The federal parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters yesterday released their report into the 2022 federal election.
I won’t try to summarise every point covered – the report covers matters to do with election funding and Indigenous enrolment.
But I wanted to mention a few points that I have touched on during this process, through this website, in my submission and when I attended a hearing of the committee.
- The committee recommends an expansion of the number of senators representing the territories to four each, with all four elected for a three-year term at every election. This was something I supported in my testimony.
- The committee was also positive towards expanding the number of seats in parliament more generally, but the specific recommendation is to hold a further inquiry into the topic.
- The committee doesn’t make any recommendations about introducing proportional representation in the House of Representatives, but does consider the issue and presents the arguments in favour of such a change.
- The committee recommends that postal vote applications can only be sent back directly to the AEC (not via parties) and can’t be sent out with other election materials.
- The committee also quoted myself in discussing the possibility of lowering the voting age to 16.
We’ll now need to wait and see how much of this stuff is taken up by the government in the form of legislation. A broad expansion of the parliament will need to wait for the next term of parliament – an expansion would trigger redistributions in at least five mainland states, and it’s too late to pull that off before the next election.
It is plausible that expanded territory Senate representation could happen before an election – it wouldn’t have any knock-on effects on the electoral administration beyond seeking nominations for four seats in each state, and electing a larger number of senators. And there are numerous other recommendations that could take place in time for a 2025 election.