Minor party Senator lashes out at proposed voting changes

A MINOR party Senator has hit out at moves by the major political parties to reform the Senate voting system, labelling the efforts a "travesty of justice" on Monday.

Democratic Labour Party Victorian Senator John Madigan made the comments after the Labor and Liberal parties urged changes to prevent micro parties "gaming the system".

Both major parties on Monday filed submissions with a joint parliamentary committee examining the 2013 election and its fall-out, including the West Australian Senate election re-run.

Last year's federal election has been widely criticised by the major parties for allowing micro-parties to get candidates elected on fractions of a percent of a vote, through preference deals.

Labor and Liberal have effectively joined forces by jointly calling for electoral reforms to prevent similar deals in the future, including arguing for minimum percentages of the Senate vote before preferences are distributed.

But Sen Madigan on Monday said the efforts were "absolutely duplicitous", saying the major parties were happy with the system "when it suits them, but want to change it when someone else figures it out".

Sen Madigan, the only federal DLP parliamentarian said the changes proposed would be bad for democracy, ensuring that the two major parties could control the parliament, rather than allowing for a parliament "reflective of the people".

"The message from the government and the opposition is that they are happy to take a bipartisan approach when it helps them ensure there own hold on power," he said.

While Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said he was concerned if the reforms prevented new players entering parliament, but said there was room for improvement.

Sen Xenophon has proposed changes including optional preferential voting for the Senate, to allow people to vote only for the candidate they want, rather than having preferences delivered to parties they do not want elected.



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