Later today Labor will introduce their Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill to the Upper House. A Bill originally prepared by the major parties, for the major parties, and so heavily weighted in their favour that it would have ended minor party politics in Victoria.
Fiona has secured the following amendments to correct this:
- Election Expense Capping: Ms Patten has secured a cap to campaign expenditure that will be implemented via a review that will follow the 2018 election. Ms Patten said “This is particularly important given that election campaigns are now going to be publically funded. We need to ensure there is a limit to the amount that can be spent so the public are not left with a continually growing bill. Almost 50 countries around the world have capped their election campaign spending including Canada, the UK and New Zealand and it makes sense that it is introduced in Victoria.
- Funding for Emerging Parties: Ms Patten has secured funding for emerging political parties. Emerging parties that do not get a candidate elected will still be eligible for $25K or $1 per vote depending on which is higher. Ms Patten said “Independents and small parties are integral to democracy. We all started somewhere and we need to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to stand for election. This funding will protect the ability for emerging parties to stand.”
The original electoral amendment bill will have killed-off minor parties by denying them private and public funding and instead entrenched the Liberal, Nationals, ALP and Greens, who were all complicit in its formation. Fiona Patten MP has negotiated a list of amendments that will prevent this. Amendments that level the playing field for minor parties, but most importantly will protect emerging parties who are not represented in the Parliament, and make genuine improvements to the Victorian voting system.
- Electronic Voting/Visually Impaired: Ms Patten has secured a review into improving voting for the visual impaired, including the prospect of electronic voting.
Ms Patten said “Earlier this week I was hugely concerned with the content of this bill. There was clearly an unfair funding biased towards the major party that would have made it impossible for minor parties to survive. I am pleased that with these amendments I have ensured the survival of minor parties and emerging parties. This is a win for democracy.”