Voters send clear message to AEC
The voters of Mayo have sent a clear message to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to keep the seat’s boundaries intact, according to their Federal MP Rebekha Sharkie.
“To have more than 90 per cent of the 211 submissions to the AEC calling for the retention of Mayo is a pretty clear indication of how strongly my electorate feels about keeping its identity when South Australia loses one of its 11 seats during the current redistribution,” Rebekha said.
“I’d like to thank the community for embracing my ‘Save Our Seat’ campaign and taking the time to put in a submission.
“In fact we had more than 80 local residents email submissions in the first 24-hours of the campaign when we launched it last month.”
The AEC announced back in September last year that South Australia’s tally of 11 electorates would be cut to 10 due to the state’s fall in population.
The first round of public consultation opened on November 1 with submissions published on December 4.
The deadline for comments on the submissions closes on December 15.
The AEC is expected to release a proposed redistribution report in April 2018.
Speculation that the Major Parties would seek to get rid of Mayo surfaced late last year when senior Party figures made comments on the ABC program Insiders.
Rebekha said the comments, and the subsequent media reports, promoted a backlash from her community.
“The question ‘what’s happening to Mayo?’ was regularly put to me by residents at events I attended so I promised people I would let them know what was going on in the redistribution process and how they could have their say,” she said.
“It just goes to show how much the people of Mayo value their regional voice because when offered the opportunity, more than 190 of them had their say and put in submissions.
“And, from looking at the submissions put in by the Liberals and Labor, it would appear that the Major Parties realised that voters have recognised their original comments about getting rid of Mayo as political opportunism.
“However, while both Parties have suggested keeping Mayo, I do not support their proposed changes to our electorate’s boundaries, particularly Labor’s submission to remove the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island and place them in the seat of Barker.
“I do not believe our residents in the Alexandrina, Kangaroo Island, Victor Harbor and Yankalilla local government areas want their electorate based in Mount Gambier with the second office in Murray Bridge.
“I introduced part-time offices in Victor Harbor and Goolwa because my electorate said the main office in Mount Barker was too far away!”
Rebekha will be submitting comments on the public submissions.
“Then it will just be a waiting game until the AEC releases its draft redistribution proposal next year but I will make sure that our community is informed about what is happening and I will continue fighting to keep our community together,” she said.