The State Liberals have attacked the Labor Party for blocking legislation to remove the right of people sentenced to three or more years in prison to vote in South Australian elections until they have completed their sentence.
“The Weatherill Government is totally out of touch with community sentiment and every other state in Australia on this issue,” said Shadow Minister for Correctional Services Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
“I believe someone who commits an offence so serious that they are incarcerated for a substantial period of time should also surrender the right to vote.
“Why should a murderer have the right to vote for the people who set the terms of their punishment?
“The Labor Party argued that as the provision only applied to a relatively small number of people and given Aboriginal people are more likely to be incarcerated it was wrong to change the law.
“That logic is as shoddy as the fact the original Act giving prisoners the right to vote was passed in 1976 with bi-partisan support.
“In the seventies drink driving was considered a misdemeanor and date rape largely went unpunished.
“People who break the law are significant burdens upon society – from the impact upon their victims and the community to the substantial cost of keeping them in prison.
“Given the enormous impact that breaking the law has, it is appropriate that their right to vote is suspended whilst in prison.”