Major dislike for upper house micro ‘game’

A FEAR that micro parties will control Victoria’s upper house has prompted calls for a review of the electoral system.

It follows a cliffhanger result in the Western Victoria electorate, where three parties are vying for the coveted fifth spot.

Liberal MP Simon Ramsay and Coalition newcomer Josh Morris and Labor stalwarts Jaala Pulford and Gayle Tierney have secured the first four seats on offer.

The last position has become a race between Vote1 Local Jobs founder James Purcell from Port Fairy, the Australian Sex Party’s Jayden Millard, of Geelong, and Hampton’s Nicole Bourman, representing the Shooters and Fishers.

Preference deals have knocked incumbent Nationals MP David O’Brien from his seat and also ensured three other Warrnambool candidates, Jacinta Ermacora from the ALP, Jen Gamble representing the Animal Justice Party and Cameron Hickey of the Palmer United Party were knocked out.

Other minor parties still in the running in other Victorian regions include the Democratic Labour Party and Australian Country Alliance.

It follows a similar swing at last year’s federal election, where preference deals snared victory for Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, former Palmer United Party member Jacqui Lambie and South Australian Family First stalwart Bob Day, effectively creating a roadblock for the Abbott government.

Now, in the wake of the Victorian election and with New South Wales and Queensland set to go to the polls in 2015, federal member for Wannon Dan Tehan says it is time for an overhaul.

“Once again micro parties have been able to game the system. My view is this needs to be fixed,” Mr Tehan told The Standard yesterday.

He said having a forecast four to six smaller parties in Victoria’s Legislative Council would make governing “very difficult”.

Early figures handing the fifth seat in Western Victoria to the Shooters and Fishers party proved a need for change.

“It shows the absurdity of the situation. We will be represented by people who are firmly ensconced in Hampton,” Mr Tehan said.

“We have to change the Electoral Act to ensure these parties need to get a minimum of four to five per cent of the primary vote and can’t just game the system by negotiating with a lot of different parties and rigging the preferential system.”

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