Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Brumby’s attack on local democracy

with 9 comments

John Brumby determined to end councillors representing the electorate

John Brumby determined to end councillors representing the electorate

Ouch! This is worth reading and acting on if you have time!

We elect councillors for what they stand for and we expect them to stand up for the electorates wishes.  Under this new law, your once vocal councillor will be prevented fromvoting on issues s/he has gone public on in the past.  This is an affront to grass root democracy.

In essence the proposed bill (Section 79) means that anybody who has played an active role on any issue, including climate change, the North-South Pipeline, Feed-in Tariffs, environmental protection etc. and who then successfully stands for election in local government would be excluded from any discussion and vote in Council related to that issue.

In October 2004, Premier Brumby introduced confidentiality regulations preventing councillors from discussing matters in public and a few months before the last state elections, candidates in local government elections were banned from criticising councils or listing their how-to-vote preferences in candidate statements

This is another obscene attempt to silence dissent and dissenters.  It strikes at the roots of grass roots democracy and cannot be allowed to stand.   And you thought your councillors were there to serve the community.

Full details can be perused over at Kieran’a for Wodonga, a candidate in the Wodonga Council elections.  He has published Greg Barber’s (Greens MLC) email spelling out all the nasty details.

Written by Greg Naylor

23 October 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted in media release

9 Responses

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  1. I agree this sounds draconian, Greg, but like many other proposals it probably won’t get through. For instance, the banning of council candidates listing their how-to-vote preferences in candidate statements, never eventuated. Check with the VEC, candidates can list their prefences as before and nothing much else has changed.


    23 October 2008 at 11:35 pm

  2. Don’t be so confident. I hope that the Liberals urge to spite Labor is stronger than their urge to have councils well and truly under the thumb by the time they are elected. I hope.


    24 October 2008 at 10:32 pm

  3. From The Age:

    The Opposition supported the bill through the lower house but will re-examine its position on Monday before the legislation reaches the upper house on Tuesday.

    If we want to avoid this happening, take the time to phone a Liberal member of state parliament.


    24 October 2008 at 10:34 pm

  4. When does this come into effect, presuming it passes?


    25 October 2008 at 1:02 pm

  5. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write or phone an MP about this issue.

    We won. The offending clause was removed from the bill.


    31 October 2008 at 2:53 pm

  6. … and here is Bill Sykes Press Release on the issue:

    Afternoon everyone

    I write in relation to concerns raised with my Coalition colleagues and I
    in relation to the Local Government Amendment (Councillor Conduct and Other
    Matters) Bill 2008, in particular clauses regarding ‘conflict of interest’.

    The State Government were attempting to rush this legislation through
    before council elections.

    Shadow Minister for Local Government and Nationals Member for Shepparton,
    Jeanette Powell raised concerns regarding the ‘conflict of interest’ issue
    during the debate on the Bill in the Lower House earlier this month – refer
    hansard for her contribution, 8 October 2008 pg

    However the government gagged debate in the Lower House and as such we
    weren’t able to explore the concerns in more detail. The concern was also
    recognised by other groups including the Greens.

    The government’s response was to prepare their own amendments, crediting
    the origin of those amendments to the MAV & VLGA rather than acknowledging
    the origin as being the Coalition – something which would have been
    politically unpalatable for the Brumby Labor Government.

    We believe the government’s amendments did not go far enough and so the
    Coalition in conjunction with the Greens came up with appropriate

    The Coalition amendment to overcome the concerns regarding the conflict of
    interest clause (78D section b) was passed in the Upper House last night
    with the support of the Greens & DLP – refer hansard, 28 October 2008 pg 48-50.

    The Bill will now return to the Lower House for further debate at the
    government’s discretion. It is possible that the government will not table
    the Bill again for weeks or months.

    I expect Jeanette Powell will put out a media release shortly.


    Bill Sykes MP, State Member for Benalla
    Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture & Water
    Ph: 03 5762 2100 Fx: 03 5762 4478 Mobile: 0427 624 989

    Greg Naylor

    31 October 2008 at 3:07 pm

  7. It’s always interesting to see the different spin that the different parties will put on an outcome like this. Naturally, everyone takes full credit.


    1 November 2008 at 8:55 am

  8. everyone takes full credit

    Including me. Refer comment #1 above: like many other proposals it probably won’t get through. I hate to say “I told you so”, but ………….


    3 November 2008 at 2:03 am

  9. Yes yes, you said it wouldn’t and it didn’t 😛

    I still think that without that bit of lobbying, the Liberals might have let this slip by.


    6 November 2008 at 2:55 pm

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