A critical issue that has emerged from this current Federal Election Campaign is the number of minor parties and independents that have materialised throughout Australia and their potential impact on the Government.
The electorate of Lyne created history when we elected Rob Oakeshott as an independent and many still claim that the benefits he achieved for our electorate will never be surpassed!
Clearly independents are an important part of our evolving and transformational democracy and perhaps it is a good thing to have more people to nominate; to voice new and creative ideas, and challenge the established parties – yet there is still a painful sting in the tail!
Many voters are perhaps not aware of ‘Electoral Funding’. Should a candidate achieve a primary vote of over 4% of the total electors in an electorate, such as our electorate of Lyne, or in the State, for a Senate seat, the Commonwealth Government will pay that person $2.62784 cents for each vote they receive; directly into their nominated account, and usually within 28 days.
Whilst the intent of this funding was to encourage and promote democracy, regrettably this payment of almost $2.63 per primary vote, is also open to abuse and provides an opportunity for some who have no real chance of being elected, to take advantage of an electorate dissatisfied with the major parties, to abuse the system; to build up notoriety and or a ‘public profile’ at the expense of the public purse.
For this Federal election 111,908 persons registered to vote in the seat of Lyne. Any candidate achieving a primary vote of 4%, which equates to 4,476 votes, they will receive $11,762.21, and it only grows from there.
Of course, technically, it is up to the discretion of the candidate according to the Election Funding Guide. Technically the money is paid to the candidate who then opts and directs the Australian Electoral Commission to transfer the funds to a party account. But legally the beneficiary is the individual not the party.
Where does public service begin and profit motive end?
We deserve better.