Reform call across the board

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk and Greens Senator Scott |Ludlam. d410757
Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk and Greens Senator Scott |Ludlam. d410757

Senator Ludlam said the error showed that human beings, especially those working long hours, could make honest mistakes and justified their call for a recount.

He said the issues this election had raised were that above-the-line voting sent preferences in directions without the knowledge or approval of the voter and that too many voters did not know how to vote formally, saying an electoral reform was necessary across the board to ensure ‘human’ mistakes are limited.

‘The Greens have had legislation in the Senate since 2010 to give voters the power to decide where their preferences go when voting by party above the line,’ he said.

‘At present, the only way voters can do that in the senate is by numbering every single candidate below the line, which was 62 candidates in WA.

‘One thing the AEC should consider is delaying the senate count until all the votes can be brought to a central counting place and properly scrutinised, which will allow the count to proceed with consistency.’

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said until now, most voters had confidence in the voting system both in Federal and State elections and that the issue surrounding the missing votes had to be resolved.

‘The issues with the senate count do highlight the fact that electoral reform may need to be looked at,’ she said. ‘The manipulation of upper house votes by the micro-parties meant candidates with only a handful of primary votes ended up succeeding over candidates with a much larger amount of the primary vote.’

Fremantle MHR Melissa Parke said there were ‘clearly some lessons to be learnt’ about how senate elections were conducted and determined in the future.

‘I believe there are improvements that could be made to our electoral system, including in relation to the cascading preference of so-called micro-parties,’ she said.

‘On the whole we need to recognise that the Australian electoral system and processes are sound. But of course when ballots go missing it does undermine confidence and that’s why the review that has been initiated is important.’

An AEC spokesperson said electoral reform was ultimately up to the Australian parliament.