Essential Report

Senate reform

Mar 1, 2016

The Government is proposing to change the way we vote for the Senate. Currently voters have to either vote “1” above the line or number all boxes below the line. If voting above the line, preferences are distributed (if required) according to that party’s voting ticket. The proposed change is to tell voters that they can vote above the line by numbering at least 6 boxes in the order of their choice. It will be permissible to number less than 6. However, preferences will only be distributed according to the numbered boxes, not the party ticket. Some people say this will stop minor parties from being elected by swapping preferences. Do you approve or disapprove of this change to Senate voting?

  Total   Vote Lib/Nat Vote Labor Vote Greens Vote other
Total approve 53%   71% 52% 46% 42%
Total disapprove 16%   9% 19% 29% 29%
Strongly approve 19%   32% 14% 11% 15%
Approve 34%   39% 38% 35% 27%
Disapprove 10%   7% 11% 21% 13%
Strongly disapprove 6%   2% 8% 8% 16%
Don’t know 30%   21% 28% 25% 29%


53% approve of the proposed changes to Senate voting and 16% disapprove. 30% could not give an opinion. There was majority support from both Liberal/National voters (71%) and Labor voters (52%).


Read Essential's ongoing research on the public response to Covid-19.

Sign up for updates

Receive the Essential Report in your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.