Tag: electoral reform

The need for a simple Electoral Reform

I posted awhile back about how minor and micro political parties fail to sustain their success. History has proven this with the rise and fall of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Australian Democrats and now Palmer’s United Party.

After the demise of the Liberal Party and the dumping of it’s right leaning leader, Tony Abbott, we have seen more micro parties being formed and reformed in Australian politics such as the Australian Liberty Alliance and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party retrospectively. Given that the Liberal Party dumped Tony Abbott it has created an opportunity for conservative members or former members of the Liberal Party to look elsewhere other than the factional torn Liberals.
The concerns however of these micro parties being formed is that it splits the conservative vote regardless of how preferences are allocated and importantly it divides resources. This is why there is a need for a simple electoral reform.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission for a political party to be registered it only needs 500 members. There are no provisions that these members have to pay a membership fee as it depends on the political party’s constitution. Given today’s technological advancement it is not hard for micro parties to advertise on social media or on their website that they are giving away free membership, all they need to do is pick an issue which touches on the emotional heart strings of a particular group and wham bam thank you mam you have a micro party, take the Voluntary Euthanasia Party for example, on their website there are no indications that you have to pay a membership fee and it tugs at the heart strings of those affected by cancer.
We often see on election day, when you turn up to vote and you are given a senate ballot paper it is often bigger than the tablecloth on your 8 seater kitchen table, this is because existing requirements only require 500 members, clearly this needs to change.
A simple reform of increasing the minimum membership requirement to 2000 would mean fewer micro parties and a smaller senate ballot paper whereby you as the voter wont be tripping over and breaking your back every three years. This will mean many micro parties will have to do one of three things; wind up, work harder or join forces with other like minded micro parties.

As mentioned previously, since the dumping of Tony Abbott as Liberal leader it has opened the opportunity for a new conservative force in Australian Politics. The issue is, existing electoral laws and regulations stop this from happening. The left side of politics appears to be somewhat well disciplined, with Labor and the Greens holding a stronghold on socialism, despite some left wing micro parties that really do not need to exist (Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative). On the right however there are many like-minded parties in existence for instance the Christian Democrats and Family First; and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Rise Up Australia and Australian Liberty Alliance. If these party’s decided to join forces, became one conservative political party it would provide a real alternative to conservative voters and a potential threat to the dominating Liberal/Labor duopoly.

It is therefore important for conservatism in Australia that the minimum membership requirement of 500 should be increased. Micro Party’s that do not meet the new requirement will be forced to either fold up, work harder or look at avenues to join forces with other like minded political party’s. The question is, will the Government do anything about it? Instead they seem to be focused on changing the voting system of the Senate. I wonder why?