Victorian Upper House MP, Fiona Patten, has pledged to initiate reform of Victoria’s voting system if re elected at Saturday’s state election. Her first pledge after being elected in 2014 was to get voluntary assisted dying laws introduced, which she did.
“My first priority as a member of the next parliament will be to initiate reform of the voting system in Victoria as well as changes to the Electoral Act to make it an offence to trade in votes or preferences or in any way make a profit from the democratic processes in Victoria” she said.
Ms Patten blew the whistle on the Cash for Votes scheme by refusing to pay $55,000 to make a preference deal with Senator Derryn Hinch’s Chief of Staff, Glenn Druery. The issue is still being investigated by Victoria Police.
Potentially up to half a million dollars may have been paid or pledged by upward of five other minor parties.
“I have written to the Special Minister for State, Alex Hawke and referred the involvement of Senator Hinch’s office and his Chief of Staff in the Cash for Votes scandal for investigation under the MOPS Act and I have also written to independent MP Cathy McGowan in the federal parliament who has been pushing for the establishment of a federal anti corruption body and requested that she make the Victorian Cash for Votes issue the first inquiry.”
“I believe that the Cash for Votes scheme offends the Victorian Bill of Rights and I have written to the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for a determination. All our rights are threatened when your fundamental right to free, fair and transparent elections is undermined.”
“I am taking a number steps to make sure that any criminal or compromising activity that may have been entered into does not result in someone getting elected. I intend to lodge formal complaints with the Victorian Electoral Commission on behalf of all Victorian voters, to formally challenge the election of any candidates who have been involved in paying Mr Druery. I expect that these objections may end up with the High Court of Australia. “