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Surprise move in Queensland Parliament for return of compulsory preferential voting

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath

Yvette D’Ath, Labor Attorney General.

Publisher’s Note: Tonight’s move by Yvette D’Ath may favour the cross-bench MPs. In future elections voters will number every box on their ballot papers. Since 1992 this was optional, you could just vote 1.

Rob Pyne, other independents and the Greens will benefit from this. Pyne may even end up running a substantial independent (read real) Labor party.

Beattie’s move in 1992 to have people ‘just vote one’ to split the conservative vote and get rid of One Nation benefited the government. Since then optional preferential voting has been used in Queensland state elections, giving voters the option of marking one or all of the boxes on the ballot paper.

Ian Curr
22 April 2016

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The Palaszczuk Government has turned the tables on the Opposition by moving to return compulsory preferential voting during a debate on expanding Queensland Parliament.

Parliament is considering a Liberal National Party (LNP) bill to increase the number of state MPs from 89 to 93.

The minority Labor Government is against the move and voted against it, but the two MPs from Katter’s Australian Party MP and Cairns independent Rob Pyne want the extra four seats.

However, in a surprise move, Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath then proposed an amendment to the Electoral (Improving Representation) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill this afternoon to also include the reintroduction of compulsory preferential voting.

The former Goss Labor government made it voluntary for electors to mark every box on their ballot forms in 1992.

Opposition MPs are strenuously arguing against the change and have accused the State Government of being opportunistic and ignoring the rights of the community to have a say on the bill.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said the proposal should go to a committee for consideration.

It remains to be seen if the Labor amendment would be supported by the Katter MPs and Mr Pyne.

Ms D’Ath said the amendments aim to reduce the number of informal votes at state and federal elections.

But LNP Member for Broadwater Verity Barton said Labor was changing the rules because it was being cannibalised by the Greens at elections.

“They are losing votes left, right and centre to the Greens,” she said.

“This is the first time this House has had the opportunity to consider this amendment, and it’s absolutely disgraceful the way this Attorney-General could come into this House and show absolute contempt for the people of Queensland.”

However, in a surprise move, Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath then proposed an amendment to the Electoral (Improving Representation) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill this afternoon to also include the reintroduction of compulsory preferential voting.

The former Goss Labor government made it voluntary for electors to mark every box on their ballot forms in 1992.

Opposition MPs are strenuously arguing against the change and have accused the State Government of being opportunistic and ignoring the rights of the community to have a say on the bill.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said the proposal should go to a committee for consideration.

It remains to be seen if the Labor amendment would be supported by the Katter MPs and Mr Pyne.

Ms D’Ath said the amendments aim to reduce the number of informal votes at state and federal elections.

But LNP Member for Broadwater Verity Barton said Labor was changing the rules because it was being cannibalised by the Greens at elections.

“They are losing votes left, right and centre to the Greens,” she said.

“This is the first time this House has had the opportunity to consider this amendment, and it’s absolutely disgraceful the way this Attorney-General could come into this House and show absolute contempt for the people of Queensland.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-21/qld-govt-surprise-move-parliament-compulsory-preferential-voting/7347884

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