Media Release – 6 November 2007- Return Senate preferences to the voters

preference_deals.pngMedia Release 6 November 2007

Return Senate preferences to the voters

“Senate preference deals have taken the election of the Senate away from the people and given it to political parties!” claims Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill.

Much attention has been focused in the last week on who has done deals with whom in preference tickets lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission for “Above-the-Line” Senate voting.

“Above-the-Line voting commits voters to their preferences going the way the party whose box they number directs them. It takes the power of preference allocation away from the voter,” said Mr Churchill

“Only Below-the-Line voting allows voters to allocate preferences to the parties/candidates of their own choice. It is far more democratic and makes it harder for party organisers to predict the outcomes. This gives more power to the voter. It should rightly be the only option for Senate voting.”

“The Senate is meant to be elected by proportional representation. As such it is meant to be the most democratic form of election. What actually happens is it ends up being predominantly elected along party lines at the dictate of party preference deals. These undemocratic preference swaps have led to a reduction of democracy in Senate elections.”

“When the people control where their preferences go, it reflects their will. When the political parties control the preferences, the process becomes bastardised. It’s time to return to electoral honesty,” Mr Churchill said.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

Darren.Churchill@act.democrats.org.au

0412 196 473

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