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  • A quick overview of the proposed Senate electoral system

    Posted 22/09/2015 by Damon Muller
    Senate chamber

    In an interview with the ABC’s Radio National on 22 September 2015 the new Special Minister of State, Hon Mal Brough MP, indicated that he intended to pursue reform of the Senate electoral system. Citing the need to strengthen Australia’s democracy and democratic engagement by implementing a more representative system, the Minister stated that ideally the new system would be in place for the next election (due in the normal course of events in the second half of 2016).

    In an Interim Report released in May 2014, the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) proposed what is perhaps the most radical overhaul of the electoral system used to elect the Australian Senate since 1948, when the much-criticised block system was abolished and proportional representation by Single Transferable Vote was first introduced. The government has not yet formally responded to the Committee’s report.


    TAGS: elections, electoral reform, Senate

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  • The 2015 Canning By-Election

    Posted 21/08/2015 by Damon Muller
    The Speaker of the House of Representatives has announced a by-election for the federal seat of Canning, in Western Australia, following the death of the sitting member, Mr Don Randall, on 21 July 2015. The by-election will be held on 19 September 2015. Read more...

    TAGS: by-election, elections, election timetable

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  • United Kingdom 2015 Election: some Australian comparisons

    Posted 13/05/2015 by Rob Lundie

    At the 2013 federal election, Australia returned from a ‘hung’ parliament to the historically more usual situation whereby either Labor or the Coalition holds an absolute majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The United Kingdom general election on 7 May 2015 also saw a move from a ‘hung’ parliament, where the Conservatives were in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, to one where the Conservatives will be able to govern in their own right—the first outright majority for the Conservatives since 1992.


    TAGS: elections, election results, Parliament, United Kingdom, UK Parliament

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  • The 2013 Federal Election report from JSCEM

    Posted 16/04/2015 by Damon Muller
    Senate Parliamentary debates

    More than 18 months after the loss of almost 1400 Western Australian Senate ballot papers, the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) has released the report from its inquiry into the 2013 federal election. It recommends, among other things, winding back direct enrolment and requiring voters to present identification to cast a vote.


    TAGS: elections, Electoral reform,

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  • It's my party

    Posted 10/04/2015 by Damon Muller

    In the last few months two sitting senators have announced that they are registering their own political parties (the Jacqui Lambie Network and John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party). Far from being an act of narcissism, doing this is implicitly encouraged by Australia’s electoral legislation.


    TAGS: elections, politics, political parties,

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  • iVote, therefore I am

    Posted 16/03/2015 by Damon Muller

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis popularised the idea of the states being the ’laboratories of democracy‘, which seems like a good way to describe the moves towards electronic voting in NSW state elections. The 2015 NSW state election to be held on 23 March will involve what will be one of the largest binding elections involving remote internet voting in the world.

    While remote internet voting was used in the NSW state election in 2011 on a smaller scale, the NSW Electoral Commission estimates that up to 200,000 voters will use iVote in the 2015 election. The success of the iVote system will be keenly watched by those with an interest in electronic voting.


    TAGS: e-voting, elections, internet voting, nsw, state elections

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  • Voting online? Don’t count on it

    Posted 25/11/2014 by Philip Hamilton

    In the 2013 Federal Election, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) lost 1,370 ballot papers. Subsequent inquiries examined the selection of polling locations, the transport and storage of completed ballot papers, and the recruitment and training of temporary staff in short timeframes.

    The logistics are challenging, but are they necessary? We already do our banking and shopping online – why not voting?


    TAGS: Australian Electoral Commission, election results, elections, voting, disability

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  • Still room for improvement at the Australian Electoral Commission

    Posted 24/11/2014 by Philip Hamilton

    The Federal Election of 7 September 2013 was notable in a number of respects, not least because the loss by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) of 1,370 ballot papers resulted in a new election for WA Senators being held on 5 April 2014.

    In the wake of the loss of ballot papers, the Auditor-General, Ian McPhee, committed to conducting three performance audits of the AEC, the first of which was tabled in May 2014. The second follow-up audit was tabled on 5 November 2014, with a finding that the AEC had not adequately addressed the recommendations of an audit in 2009–10.


    TAGS: Australian Electoral Commission, election results, elections, voting

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  • Resignations, retirements and by-elections...and more to come

    Posted 3/11/2014 by Joy McCann
    Resignations and retirements have resulted in a spate of by-elections in state and territory parliaments this year, including two each in NSW (Newcastle and Charlestown), Queensland (Redcliffe and Stafford) and the Northern Territory (Blain and Casuarina), and one in Western Australia (Vasse). Another two by-elections are to be held shortly in South Australia as a result of the death of one MP and the resignation of another (in the electorate of Fisher on 6 December 2014 and Davenport at a date ... Read more...

    TAGS: by-elections, state and territories, parliament

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  • ACT Assembly to increase in size

    Posted 7/08/2014 by Brenton Holmes

    With bipartisan support, the ACT Assembly has passed two bills to increase representation of ACT citizens and enhance democracy in the Territory. The number of electorates will increase from three to five, with five members per electorate—a 5X5 model.

    Greens’ MLA Shane Rattenbury, said that the model ‘locks in the two old parties and makes it harder for smaller parties and independents to gain representation. I support a bigger Assembly - but one that encourages diversity and broader community representation, not one where democracy loses out’.


    TAGS: elections, ACT Assembly

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