Parliamentary

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:21): by leave—The 2013 federal election will long be remembered as a time when our system of Senate voting let voters down. Combined with pliable and porous party registration rules, the system of voting for a single party above the line and delegating the distribution of preferences to that party delivered, in some cases, outcomes that distorted the will of the voter. The system of voting above the line has encouraged the creation of microparties in order to funnel preferences to each other, from voters who have no practical way of knowing where their vote will ultimately land once they have forfeited it to the parties' group voting tickets. The current rules for party registration have provided the means and unacceptable ease to create the parties in the first place to garner primary votes above the line and then harvest the preferences in a whirlpool of…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (10:14): I seek leave of the House to make a short statement as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters on the committee's inquiry into the 2013 federal election and to present a copy of that statement. Leave granted. Mr TONY SMITH: In February I informed the House on behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters that it was the committee's intention to report early—ahead of its full report—on the specific issues relating to the voting system used to elect senators. It is my intention to table out of session a report prior to the resumption of the 2014 budget sittings. The committee has conducted a number of public hearings and still has some more evidence to hear in coming weeks. Suggestions for reform have included changes to the Senate voting system as well as broader changes to party registration. Many of…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (15:41): We have seen the wording of this matter of public importance and we have heard from the shadow Treasurer and the Leader of the Opposition. We on this side of the House look at those former members of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments, and I have to say it is as competitive as an Olympic 100-metre final. It really is, but for all the wrong reasons. It is a photo finish as to who has the worst policy record. We sat here during the interrupted question time thinking: who could have penned this Matter of public importance? It is a matter of public importance that is based on the premise that the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments made the right choices and had the right priorities for Australia. You can argue with us, but do not argue with the outcome of the election, which was an endorsement of the choices…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:00): As I have listened to the three contributions from those opposite I see confected outrage, that unembarrassable quality, and Western Australian voters, of course, have seen it before. You would think from listening to them that Western Australian voters are going to forget that the two biggest issues in that state at the election just over six months ago were the carbon tax and the mining tax. The voters of Western Australia sent a message loud and clear to the Labor Party, and your response back to those voters in Western Australia is that they got it wrong. We saw this confected outrage start with the member for Brand, who moved this matter of public importance on the Commission of Audit and the state of Western Australia. He and those other speakers conveniently forget their approach in government to weighty documents. As the Prime Minister…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:16): We rightly point out on this side of the House that those opposite are divided on so many things, but we have seen today that they are united on one thing: they are completely, utterly unembarrassable. Have a look at the front of this MPI—to come in and lecture the government on honesty and accountability, when the previous six years of government was littered with dishonesty and incompetence which was covered up with more dishonesty and incompetence. Speakers on this side have rightly pointed out the uncountable number of times the former Treasurer, the member for Lilley, pledged a surplus and then announced a surplus and declared a surplus when it never existed. We can go right back to the time they had their first deficit. The instinct of those opposite was to cover up. The member for Lilley delivered the budget speech with a…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (10:01): On behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, I wish to make a statement relating to the committee's inquiry into the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Above the Line Voting) Bill 2013. The committee has considered the content of this statement and unanimously endorses it. On 12 December 2013, the Senate adopted the report of the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration on the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Above the Line Voting) Bill 2013, which recommended that this bill be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for inquiry. As result, the bill stood referred to the electoral matters committee. The bill proposes to reform the system for electing candidates to the Senate in light of perceived attempts to 'game' the system through preference deals at the 2013 federal election. This proposal is timely, as the current system has resulted in the election…
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