BY-ELECTION DATES DENY VOTERS THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY

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The Baird Government is denying the people of Canterbury and Orange democratic representation by delaying by-elections until mid-November. 

The Government announced on this week that by-elections for the NSW Parliament seats of Orange and Canterbury will not be held until November 12 this year - six months since the seats were vacated by the sitting members.

The decision will mean voters in Canterbury will have been waiting 191 days to have representation in Parliament and voters in Orange 167 days.

The enormous wait time is almost four times the state average of 51 days between a sitting Member of Parliament resigning to the time a by-election is held.  

The unpopularity of the Government’s program of forced council mergers and its decision to shut down the greyhound industry are key motivators for the lengthy wait time.

NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley has written to the Speaker of the Legislative Assemble Shelley Hancock to bring the election date forward.

In his correspondence with the Speaker Mr Foley stated: 

In the interests of the electors in both seats, I believe the by-elections must be held earlier than you have suggested.  It is a basic principle of our democracy that citizens should have representation in the Parliament.  By delaying the by-elections until mid-November, electors are being denied that right for far longer than is necessary. 

Nationals Member for Orange Andrew Gee and Labor Member for Canterbury Linda Burney both resigned earlier this year to stand for election in the Federal Election.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“The Baird Government has denied voters in Canterbury and Orange access to the very basic principles of democracy – representation in parliament.

“These people are being forced to wait three and four times the average wait times between a member resigning and a by-election being held.

“There is no reason for the voters in Canterbury and Orange to have to wait this long.

"This is a rort on Mr Baird's part, to avoid judgement on his most controversial manoeuvres. Democracy delayed is democracy denied.

“Voters should not be ignored and left without representation for this amount of time.”