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David Risstrom - Victorian Greens No. 1 Senate Candidate

Rosa the Policy Watchdog drives policy!

David Risstrom News + Views Oct:-Dec 07: Jul-Sep 07: Apr-Jun 07: Jan-Mar 07

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Rosa and Dave's News + Views: Oct-Dec 05: Jul-Sep 05; Apr-Jun 05; Jan-Mar 05

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2004: Jul-Sep 2004; Apr-Jun 2004; Jan-Mar 2004

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2003; Jul-Sep 2003; Apr-Jun 2003; Jan-Mar 2003

Rosa and Dave's News + Views 2002

Through Green Coloured Glasses 2003; 2002

David Risstrom's Community Involvement 2004-2001; 2001-1999; Pre-1999

Did Cr. Risstrom Deliver on His Promises for 2001-2004?; 1999-2001?

Victorian Local Government Elections 2008: 2005: 2004

 
 

VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS 2004

The State of Victoria, Australia, is governed at a local level by local governments known as cities and shires. Local governments are made up of democratically elected individuals who are selected by a popular vote of their constituents, who are vested with powers to govern in the best interests of their community.

Victorian Local Governments exist under law created by the Victorian State Parliament. This allows the State Parliament to create laws that change almost every aspect of local government. Because State and Federal Parliaments are described in the Commonwealth Constitution, the Australian Constitution protects them from the degree of political inference that State Governments have imposed on Local Governments. Unfortunately, proposed changes to recognise local government in the Australian Constitution were put to the people in a referenda in 1988 and were lost, allowing the State Parliament to continue to make changes to the Victorian Local Government Act with almost complete impunity from judicial review. Such abuses of power in the past have resulted in the dismissal, amalgamation and abolition of democratically elected local governments.

There are 79 local governments in Victoria. The area known as the Docklands was formerly part of the City of Melbourne, but was taken away from democratic control under Liberal Government reforms and is currently administered by the Urban and Regional Land Corporation. Below is a list of all Victorian councils, with a hotlink to each of their websites.

Alpine Shire Greater Shepparton City Council
Moyne Shire Council
Ararat Rural City Hepburn Shire Council Murrindindi Shire Council
Ballarat City Hindmarsh Shire Council Nillumbik Shire Council
Banyule City Hobsons Bay City Council Northern Grampians Shire Council
Bass Coast Shire Council Horsham Rural City Council Port Phillip City Council
Baw Baw Shire Council Hume City Council Pyrenees Shire Council
Bayside City Council Indigo Shire Council Queenscliffe Borough Council
Benalla Rural City Council Kingston City Council South Gippsland Shire Council
Boroondara City Council Knox City Council Southern Grampians Shire Council
Brimbank City Council Latrobe City Council Stonnington City Council
Buloke Shire Council Loddon Shire Council Strathbogie Shire Council
Campaspe Shire Council Macedon Ranges Shire Council Surf Coast Shire Council
Cardinia Shire Council Manningham City Council Swan Hill Rural City Council
Casey City Council Mansfield Shire Council Towong Shire Council
Central Goldfields Shire Council Maribyrnong City Council Wangaratta Rural City Council
Colac-Otway Shire Council Maroondah City Council Warrnambool City Council
Corangamite Shire Council Melbourne City Council Wellington Shire Council
Darebin City Council Melton Shire Council West Wimmera Shire Council
East Gippsland Shire Council Mildura Rural City Council Whitehorse City Council
Frankston City Council Mitchell Shire Council Whittlesea City Council
Gannawarra Shire Council Moira Shire Council Wodonga City Council
Glen Eira City Council Monash City Council Wyndham City Council
Glenelg Shire Council Moonee Valley City Council Yarra City Council
Golden Plains Shire Council Moorabool Shire Council Yarra Ranges Shire Council
Greater Bendigo City Council Moreland City Council Yarriambiack Shire Council
Greater Dandenong City Council Mornington Peninsula Shire Council  
Greater Geelong City Council Mount Alexander Shire Council  

A useful State Government webpage providing information on Victorian local governments is available by clicking Welcome to Local Government.

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WHEN DO VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS GO TO ELECTION?

Many local governments statewide are set to go to the polls in November 2005. A media release of 7 August 2003 'Council election to be held on one day, every four years' from the Victorian Minister for Local Government is available as a 48 Kb word download. The proposed timetable for Victorian Local Government Elections (available as a 56 Kb word download by clicking the underlined title) is shown below:

The following Councils went to election in November 2004: Ararat Rural City, Ballarat City, Boroondara City Council, Colac-Otway Shire Council, Corangamite Shire Council, Darebin City Council, Glenelg Shire Council, Golden Plains Shire Council, Greater Bendigo City Council, Greater Geelong City Council, Hobsons Bay City Council, Melbourne City Council, Melton Shire Council, Moorabool Shire Council, Moreland City Council, Moyne Shire Council, Nillumbik Shire Council, Port Phillip City Council, Pyrenees Shire Council, Queenscliffe Borough Council, Southern Grampians Shire Council, Stonnington City Council, Surf Coast Shire Council, Warrnambool City Council and Yarra City Council.

These Victorian Councils will all go to election on November 2005: Alpine Shire, Banyule City, Bass Coast Shire Council, Baw Baw Shire Council, Bayside City Council, Benalla Rural City Council, Brimbank City Council, Buloke Shire Council, Campaspe Shire Council, Cardinia Shire Council, Casey City Council, Central Goldfields Shire Council, East Gippsland Shire Council, Frankston City Council, Gannawarra Shire Council, Glen Eira City Council, Greater Dandenong City Council, Greater Shepparton City Council, Hepburn Shire Council, Hindmarsh Shire Council, Horsham Rural City Council, Hume City Council, Indigo Shire Council, Kingston City Council, Knox City Council, Latrobe City Council, Loddon Shire Council, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Manningham City Council, Mansfield Shire Council, Maribyrnong City Council, Maroondah City Council, Mildura Rural City Council, Mitchell Shire Council, Moira Shire Council, Monash City Council, Moonee Valley City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Mount Alexander Shire Council, Murrindindi Shire Council, Northern Grampians Shire Council, South Gippsland Shire Council, Strathbogie Shire Council, Swan Hill Rural City Council, Towong Shire Council, Wangaratta Rural City Council, Wellington Shire Council, West Wimmera Shire Council, Whitehorse City Council, Whittlesea City Council, Wodonga City Council, Wyndham City Council, Yarra Ranges Shire Council and Yarriambiack Shire Council.

All Victorian Councils go to election simultaneously before entering fixed 4 year term in November 2008.

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GREENS IN VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Victorian Greens Councillors currently serving their community include:

GREATER BENDIGO CITY COUNCIL MORELAND CITY COUNCIL
Julie Rivendell's Greater Bendigo Council Page Jo Connellan's Moreland City Council Page
David Jones' Greater Bendigo Council Page Andrea Sharam's Moreland City Council Page
   
MARIBYRNONG CITY COUNCIL YARRA CITY COUNCIL
Colleen Hartland's Maribyrnong Council Page Jenny Farrar's Yarra City Council Page
Janet Rice's Maribyrnong Council Page Kathleen Maltzahn's Yarra City Council Page
  Gurm Sekhon's Yarra City Council Page
MELBOURNE CITY COUNCIL  
Fraser Brindley's Melbourne City Council Page  

I will be regularly updating this page as information becomes available, from newest to oldest in the area below.

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VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS NEWS, VIEWS AND INFORMATION 2004

2 DECEMBER 2004

GREENS GREET NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT VOICES IN METRO AND REGIONAL VICTORIA

Victoria now has ten Green Councillors, seven of whom are women.

The newly elected Green Councillors are Greater Bendigo City Councillors Julie Rivendell and David Jones; Melbourne City Councillor Fraser Brindley; Moreland City Councillors Jo Connellan and Andrea Sharam; and Yarra City Councillors Jenny Farrar, Kathleen Maltzahn and Gurm Sekhon.  They join Maribyrnong Crs. Colleen Hartland and Janet Rice in bringing a much needed Green voice on behalf of their communities. 

Growing from our first endorsed Green Councillor in 1999, five in 2001, seven in 2003 and now ten Victorian Green Councillors in 2004 is a solid increase.

We have two new rural and regional Councillors in Julie Rivendell and David Jones at Greater Bendigo, which is a great credit to those involved.  It is exciting to have Moreland Crs. Jo Connellan and Andrea Sharam continue their solid work with Cr. Fraser Brindley following his election to Melbourne City Council and the return of Crs. Jenny Farrar and Gurm Sekhon and election of Kathleen Maltzahn will maintain a strong Green Yarra presence following the departure of Greg Barber and Deborah di Natale.

Sadly, the narrow loss of Colac Otway Cr. Stephen Hart is exceptionally disappointing and will be strongly felt by his community.  Cr. Hart has been an extremely hard working and fearless advocate whose absence will diminish the council.

Forty-five Green candidates stood as part of an open and honest election campaign, with a number of Green candidates tantalisingly close to winning.  Numerous other capable Green candidates should have been elected on their merits, but the vicissitudes of life in the electoral lane militated against them.

The Melbourne City Council leadership team of Richard di Natale and Liz Conor polled second highest in a field of 21 tickets, with some other candidates probably having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stooges were a continuing bane in this election, meaning many deserving candidates faced an almost impossible hurdle.  Legislative reform is needed to require candidates to declare their eligibility and intention to take office, in addition to the declaration of the party affiliations of candidates.

The limited introduction of proportional representation has in no way paved the way for any complacency.  This election has shown that elections will continue to be strongly contested and that identification with the community as a long-standing and reliable candidate for the Greens is the best platform from which to succeed.

Local government is an invaluable opportunity to think globally and act locally.  Green Councillors are now in government and deserve our support, encouragement and congratulations.  To everyone who voted, volunteered, and validated our faith in the Greens, thank you very much for helping to elect Green voices to represent us locally.

David Risstrom    Victorian Local Government Election Co-ordinator

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19 NOVEMBER 2004

MACEDON RANGES SHIRE COUNCIL BY-ELECTION - BARRINGO WARD

A by-election is being held for the Barringo Ward of the Macedon Ranges Shire Council because of an extraordinary vacancy.

There is a vacancy for one Councillor to represent Barringo Ward on the Macedon Ranges Shire Council until November 2005.

The election is by postal ballot.  Voters are mailed ballot packs containing their ballot papers and information about the candidates.  Voters cast their votes by returning the ballot papers in the mail.

Rolls closed on 5 November 2005.  Candidates have to be on the Macedon Ranges roll, but not necessarily enrolled in the ward to be eligible to stand.

Close of Nominations: 7 December 2004
Commencement of Voting: To be confirmed
Close of Voting: 7 January 2005 Victorian

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11 NOVEMBER 2004

GREENS CANDIDATES HONEST AND OPEN IN ANNOUNCING PREFERENCES FOR VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

Victorian local government candidates for the Greens party have taken a principled and open stance in publicising the preference recommendations they are making to their communities. For reasons yet to be confirmed, the Victorian Electoral Commission has broken with the longstanding tradition of publishing preference recommendations on the web. As is unfortunately too often the case, the Greens are taking the lead and putting this information out for you to make an informed decision.

A full list of candidates in wards where Greens candidates are standing and the preferences they are recommending is available online by clicking on the title Victorian Green Council Candidate Preferences.

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29 OCTOBER 2004

GREENS STANDING IN VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

Forty four Greens local government candidates are standing for election across 12 Councils. The Greens are looking forward to increasing their involvement in local government. Beginning with my election in 1999 as the only Green elected in Victoria, we now have eight Councillors across four Councils. This election will almost certainly see more Greens representing your views at a local level.

If you would like more Greens to be elected and can help in any way please either visit our online 'Become a volunteer' page by clicking on the underlined title, or contact Leanne, the Victorian Greens volunteer co-ordinator, by clicking on her underlined name.

Further information on each election is available by clicking on the title of the Council or Shire in the table below. More information on Victorian Local Government elections is available on this website at Victorian Local Government Elections.

Council

Ward

Candidate

Voting type

Voting begins

Voting closes

           

Boroondara City Council

Cotham Ray Walford

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Glenferrie Gonzalo Miranda

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Maling Peter Campbell

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Colac Otway Shire Council

Colac Stephen Hart

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Darebin City Council

Barunah Jen Anderson

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Cazaly Chris Chaplin

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Clifton Russell Weston

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  James Damien Pitts

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  La Trobe Gayle MacDonald

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Merrilands Alex Bhatal

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Oakhill Malcolm Campbell

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Rucker Ray Radford

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Spring Matilda Langley

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Greater Bendigo City Council

Flora Hill Julie Rivendell

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Kangaroo Flat David Jones

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

     

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

Hobsons Bay City Council

Altona Diana Rice

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Seabrook Derek Proud

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Melbourne City Council

Mayor Richard di Natale

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Deputy Mayor Liz Conor

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Fraser Brindley

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Alister Air

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Hoa Pham

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Emma Rush

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Brian Walters

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Moreland City Council

South Jo Connellan

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  North east Andrea Sharam

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

           

Nillumbik City Council

Allwood Peter Semple

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Coleman Linda Laos

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Cottle Pat Vaughan

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Edendale Oliver Buttfield

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Ellis Greg Bailey

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Lenister Merinda Gallagher

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Sutherland Louise Rynia

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Wingrove Gavin Gray

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Yanakie Angela O'Connor

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Port Phillip City Council

Albert Park John Middleton

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  Ormond Sue Pennicuik

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  St Kilda Jo Lewis

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

           

Stonnington City Council

South Robert Trafficante

Postal

Postal

26 Nov

           
           

Surf Coast Shire Council

Entire Council Iain Lygo

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Entire Council Stephen Chenery

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Yarra City Council

Langridge Sivy Orr

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  Melba Gurm Sekhon

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  Nicholls Kathleen Maltzahn

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

           

Knox City by election

Scott  

Postal

TBC

10 Dec

Preselection still open.
         

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25 OCTOBER 2004

2004 VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS - CANDIDATE INFORMATION HANDBOOKS

ATTENDANCE VOTING AT POLLING PLACES BETWEEN 8 AM AND 6 PM ON 27 NOVEMBER 2004

The 2004 Victorian Local Government elections are being conducted by attendance at polling places on 27 November 04 in the Cities of Port Phillip, Yarra and Moreland.

The 2004 Victorian Electoral Commission Candidate Handbook for 'Attendance elections' is available as a 164 Kb PDF download by clicking on the underlined title, or by visiting the VEC's Council election websites for those municipalities.

POSTAL VOTING COMMENCES 9 NOVEMBER AND CONCLUDES 26 NOVEMBER 2004

The 2004 Victorian Local Government elections are being conducted by postal ballots mailed out between 9 and 11 November 04 at the Cities and Shires of Ararat, Ballarat, Boroondara, Colac, Corangamite, Darebin, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Greater Bendigo, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, MCC, Melton, Moorabool Shire, Moyne, Nillumbik, Pyrenees, Queenscliffe, Southern Grampians, Stonnington, Surf Coast, Warrnambool.

The 2004 Victorian Electoral Commission Candidate Handbook for Postal elections' is available as a 160 Kb PDF download by clicking on the underlined title, or by visiting the VEC's Council election websites for those municipalities.

2004 VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS - NOMINATIONS CLOSING SOON

Local Government candidate nominations close for all but one election on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.  All Council rolls have closed.  To be eligible to nomination you should be on the roll within the municipality you nominate for. There is no legal requirement to be enrolled in the ward you nominate for, though it is desirable.

Nominations close 4 pm Tuesday 26 October for the following Victorian local government elections: Ararat, Ballarat, Boroondara, Colac, Corangamite, Darebin, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Greater Bendigo, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, MCC, Melton, Moorabool Shire, Moyne, Nillumbik, Pyrenees, Queenscliffe, Southern Grampians, Stonnington, Surf Coast, Warrnambool.

Nominations close 4 pm Wednesday 27 October for these Victorian local government elections: Moreland, Melbourne and Yarra.

Nominations close 4 pm Wednesday 9 November for the Knox City - Scott Ward by election

Information on each election is available by clicking on the title of the Council or Shire in the table below.

Council

Rolls closed

Nominations close

Voting type

Voting closes

Ararat Rural City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Ballarat City Council Rural

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Boroondara City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Colac Otway Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Corangamite Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Darebin City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Glenelg Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Golden Plains Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Greater Bendigo City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Greater Geelong City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Hobsons Bay City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Melbourne City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Melton Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Moorabool Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Moreland City Council

1 Sep

27 Oct

Attendance

27 Nov

Moyne Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Nillumbik City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Port Phillip City Council

1 Sep

27 Oct

Attendance

27 Nov

Pyreness Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Borough of Queenscliffe Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Southern Grampians Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Stonnington City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Surf Coast Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Warrnambool City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Yarra City Council

1 Sep

27 Oct

Attendance

27 Nov

Knox City – Scott Ward

24 Sep

9 Nov

Postal

10 Dec

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MELBOURNE CITY COUNCIL INFORMATION MIGHT - 23 AUGUST 04

Thinking about running for Council? Melbourne City Council information night 23 August 04

Elections for the leadership team and councillors for Melbourne City Council will take place by postal ballot in late November this year.

An information session for prospective candidates in City of Melbourne elections will be held on Monday, 23 August, from 7pm to 9pm in the Council Meeting Room, Town Hall Administration Building, Swanston Street.

The session will outline councillor roles and responsibilities and provide advice on the election process.

City of Melbourne Chief Executive David Pitchford will introduce speakers from Municipal Association of Victoria and Victorian Electoral Commission who will provide information about the municipality and advice on who can nominate and how to nominate.

Councillors from neighbouring councils will also share their experiences to help prospective candidates develop a realistic picture of what the public expect of them as councillors, time commitments, job satisfaction and election campaign techniques.

People considering standing as a candidate and those interested in the role of local government are encouraged to attend this information session.

The session will include an opportunity for discussion and questions. It is free to attend and each registered participant will receive an information kit.

If you wish to attend, please RSVP by calling the City of Melbourne Elections Helpline on 1300 300 863.

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VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT (DEMOCRATIC REFORM) ACT 2003 NOW LAW IN VICTORIA

The Local Government (Democratic Reform) Act 2003 has been passed by the Victorian Parliament in the Spring sitting and is now in effect. A copy of the Local Government (Democratic Reform) Act 2003 is available (1 Mb) and the Victorian Local Government Act can be downloaded from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents Home Page and searching under Law Today. It is currently a 2.5 Mb download and is frequently updated due to regular consequential amendments.

I will post further information on this site as it becomes available, particularly once these proposed changes are confirmed following their passage through the Victorian Parliament. Updates are listed on this page beginning with the most recent at the top, each separated by a white line divider.

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29 FEBRUARY 2004

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS - THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY

29 February 2004: There is a Greens Local Government Meeting on at 2-5.00 pm Sunday 7 March at the Greens office. The meeting's purpose is to involve potential candidates and people who will be actively involved in local government campaigning, and to start local council campaigning.

If you intend to come please e-mail david@davidrisstrom.org. If you want to come, but can't please try to organise someone else to do so for you. The day will be practical and action oriented. You should start by thinking what you can and will be doing in the two months.

One of the aims of this meeting is to be able to walk away with the skeleton of an election platform for your upcoming election. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I am asking you to go to 100 Green Achievements and 100 More Green Achievements. Please identify 50 of the 150 policies you can apply to your area and make a list of them. The aim will be to make a pdf skeleton for each Council area and post it on the Greens website.

As detailed above, 25 of Victoria's 79 local governments have elections on 27 November 2004. Many will elect or re-elect Green Councillors. Good campaigns need people preselected and in their community as early as possible. Victorian Local Government now has fixed term elections, with some Councils set to adopt proportional representation, which greatly increases the opportunities for Greens to be elected.

You must be on the electoral roll by close of rolls to stand as a candidate or to vote. Rolls close on 27 August 2004.

While the Federal election will be a big focus for the Victorian Greens this year, working with our communities and delivering on our promises will be one of the strongest ways to demonstrate how capable the party is. Encourage your branch or region to set an election time line, and preselect candidates as early as possible. If local government is a possibility for you, you need to confirm your enrolment, put the issue on your local branch agenda and let them know you are thinking of running. Also, as you will already doing, stay involved in your community wherever you can. See you on March 7!

Cheers, David Risstrom - Victorian Greens Lead Senate Candidate

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25 FEBRUARY 2004

WOMEN GET ELECTED WORKSHOPS

Councils have been invited to participate in a 2004 election strategy to encourage more women candidates by supporting a specially designed workshop prior to the upcoming council elections. The workshops are designed to complement candidate information sessions. They are designed by the Victorian Strengthening Communities through Women's Participation Project, supported by the MAV, VLGA and 6 other peak and statewide members of the Women's Participation in Local Government Coalition It is anticipated the workshops will occur around Victoria between June and August 2004. Please contact your local Council to encourage them to support the workshops as one way of giving effect to the Victorian Local Government Women's Charter launched in December 2003.

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15 JANUARY 2004

ARE YOU ABLE TO ENROL AND VOTE IN A VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION?

The following information has been adapted from information provided by the Victorian Electoral Commission.

LOCAL COUNCIL ENROLMENT
Non-citizens are entitled to vote in Council elections if they are on the role for their Council prior to the close of rolls. Non-citizens can get onto the roll by applying for enrolment with their Council. They do so by contacting their Council and applying to be on the Council role. The Council, not the VEC or AEC, are responsible for maintaining the local Council role. Citizens who apply for State or Federal enrolment will be enrolled for their local Council for the address their enrolment applies to.

STATE AND FEDERAL ENROLMENT
Non-citizens, which for electoral purposes includes people enjoying permanent residency are not entitled to vote in State or Federal elections. To be eligible to enrol to vote for State and Federal elections, you must be:
• 18 years of age or over; and,
• An Australian citizen; and,
• Have a Victorian address.

British subjects who were on the Commonwealth or State electoral roll on 26 January 1984, reside in Victoria and are enrolled to vote in Victoria State elections are entitled to be enrolled for State and Federal elections.

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12 JANUARY 2004

VICTORIAN GREENS ENCOURAGE WOMEN'S INVOLVEMENT IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Victorian Greens encourage women's participation in government. Four of Victoria's nine Green Councillors are women, with many more expected to be elected in 2004. Yarra City Councillors Deborah Di Natale and Jenny Farrar, and Maribyrnong Councillors Colleen Hartland and Janet Rice have led the way in proving the capacity and competence of Green Councillors.

There are many reasons why women are under-represented in government, though lack of ability is not one of them. For those interested in encouraging greater participation of women in local government, the Women's Participation in Local Government Coalition (WPILGC) provides useful information and encouragement to be involved. The WPILGC website is available by clicking on the underlined title.

The Women's Participation in Local Government Coalition is supported by Victoria's two peak local government organisations, the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), who are working to achieve gender equity in local governments through membership of and support for the WPILGC. This non-party Coalition of 9 key Victorian women's, community and local government organisations was formed in 1996 to work towards the equal participation of women and men in local governments in Victoria. Participating organisations include the Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA), Ladies of the Action League (LOCAL), Local Government Professionals Inc. (LGPro), Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA), Victorian Women's Trust (VWT), Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL), Women's Planning Network Inc., and the YWCA.

WPILGC has provided an indicative 2004 Local Government election timeline, showing important dates in the lead up to the elections. It is available as a 143 Kb word download by clicking on the title. The timeline is indicative only - firm dates will be set by the responsible Electoral Commission in 2004.

Another useful internet resource is provided by the Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA) The Association seeks to assist in furthering women's knowledge, understanding and participation in the function of Local Government. Networking opportunities and mentoring programs are provided by ALGWA for all members and meetings are held in both metropolitan and rural areas. The site includes details on becoming a member, event workshops, conferences and articles from the ALGWA News quarterly newsletter. Please contact pam.mcleod@whittlesea.vic.gov.au for further information on the Associations activities in furthering women's participation and involvement in Local Government and communities.

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6 JANUARY 2004

USE OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IN VOTING FOR THE NEW COUNCILS

The Local Government (Democratic Reform) Act 2003 authorises processes to allow Councils to use proportional representation for election of Councillors, but requires a number of steps to occur before that is the case.

For Councils that elect one Council per ward, proportional representation does not apply. The existing counting process for single member wards will not be altered. For all Councils with more than one Councillor to be elected per ward, proportional representation will be used if an Electoral Representation Review is undertaken for that Council and the change is approved by the Local Government Minister.

The number of Councillors to be elected per ward is not necessarily limited to two, and would be a matter for Councils, Electoral Representation Reviews and the Minister to determine. Melbourne City Council already employs proportional representation to elect seven councillors at large.

The first round of Electoral Representation Reviews have been gazetted to allow for nine councils to commence or have commenced reviews from 1 January 2004. Those councils are Moreland, Yarra, Stonnington, Hobsons Bay, Moorabool, Pyrenees, Greater Bendigo, Corangamite and Warrnambool.

The second round of Electoral Representation Reviews are expected to occur in the second half of 2004 and the first half of 2005. In practical effect, only those nine Councils already gazetted have the time available to seek approval for a change to proportional representation by the November 2004 Local Government Elections. If your Council is not gazetted and you believe it should be, please approach your Council. I understand that gazettal can occur as a consequence of a request from a Council or at the separate initiation of the Minister.

Following authorisation by gazettal, Electoral Representation Reviews will commence on appointment by contract between the Council and an electoral commission (such as the Victorian or Australian Electoral Commission, or other interstate commission). The anticipated process will be for the reviews to be advertised by public notice, and for written and oral submissions to be invited through public hearings processes. A report will be compiled at the conclusion of the review that will be presented to the Minister for her approval.

For those nine Councils in the first round, appointments for Electoral Representation Reviews must be made by 13 February 2004 and reports must be completed by 26 May 2004. The reports represent advice to the Local Government Minister, who may then take administrative action to make the new arrangements for that particular Council law. It is expected that the first round reforms will be completed so that, if approved, they take effect in those nine Councils for the 27 November 2004 elections. The following two rafts of reviews will allow for changes to occur for those Councils going to election in November 2005.

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16 OCTOBER 2003

VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT (DEMOCRATIC REFORM) BILL 2003

The Victorian Government has released details of its local government reform bill which contains legislation that, if passed by the Victorian Parliament, will require councils to change many aspects of their operations. The Local Government Democratic Reform Bill was introduced into State Parliament this week and has yet to be passed. The reforms proposed by the Bill include:

1. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

2. RATES

3. COUNCIL DECISION-MAKING

4. COUNCIL STAFF

5. RECOGNITION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

6. ELECTORAL SYSTEMS AND STRUCTURES

7. ELECTION DATES

8. PLANS AND REPORTS

9. SPECIAL RATES AND CHARGES

10. COUNCILLORS

11. BEHAVIOUR OF COUNCILLORS

12. CANDIDATES

13. CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS

14. EXTRAORDINARY VACANCIES

15. VOTERS ROLLS

_________________________________________________

1. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
_________________________________________________

It is proposed that councils be required to comply with a set of principles similar to the 'Principles of Sound Financial Management' that apply to the State Government.

This will require that councils: manage financial risks prudently in regard to debts, assets and liabilities; have rating policies that provide reasonable stability in the level of the rate burden; have regard to the financial effects on future generations of council decisions provide full, accurate and timely disclosure of financial information.

In order to ensure that plans, budgets and reports can be compared, it is proposed that councils be required to use standard financial, rating and capital works statements in council plans, strategic resource plans, budgets and annual reports.

In addition, where there is a material variance between a council's budget and actual outcomes, it is proposed that the variance be explained in the annual report.

Councils will be required to establish audit committees and it is proposed that the Minister be able to issue guidelines or make regulations in regard to the constitution and functions of audit committees. It is proposed to amend the Act to make the approval process for entrepreneurial activities by councils less bureaucratic and more responsive to the scale of activity.

Before entering into an entrepreneurial venture, councils will be required to: commission and consider a risk assessment report; seek the Minister's approval if the total risk exposure exceeds $500,000 or 5 per cent of rates; seek the approval of both the Minister and the Treasurer if the total risk exposure exceeds $5 million.

In addition, a council must obtain the approval of the Minister before it may become a party to an entity that can borrow money in its own right.

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2. RATES
_________________________________________________

It is proposed to remove the power to limit the rates of all councils simultaneously because it is considered to be an unfair and inadequate mechanism.

The Minister, however, will retain the power to limit the rates of individual councils.

It is proposed that the Act be amended to ensure it is entirely clear that a council may decide to waive all or part of the rates for a category of people on the grounds of financial hardship.

This is in addition to rates waived in accordance with an order made by the Minister for Community Services and reimbursed to the council by the State Government.

It is proposed to modify the provisions for councils to grant rate rebates or concessions.

A council will be able to grant a rebate or concession: to owners of properties who undertake action specified by the council for a community benefit; or to up to one-third of rateable properties subject to community consultation.

If a council has been awarded legal costs by a court in relation to unpaid rates, and those legal costs have not been paid, it is proposed that they may be recovered as a charge on the land at the time the land is sold.
Councils face increasing difficulties obtaining reliable information about property owners for rating and enrolment purposes. It is, therefore, proposed to reinstate the requirement for purchasers of properties to lodge notices of acquisition with councils.

_________________________________________________

3. COUNCIL DECISION-MAKING
_________________________________________________

Council decisions, except those in certain specified categories, must be made in open meetings.

To bring about greater transparency, it is proposed that council resolutions, recorded in the public minutes, must be clear in their intent and that the minutes must include the reports, or summaries of the reports, considered in the decision-making process.

_________________________________________________

4. COUNCIL STAFF
_________________________________________________

It is proposes that council staff act on behalf of their councils and should observe certain basic rules of conduct.

It is proposed that the Act specify that council staff must: act impartially; avoid conflicts of interest; accept accountability for results; provide responsive service.

The definition of 'senior officer' is proposed to be amended to include: the Chief Executive Officer; managers who report to the Chief Executive Officer; council staff whose total annual remuneration exceeds $100,000.

The Act requires that senior officers be employed under contract, that their performance be regularly reviewed and that they lodge annual pecuniary interest returns.

_________________________________________________

5. RECOGNITION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
_________________________________________________

It is proposed that Section 1 of the Local Government Act be a preamble that acknowledges the constitutional status of local government.

It is also proposed to include a Local Government Charter in the Act. The charter will describe the purpose, objectives and functions of councils in a single place and more clearly than the existing provisions of the Act. It will not alter the existing functions and powers of councils.

_________________________________________________

6. ELECTORAL SYSTEMS AND STRUCTURES
_________________________________________________

It is proposed that all elections for unsubdivided councils or multi-member wards be counted using the proportional representation method.

The State Government believes this change will make local government elections more democratic.

The existing counting process for single member wards has been deemed by the government to be appropriate and will not be altered.

_________________________________________________

7. ELECTION DATES
_________________________________________________

The Bill proposes that all council elections be aligned to a common electoral cycle, with full alignment by November 2008.

Election dates are proposed to be moved from March to the last Saturday in November. This is the same date as for fixed-term State elections, but State and local government election dates will be two years apart.

This will allow councils more time to plan and consult their communities before preparing their first budgets.

It is proposed to align elections through the following steps: (1) the 25 councils due to hold elections in 2004 and 2005 will have their next elections in November 2004; (2) the 54 councils due to hold elections in 2006 will have their next elections in November 2005.

The alignment proposal includes the introduction of four-year terms for councillors.

_________________________________________________

8. PLANS AND REPORTS
_________________________________________________

It is proposed that corporate plans be renamed 'council plans' and that they must include strategic objectives and strategies for the next four years.

A new council plan must be developed after each election and its currency verified annually.

Public consultation will be required during the preparation of a council plan and before any alteration to a plan.

It is proposed that all councils should have strategic resource plans for at least the next four financial years that identify the financial and other resource requirements of the council.

Strategic resource plans will be included in council plans and must also be updated annually.

It is proposed that council budgets should also be significant documents that include a description of the activities and initiatives that are to be undertaken during the year and for which funding has been allocated.

It is also proposed that budgets identify the targets and measures that will show the extent to which key strategic activities are achieved during the year.

It is proposed that annual reports include audited performance statements that report on achievements against the key targets and measures identified in the budget.

Regional libraries are required to comply with similar planning and reporting requirements to councils.

Corporate plans for regional libraries will be called 'library plans' and must be reviewed every four years.

_________________________________________________

9. SPECIAL RATES AND CHARGES
_________________________________________________

In order to ensure equity when levying special rates and charges, councils will be required to calculate the proportion of the total benefits of the project or works that provide special benefits for the affected ratepayers.

A council may not levy a special rate or charge to recover an amount that, as a proportion of total costs, exceeds the calculated proportion of benefit for the affected ratepayers.

Public notices of special rates or charges often do not come to the attention of property owners. So, in addition to public notices in newspapers, councils will be required to write to all affected owners notifying them of proposal to levy a special rate or charge.

In the event that a council proposes to levy a special rate or charge to recover more than two-thirds of the total costs of a project or works, an affected ratepayer may object in writing.

If a majority of the affected ratepayers object within 28 days of the public notice, the council may not declare the special rate or charge.

This objection process will not apply to drainage schemes required for public health purposes.

_________________________________________________

10. COUNCILLORS
_________________________________________________

It is proposed to change the dates of mayoral elections to match the new date for general elections. Mayoral elections will be required to occur between the last Saturday in November and 31 December each year.

It is also proposed to amend the Local Government Act to implement the State Government's Policy Statement for the setting of councillor allowances.

This will specify that: councils must set their allowances for their term of office, within the limits specified by order in council; councils must give public notice of their proposed allowances and must consider public submissions; a panel may be appointed to hear submissions from councils to change their allowance category and the Minister must give effect to a recommendation from the panel.

Additionally, it is proposed that the Minister retain the power to suspend all the councillors of a council, but that the suspension may only be sought when the Minister is satisfied on reasonable grounds that: there has been a serious failure to provide good government; or a council has acted unlawfully in a serious respect.

_________________________________________________

11. BEHAVIOUR OF COUNCILLORS
_________________________________________________

It is proposed that all councils should adopt codes of conduct and review their codes within six months of each general election.

A code of conduct must include: rules of conduct; procedures to be followed for conflicts of interest; processes to resolve disputes between councillors; caretaker procedures to apply during an election.

The Bill proposes to introduce specific rules of conduct that specify that councillors and members of committees must: act honestly; exercise reasonable care and diligence; not make improper use of their position; not make improper use of information.

As the State Government believes the existing provisions of the Local Government Act do not deal adequately with non-pecuniary conflicts of interest, it is proposed that: councillors and committee members must declare any 'interests' they have in matters being considered in a special committee or council meeting; where such interests are pecuniary, or where the person considers that their interests may conflict with their public duties, they must declare a 'conflict of interest' and refrain from voting.

Councillors, committee members and senior officers will be required to declare, in their annual register of pecuniary interest, gifts valued at $500 or more.

This proposal will replace the current threshold of $2,000, which the government considers is too high for public probity.

It is intended to include a description in the Act of what information is confidential. This is because, while the Act prohibits a councillor or committee member from disclosing confidential information, it does not provide a clear definition of 'confidentiality'.

Information will be 'confidential' if it has been considered in a closed meeting of a council or special committee, or if the council has resolved that it is confidential.

A Chief Executive Officer may temporarily designate information 'confidential' for up to 50 days or until a council has decided on the status of the information, whichever comes first.

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12. CANDIDATES
_________________________________________________

It is proposed to increase the nomination fee for local government election candidates to a minimum of $250 in order to deter nominations from candidates not seriously contesting the election.

It is proposed that candidates will be prohibited from nominating for election to more than one council.

All local government candidates will be required to disclose any campaign gifts valued at $200 or more that they receive during the donation period.

_________________________________________________

13. CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS
_________________________________________________

It is proposed to change the Local Government Act so that the provisions relating to the publication and distribution of electoral matter are in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2002, making them similar for both State and local government elections.

_________________________________________________

14. EXTRAORDINARY VACANCIES
_________________________________________________

It is proposed that, if an extraordinary vacancy occurs during the last six months of a council's term of office, council has the discretion to leave the vacancy stand until the next election.

_________________________________________________

15. VOTERS ROLLS
_________________________________________________

To ensure that the electoral rolls are as accurate as possible, and to shorten the time between closing the rolls and holding the election, new processes are proposed for the preparation of the rolls.

These new processes will require additional and more prominent public notice and for the rolls to close much closer to the election day.


VOTING FOR THE NEW COUNCILS

16 September 2003: Local councils and communities need to consider whether they want better distribution of their ward boundaries, and whether they are better served by multi-member or single member wards. Changes that communities want to have effect before the next local government elections will need to be initiated soon in order for the consultation requirements of the Local Government Act to be met.


28 August 2003: Further information suggests that the proposal is for proportional representation to be the default arrangement for electing Councillors, but I do not know what this means for Councils who have existing single ward councillors. I am fairly certain that Councils would not necessarily look kindly on a ward representation system being abolished without having themselves and their communities assess what the implications are.


16 August 2003: The voting arrangements for the new Councils have yet to be determined. From informal inquiries I have made, the most likely arrangements are as follows:

Where wards or districts have more than one member elected to them, proportional representation is expected to be used. Where there is a single member to be elected to a ward or district, single member preferential voting will be used. Councils have the discretion to undergo review processes governed by the Local Government Act to realign their ward and or district boundaries, but this must be done in conjunction with the Office of Local Government. If any changes are made, it is expected that they would not come into effect until the next election after the changes have been determined.

These arrangements are subject to further negotiation and to passage of legislation due to be introduced in the Spring session of the Victorian Parliament.

 
 

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