More than a million Australians have signed a petition urging the Government to change the Senate voting system, after the Senate voted to give it a new, less partisan name.
Key points:The Government wants to use the new Senate as a bridge between the two HousesThe Senate is a hybrid of the two but it is now a new entity called the Australian Capital Territory ParliamentSenate voting is done by the senators themselves, with each senator voting for up to two billsThe new Senate will be called the Senate of the Australian Parliament (ACT)Senate voting will be done by each senator on a bill that has to be passed by two-thirds of the senators present.
The Government is hoping the changes will speed up the Senate’s passage, with senators voting on a proposed constitutional amendment to remove the senators’ power to break a tie by changing the order in which they vote.
“If we are able to get the Senate back to its former bipartisan and bipartisan status, we can put Australia back on track to achieving the full range of public services that it has enjoyed in recent years,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
Ms Bishop said she wanted to make sure that the changes to the Senate were made “as quickly as possible” so that the Government could use the Senate as “a bridge to the other house”.
“As senators, we are required to make an informed choice and a fair choice.
And we should be doing this in a way that is as efficient and fair as possible,” she said.”
As I said before, the time has come for the Senate to return to its bipartisan and nonpartisan status.”
The Senate voting will only happen in one chamber, which will be the ACT Senate.
The new Senate is not being called the ACT Parliament.
“We will be using the Senate system, which is currently in the ACT, as a new vehicle to pass the legislation that we will seek to amend to remove senators’ vote from the Senate,” Senator Brandis said.
Senator Brandis also said the changes would allow the Senate “to do its job of carrying out the constitutional duties that the people have entrusted to it”.
Senator Brandish has promised the Senate will move to the ACT by the end of the year.
“The Senate of Australia will return to the bipartisan and collegial way of doing business,” she told ABC Radio.
“It will be a much more efficient, fair and effective chamber.”
That will be made much easier by the fact that the Senate has already been using the new system, so I am confident that this will be an efficient and effective tool.
“The Government says it is working with the Australian Greens to push the changes through.”
I know that it’s a contentious issue, but we are in the process of engaging the Australian Government on this, and we have to be respectful to the fact they have to do that with other senators,” Senator Cormann said.
Topics:government-and-politics,government-islamic-conflict-and_territory,state-parliament,australiaFirst posted March 07, 2019 13:00:20Contact Emily GreenMore stories from New South Wales