Electoral reforms locked-up in office, VLGA says
The Victorian Local Government Association wants to know the result of inquiries into local government elections.
The VLGA has called on the state’s Local Government Minister to reveal the details of two reports which have been submitted to him, but not made public.
The reports were from a panel, headed by former Liberal MP Petro Georgiou, established to look at a number of issues effecting local government elections, including the electoral process, voter participation, the integrity of local government elections, issues of electoral representation including ward structures and vote counting methods.
Both reports are currently with the Minister for Local Government, and have not yet been released, but VLGA says they were intended to be tabled in Parliament, according to an announcement last year.
“Elections are the foundation of local government,” a statement from the VLGA says.
“However, rising levels of informal voting, confusion about who is eligible to vote, and growing community expectations for more information about candidates; all suggest improvements in the local electoral process are warranted.”
“The VLGA has been working with councillors, local government officers, the community and researchers since 2012 to identify improvements to council elections,” it said.
The group has been fighting for improvement to what it sees as the big issues damaging the integrity of local elections.
Better disclosure of candidate donations, better budget training for councillors, better complaint-handling, abolition of the property based entitlement to voting and many other ideas about local representation structures have been submitted.
But the fruits of their labour appear locked in the Minister’s office.
The local government representatives have pitched the following questions to Victorian Local Government Minister Tim Bull, which it is hoped either he or the reports will answer;
- When will the two reports from the Georgiou Review be released?
- What is the State Government’s response to the reports?
- How, and when, will the community and the local government sector be consulted about any recommendations?
- Has the Panel recommended the abolition of the property based entitlement in favour of an entitlement system that is premised on residency?
- Has the Panel recommended a move to a uniform system of postal voting?
- Has the Panel recommended a uniform ward structure or abolition of single member wards?
- Has the Panel recommended introducing minimum and maximum councillor-voter ratios?