Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Stopping minor party nonsense – South Australia leads the way

An interesting story today on the In Daily – Adelaide Independent News site that predicts that in South Australia something will be done to stop the lunacy of candidates with virtually no votes in their own right winning seats in the parliamentary upper house.
The story says that new laws to bar Upper House candidates who can’t gather more than 2.5 per cent of the primary vote from collecting preferences will be rushed through parliament this week.
After intense negotiations between the main players in the last fortnight, a deal has been agreed to add a further amendment to have a 2.5 per cent minimum vote qualification.
“It means that if you can’t get 2.5 per cent of the primary vote, then you are not eligible to ‘receive’ preferences,” Shadow Attorney-General Stephen Wade told InDaily.
“As candidates are eliminated, their preferences will only go to candidates above that 2.5 line.
“It will prevent the coordinated harvesting that’s happened in a few recent elections.”
The Bill also proposes changes to prevent candidates “sending a message” with their group name or using common members in group qualification.
The  changes include:
  • A single candidate for the House of Assembly be required to obtain the support and signature of  20 electors and a candidate for the Legislative Council 100 electors (as opposed to the current requirement of two). This is unlikely to get broad support and is expected to be knocked out.
  • Only political parties and groups may lodge a voting ticket and hence obtain an  ‘above the line’  voting ticket square.
  • If candidates group together, they must have the supporting signatures of different electors.
  • Limits to the number of descriptive words that may be provided adjacent to a candidate or group name on the Legislative Council ballot paper from five or less words to two words. An amendment from “Nick Xenophon Group” candidate John Darley, to increase this to three words, is expected to be approved.
  • The ballot paper will be required to list candidates and groups in an order beginning with registered political party groups, independent groups and then lastly independents candidates.
Attorney-General John Rau said the current South Australian laws had too many loop holes that could be used to lever an almost unsupported candidate into a seat in parliament.
“The Government believes that these outcomes are undemocratic,” he said.
“This capacity to manipulate the system needs to be addressed.”
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