Council elections arrive
by Val Polley
10th October 2016
Elections are underway. Look closely at the candidates…and their promises, writes Val Polley
We’re having elections again – this time it’s local government elections this month.
We don’t have to turn out and queue this time, however. It’s a postal ballot in both Nillumbik and Manningham but if we intend to treat it seriously there’s some work to do. Local government is the closest level of government to where we actually live. It deserves some of our time to give some attention to the candidates and their promises.
North Warrandyte sits in the Sugarloaf Ward of Nillumbik Shire Council. This is a single councillor ward and there are 14 nominations to ll the seat left vacant by Ken King who has retired. Warrandyte is included in the Mullum Mullum Ward of Manningham City Council. It sees the three sitting councillors renominating as well as a further 10 nominations for the three seats. With the move to postal ballots the only guaranteed information voters can access comes via the candidates’ own 200 or so word CV.
These can be found on the Victorian Electoral Commission website. They should also be included in the posted out papers.
If you care about the issues in Warrandyte then it pays to read through the candidates’ CVs and what they have to say on our two page spread showcasing them on pages 14-15 of the Warrandyte Diary, October 2016 edition.
There are very few public meetings, door knocks and personal interaction. Very few of us will meet our candidates before we fill out our ballot papers. It comes down to their words to capture your interest and encourage you to vote for them.
When looking for your ideal candidates there are a few things to keep in mind. Have they submitted a CV?
If so, look at what they write. Are they truly involved in the community through sport, schools, organisations or other interests or just paying lip service to community involvement? This can be a major indicator of their real interest in being a councillor. If they haven’t provided a CV then are they really serious about their chances of election?
Are they standing on just one particular issue? The work of a councillor is all encompassing and councillors have to be involved across the range of subjects that will come before them.
Do you want them to be independent or can they represent a political party?
The Greens candidates have clearly stated their allegiance. Other candidates’ possible party allegiances appear more opaque.
Are they setting preferences in their CV to benefit one particular group looking for specific outcomes? Recent Electoral Act changes were designed to eliminate the practice of dummy candidates, it remains to be seen if this will be the case.
Would you like them to live locally?
Both wards are very large and a truly local representative can often be a major asset. Incumbents enjoy a privileged position. Their names are usually more recognisable particularly if they have played a major role in the local community.
That said, do you want to re-elect a sitting councillor? Is their record good enough, how long have they served and have you been pleased with their efforts on your behalf?
Being a councillor is an arduous four year long round of meetings, decisions, negotiations and con- stituent involvement across the whole of the City or Shire. It is not for the faint hearted and indeed it is very encouraging for local democracy that so many of our fellow residents are prepared to put up their hand for the privilege of serving their community.
If we want the best possible out- come for these elections and the next four years then we must take the time and make a balanced and considered decision on how to mark that important ballot paper. If not we will have no-one to blame but ourselves if we don’t like the result.