The Greens are the leaders in the push to change electoral law. Today they took to Facebook advertising their article advocating electoral reform. They say their aim is to remove the Group Voting ticket (GVT) to make preferences more transparent. The talk of improving democracy hides a desire, on government record, to prevent the success of minor parties.
The final report from the Joint Standing Committee on electoral matters was unanimously endorsed by the committee members. One of the endorsing members was Lee Rhiannon, The Greens senator for NSW. Recommendation 4 in Appendix D of the report is:
"an increase in party membership requirements to a minimum 1 500 unique members who are not relied upon for any other party in order for a federally registered party to field candidates nationally"
The Greens want to increase the minimum number of people in a party that is checked for valid enrollment from 500 to 1500. This would triple the workload of checking enrollment details of members by a factor of three. Parties who are already elected, like the Greens, don't have to do this massive administrative challenge.
To be clear, the GVT isn't an ideal system. The Future Party made this point quite clear in our submission to the JSCEM report. However, while the Greens try to make it hard to register and run in elections, their motives are highly questionable.
The Greens don't want to make it clearer where preferences are going; they are doing this to destroy the minor parties. They didn't take a platform of making it harder for minor parties to get registered to the federal election. In fact, no one did. They should stop pretending that they have a mandate to substantially change the democratic system.
A note on how hard it is to go through the registration process:
To be successful in registration and re-registration, you have to make sure that all your members are properly enrolled to vote, they know their enrollment address, they provide you with a correct version of their name (no shortenings etc) and they stay interested in the party long enough to last the entire registration process. The AEC doesn't check the details and party status of all members. Instead, they randomly sample the group of 500 names you submit. If just 8 people out of the 50 selected say they aren't members (for whatever reason), then the party fails registration. In our case, we have been waiting since the beginning of July for word on our re-registration, and won't hear the result until the end of November.