Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Electoral Fraud

In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ().23 March 2023).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector):

It has been publicly reported that the Electoral Commissioner is investigating irregularities found in three of the 2022 periodic council elections: the City of Adelaide; the City of Marion; and the City of West Torrens. Whether, and how, any comment is made on these reviews is of course a matter for the commissioner to determine.

I have been advised that the Minister for Local Government meets periodically with the Electoral Commissioner to discuss various matters relating to council elections and is aware that the Electoral Commissioner continues to investigate these matters.

As the Electoral Commissioner is appointed by parliament, the minister has confidence that any matters before the Commissioner are thoroughly investigated, and, importantly, independently from any direction or influence.

It has also been reported that three candidates sought to challenge election results through the Court of Disputed Returns. Following the commencement of the court process, it has also been publicly reported that Mr Rex Patrick, a candidate for Lord Mayor, has withdrawn his challenge. The other two cases remain before the court.

I am also advised that the Electoral Commissioner will undertake a review of the 2022 periodic council elections, as is customary. This review will identify any improvements, including legislative changes, that may need to be made to council elections to ensure that they meet the highest standards of integrity.