LABOR will today renew calls for electoral reforms in the wake of three Legislative Council contests at the weekend.
Incumbents Ivan Dean, Mike Gaffney and Craig Farrell all comfortably reclaimed their seats for another six years and will be officially reinstated today.
Labor’s Craig Farrell cruised home to beat IT consultant Alan Baker in the sprawling Southern seat of Derwent.
But Labor candidate Jennifer Houston was defeated by Ivan Dean by a margin of 55.7 to 44.3 after preferences were carved up on Sunday.
The party has been criticised for deploying 10,000 robocalls in the race for Windermere, which Mr Dean described as an ugly tactic.
But Labor state secretary John Dowling said the automated calls were a necessary tool to combat strict spending caps and voter apathy.
‘‘The $15,000 spending limits in Legislative Council elections and a lack of awareness among voters make campaigning against sitting members an incredibly tough ask,’’ he said.
‘‘Incumbency is a very powerful tool and the odds are definitely stacked against challengers.’’
Mr Dowling will plead his case for upper house election reform when he fronts a Legislative Council inquiry into the Electoral Act today.
He said rolling election cycles must be reconsidered in light of poor voter turnouts across all three contests, with each slipping backwards by as much as 4 per cent compared with 2009.
‘‘The simple fact is thousands of people didn’t know the elections were on, didn’t know they lived in the contested electorates and didn’t know that voting was compulsory,’’ Mr Dowling said.
Opposition Leader Bryan Green backed his calls for reform, despite returned Labor MLC Craig Farrell earlier arguing that change was not needed.
‘‘With the voter turnout and incumbents being swept back to office, people really need to sit down and have a think about how we can make the system better,’’ Mr Green said.