voted on on Wednesday.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for integrity, Dr Tim Read:

"Victorians should be able to decide where their votes go on election day rather than having their preferences bought and sold by people they’ve never heard of.

"Labor seems to be allowing this corrupt system to persist because they prefer dealing with a divided crossbench rather than one that represents Victorians.

"Group voting tickets are a flawed and undemocratic way of electing MPs and unless we move soon, the system won’t be fixed in time for the next election."

-- ENDS --

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Dr Tim Read
Greens MP for Brunswick
5 May 2021



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