Senate debates

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Bills

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you very much, Chair. I do not really understand that question. The savings provision is a very sensible thing to do, because we ought to err on the side of the franchise and we ought to err on the side of including as many votes as possible to ensure that the result of the election truly reflects the intent of the Australian people.

I have great confidence in the Australian people though, which is why I think it is important that we empower them to determine what happens to their preferences. I do not have the same level of confidence in political parties' backroom operators. When I see the sort of gaming that has been going on where office bearers of one party set up several other parties with the same members and the same office bearers negotiating preference flows with themselves, after they have sought to harvest them through various harvesting strategies, that is not the way a proper democratic system works. That is not the way our electoral system for the Senate should work. That is why we quite openly and transparently have put forward the reforms that we have put forward.

Obviously, the result of the next election will entirely be a matter for the Australian people. If you, Senator Muir, are able to convince a sufficient number of Australians—a sufficient number of Victorians—to support you or to preference you in relation to those who will see their preferences distributed, then you will be successful. The same applies to the rest of us.

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