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Micro-parties fail in Upper House bid


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The campaign manager for some of the South Australian micro-parties has admitted it is unlikely any of them will win a seat in the Legislative Council.

Despite the stunning success of micro-parties at the last federal election, Glen Drury said the Shooters and Fishers Party was the only one left with a chance in the Upper House – and only if there was a significant late swing against Labor.

“I think it’s likely that what we’re seeing now is how it will end up,” said Drury.

“It was surprising to see the Labor Party do so well.

“The Shooters and Fishers are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and if Labor drops a couple of per cent they’ll be elected.”

With almost 70 per cent of the vote counted, the newly elected half of the Legislative Council is likely to consist of:

Despite Darley’s likely win and despite having won 12.9 per cent of first-preferences so far counted, Nick Xenophon sounded very disappointed when contacted by InDaily this morning.

“It’s not a matter of happiness; it is what it is,” Xenophon said.

“The vote for the Nick Xenophon Team clearly suffered from the massive campaign against me.”

Xenophon refused to speculate if the vote might represent the end of huge support for the party that recorded 24.89 per cent of the South Australian federal senate vote only last year.

“Before we talk high water marks or low water marks, this is a very fluid environment that we’re in. Things can change dynamically.”

He ticked off six reasons why his party had suffered at the ballot box this time round, including a strong negative campaign against him, the fact that he personally wasn’t standing, the low number of volunteers he was able to get out to booths on Saturday, and the lack of serious financial muscle for a state campaign.

Parties ganged up against the Xenophon Team to preference it lowest of all parties in the Legislative Council.

According to Drurie, this was mainly because of a perception among the micro-parties that Xenophon had lost sight of his roots as a former small player in state politics.

Xenophon drew the ire of the micro-parties for supporting Mark Parnell’s failed bill for an optional preferences system in the Upper House which would have made it near impossible for a new independent or micro-party to be elected, Drurie said.

Parnell said he was confident of re-election on the current numbers, but he’s not celebrating yet.

“While we haven’t said I’m definitely re-elected … I’m very confident on the basis of the existing figures that I’m likely to be re-elected,” he said.

Parnell was pleased with the Greens performance in the crucial upper house ballot, but he was even more delighted with lower house figures which he said showed a strong state-wide swing to his party.

That was thanks in large part to other controversial changes to electoral laws – which Parnell opposed – which made it more expensive for minor parties to nominate for the lower house ballot.

Most electorates only had four or five candidates this time round, leading to a strong surge in the Greens vote.

– additional reporting by Liam Mannix

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