News State SA News Calls for overhaul of South Australian voting system

Calls for overhaul of South Australian voting system

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· SA Premier begins courting independents

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has rejected calls for an overhaul of the state’s electoral system as Saturday’s election result remains in limbo.

The calls for change come after the Liberals for a second election in a row won more votes but are on track to fall short of seats needed to win office.

“This is the system that the Liberal Party in 1989 forced upon us,” Mr Weatherill said.

“Complaining about the rules when you designed the rules I think sits ill on the mouth of the Liberal Party.”

The Labor premier and Liberal Opposition Leader Steven Marshall are each set to seek the support of two independents – Bob Such and Geoff Brock – in a bid to form a minority government.

With more than 68 per cent of the vote counted, Labor is on course to win 23 seats, the Liberals 21, while two seats have gone to independents.

The electorate of Mitchell is still too close to call.

The failure of the Liberals to gain the 24 seats needed to govern in their own right comes despite the party winning 52.5 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

In SA, the electoral system includes a “fairness clause” that is supposed to ensure that if a party wins more than 50 per cent of the two-party vote, it will be elected to government.

Saturday’s election was the second in a row in which the Liberals won the two-party vote but failed to secure enough seats after Labor hung on in key marginal electorates.

The Liberals also won 44.6 per cent of the primary vote compared with Labor’s 36.2 per cent.

Senior federal Liberal MP Christopher Pyne said the result was proof the system was not working.

“Obviously it’s disappointing that Labor is better at gaming the system than the Liberal Party,” he told AAP.

“We need to return to the drawing board to make sure that when the majority of the people vote for one party, that party wins.”

South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon also criticised the outcome.

“Winning almost 53 per cent of the vote and still not getting across the line indicates that there is something seriously wrong with the South Australian electoral system,” he said.

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