Thursday, 17 March 2016
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee
I have said several times now that the government has made a deliberate decision to include a savings provision for people voting above the line. There is guidance on the Senate ballot paper that is proposed to provide that, to vote above the line, a voter needs to number at least one to six boxes in order of their preference. But, of course, in order to ensure that a maximum number of votes are counted as formal, we do have a savings provision which will ensure that any ballot paper which includes at least a 1 above the line is formal. We have gone at great lengths to the issue that Senator Carr is now raising. We have gone through it with Senator Conroy. We have gone through it with Senator Wong. We have gone through it with Senator Collins. We have gone through it with Senator Xenophon. Senator Xenophon, incidentally, supports the approach taken by the government here. The position of the government is very clear. You are entitled to have a different view and to vote against our amendments. You are entitled to vote against the bill. But we might have to agree to disagree.