Victoria’s upper house voting system now most undemocratic in Australia

Australian Greens

Victoria will soon become the only jurisdiction in the country that still uses group voting tickets on Election Day, following Western Australia’s recent decision to scrap them.

The voting system, which until recently was only still used by Victoria and WA, allows micro-parties to game the system by paying tens of thousands of dollars to ‘preference whisperers’ who then coordinate group voting tickets.

In WA’s last state election group voting tickets saw a Legislative Councillor elected with just 98 votes while others missed out with nearly 30,000.

And Victoria’s last state election saw a number of candidates with very small primary votes elected to the upper house, at the expense of others who had received ten times as many votes.

For example, the election of the Transport Matters party to Eastern Metropolitan in the 2018 Victorian election on 0.6% of first preference votes, or the election of the Liberal Democrats to South Eastern Metropolitan in the 2018 Victorian election on 0.8% of first preference votes.

Victorian Greens integrity spokesperson, Dr Tim Read, said it was good to see the WA Government respond to these outrageous discrepancies by abolishing group voting tickets, and that the Victorian Government should follow suit.

He added that until Victoria overhauled the system, our elections would continue to be open to corruption and our upper house would not represent the people it serves.

Earlier this year the Greens introduced a motion calling on the government to get rid of group voting tickets in time for the 2022 election, however it was voted down by both Labor and the Liberals.

As stated by Victorian Greens integrity spokesperson, Dr Tim Read:

“It’s good to see the WA Government move on group voting tickets. That just leaves Victoria, whose government hopes no-one will notice.

“The reality is, the Victorian Government is happy to maintain the status quo while it means an upper house cross-bench filled with micro-parties that are easy to divide and conquer.

“But nothing about the system is fair or democratic. When a candidate is getting elected over someone with ten times the vote, you know something is wrong.

“Group voting tickets are a flawed and undemocratic way of electing MPs and unless we move soon, the system won’t be fixed in time for the next election.”

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