A joint standing committee examining the 2022 federal election has called for the number of senators to increase from two to four for both territories.
The final report into the federal election also called for a fresh look into whether the House of Representatives should be expanded to include more MPs, due to Australia being under-represented compared to similar democracies.
The committee’s chair Kate Thwaites said increasing the representation of the territories in the Senate was an overdue reform.
“It’s clear both (territories) are very different from what they were when the representation for the original states was put into our constitution at federation,” she told parliament on Monday
“They are still very different from when they were granted territory representation in 1973.”
While the territories currently only get two senators who serve three-year terms, each of the states get 12 senators who serve six-year terms.
Other electoral reforms suggested by the committee include allowing for voters to enrol on voting day for federal elections or referendums.
Currently, electoral rolls close one week after election writs are issued.
The committee also called for an end to the election advertising blackout period, should proposed truth in advertising laws pass parliament.
Election ads are banned from TV and radio from the Thursday before elections, but the rules do not extend to print media or online.
Ms Thwaites said changes to electoral laws were needed in order to further enshrine democracy.
“It is tempting for all of us to retreat to our bunkers about how it might affect us, and once again, put change in the too-hard basket,” she said.
“But all of us in parliament need our community to have trust in us, in our elections and out democratic systems to allow us to do the work that we are sent to do.”
Further recommendations included allowing the Australian Electoral Commission to expand accessibility at the voting booth and to ensure more people with disabilities or residents overseas are able to vote over the phone.