High Court to hand down decision on changes to senate voting laws in two weeks

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Widespread confusion about new Voting Laws

As the High Court finished today hearing the challenges by the People’s Writ and by Senator Bob Day, it has become evident that the Greens would benefit in the next election from current voter ignorance about the new voting law, if the challenge fails, and if the election is held under the new law.

Members of our 3 million voices committee did survey interviews in their home cities in the days before the Protest Rally, and among the crowds in Sydney’s Martin Place for hours before the "Hands Off Our Senate" Rally on Sunday,” said Peter Madden, Coordinator of the 3 million voices committee.

"Question 4 of our survey found that 71% of people do not know that writing a “1” in one box above the line will mean under the new law something different to what it meant before during the last 32 years.

“There is simply no way that AEC education advertising can get through to all of these 10 million voters (71% of the Electoral Roll) before the next election.

“This means that many of the people who vote “1” above the line for Minor Parties and are unaware that “1” above the line means something different to what it has meant for 32 years – and it could well be a million people – will be unaware that their vote will ‘exhaust’ and will not matter,” said Mr Madden.

Question 7 of the Survey made interviewees aware of this exhausting of votes, and then asked “Do you object to your vote being exhausted?” and 87% answered “Yes”.

“The Greens/Turnbull government voting law is relying on this sort of voter ignorance to bias the election results against Minor Parties and in favour of the Greens," said Mr Madden, who added that he is not commenting one way or another on the High Court case which finished today with a brilliant closing address by Barrister Peter King following on from the government’s defence which can only be described as pathetic.

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