MPs across the board are rebelling against plans to force them back to the crowded Parliament at Westminster to vote in person from 2 June.
The UK dilemma is a perfect example of why the Australian Parliament should also move to optional voting – and ’sitting’ – by using the latest technology at the earliest possible date, CLA says.
In the UK, chairs of committees and 70-odd parliamentarians have signed a letter complaining that the plans to ditch all remote voting – announced by the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg – would produce voting queues of more than 650 MPs stretching for more than 1km around the Palace of Westminster.
MPs in lockdown would be unable to vote and so be excluded from the democratic process.
The rebel MPs have won support from the Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, who has written to colleagues saying that he would prefer to retain the system of hybrid voting, in which MPs can choose whether they vote in person or remotely.
MPs who live far from London complain they would have to move back to second homes they share with other MPs, breaking lockdown rules. https://tinyurl.com/y8ttq9ah
In Australia, the ability to sit and vote electronically would open options always ruled out on the basis that you could not organise a vote by parliament quickly enough. Most prominent among them is parliament voting to approve, within seven or 30 days, of the Executive government’s decision to take Australia to war, or send Australian troops to warlike situations. The Australian Parliament does not vote on whether or not we go to war or stay at war, or on how much precisely we spend on any war or warlike situation.