from Michael Darby


PM Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull under threat from disenchanted voters ready and waiting for the polling booths to open

On Thursday 25 February and again on Friday 4 March I made very clear to Prime Minister Turnbull that the Australian people are annoyed by the intention of the Turnbull government to change the senate voting rules to suit the ambitions of the Turnbull Government. Despite the wisdom of the listeners to the Super Radio Network, and despite widespread opposition across Australia, Australia’s high taxing, high spending Government is still determined to rort the system of voting for the Senate for the benefit of the Coalition, the Greens and Nick Xenophon at the expense of the minor parties and the Labor Party.

Nearly a week ago on Wednesday the second of March we learned that the Greens and the government have done a deal to the effect that there will be no Double Dissolution Election before July 1. Greens leader Richard Di Natale revealed that his party, which opposes the Government on just about every issue, had received a “commitment” from the government that no election would take place until Senate voting changes are legislated by parliament and implemented by the Australian Electoral Commission.

There is now a great deal of whispering to the effect that an early election is likely and that the election could come in the form of a Double Dissolution of both Houses of the Australian Parliament.

A Government which is so indecisive on major issues such as taxation and the threat of Islamification is showing determination on only one issue, and that is to get a political advantage for itself at the expense of the Minor Parties and the millions of voters who prefer them to the Coalition, the ALP and the Greens.

We are the Australian people and we are not going to let the Government get away with this rort.

The defenders of the intended rort complain that Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir was elected in 2013 with only 17,122 first preference votes. So what? The major parties have no hesitation in filling casual vacancies with their own nominees. The major parties have no hesitation in putting into the Senate people whose only supporters in the whole country are members of the party Senate Preselection committee.

Last week I expressed the view that if honesty and decency were involved in the government approach to the Senate, the Government would take the intended changes to the Senate voting system to the coming election as a cornerstone policy, and give the Australian people an opportunity to make a judgement.

In Queensland the Labor Government has pulled on a referendum for a change to the voting system to four year fixed terms, a bad idea, but at least the Labor Party in Queensland won the last election with four year fixed terms as part of their platform. That referendum will take place on Saturday 19 March in conjunction with the Queensland Local Government Elections, and there is a reasonable chance that the wise people of Queensland will reject the idea.

There is room for a sensible Senate voting reform which will ensure that each voter will have the opportunity of knowing exactly what will be the effect of his or her Senate vote. All that is necessary is a requirement that everyone who hands out a how-to-vote is required to show on that how-to-vote the full distribution of preferences which will flow from putting a ONE in the box recommended by the how-to-vote. Then every voter can see what the party deals are. And that includes, for example, waking up to the machinations of Scott Morrison if he succeeds again in directing Liberal preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor.

Australians value our democracy and we believe that every vote should have equal value. We are not going to let the government get away with its plan for a deliberate rort intended to bestow institutionalised incumbency on the Coalition and on the Greens.

Prime Minister, the Australian people deserve to be listened to. You might imagine that the only important issue is you consolidating your power and influence. That is not how we see it.

If you push this rotten plan it is going to cost you votes in both Houses of Parliament. Every day you try to manipulate who can and who cannot win a Senate seat will accelerate your loss of public support. Every day you try to manipulate who can and who cannot win a Senate seat will put your marginal seat holders at greater risk.

If the Turnbull government is defeated at the polls on this issue, they will have only their own selfishness to blame.

If you agree with me, back me up. If you disagree, prove me wrong.