Constitutional risk on voting devil’s deal: 25% (Over 3 million) voters disenfranchised (Media Release)

February 23, 2016

Family First Senator Bob Day has flagged that the Liberal – National Government, in its haste to get into bed with the Greens, exposes new voting laws to potential High Court challenge.

The Constitution reads:
The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate (section 7, emphasis added)

“There are now 3 million voters nationwide not voting Labor, Liberal, National, Greens or Nick Xenophon – some 25% of voters and that number is growing,” Senator Day said, “Under the Government’s bill, their votes will die.

The Queensland experience of ‘optional preferential voting’ tells us voters will not number boxes 1 to 6 above the line, they will vote 1 – almost 70% of them. How can Senators be directly chosen when so many votes die? This is first-past-the-post voting by stealth, and that is exactly what this unholy alliance of elite parties want: to exterminate the competition.”

“The Government will rush this Bill through the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in just one week,” Senator Day said, “Not the Senate committees on Legal and Constitutional matters, and throwing caution to the wind in a desperate rush to clear the decks for a double dissolution election.”

“I call on the Government to release their constitutional legal advice that this Bill will not result in a High Court challenge. Why risk illegitimate government, disenfranchised millions and taxpayers footing High Court legal bills, for political expediency?”

“How can this Liberal-Greens-Xenophon unholy alliance want to rush a change to the voting system without a mandate, yet they want to go to the election seeking tax and budget reform mandates?”