Received just now, I am posting the full email. I cried when I read it, and can only thank Kelly Vincent for all she has done, and will continue to do. Her work, her incredible enthusiasm and passion, and most of all her intergrity, has been truly inspirational.
Integrity is missing in so many people today; Kelly Vincent has it in abundance.
I love Kelly’s final quote in this email, which is so relevant to people with dementia:
“The journey is not over, it’s just different.”
Declaration of the Poll – thank you Kelly Vincent!
The Declaration of the Poll for the Upper House was finally made on 26th April. Despite our strong campaigning effort, it was confirmed that we did not retain the seat held by Kelly Vincent since 2010. Naturally the entire Dignity Party team are very disappointed at this outcome, but we intend to continue our work, because we know there is a vital need for us in the South Australian political landscape. We also put forward an incredible team of candidates, and want to continue to develop their talent to strengthen our cause.
As the President of the Dignity Party, it’s been an absolute privilege to work alongside Kelly Vincent. She provided South Australia, and Australia, with eight extraordinary years of parliamentary service, her contribution has left an important legacy. She entered the political fray as a 21 year old, bringing with her a youthful energy that stirred up the dusty halls of power; she got action and results and drew positive attention to issues of disability and human rights.
The outstanding achievements and outcomes delivered to constituents by Kelly and the talented team in her office are too numerous to list; Kelly has saved the lives of many many constituents, improved choices for and given opportunities to over 350,000 forgotten South Australians.
The Dignity Party campaign team (myself, Phillip Beddall, Anna Tree and Cathi Tucker) attended the Declaration of the Poll with Kelly Vincent. Speaking to the media, Kelly put our loss down to the fact that Nick Xenophon’s SA Best drew attention away from other small parties throughout the campaign, and that this along with a lack of preference deals with the major parties and widespread confusion around the new voting system stacked the odds against her re-election.
“Nothing that’s happened over the last few weeks and here today takes away from what the Dignity Party has achieved,” Kelly Vincent said at the Electoral Commission of South Australia.
“We’ve not only improved lives, we’ve saved lives through the investments we’ve secured.”
In the speeches from the newly elected Legislative Councillors, Kelly was warmly acknowledged and praised from all sides of politics. It was stated that Kelly Vincent has changed the conversation in terms of disability and inclusion in our state and in so doing has become the benchmark for credible politicians.
Once again, on behalf of the Board, the Membership, supporters and volunteers of the Dignity Party I thank Kelly for her tremendous work, it has been an absolutely outstanding contribution to public life and as a group we could not be prouder.
Following the State election the Dignity Party’s election review process involves a transparent and thorough campaign debrief of our team. If there is any feedback you would like to offer please let me know.
Democracy relies on participation, and throughout the recent campaign process we have identified many barriers to voting that, in particular, disenfranchise people with disabilities. Kelly Vincent’s persistent work championing the disability rights agenda realised new electronic assisted voting systems for the Vision Impaired and Blind. For example, voting for registered Braille users was a first for South Australia. Despite this inclusive example of positive legislative change, there is a long way to go with many of the 700+ voting booths across SA still inaccessible for people with disability and the elderly.
The Labor/Liberal duopoly continues to dominate the agenda, and perhaps contrary to their wishes, recent changes to the Electoral Act to introduce optional preferential above the line voting resulted in an increase for minority party and independents, greater than at any other election. So the message is don’t suffer fools lightly voters, the independent voice is here to stay and so are we.
Approximately 20,000 South Australians with intellectual disabilities were desperate to vote 1 for Kelly Vincent but without the necessary supports it is likely that very few from this cohort group were able to formally cast a valid vote. The unrealised potential of these votes alone would have re-elected Kelly and ensured those people ongoing political representation and advocacy.
However, Kelly and I both know the work of the Dignity Party is not done, there is so much more to be addressed for the human rights of South Australians. We are eager to begin the next chapter for the Dignity Party, so that we can continue our important work. Kelly has proven herself to be a true leader who is valued, admired and respected in the community.
Kelly has sought to reassure those who are offering commiserations that – “The journey is not over, it’s just different.”
Thank you Kelly!
Received from Rick Neagle, President, Dignity Party SA