Close SA election prompts calls for new boundaries

After Saturday’s election in South Australia, Labor might cling to power in a minority government. Although counting continues, it is expected that two independent MPs will hold the balance of power in the lower house. The Liberal Party is complaining that although it won almost 53% of the statewide two-party-preferred vote, it did not translate into a majority of seats. This occurs when a party performs strongly in its own safe seats, but narrowly loses in marginal seats. Former SA premier John Olsen wants the system changed: “The fact that we have now had 1989, 2002, 2010 and 2014 (elections) where the Liberal Party has got 52 or 53 per cent of the vote and hasn’t been able to form government is clearly indicating that the process by which the boundaries are drawn is not producing a result that the majority of South Australians want.” The Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission is required to draw the borders between electorates “fairly”, and says this is a difficult and imprecise task.