South Australia

Feb 19, 2014

‘The day democracy died’: how SA killed micro-party dissent

South Australia's new legislation significantly raises the barrier for entry for minor parties. Liam Mannix reports at InDaily that this year's election will have a lot fewer candidates as a result.

Party registration changes approved by the major parties in South Australian Parliament have run a scythe through the ranks of the micro-parties, with many groups that contested the last election unable to stand this time.

The Australian Democrats, who had representatives in South Australia’s Parliament from 1977 to 2009, won’t field a single candidate. And they aren’t the only ones; micro-party political figures have estimated between 25% and 50% of previously represented parties aren’t going to field a candidate.

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12 thoughts on “‘The day democracy died’: how SA killed micro-party dissent

  1. J Hitman

    When I read “the day democracy died ” I expected a main headline story regarding Christopher Boyce and last night’s Dateline re that Rhodes Scholar.

  2. klewso

    The price of democracy keeps going up – soon we won’t be able to afford it at all?

  3. Hamis Hill

    Ironic that all this “killing of Democracy” with moves to restrict the number of Greens parties around Australia.
    Doesn’t seem to be stopping the likes of Xenophon, who is the de facto Democrat in SA?

  4. Hamis Hill

    Began with moves to restrict the number of Greens parties around Australia. Unable to be registered without a minimum of five hundred members.
    Certainly put a dampener on grass roots democracy, havaing to assemble five hundred like minded members in a single electorate, for example, before you could claim party member ship.
    To an extent The Greens have managed to retain single electorate groups with autonomy, while still dealing with the anti-democracy actions of the major party duopoly.
    No reason why the other micro’s cannot do the same, organise at the electorate level as single groups, and come together to deal with the imposed restrictions of the “head office” major parties.
    Ask the latte hugging tree sippers how it is done.

  5. Jimmyhaz

    A financial barrier to entry is wrong, it stands against the fundamental tenants of democracy.

    If they cared at all about democracy then they would raise the amount of signatures required, and scrap the monetary requirements. That’s not going to happen, unfortunately, this has nothing to do with pushing forward democracy, and everything to do with further entrenching the major parties.

  6. CML

    As I see it, the problems escalate when one or more of these ‘minor’ parties or individuals hold the balance of power. Witness what is going on in Victoria, where Geoff Shaw, the member for Frankston, is actually holding democracy to ransom. The situation in the lower house of the Victorian parliament is simply making the state ungovernable – unless he gets everything HE wants. Like an overhaul of the abortion laws to remove choice.
    Is that what you all think is a good thing? Well I don’t!
    The best possible solution to the ‘upper house gaming’, which is going on in all jurisdictions, is to restrict preferences to the number of seats available for election. In the federal Senate, that would be one primary vote and five preferences. How on earth does that ‘kill’ democracy?
    I say it strengthens it!!

  7. Jimmyhaz

    What’s preventing Labor and the LNP governing together in Victoria? Surely they can look beyond their own ideologies and govern together for the benefit of their constituents?

  8. Chris Hartwell

    Provided you get the moderates of the respective parties holding court Jimmyhaz, perfectly reasonable expectation. Politics seems dictated by extremes however.

  9. CML

    Well said, CH! And who started the ‘extremes’?
    He is currently the head honcho in Canberra. No prizes for guessing you-know-who!
    Jimmyhaz, I don’t see why the Labor Party should do the Cons any favours, in Victoria or anywhere else. The problem needs to be fixed properly, not just have a bandaid stuck over it.

  10. Jimmyhaz

    I’d prefer the problem to become the solution in all honesty. A parliamentary system that is more suited to a grand coalition of minor parties rather than one run by complete domination by a single ideology seems far less prone to the abuse we see in both QLD and VIC.

    I can’t see it happening though, apparently rule by anything other than a crushing majority results in mayhem and disorder. A great example of this mayhem and disorder is the Nordic countries, which, from my time spent their, did seem quite like Somalia v2.0.

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