Friday, 7 November 2014

There has been concern expressed

because only about a quarter of eligible voters voted in the local council elections.
I probably need to explain to other readers that Australia has three levels of government. There is the "federal" government in Canberra, the "state" government in the capital city of each state and in the "territories" and the "local government" - known as a "council" in this state.
They all have different responsibilities, some of which overlap. The responsibilities for the federal and state governments are set out in the Constitution. Federal law overrides state law.
It all sounds quite simple but there are constant arguments about who is responsible for what and how it should be done. Australia is, quite simply, ridiculously over-governed.
Federal and state elections have a requirement to attend the ballot box. Council elections do not.
In an effort to try and get more people to vote in council elections they Local Government Association in this state decided there should be a mail-out to all eligible voters - at a cost of about $4m. It obviously has not been a great success.
I suspect most people are simply not interested. They cannot see the point of local government. They have little or no idea what local government does. I blame the council itself for that. People need a reason to vote.  
I did vote. The Senior Cat voted. My sister and my BIL voted. I know one of the candidates I voted for quite well indeed. He's a good man who has no desire to be mayor but is, I believe, quite genuinely interested in doing something for the community. Most importantly to me he is a strong supporter of the local library - a council responsibility. If he gets in it will be his second stint on council. He has endeavoured to get things done - often in face of opposition of some who are there more for their own benefit.
There have been rumblings about making council elections "compulsory" too. I hope they don't. I want people to vote but they need a reason to vote. Compelling them to attend the ballot box will increase the cost, further encourage party politics (already becoming an issue) and encourage a policy of councillors for life. We don't need that - but we do need to encourage people to vote.

No comments: