Senate debates

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Bills

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

He is biting his tongue while he does it, though. Be fair to him. Van Badham continues:

Yes, the micro parties swap preferences amongst themselves. Why wouldn't they?

But the effect of the Greens changes means that by choosing fewer parties to preference, votes "exhaust" and preferences cease to circulate. If you only vote for one or six minor parties above the line, and all are excluded, your vote will not count, at all, towards electing a senator.

That is exactly correct. That is exactly what you are proposing. Exhausting votes—

Senator Whish-Wilson interjecting—

Go on, tell Senator Muir he is a disgrace. Go on, tell him. Tell the voters who elected him they are disgraceful.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: You are talking through me, Senator Conroy.

My apologies. I was being heavily provoked again. Ms Badham writes:

Power, as a result, gets consolidated amongst the groups who already have influence—this is what the Greens are banking on: on sheer force of primaries and transfer value alone they are more likely to stay in the race to win the final senate position. Obviously, the political strategists of the bigger parties also know that if they direct voters to mark only a "1" above the line, there will be even less preferences in circulation …

That is exactly right.

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