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First members of SA Voice announced as counting begins

The first representatives elected to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice have been announced in South Australia as counting in the nation-first elections gets underway.

The 14 people who were chosen to represent the Far North region and the Flinders and Upper North region were announced by the Electoral Commission of South Australia on Monday.

Voters from across SA went to polls on March 16 to elect 46 representatives across six regions in the first election of its kind in the nation.

The Far North region is the largest geographically and the most sparsely populated.

Just 301 formal votes were entered with Mark Campbell, Melissa Thompson, Johnathon Lyons, Dharma Ducasse-Singer, Dawn Brown, Christopher Dodd and Donald Fraser the winning candidates.

Mr Campbell received the highest share of support with 70 votes while Ms Brown received the lowest successful total of 11 votes.

In the Flinders and Upper North region there were 378 formal votes with Charles Jackson, Lavene Ngatokorua, Rob Singleton, Ralph Coulthard, Kerri Coulthard, Candace Champion and TJ Thomas prevailing.

Legislation enshrining the SA Voice passed the House of Assembly in March 2023.

The bill sets out six regional voices across the state, each with seven representatives to be directly elected by their local communities.

The Central region, which covers metropolitan Adelaide and has the highest population of eligible voters, will have 11 representatives.

Each local voice will have two presiding members, one female and one male, who will chair local meetings and act as their region’s representatives in a 12-person state voice.

It will be the role of that state voice to directly advocate the concerns and ideas of the communities to parliament.

Counting in the Riverland and South East region and West and West Coast region is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

The Yorke and Mid-North region and the Central region will be counted on Wednesday.

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Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

Jacob Shteyman – AAP

This article has been copied from National Indigenous Times 26 March 2024

Image: Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS

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