Home List of Titles Possible changes to the South Australian electoral system: optional preferential voting and simultaneous election of all members of the Upper and Lower Houses
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- Possible changes to the South Australian electoral system: optional preferential voting and simultaneous election of all members of the Upper and Lower Houses
- Newton-Farrelly, Jenni
- On the weekend of the 9th and 10th of August 2003, participants at the Constitutional Convention deliberated on issues related to the South Australian Constitution, from which issues of importance to the Representatives were identified. This paper addresses two issues which were identified by individual Representatives at the Convention – optional preferential voting and electing all 22 Members of the Legislative Council at the same time. The paper does not look at the arguments for or against optional preferential voting or simultaneous election of all MLCs, but rather the effects of those changes if or when they are made. Introducing optional preferential voting would have effects in two areas - the conduct of the election and the outcome of the election. In the House of Assembly election my guess is that tickets would become obsolete but How To Vote cards would not, and that the fairness provision imposed on the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission through the Constitution Act may require change because the meaning of a two party preferred result would change. In relation to the outcome of the House of Assembly election, we could expect between one quarter and one half of all votes currently available for transfer, to exhaust and play no part in the final result. In 2002 this would have made a difference in Norwood, Hammond and possibly also Adelaide - my guess is that all three seats would have been won by a LIB candidate (and the Liberal Party would have been in a better position to form a minority government than the ALP). Electing all of the Members of the Legislative Council at the same time would have made it possible under the landslide circumstances of 1993 for one party to have won a majority of seats in the Upper House (indeed in both Houses at the same time) but under more normal circumstances the composition of the Legislative Council would have been very much as it stands today - two major parties and the balance of power held by the DEM or smaller party MLCs. Electing all of the Members of the Legislative Council at the same time and also introducing partial preferential voting, would make preferences much less important in the outcome of the election than they are currently. Voters would probably need to indicate a preference for at least 15 (rather than 22) candidates, and ticket voting could be retained in a truncated form similar to the new NSW system.
- Publication type
- Information Paper, No. 20
- Publication year
- Elections; Electoral system; Optional preferential voting; Simultaneous election; South Australia
- South Australian Parliament Research Library
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2003 Parliamentary Library of South Australia. Published version of this paper reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.
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