Million-dollar senator wants election payback reform

A NEW South Wales Senator-elect, who scored about $1 million in election funding in line with his support at the polls, has called for an end to the funding.

While Senator-elect David Leyonhjelm said he would consider giving the money back if it would result in electoral reform but he expected such a move would fail.

His party, the Liberal Democratic Party, gained just over $1 million in electoral funding given to election candidates who scored more than 4% of the primary vote at the September poll.

One of several new Senate cross-benchers to take their seat next July, Senator-elect Leyonhjelm said he expected the major parties to reach a deal to prevent wide political reform.

He described any such donation of his own electoral funding as "like peeing in a wetsuit - it would make you feel good, but wouldn't change anything".

Senator-elect Leyonhjelm also called for an end to compulsory voting; despite criticism from senior Liberals he would not have his seat were it not for the donkey vote at the election.

"It's hard to know, but if you look at the figures, we would have won with just 3.5% of the vote, we got 9.5%," he said.

"Even if 6% was people voting by mistake, that's an objective fact - and it shows we had enough support out there, even if some people accidentally voted for us."

His call for electoral reforms comes after similar calls from various new Senate groups, but while some changes might be considered, what reforms will be delivered remains to be seen.

Senator-elect Leyonhjelm said he believed a deal was likely to be done between the major parties to help prevent minor parties and independents from getting into parliament.

And while he said he had not yet spoken to anyone from Palmer's United Party about electoral reform, he joined recent calls to exercise more cross-bench power.

He said the government "may find life a lot less easy" if it did not concede some changes to the political system, arguing he was prepared to block some legislation over the issue.



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