More than 80 people have made submissions to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in an effort to save the seat of Mayo from being cut in the upcoming electoral redistribution.
Due to a fall in the population, the AEC is looking to reduce South Australia’s parliamentary seats from 11 to 10 and has called on the public to weigh in on which seats should remain.
Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie launched the ‘Save our Seat’ campaign to promote 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?
“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.
“Our community doesn’t want to be carved up and tacked on to city electorates or an electorate with its base in Mount Gambier,” she said.
Before the 1984 redistribution, the areas in the seat of Mayo were divided up amongst the Wakefield, Sturt, Boothby and Barker electorates.
If Mayo was incorporated in the regional electorate of Barker, which already encompasses 63,886 square kilometres, the new boundary would stretch from Mount Gambier to Cape Jervis and through the Barossa Valley to the Riverland.
In September last year, the AEC revealed that if an early election was called, Barker would be combined with the electorate of Grey to incorporate 98 per cent of the state.
Ms Sharkie said the people of Mayo wanted to know what was happening and how they could have their say.
“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,” she said.
To coincide with the public’s opinions, Ms Sharkie has prepared a submission of her own.
“We (Mayo) 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.”
In her submission, she argued for greater regional representation.
“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,” she said.
“There are not enough regional voices in Canberra as it is and to reduce one would, I think, be a travesty.”
- To make a submission, head to www.rebekhasharkie.com.au/save_our_seat