No to forcing voting changes in local council elections

Published: 2nd April 2019

Mayors and councillors from across Queensland today overwhelmingly rejected the Palaszczuk Government’s plans to force changes to the way people elect their local councils.

A special meeting of the membership of the Local Government Association of Queensland in Brisbane expressed what amounted to a big repudiation of the Government’s proposals, which include the forced introduction of compulsory preferential voting in all mayoral elections next year.

The meeting was called at short notice after the Government revealed its proposals last month but still managed to attract nearly 200 delegates and observers angered at the plans.

LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson told the meeting that local councils were committed to the notion that voters rather than governments should have the final say on who gets their vote and who does not.

“These are matters of significant concern to those who value the quality of political and policy debate in Queensland,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“We would be doing our communities a disservice if we didn’t remain vigilant to any sign the Government was trying to use the cloak of integrity and accountability to sneak through other, less worthy and politically motivated changes.”

The meeting resolved to reject any moves to introduce compulsory preferential voting across all councils and also voted against the introduction of proportional representation into council elections.

It follows the Government’s decision on the eve of the meeting to wind back some of its original proposals or defer their introduction until the 2024 local government elections.

Mayor Jamieson said he was glad the Government has at least acknowledged the need for more consultation on what it proposes.

“What I earnestly hope is that the Government realises that Queenslanders deserve to be properly informed about how they can go about lodging their vote – one of the most fundamental democratic rights in Australia,” he said.

The LGAQ will write to the Government to inform them of the detail of the resolutions passed at the meeting.