Widespread public anger and outrage following the last Senate election was the precursor to the unanimous all party support for the Senate voting reforms that Labor is now blocking, according to Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald.
Speaking in support of the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016, Senator Macdonald said the public had a right to feel betrayed by Labor, who were holding the democratic process to ransom in an effort to stifle electoral reform.
“When all the facts are laid bare, this Bill is a simple piece of legislation that gives Australians the right to select their candidates in the Senate, a principle that has already received unanimous support from all political parties,” Senator Macdonald said.
“I have been around politics a long, long time and I have never seen the overwhelming public anger that followed the last Senate election.
“After the last election, Australians woke up to find that the balance of power in the Senate meant that the popularly elected government was going to be held to ransom by three Senators.”
As a result, the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters went around the country to hear from people angered by the election result, Senator Macdonald said.
“People came and told us what they thought should happen, and as a result, the committee unanimously determined that what had happened before was just a rort of the system.”
“Yet now that the legislation is before Parliament, Labor have gone into defence mode, rejecting the sage advice of senior, respected members of their own party.
“The real question the Australian public should be asking is why has the party done a complete 180 on legislation that will return the power to voters?”