The limited ability for MPs to participate in Parliament online is putting our Parliamentary democracy at risk, according to former judges and accountability experts.

The Centre for Public Integrity has published new research that finds:

  • Current Parliamentary procedures allow limited online participation for MPs, with no ability to table bills or amendments, make speeches or vote on bills;
  • The current use of pairing for MPs that are absent disadvantages minor parties and independents, whose absentee voting intentions are currently tabled after bills have passed;
  • In other jurisdictions, including the UK, EU, Spain and states in the US, voting electronically is available for all MPs;
  • There are no constitutional limitations on Australia’s ability to adopt a similar model.

“The major parties are excluding minor parties and independents in the current system of pairing for absent MPs,” said Anthony Whealy QC, the Chair of the Centre for Public Integrity.

“Parliamentary democracy relies on all electorates being represented – including those who voted for independents, and those in states whose borders are shut.”

“The UK and the EU provide perfectly good examples of Parliaments voting online. There is no reason Australia should not follow suit, in fact our Parliamentary democracy depends on it,” said Mr Whealy.

Read our full briefing paper here.