MEDIA RELEASE 9 May 2008: ACT Democrats denounce undemocratic Electoral Act Amendments

MEDIA RELEASE 9 May 2008

ACT Democrats denounce undemocratic Electoral Act Amendments

ACT Democrats acting President, Darren Churchill has denounced the ACT Government’s alteration of the Electoral Act.

The Electoral Act was last night changed to prevent non-party candidates from grouping together to contest the election.

“This is totally undemocratic and an attempt to create a two-party dictatorship!” Mr Churchill declared. “Where is the equal footing when like-minded candidates can’t be grouped together to try to gain election? It makes it extremely hard for ungrouped candidates to promote their policies, ideas and objectives.”

“When added to the inability of a party which has been deregistered being able to re-register in the same electoral cycle, the laws make a farce of the democratic process.”

The ACT Democrats were deregistered for the 2008 ACT election last years. The party does however remain registered nationally.

“A party which is registered nationally should automatically be registered for ACT elections.” Mr Churchill stated. “And the prohibition of like-minded candidates being able to be grouped together to achieve their democratic objectives is nothing short of an electoral gerrymander weighting the entire electoral system in favour of the old parties.”

All non-government members of the assembly voted against the changes. But the Stanhope government used its majority to force them through.

“The Hare-Clark system is potentially the most democratic system in the country. But when it becomes altered to prohibit democratic groupings, the ACT version turns democracy on its head.”

“The ACT Democrats have long advocated fair and democratic electoral laws. Given the opportunity we would make ACT elections fair” said Mr Churchill.

“I suppose it is hard to expect democratic behaviour from Labor, when they won’t even allow their members a conscience vote!” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill

ACT Democrats President (acting)

darren.churchill@act.democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

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