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MPs could move to electronic voting

AAP logoAAP 18/10/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Members of parliament could be using swipe cards to vote under a scheme being considered by the Turnbull government.

Malcolm Turnbull has asked for a cabinet submission on the use of swipe cards for MPs to vote in parliament.

The use of electronic voting in the House of Representatives was raised by former minister Kevin Andrews at a coalition joint partyroom meeting in Canberra on Tuesday.

MPs would still need to attend the chamber, but instead of waiting several minutes for a head count they would vote electronically and the result would register instantly.

The technology-loving prime minister, who described the current system as "laborious and time-consuming", has asked Leader of the House Christopher Pyne to bring a submission to cabinet on the change.

Mr Pyne told the meeting any change would have be properly and thoroughly considered.

There was no discussion of the system being used in the Senate, as there were only a handful of senators at the meeting. Most senators were involved in estimates hearings.

Similar systems are used in Singapore and the Ukraine.

A report by the parliament's procedures committee released in May recommended the swipe or touch cards, but said the practice of turning up to the chamber should continue as should members dividing to the left and right of the speaker's chair to indicate their vote.

Last year the total time devoted to votes in the lower house was nine hours and 28 minutes or 1.3 per cent of the House's time.

The report estimated an electronic system to cost up to $4.6 million to set up and $400,000 a year to run.

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