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Question: First Nations Voice Elections

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Supplementary: how do the nominations turn out compared to, say, council or other elections that are similarly run in this state?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I thank the honourable member for her question. It's a question that has been asked. I know the Liberal spokesperson on Aboriginal affairs made commentary about the disappointing turnout, with 113 nominations, and I have certainly done media interviews about it.

In terms of local council elections, I can't remember the exact number but it might have been three local councils that had no-one nominate for the mayor at the November 2022 elections. This is certainly a large step-up on having vacancies for mayorships. But also, when the opposition spokesperson came out and denigrated the level of interest from Aboriginal people in their own Voice, it did get me to thinking about the level of nominations per capita, given the different populations.

Aboriginal people account for about 2½ per cent of the South Australian population— one-quarter of one-tenth, so one-fortieth of the SA population—and had 113 nominations for 46 positions. For the 47 seats in the House of Assembly, a very comparable number of positions available, at the 2022 state election there were 240 nominations. So for the state election there were about double the amount of nominations, but with the Aboriginal population being only one-fortieth. So Aboriginal people, on those very in-my-head mathematics, nominated at about 20 times the rate that South Australians nominated for the state election.

That doesn't account for the fact that Aboriginal people's life span is significantly shorter and birthrates are significantly higher, so I did have a look to see what the voting age population was for Aboriginal people compared to non-Aboriginal people. In South Australia the general population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is 2.4 per cent but of over 18s it is 1.8 per cent—less than that as a percentage.

For the just over 26,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 18 in South Australia and potentially eligible to nominate because they may be on the electoral roll, for 113 positions that is one nomination for every 231 over 18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia. There are 1,418,397 South Australians over the age of 18, according to the late 2021 Census, and for the 47 House of Assembly seats, for example, with 240 nominations, that is one nomination per 5,910 general South Australians.

For South Australians to have nominated at the same rate as Aboriginal people nominated to the Voice there would have to be a 2,456 per cent increase in the rate of nominations for people at the state election compared to how Aboriginal people nominated for the Voice. So it was a very well nominated Voice. Twenty-five times more people, per capita, nominated for the Voice than they did for the 47 seats for the state election.

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