Defend the Senate, Defend Our Democracy

Nothing could be more anti-democratic, than an attempt to change the rules for electing Senators whom the Australian people have chosen at an election.  For 30 years, the Senate voting system has produced a Senate (more often than not) that holds both Liberal and Labor Governments to account. Now that that the Australian people have elected some candidates from a disparate backgrounds - the suggestion is that that the system needs to change.   What is really happening is that the two party system is now under strong attack by the Australian people who will not entrust both houses of Parliament to the one political party.  Do you support Senate voting reform or do you think this is just sour grapes from the major political parties who don't want to let go of their grip on power?

Do you think the Democrats did a good job when they held balance of power in the Senate?

ABC Article: Senate Balance of Power - Who's Who

The Australian: Senate Hurdle to Tony Abbott's Agenda

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  • commented 2013-09-16 21:16:29 +1000
    I believe that under Meg Lees, the Democrats became a centrist party whose main aim was arbitrating a middle way.

    I think that in this era the Democrats lost their reputation for a being a radical, non- socialist party and simply became a party of middle road compromise.

    I was not inspired by such a simple “middle road” image, and I am not sure the electors were either.

    I am sur Meg’s compromises led to improvements to the GST, but the way the compromise was communicated did not put the Democrats in th most positive lights.
  • commented 2013-09-16 20:23:02 +1000
    It still shits me that the Democrats get blamed for the GST. It was tax reform, and the Democrats made it fairer by not taxing fresh food. Meg Lees was unfairly treated, but the same issues that bedevilled the party then still exist. We need to have property reform of the Democrats before we preach reform of the political system
    But yeah the whole bloody political system as well as our economic system needs reform
  • commented 2013-09-12 18:45:02 +1000
    The current system does have a major flaw.

    It isn’t that small (micro) paries stand – that is democracy.

    The issue is the preference deals that most voters simply don’t know or understand.
    Yes, they are available to view on the aec website (and others), but how many look?

    Reform is nneded. Peraps a simple solution is to allow referential voting ABOVE THE LINE. Get rid of the secret belw the line shady deals, and put the power back in te hands of the voters.
  • commented 2013-09-12 12:13:29 +1000
    No, the current Senate voting does not work as noted by Antony Green. Read this article for an understanding of how it is flawed by one of Australia’s leading political analysts.
  • commented 2013-09-12 11:54:42 +1000
    I would think if a party is running, they should at least have a website that has their policies. Parties should not only have 500 members but also be registered for a minimum period of time. The current system allows for Totally unknowns with an unknown agenda to get elected, such as the sports party saying they quote “Integrity: Our actions are ethical, accountable and honest”, but they don’t have any policy, Even the worst people in History believe they acted with those values. Maybe the electorate needs educating on how the system works. But from standing at the booths and listening to people coming out a fair amount voted because of the name, and nothing to do with policy.
  • commented 2013-09-12 11:07:56 +1000
    You already need 500 people to run Adam. Registered Political Parties who appear above the line must have 500 members in order to be registered.
  • commented 2013-09-12 11:00:38 +1000
    The senate voting system works. I think the candidacy method is a bit flawed. I don’t want the next senate vote form being 2 meters wide and needing to use a magnifying glass. It also cheapens the role of the senate in my humble opinion. Perhaps a potential candidate/party trying to get elected to the senate should need the backing of 500 people before being a accepted to run, rather than a small number and some cash?

    I have to say that The Democrats mostly did an excellent job holding the balance of power in the senate, although I still disagree with the way Meg Lees went about the deal with the Howard over the GST. They definitely did a much better job than the Greens currently are. I still don’t understand why The Greens didn’t agree to the Kevin Rudd backed ETS at the time? It was a much better scheme that The Liberals themselves had supported in the past and any opposition to it could have been argued as hypocrisy.

    I’d really like to see The Australian Democrats think bigger then just “keeping the bastards honest”. I think, with the right strategy, we could be seen as a viable third option to run the country. It’s a long road forward but we can get there.
  • commented 2013-09-12 10:00:56 +1000
    I think people are missing the point about preferential voting. No one gets elected with 2000 votes, you get elected when you achieve a quota. People like Nick Xenophon and the top liberal and labor candidates get quotas from first preference votes. Everyone else is elected when the quota is made up for second, third, fourth etc preferences until a quota is reached. Every single Senator is elected by the same quota in their respective State – the make up of that quota is either first preferences alone or a mixture of first and other preferences. It means those elected are in fact the people’s choice, even if it is not their first choice.
  • commented 2013-09-12 09:45:27 +1000
    Whilst I understand the sentiment in this post, I think that the Senate needs some sort of reform; after all, I don’t think we can say that a party with >2,000 votes accurately represents the view of the people.
  • commented 2013-09-11 12:44:06 +1000
    The Senate absolutely needs voting reform. People trust political parties to preference their vote according to where they would have wanted it to go, but the minor parties made a mockery of that this election. Add in the confusion between the Liberal Democrats and the Liberals, and it becomes clear that this Senate does not represent the will of the people. Urgent reform is needed on both counts.
  • commented 2013-09-11 11:57:43 +1000
    i think the Aus Dem did a good job in the senate except for on little/big thing GST
  • commented 2013-09-11 10:02:00 +1000
    Leave the senate alone. The two major parties need to be held accountable for what they do, just like everyone else
  • commented 2013-09-11 09:16:10 +1000
    Leave it alone, we needed at least SOME fresh blood in the Senate. We’re getting it and it should be very interesting if not good for the negotiation…would dearly love seeing the #ausdems back though.
  • @AusDemocrats tweeted this page. 2013-09-11 07:02:39 +1000
  • Australian Democrats posted about Defend the Senate, Defend Democracy on Australian Democrats' Facebook page 2013-09-11 07:00:07 +1000
    Defend the Senate, Defend Our Democracy. Do you think the Senate needs reform or is it just sour grapes by the majors?