Thursday, 3 May 2012

My new improved Australian voting system

People seem to be always complaining about the Australian voting system for one reason or another, here are a few changes to stop the whingers complaining. To misquote Lincoln, it gives us Government of Australia by Australians for Australians.

Voting is compulsory for all persons that have been Australian citizens for eighteen years or more, and are a current resident of Australia and not be disqualified under the Constitution. Citizens are required to register their current residential status with the electoral commission. Citizens in corrective institutions or mental institutions are disqualified. Citizens may elect to opt out of voting but may change their status by giving the electoral commission one months notice.

Candidates are required to have been Australian citizens for at least eighteen years, be of good character, be a current resident of Australia and not be disqualified under the Constitution. The candidate must be a resident of the electorate they are standing for. Candidates in corrective institutions or mental asylums are disqualified. Candidates not nominated by a correctly registered political party must have the endorsement of at least one thousand registered voters. Candidates will be subject to a police background check.

It has been suggested that Candidates may not serve more than two consecutive terms to prevent ‘career politicians’ and entrenched cronyism. Recent experience with the Australian government has shown just how bad politicians can get. Arguments for and against can be found here.

Ballot sheet
The ballot sheet for the House of Representatives will contain in alphabetical order, the name of each candidate and the candidates affiliation with a political party, plus one more selection line marked thus “None of the above”. Voters may vote for one candidate by writing 1 in the selection box, or may exercise proportional voting by numbering the candidates 1, 2, 3 etc. If none of the candidates suit then mark 1 against “None of the above”.
Many of the ballot papers for the Senate are over a meter long and some rationalization has already been made, I confess at this stage I can’t make it simpler except by reducing the number of candidates.

First past the post ballot sheets are counted first and then the proportional voting ballot sheets are distributed. If “None of the above” has the most selections then a bi-election will be called for that electorate with all of the existing candidates for that electorate disqualified.

Some of these changes have been tried previously and failed because they require amendments to the Australian Constitution to prevent the High Court from judging against them.

The Australian Human Rights Commission opinion on the right to vote may be found here.

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