Election changes pass Upper House

THE type of preference deals that managed to secure the Palmer United and Motorist Enthusiasts Parties seats during the Federal election will be unlikely to happen in South Australia following a parliamentary vote to change election rules.

The decision to limit micro-parties' ability to secure seats with just a handful of votes was passed in the Legislative Council this week, with the changes to be in place before for the 2014 election. 

Attorney General John Rau said the changes will be in place for the 2014 State Election.

“The Parliament has today agreed to a package of measures that will help South Australia avoid the types of bizarre Upper House outcomes as seen in the recent Federal Election,” he said.

“In effect, this will mean that the outcome of the Upper House vote at the next State Election will more closely reflect the collective intention of voters.

“We are now much less likely to see the practice of micro-parties gaming the system through back room deals swapping preferences.

“This is a good outcome for our State’s democracy.”

The changes include:

- Only registered parties or grouped independents (with 500 nominees) can lodge a preference ticket.

- Political parties will be placed on the left of the ballot paper, followed by grouped independents, then other independents.

- Only three words (instead of five) will be permitted after the name of an independent candidate – original proposal was two words.

- The number of nominees required for an independent candidate has increased from two to 250.

- The deposit for nomination will go to $3000 (from $450) – this will be made via regulations.

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