The National-Liberal Alliance Opposition have called on the WA Labor Government to amend the Electoral Reform Act 1907 to mitigate the impact their reckless proposed boundary changes will have on regional representation.
In Parliament this week, Shadow Minister for Electoral Affairs, Mia Davies, moved a motion calling on the Government to consider a simple change to the Act that would maintain the current number of regional seats.
“Labor’s dogged pursuit of electoral reform is marginalising regional voices in the Parliament, and concentrating power and control in the metropolitan area,” Ms Davies said.
“Since the 1989 election, regional WA has lost 12 lower house seats, a result of Labor’s efforts to silence the voices of our regional communities.
“We have proposed a simple amendment to the Act that would mitigate some of the chaos being wrought by Labor’s ideological pursuit of one-vote-one-value.”
Ms Davies said she would agree with one-vote-one-value when she saw the Government delivering services and infrastructure to regional communities the same as metropolitan Perth.
“Access to healthcare, education, decent public transport, aged care and housing are all sub-par in many regional communities compared to the city,” she said.
“Labor’s position is ignorant of the unique size, diversity, population distribution and embedded disadvantage that exists in regional and remote Western Australia.”
The Opposition’s proposal is to increase the Large District Allowance from 1.5 percent to three percent which would have the effect of retaining the current number of regional electorates.
“With no dedicated regional Members in the Legislative Council because of Labor’s electoral reform laws that were rammed through Parliament in 2021, it is important we don’t further reduce the number of regional Members available to advocate and support regional and remote communities,” Ms Davies said.
Opposition Leader and The Nationals WA Leader Shane Love said the WA Labor Government are failing regional communities across the state.
“The WA Labor Government have continued to forge ahead in their masterplan to gag rural communities,” Mr Love said.
“WA Labor have stripped 18 members from the regions, botched cultural heritage laws, failed to support logging jobs and cowered behind the Federal Labor Government’s live export ban.
“What communities across the state see in WA Labor is a Government which continues to overlook and ignore them.”
Refusing to support the motion, Electoral Affairs Minister, John Quigley, labelled the electorate of North West Central an “abomination on democracy” and told voters “We are in a new world. Get used to it”.
“I call on the WA Labor Government to stop ignoring the needs of regional WA and support this crucial amendment to the Electoral Reform Act 1907. It’s time they acted”