Justice, Opportunity and Shared Wealth for all South Australians

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Party Report Card - LegCo

While much election debate centres on the lower house and who will form government, the Legislative Council is also an important electoral arena. The Legislative Council reviews and votes on legislation, can frustrate or facilitate government policy initiatives, and members of the Legislative Council can also play valuable roles in highlighting issues in and outside parliament and promoting policy initiatives that the major parties are not considering.

In this election, SACOSS sent our platform to all parties currently represented in parliament, but sought specific responses from those parties represented in the Legislative Council on the 10 policy proposals that require legislative change. The tables below shows the cross-bench parties' positions on those SACOSS policies. The assessment is based on their published policies or responses directly to SACOSS.

The scoring system is simple:

Tick Party supports the policy and in principle would pass such legislation
Half Tick Party has indicated general support for SACOSS policy, but either have not responded specifically to this and don’t have their own policy in the area
Cross Party rejects the policy and would vote against it
Snowflake Party supports a different initiative, but based on that would support the SACOSS policy
  Party has made no response on this policy


Where possible, the source of the policy is stated or the symbols link to the relevant party policy document. Download the parites responses to the SACOSS platform.

Greens SA Dignity Party Australian Conservatives Advance SA


Go to parties policies on

Digital Inclusion

Cost of Living

Children, Young People & Families

Sector Support

Gambling Harm Prevention

Health, Housing & Justice

Tax, Expenditure & Sector Funding



Digital Inclusion

Digital inclusion has been the flagship of the SACOSS election campaign, but none of the initiatives proposed by SACOSS require legislative change. However, the Greens and Dignity have announced good digital inclusion policies (Greens Policy, Dignity Policy) and have adopted the initiatives put forward by SACOSS. The Australian Conservatives do not have a digital inclusion policy, but have indicated support for increased public wi-fi and assisting older people online.

Advance SA do not have policies on Digital Inclusion. 


Cost of Living

  Greens Dignity Aust Cons-ervatives Advance SA
Land tax concessions for landlords investing in energy efficiency Tick Tick   Half Tick
Introduce a residential energy efficiency disclosure scheme Tick Tick   Half Tick
Water supply charges to default to landlords not renters Tick  


Support inquiry into water, inc supply changes

Half Tick


Dignity and the Australian Conservatives both explicitly supported the SACOSS' major proposal for the energy concession as a percentage of the energy bill, while the Greens also have well-developed energy policies.


Children, Young People and Families

The commentary here is based on the responses of the parties, and how they voted and advocated when the flawed Children and Young People (Safety) Act was debated and passed in 2017, enshrining the narrow safety focus rather than early prevention and the broader test of what is in the best interests of children. The Australian Conservatives do not have a policy on their website on child well-being, but were strong advocates for early intervention and were helpful in amending the Act last year (although still passing it in the end). Dignity and John Darley (Advance SA) support early intervention, but voted to pass the flawed Act last year. The Greens actively worked with SACOSS to challenge the problems in the Act.

  Greens Dignity

Aust Cons-ervatives

Advance SA
Legislation to ensure focus on early intervention & children's best interests Tick Half Tick Tick

Half Tick

Establish a Commissioner for Aboriginal Children & Young People Tick Tick Half-Tick


Sector Support

  Greens Dignity Aust Cons-ervatives Advance SA
Extend Late Payment of Government Debt Act to all NFPs Tick Tick Tick


Gambling Harm Prevention

  Greens  Dignity Aust Cons-ervatives Advance SA
Introduce $1 per spin bet limits on poker machines Tick Tick Half Tick Half Tick
Reduce number of pokies to 12,000



Tick Half Tick Half Tick
Remove EFTPOS machines from gaming areas Tick Half Tick Half Tick


While indicating that they would vote for all the measures proposed by SACOSS, in this election the Greens are actually proposing the removal of pokies from all clubs and pubs (meaning poker machines would be limited to the casino). While there would be serious implementation challenges, this would be the best harm minimisation measure of any party policy in this election.

Advance SA's policy is the same generic support as noted in other categories, but we do note that their candidate John Darley has moved or supported these or similar legislation in the parliament in the past.

The Australian Conservatives response highlighted the problem of online gambling, and without being specific supported "all measures" to deal with problem gambling.


Health, Housing and Justice

The only legislative policy in this area was always a long shot and designed mainly to highlight the unfairness of the current fines regime. However, the issues of health, housing and justice are important and require strong advocacy in parliament.


The Greens health policy has a strong focus on prevention and early intervention. Dignity's health policy takes a rights-based approach and is particularly focused on the rights and experience of people with disabilty in accessing health services. The Australian Conservatives have only two policy health initiatives in their blueprint, but neither relate to preventive or community health - although their response to SACOSS indicates support for trialing comprehensive primary health care centres. Advance SA support de-centralising the health system, but this policy appears focused on hospitals and is silent on prevention and early intervention.


The Greens housing policy supports the SACOSS policy of increasing public housing, and also picks up a number of policies advocated elsewhere by SACOSS. The Australian Conservatives and Advance SA do not have a housing policies on their websites, though the Australian Conservatives have indicated support for increasing the supply of affordable housing.


The Dignity Party have a range of justice policies which SACOSS would support, particularly in relation to the challenges for those with mental issues in the justice, but Dignity does not support progressive income based fines. The Australian Conservatives and Advance SA do not have justice policies on their websites, though Advance SA does promote a focus on prevention in corrections and their response to SACOSS indicates a different approach to fines (bringing them down to national averages) but would not necessarily oppose the SACOSS policy. In this election the Greens justice policy is around supporting and funding Community Legal Centres - a call which SACOSS strongly supports. While not fully supporting the SACOSS position on income-based fines, they do note that it "would be fairer" if traffic and summary fines did not have a proportionately larger impact on the disadvantaged.

  Greens Dignity Aust Cons-ervatives Advance SA
Implement income-based fines Half Tick Cross Half Tick snowflake


Tax, Expenditure and Sector Funding

This policy is necessitated by concerns about potential cuts to sector funding due to the undermining of the tax base. Elections often bring forward promises of tax cuts (without reference to their impact on funding of services) and post-election may result in service cuts or "efficiency dividends" where departments have to reach certain savings targets - meaning the Minister avoids announcing or responsibility for any specific cuts to services.

While such "efficiency dividends" are not the province of Legislative Council review, the parties in the Legislative Council do have a role in passing/blocking the taxes necessary to fund vital community services. The state government announced an efficiency dividend in the Mid Year Budget Review at the end of 2017 to make up for the failure of the Legislative Council to pass the state bank tax. The Greens and Dignity parties supported the bank tax, the Australian Conservatives and Advance SA did not.

In this election the Australian Conservatives have opposed cutting funding to health and community services, but also have a policy of radically removing current taxes in favour of funding state expenditure from the proceeds of hosting a nuclear fuel storage and disposal facility. The Greens do not have a stand-alone tax policy, but have a range of tax changes in other policy areas to facilitate these policies and have committed to opposing any cuts to health and community services. Advance SA does not have a tax policy. The Dignity Party has given a commitment not to support cuts to our sector as per the SACOSS proposal.


Authorised by Ross Womersley, 47 King William Road, Unley SA 5061

Published Date: 
Saturday, 3 March 2018