Submissions flood in to save Seat of Mayo
More than 80 voters emailed submissions to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) calling for the retention of Mayo in the first 24-hours of a community campaign launched by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie on Tuesday night.
Due to a fall in population, the AEC is looking to cut South Australia’s tally of 11 seats to 10 and opened its redistribution process to public submissions last week.
Rebekha has launched the 'Save Our Seat' campaign to inform residents about the public consultation period, which closes at 6pm on Friday, December 1.
“Ever since the Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers announced back in September that South Australia would lose a seat, I am constantly asked by my constituents ‘what is going to happen to Mayo?’,” Rebekha said.
“Our community doesn’t want to be carved up and tacked on to city electorates or an electorate with its base in Mount Gambier.
“They wanted to know what was happening and how they could have their say and I promised that I would let everyone know.
“That is what 'Save Our Seat' is all about. You can’t just tell the AEC ‘I don’t want to lose Mayo’, you have to give valid reasons.
“I have set up a page on my website to offer suggestions about criteria that have been used in the past by the AEC to make determinations.
“Residents can then use that to craft their own submissions in their own words.
“And if computers are not your thing, please come into my office and we can provide you with a paper version.”
Rebekha is currently working on her own submission and will be arguing that Mayo is a region with distinct communities of interest, including economic and social interests, transport routes and communication infrastructure.
“We see ourselves as a regional community with many similarities of experience,” she said.
“Whether you live at Springton in the north or on Kangaroo Island, there is a common thread in the issues people face, whether that is access to health, education and transport services or the tyranny of distance.
“These are not issues that would be well represented by a Member of Parliament where the bulk of their constituency is in the metropolitan area.
“We are a unique community and I think we deserve for our community to be represented as a whole.
“Nearly one in three South Australians live in the regions so if we’re going to have 10 seats then three of them should be regional.
“There are not enough regional voices in Canberra as it is and to reduce one would, I think, be a travesty.”