Changes to Elections Act just before general elections not a good look
Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has said he does not support the government’s move to make last-minute changes to the territory’s Elections Act.
Those changes were introduced in the Elections (Amendment) Act, 2023 that lawmakers debated in the House of Assembly (HOA) last Friday, March 10. That date marked the absolute last day of the House before elections.
Fraser said though he believes the changes in the bill are not harmful, he was concerned about the perception of the public.
“For us here to be talking about amending the Elections Act, I wonder what the public is thinking? Me knowing how sceptical people are, they must be there saying, ‘this government is playing around with the elections’ — not the ‘Act’, the ‘elections’ — by bring this Act here today. We’ve always been cautious not to come here at this 11th hour with anything to do with elections. Even if it’s something good,” Fraser stated.
“To me and to us, these amendments are simple and benign but … it’s not what the truth is, it’s what people believe the truth to be. So I’m not one to be in favour of any amendment to the act at this particular point; as benign as it may be,” he added.
Fraser said he believes changes to the elections should be made just after general elections happen and not immediately before.
Notwithstanding his concerns, the Act successfully passed through the House.
General Elections are constitutionally due by May of this year. Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley is yet to announce a date to go to the polls.