Controversial changes to voting rules in the Northern Territory have passed Parliament, less than six months before Territorians head to the polls. The changes, which the Opposition Labor Party says are a ploy by the ruling Country Liberals Party (CLP) to remain in power, have seen the introduction of optional preferential voting. Optional preferential voting means voters can number as few as a single box when voting, instead of filling out all preferences. Chief Minister Adam Giles told Parliament this would help combat the high rate of informal votes in remote areas.
“I think the opportunity for empowerment around democratic voting is something that should be supported,” Mr Giles told Parliament. “I’m surprised that the Labor Party don’t support remote, rural and Indigenous democratic voting.”
Attorney-General John Elferink told Parliament the changes would make the system more democratic. “If you do not want to cast a second vote, you have the choice to do so,” Mr Elferink said. “Surely that is a more democratic principle saying to people that they have an ability to choose whether or not they cast a second vote.”