Prior to attending the polling booth last week, I spent time going through the published list of 62 candidates.
I made my choice of 56 candidates in order of preference, I was aware of what constituted a valid vote (minimum of 90 per cent of the boxes to be filled).
If everyone had voted below the line, the polling stations could not have coped. There is no doubt that the system devised by the main parties in 1984 to maximise their votes has backfired.
I agree with Senator Nick Xenophon to remove the line and introduce a form of optional preferential voting with a minimum of 12 boxes to be classed as a valid vote.
There is also a need to introduce a limited form of ‘citizens initiated referendum’ to replace ‘the double dissolution’ process when a policy fails to get through the Senate.
This would be a far cheaper option than having the Governor-General dissolve the House and Senate.
Citizens initiated referendum should also be used to approve any changes to the parliamentary process and not left to the whim of main parties.
We also need to clarify what is meant by ‘a mandate’. The voters chose the way they vote for a variety of reasons, and may not necessarily agree with the policy that a party claims to have a mandate to act upon.