Voting below the line gives you back the power
EDITORIAL: When the ABC's implacable electoral guru Antony Green fires up, you know there's something wrong.
Green, perhaps the most recognisable and respected voice during Australian elections, wrote a scathing piece on the "atrophied" Senate election system:
"As Australians peer through their magnifying glasses at the Senate ballot paper, trying to distinguish between up to 110 candidates they've never heard of, they may wonder how Australian democracy descended to such a farce."
The problem is not just the unwieldy size of the ballot paper, it's the mess of dodgy preference farming - which means if you vote above the line for the Senate (which more than 95% of voters will on Saturday) your preference (and therefore possible vote) may go to parties diametrically opposed to the group you voted for.
But voting below the line, tedious though it might be, gives you back the power.
Even people who think voting below the line is fun have used them (guilty as charged).
Meanwhile, the mess needs sorting.
As Green says: put preferences back in to the hands of voters where they belong.
Let's go for optional preferential voting.