WA election puts pressure on Victoria to overhaul voting system


The Victorian Greens have said the Western Australian state election results have increased the urgency for upper housing voting reform in Victoria.

Over the past week both the Legalise Cannabis WA and Daylight Saving parties were elected to Western Australia’s parliament, despite only receiving a fraction of the vote. 

Western Australia and Victoria are the only two jurisdictions in Australia that still have group voting tickets in the upper house. This results in political parties deciding where votes go rather than voters deciding themselves, and exposes the entire voting system to corruption.

The system leaves many voters completely unaware of where their votes will end up in the upper house on election day due to back-room preference deals brokered by consultants. 

The 2018 Victorian state election in particular saw candidates pay tens of thousands of dollars for preference deal arrangements in order to game the system and effectively buy a seat in parliament.

This led to the election of a number of candidates with very small primary votes to the Legislative Council, at the expense of others who had received as much as ten times as many votes.

And now we have seen it repeated in Western Australia.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said group voting left the system open for rorting and said it was high-time Premier Andrews abolished it to bring us in line with nearly every other state and the Federal Senate.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

"The WA election has proven once again that group voting is flawed and undemocratic. The Daylight Saving Party was elected with only 98 primary votes or 0.2 per cent. Group voting tickets mislead voters into electing parties they’ve never heard of and may not support. 

"We can’t continue to bury our heads in the sand in Victoria and prop up the broken voting system when it keeps resulting in people being elected without any mandate. 

"Only in Victoria and Western Australia are the election of MPs in the upper house left to the devices of secret deals and preference whisperers who game the system for money.

"Victorians should determine where their votes go on election day – not backroom deals by political operatives."