The SA Labor government has quietly introduced a bill to almost eliminate preferential voting for the upper house

Last week, while media and most South Australians were focused on the euthanasia debate, SA Attorney-General John Rau quietly introduced the Electoral (Legislative Council Voting) (Voter Choice) Amendment Bill.  He incorporated most of his speech on 16/11/16 into Hansard p 7867 instead of reading it out.

“I and others are deeply concerned about the impact of this legislation if it passes both houses with Liberal Party support,” FamilyVoice South Australia director David d’Lima said today.

“The bill would eliminate voting tickets and private preference deals by ‘micro parties’ – that is a good thing,” he said.  “But instead of adopting the new Senate voting system, where people are required to number six parties above the line in order of their preference, the SA proposal would restrict people to voting for just one party above the line.  If they want to preference other parties as well, they would have to number every single box below the line – but few would do so.

“The result would be in effect, a ‘first past the post’ voting system,” Mr d’Lima said.  “The bill would make it very difficult for minor party candidates to gain seats. This would deprive parliament of significant minority views that deserve to be heard.”

Both Labor and Liberal parties are said to support the bill, believing it would give them more power.  “This view is short-sighted,” David d’Lima said.  “I urge them to think again!”