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Councils will not tolerate major voting changes being forced on the community
Local councils have expressed deep concern about the Palaszczuk Government's reported plans to introduce compulsory preferential voting into local government elections in Queensland.
Local Government Association of Queensland President Mayor Mark Jamieson said councils deserved to be thoroughly consulted about such a major change and it was disappointing that the issue had become the subject of news stories without any input from the level of government directly affected and closest to the community.
Mayor Jamieson said neither the Crime and Corruption Commission’s report on its Belcarra investigation nor the Soorley review into the conduct of the last local government elections had recommended compulsory preferential voting in local council elections.
“Local councils are keen to work with the Government on reform, but we will not put up with major changes like this being forced on the sector when there is no robust evidence base to support the changes that the Palaszczuk government is now proposing,” he said.
“The LGAQ can only assume this is being driven by the Premier and her Minister for Local Government for political reasons, given there is no compelling case for a change that will do nothing to strengthen the integrity, transparency and sustainability of councils – matters which are supposed to be the government’s priorities for the local government system”.
“I would also remind the Government that it was the Fitzgerald Inquiry, via the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (EARC), that saw optional preferential voting - the system currently operating in mayoral elections and well as elections for divided councils - as a fairer one for the community.”
“It was also an ALP government – the Goss Labor Government – that put this voting system in place on the back of the recommendations of EARC”.
“The Palaszczuk government needs to be far more transparent with fundamental changes to the local government electoral system if it is to have any credibility around its motives,” Mayor Jamieson said.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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