WA politics: Controversial plan to carefully change the voting system in Senate elections

A state government plans to completely carefully review the way MPs vote, which could have huge implications for voters.

The voting system for electing members in the Western Australian Senate will be completely overhauled under historic changes planned by the state government.

A one -vote, one -value system has proposed the biggest change in how WA politicians are elected.

Premier Mark McGowan said the existing system was undemocratic and had major anomalies.

“The Upper House is broken, the system is broken … today is a historic day for democracy and fairness in WA,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

In the most recent state election, Daylight Savings Party candidate Wilson Tucker was elected to the Legislative Council with just 98 votes.

But Mr McGowan said under the reforms, any “harvest of preference” that uses group voting tickets would be eliminated.

“There’s a gaming and rorting system that needs to be fixed,” Premier said.

The proposed changes come after recommendations made by an independent ministerial committee on electoral reform, headed by former Governor Malcolm McCusker.

Under the Constitutional and Electoral Law (Electoral Equalization) Act, which was introduced in parliament on Wednesday, voters have the option to choose one or more parties above the line. or at least 20 below the line.

The main recommendation, which is also a key feature of the bill, is to throw out three metropolitan and three non-metropolitan regions in favor of a single election for the entire state.

That system also exists in NSW and South Australia, as well as the Senate.

Currently in WA, the six regions each return six MPs, despite having a different population.

“Someone who is worth six times as much as someone else is not like Australia. We don’t have that view of our citizens,” Mr McGowan said.

Under the full state election, representation will be boosted from 36 to 37 members in a bid to avoid ballot votes.

But the plan means no MPs will be elected who specifically represent regional areas, which has attracted criticism.

Opposition leader Mia Davies described the review as “a disgrace from the start” and the bill as “an attack” on regional WA.

“This Premier has repeatedly denied before the election that electoral reform is on the agenda,” he told reporters.

“Imagine making it your priority in the midst of a pandemic, with a health crisis and a housing crisis and a skills crisis.

“If they have any preference for morality, they will put up the report and take it to the next election so that regional West Australians, and indeed all West Australians, can have a say in what will change the landscape. of elections for future generations. “

ABC election analyst Antony Green said the main issue with the reform proposal was the ballot paper.

He warned that this could result in a giant ballot paper that could not be printed or counted.

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