SPEECH TO THE SENATE
Senator WANG (Western Australia) (17:04): The Liberals, Nationals, Greens and Xenophon coalition wants to wipe independent voices from the Senate. Might I suggest that there is actually a legitimate way to do that: if the established parties represented the people of Australia better, we would not see one-quarter of Australian voters choosing anyone but them.
If members of those parties did their jobs better, I would not be standing here as a senator after receiving four times as many first-preference votes as one of my Liberal colleagues from WA, who is now a government minister. The reason I am here today is that the major parties have not been meeting people’s expectations. Let us not forget that fact.
But, instead of performing better, the Liberals, Nationals, Greens and Nick Xenophon coalition has chosen to wipe independent voices from the parliament by doing a dodgy deal. What makes it even worse is that they have cherry-picked from the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry to suit themselves and left out key recommendations that would truly give back voting power to the people.
I thank the Labor Party for standing up for a truly representative and diverse Senate. As esteemed Professor of Law George Williams noted, about the bill:
Disturbingly, it is designed to harm the electoral chances of minor parties while retaining the capacity of major parties to manipulate the preferences of voters through the ordering of candidates.
As a senator, I am more than happy to go back into the workforce as a result of the major parties doing a better job. As an Australian citizen I am really worried about where democracy is headed in this country.