Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 29, 2022


Local Government Elections

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (15:23): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, representing the Minister for Local Government in another place, a question about local government elections.

Leave granted.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: A number of concerns have been raised about the probity of the recent local government elections, particularly in the city councils of Adelaide, Marion and West Torrens. According to the Electoral Commissioner, the level and seriousness of the complaints is unprecedented. I also understand the Electoral Commissioner of South Australia has refused a request for a recount of the Adelaide Lord Mayoral votes despite the closeness of the result and serious discrepancies of voting identified by scrutineers when the votes were being counted. My question to the minister is:

1. Has he had a briefing from the Electoral Commissioner regarding the conduct of the election, and what are his benchmarks for recounting close results?

2. Being heavily involved in local government for many years as a councillor and mayor of Port Pirie council, does the minister have concerns over the conduct of the recent council elections and allegations of corruption in the postal ballot process?

3. What actions does he intend to implement to protect the integrity of council elections and of candidates?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:25): I thank the honourable member for his question. I will of course refer it to the minister in the other place, the Minister for Local Government, and bring back a response to the chamber. However, I can perhaps just advise the chamber, if they are not aware, that after each council election, every four years, a review is done by the Electoral Commission of South Australia and that review would canvass many of the issues that have been raised, I am sure. I will certainly bring back an answer once I have a response from the minister in the other place.