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Labor joins government in undemocratic attack on minor parties

Media Release
Larissa Waters 24 Aug 2021

The Greens say Labor’s decision today to wave through changes to the Electoral Act that will increase membership minimums and give existing parties veto power over new rivals’ names, limits democratic participation and entrenches the two-party system.

Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters said:
“The Libs and Labor are running scared. They know they’re on the nose with the electorate and they know their share of the primary vote is collapsing. This is a blatant and utterly shameless attempt to shore up their power.

“Today, the old parties have told all Australians that they are willing to use their combined numbers in parliament to entrench their duopoly and shut out diverse voices.

“With an election looming dozens of minor parties are now at risk of being deregistered. It’s an attack on our democracy at a time when neither the Libs nor Labor can be trusted to act in the interests of anyone else other than their corporate donors.

“The Bill refers to 'Party Registration Integrity'. Lack of integrity in the major parties is exactly why the crossbench is the largest in history. But rather than change their behaviour, the big parties just want to close the doors to new players.

“A healthy representative democracy should welcome wide and diverse political engagement. What does it say about our own democracy that both the government and opposition are in lockstep on such undemocratic reforms?

“Thankfully, Labor has backed the Greens in opposing changes that would saddle civil society organisations with significant financial and disclosure burdens and make it harder for them to engage in public debate. I urge the crossbench to join us in opposing those changes and protecting public interest advocacy.”

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