29 February 2016
Dear Committee Secretary,
This organisation has until recently confined itself to pleading, as its name implies, for honesty in elections, i.e. for the elimination of Vote Frauds under the rules as they are.
We have avoided getting into issues of FAIRNESS, i.e. what the rules should be, lest our advocacy against Vote Frauds (which will unfortunately continue unabated in the next election) be diluted with messages re changing the rules. However of course our members do have substantial expertise in the way that the electoral systems have operated.
In the inadequate time available to comment, we briefly make the following points:-
- Australians like fairness and speak of “a fair go” and “fair dinkum”. The word “fair” does not appear in the terms of reference of this Committee, nor in the Bill nor in the Explanatory Memorandum.
- This Bill is UNFAIR in that it massively advantages the 3 major parties (Coalition, ALP and Greens) and disadvantages minor parties. It is a backwards step in our democracy, because it will reduce the diversity of views in the Senate.
- We urge that his Bill not be passed, and that there be an extended period of proper consultation to discuss improvements to our voting systems. (The JSCEM has failed)
- It will in effect disenfranchise about 25% of voters, because these votes will ‘exhaust’ and not be counted in determining the final outcome of Senators that get elected.
- This Bill will massively advantage the 3 major Parties (Coalition, ALP and Greens).
- It will make it so difficult to get Senators elected from other than the 3 major parties that it will effectively head us down the dreadful USA polarised status of being a “two-party-State” (i.e. ALP+Greens vs the Coalition).
- We deplore that this Bill is being rushed through the Parliament and a Public Hearing with limited participation of only half a day and held in only one location.
- We attach our Briefing Note “method to elect Senators and Senate voting trends”;
- this Briefing Note makes a positive suggestion as to how to improve the system
- We attach our Media Release dated 24 February, which includes inter alia what Senators Dastyari and Conroy said in the Senate on 23 February:- This Bill is “the behaviour of a bunch of schoolyard bullies”… “the purpose of this Bill is to wipe out the cross-benchers”.
Lex Stewart, President, Australians for Honest Elections Inc
The deadline for submissions was 17 July 2015 for both Inquiries.
AFHE is disappointed by the weakness of recommendations contained in the JSCEM's 15 April 2015 final report. Our concerns are detailed in a 17 April 2015 AFHE media release.
Moreover, these two further small-scale AEC Inquiries will achieve only small though necessary steps on the path to AFHE's objective of honest elections.
The really good and useful steps to achieving honest elections are described on this website under the heading "Our Recommendations".
These recommendations have been transmitted in writing to the Special Minister for State, Senator The Hon Michael Ronaldson. AFHE received a rather bland letter in reply giving no firm commitment to fixing the really big problems that hitherto have been ignored.