Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Atkinson’s cynical decision to hold by-elections in the state seats of Davenport and Fisher on different days has rebounded on the people of Davenport.
“The Speaker’s decision to play party politics with his decision to hold the Fisher and Davenport elections on separate weekends has forced a January election on the people of Davenport,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“The Labor Party has so little respect for the democratic process that it has set an election campaign during the peak of the summer holiday season, when many electors will be away.
“The Labor Party’s cynical decision to force a January by-election upon the people of Davenport over the Australia Day weekend will almost certainly increase the number of people who fail to vote at the poll.
“The Speaker’s cynical decision to put the interests of the Labor Party before the interests of the people of Davenport will force many other electors to pre-poll whether they want to or not.
“The Speaker now must release the correspondence between himself and the Electoral Commissioner Kay Mousely concerning the best date for holding both the Fisher and Davenport by-elections.
“It’s only happening because Mr Atkinson believes the Labor Party will receive an electoral advantage and consequently has no hesitation in wasting taxpayers’ time and money.
“Initially the Speaker claimed he was acting on the advice of the Independent Electoral Commissioner Kay Mousley when announcing the Fisher and Davenport by-elections would be held on separate weekends.
“However, the Electoral Commissioner embarrassed Mr Atkinson and destroyed that excuse by stating it was her preference that the elections be held on the same day.
“Left exposed by the truth the Speaker then asserted it was his decision to make.
“Whilst it is up to the Speaker to decide when the by-elections will be held he is required by convention to make an impartial decision.
“The Speaker now needs to release that correspondence so the people of South Australia can judge if he has acted in an impartial manner.”