Building strong electoral democracy in the ACT

2021-05-10

The ACT Greens have proposed reforms to strengthen Canberra’s democracy, in their submission to the Inquiry into 2020 ACT Election and the Electoral Act.

The party’s key recommendations include:

  • Banning, or defining spaces for, roadside election signage,
  • Appointing an independent fact-checker for the 2024 election,
  • Capping electoral donations or gifts at $10,000 per financial year for all individuals, corporations or associated entities, and
  • Creating a path to lower the voting age to 16 or 17.

The recommendations are focused on improving transparency, equity and efficiency in ACT elections, by strengthening processes around participation, and taking a voter-first approach.

ACT Greens spokesperson for Democracy, Andrew Braddock MLA, says implementing these recommendations would make our local democracy stronger, no matter who you vote for. 

“The recommendations we’ve put forward would make future elections more accessible, and ensure they are conducted in the best interests of voters, rather than donors, candidates or parties,” Mr Braddock said.

“A healthy democracy is fundamental to our community’s wellbeing. Canberra’s elections need to support and empower a vocal civil society; amplifying voices from all corners of our community, including young people and those from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, over the interests of whichever donors have the deepest pockets.

“There are a number of issues in the ACT’s current electoral processes that could be addressed by capping electoral donations and resourcing an independent fact-checking body to hold parties accountable for misleading or false advertising. This is a voter-first approach, ensuring democracy is not bought, but is instead genuine and equitable.”

The Greens have also recommended ways to empower young Canberrans to become more involved with the electoral process, including by allowing voluntary voting for people aged 16 or 17.

ACT Greens Spokesperson for Young People Johnathan Davis says that many young people are quite engaged in politics and deserve to have a say about their future. 

“Why should young people who otherwise can legally work full-time, pay taxes, drive, make medical decisions about their own bodies, have sex, join the Defence forces and join a political party not have the opportunity to vote?” Mr Davis said. 

“Young people will inherit the effects of decisions made in government today and we should not only empower them to have a real voice, but also listen to what they are saying.”

The ACT Greens submission is available at: https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/1754507/Submission-023-ACT-Greens.pdf