Greens secure win for democracy in SA

Released at: December 01, 2017
Contact: Mark Parnell MLC

The Greens are delighted that the South Australian Constitution has now been reformed to make it fairer to all parties and candidates contesting elections for lower house seats, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC. 

Under the mis-leadingly named “fairness clause” in the Constitution, the boundaries of electorates were required to be rigged so that one of the two major parties would form a government, regardless of the fact that a growing number of South Australians are now voting for neither of the old parties.

“The days of looking at the world through a two-party lens are gone.  The two old parties are on the nose and Australians are increasingly looking for alternative voices to represent them.  That’s why it is inherently unfair to force the Electoral Boundaries Commission to re-draw electorate boundaries to favour the major parties.  It is a nonsense clause and I’m proud the Greens have lead the way for its removal”, said Mr Parnell.

Even the architect of the original clause, political scientist Malcolm Mackerras, has described it as an “abject failure” and “a silly clause of which I’m not proud”.  He regrets having ever entertained it.  More recently, prominent electoral expert, Antony Green, has described the clause as a “gerrymander”.

The decision of Parliament last night will not affect the next election.  The boundaries for the March 2018 election have been drawn and won’t be changed. 

"For elections beyond 2018, the review of electorate boundaries will have regard to population, one-vote-one-value, geography, communities of interest and other relevant factors but won’t be artificially rigged to favour the old parties.  The Greens have ensured that future elections will be more democratic and better reflect the will of the people of South Australia”, concluded Mr Parnell.

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