Electoral Act amendments would undermine democracy and stifle dissent
The Greens are calling on Labor and the crossbench to oppose government amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act that would limit democratic participation, stifle dissent and entrench a two-party system.
Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters said:
“The Greens have long fought back against conservative government attempts to lock out smaller entrants to the political system, attempts which seek to entrench a two-party system and stymie a diversity of voices.
“We oppose the increase of members from 500 to 1500 for a political party to gain federal registration. Whether a party gets representation in the parliament should be based on how many people vote for them, but this Government wants to stop smaller parties from being able to even seek votes.
“We also reject the proposal to lower to $100,000 the electoral expenditure threshold at which an individual or organisation would have to register as a political campaigner. This is another dangerous attack on civil society groups and an attempt to limit their advocacy by adding additional financial and disclosure burdens.
"We are also concerned about the plan to block parties from using names similar to existing parties. While we have some sympathy for ensuring that parties don’t impersonate rivals for electoral gain, there’s a fine line between preventing deliberate misrepresentation and excluding smaller parties from electoral politics.
“In context with the other proposed changes it’s clear the Government’s motivation is to prevent legitimate and democratic challenges to their grip on power.
“A health representative democracy should welcome political engagement from all, but the Government is clearly trying to silence dissent from groups who continue to campaign against their terrible policies on issues like climate, human rights and economic justice.”