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Family First preferences could decide key seats

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Family First preferences will again be allocated to individual candidates, not parties, in the state election.

Family First says that values will come before party affiliation when deciding on preference deals, which a political commentator believes could be crucial to the outcome in some marginal seats.

The quality of the candidate and whether “they’ll support our sort of thinking” will be the determining factors, says the party’s Upper House MP Robert Brokenshire.

“Family First generally preference some Liberal and some Labor seats depending on how we feel about the individual candidate,” Brokenshire said.

“It’s a big consideration as to what some of those people think on the social values.”

Brokenshire is a former Liberal Party MP and minister in the Olsen Government. He lost his seat of Mawson to Labor’s Leon Bignell in 2006, but re-entered parliament via a Family First casual vacancy in 2008.

The key seat for preference deals is expected to be Newland where ALP minister Tom Kenyon holds a slender margin of around 2 per cent.

Kenyon is on the record opposing same-sex marriage and abortion, both major platforms for Family First.

His 2010 election win came despite Family First directing their preferences to Liberal candidate Trish Draper.

Local mayor Glenn Docherty is the 2014 Liberal party candidate.

Adelaide University politics Professor Clem Macintyre says that Labor candidates who openly share similar values are likely to “receive more favourable treatment” from Family First.

“I think they will be certainly more sympathetic to looking at candidates like that [Tom Kenyon] than some others who have been more public in their support for some of those proposals that we know Family First have clear opposition to,” Macintyre said.

He says that in some marginal seats, preference deals from Family First could be the deciding factor for which party wins.

“Both major parties are looking for preferences, then Family First may well be effectively kingmakers in some of those seats,” he said.

Family First’s parliamentary leader Dennis Hood said Family First preferences won’t be decided for another two to three weeks.

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