After each election (state and federal) a joint committee holds an inquiry into its conduct as an opportunity for any concerns to be aired, and we take this opportunity inject opportunities for democratic innovation.
This paper advocates five concepts –
- That everyday people should be a central part of the election review due to the ‘poacher and gamekeeper’ dilemma of having the elected review elections.
- That we can innovate with the ballot paper by adding AEC information on candidate donations at the same time.
- That with two dominant digital publishers (Facebook and Google) real-time advertising disclosure is a desirable and achievable goal, with political advertising defined simply as communication which seeks to influence a vote.
- That online voting warrants a trial as it has the potential to reduce the importance of donations to our electoral system.
- That the lucrative Electoral Commission reimbursement per vote can be used as incentive and punishment mechanism for key party behaviours – especially for shifting incentives for cheating the donation system.
The work of nDF is heavily focused around the first item, but as we work in democracy we spend more time than most seeing the nuances of electoral systems and hope to be able to offer a new perspective. Interestingly, the second item on the list emerged from a project with randomly-selected citizens in Geelong asked to identify measures which would help them trust a new council. While never trialled we think the idea merits the opportunity to be tested.