Quickhit: Kelly Vincent elected to Upper House in South Australia!

The results have been declared!

Kelly Vincent and Natasha Stott-Despoja

Image: A smiling Kelly Vincent, Dignity for Disability candidate, with a blue flower in her hair and holding a bouquet of pink roses, sits next to former leader of the Australian Democrats Natasha Stott-Despoja.

South Australia State Parliament gets first disabled politician

Labor and Liberal won 4 seats each with the Greens and Family First each winning a seat.

The make-up of the new Legislative Council will now be Labor 7, Liberal 8, Greens 2, Family First 2, independents 2, and D4D 1.

Ms Vincent has made Australian parliamentary history by being the youngest elected Upper House MP in Australia’s histolry, the youngest female ever elected to an Australian parliament, and the first person who uses a wheelchair to be elected in the SA Parliament.

“South Australians have shouted their intentions loud and clear,” she said after the count.

“People with disabilities and those who love them will no longer be silenced. I will be a voice for those without a voice.”

Parliament House will now have a scramble to make the Chamber accessible – they’ve never bothered before.

Categories: Politics

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16 replies

  1. Congratulations to Kelly, a fantastic result.

  2. That’s pretty awesome. 🙂

  3. Congratulations, Senator Vincent! I look forward to hearing more about her work in the next few years.
    (ETA: I’m not sure that “senator” is the right term – my apologies to South Australians!)

  4. I’m thrilled by this result!
    At least one MP has said that zie has depression, so yes, perhaps the first person with visible disability to be elected to the South Australian parliament. And absolutely the first person to be elected on this platform. She is very much needed: there are some stories around about people with disabilities waiting months and years for basic assistive devices, like a wheelchair to replace the one they’ve grown out of.

  5. Congratulations Kelly!!

  6. Whoo! I got teary-eyed reading this, tears, I tell you!

    This is a moment in history. An awesome one.

  7. most excellent news 🙂

  8. I love that photo. It’s something about the huge smiles on the two women’s faces. They’re not the polite smiles of pollies, but the gleefully laughing whole-face-and-body smiles of delight that come from the sheer joy of the moment. I smile myself every time I see it.

  9. This is just fantastic.
    I had the privilege of voting for d4d and I’m honestly (and pleasantly) surprised that enough of my fellow citizens did the same to gain Kelly a seat.
    This has to send a message that people with disabilities have unique issues that need to be considered, and everything I’ve read and heard of Kelly tells me she is the perfect person to voice those issues.
    @ lilacsigil: Ms Vincent’s title is MLC (Member of the Legislative Council).

  10. This is awesome! Congrats to Senator (?) Vincent! (Hopefully some other government buildings will be made more accessible as well.)

  11. @kage, just saw your comment. Congrats to MLC Vincent! And congrats to South Australia.

  12. I think its wonderful that someone elected on a specific platform like this has been elected. But that doesn’t stop me wondering what the rest of her policies are like.
    My problems is D4D’s preferences. http://www.ecsa.sa.gov.au/election2010/candidates/voting-tickets.php
    They start off going to Winderlich and the Democrats, which sounds pretty good. But next comes Family First. And shortly after that are the climate “sceptics” (ie liers). Greens are nearly last. And this isn’t because of a nasty spat over preferences which might have been the Greens’ fault – the Greens went straight to them.
    So based on this we’ve elected someone who will fight for the rights of the disabled – as long as they’re straight and not muslim, and not about to be drowned by rising sea levels. Now its quite possible that Kelly had nothing to do with drafting the preferences. That happens. And these had to be done while the original leader of their ticket was dying, so it may not have been thought through in the normal fashion. Nevertheless, it worries me a bit.
    There’s a more general point as well. When backing a group whose core policy is excellent you still need to check where they stand on everything else.

  13. feralsparrowhawk is EXACTLY RIGHT.
    the thing is, we get all warm and fuzzy because this woman’s been elected, but if she hadn’t been ‘disabled’, then how would her election look on policy? I’m really, really dumbfounded that someone coming from a ‘marginalised’ segment of the community would have the opposite of ‘smarts’ and put family first next on their preferences – i mean, family first are a complete and utter bunch of right-wing ratbags… there is nothing at all warm and fuzzy about them…they are dangerous and encourage division, hate and racism among the community. and if you were a gay/lesbian woman with cerebral palsy, you would be ‘fair game’ for that group. YOu are being far too generous in suggesting that its possible they just f*(&%$ up on their voting preferences due to outside influences – politicians, of which she is now one – ALWAYS know what they’re doing. very poor, and, i’m being inclusive now, and the opposite of discriminatory – she should never have been elected.

  14. natalie: Why are you scare-quoting the word disabled?
    Also, can you explain how many votes flowed to FF as a result of these preferences? Senatorial preference flows are pretty obscure to many of us, and explanations of real-world consequences would be useful to readers.
    I’d also like to hear more about disability initiatives the Greens have been actively involved in lately. I’ve heard pretty much nothing from them personally on PWD issues, and their published policy is very generic and motherhoodish, but I doubt I’ve read everything they’ve ever done. I wonder how many of their candidates are PWD?

  15. As Vincent was elected in the last position in the Upper House, her preferences were, by definition, not distributed. She didn’t have quota, and she wasn’t eliminated in the count: there were no practical consequences at all to them preferencing FF.
    Note, though that that’s not saying there are no moral consequences in preference allocations. Especially if, as is implicit in feral sparrowhawk’s comment, there was a dealing process amongst the minor and microparties as happens regularly in NSW.
    (And to nitpick disgracefully: MLC isn’t a title or honorific like “Senator” or “Minister”, or “the Hon.” it’s a post-nominal, so it’s just Ms. Kelly Vincent MLC).

  16. Vote-count nerds can get their fill of the numbers here. It’s notable that in the last exclusions D4D received important preference flows from many of the minor and microparties feral sparrowhawk listed, including both the Greens and Family First.

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