The controversial voting reforms legislation has finally passed through the Senate after a marathon debate of 40 long hours.
The reforms issue will now be moved to the Lower House prior to being fully implemented as Australian law. The Coalition will use the power of its majority to make sure the House of Representatives officially adopt the reforms and make it a law.
The Senators were involved in one of the longest debates to ensure that voting reforms are introduced into the nation’s legal system. The Federal Government confirmed during the debate that the parliamentary sitting will not end until the bill was passed. The government was all set to pass the bill with the backing of the Greens as well as Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, according to the ABC.
According to News.com.au, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told the Parliament that it was the seventh longest debate on a matter since 1990. “The Senate has made a judgment in relation to the form of the Bill that should go forward,” he said. “The government supports the final form of this Bill. We will be supporting the Bill as amended by the Senate, as a government in the House of Representatives, and this will mean that for any future election after 1 July 2016, this will be the voting arrangements that will apply for the Australian Senate,” Cormann added.
Despite strong opposition from both Labor as well as most of the crossbenchers, the Senate passed the bill keeping in mind the enhanced power the voters will get to choose their preferences, as specified by the government and the Greens. On the other hand, the opposition claimed that passing the bill will only be a strong measure for the Coalition to gain the balance of power in the Upper House of the Parliament.
During the debate, Labor senator Deborah O’Neill said that the opposition would never give up standing against the voting reforms. “That is exactly what this Government would like us to do, just for us to go home, just to let this filthy deal go through without the scrutiny it deserves,” she said. “But we will not allow that to happen.”