Tuesday, May 1, 2007

So what's the real balance of political submissions?

The likes of Preston MLA, Robin Scott, his predecessor Michael Leighton, and Councillor Peter Stephenson have put forward views that submissions to the Darebin representation review seeking a change in council structure can be variously attributed to 'failed candidates' or 'political activists'. Yet actual analysis of the submissions tells a different story.

With more than half of the submissions from the total whose political alignment is known, the weight of politically motivated submissions falls decidedly with the ALP. Indeed, of the submitters of unknown political alignment who were unelected candidates, four out of six supported the ALP position of retaining the current council structure, despite the fact that it makes the election of even well supported alternative candidates very unlikely.

Four Greens submissions, one Independent and one Liberal submission supported change consistent with the VEC's preferred preliminary option of three three-councillor wards elected by proportional representation.

With the bulk of political submissions coming from the ALP supporting a system that has delivered nine Labor Unity councillors, and political opposition coming from diverse political viewpoints, just where does the bias really lie?

Of further interest was the submission from the North East Melbourne Chinese Association (NEMCA). This was submitted by the NEMCA Secretary, but a look at NEMCA's website reveals that its president is none other than Councillor Stanley Chiang.

The review enters the public hearing phase on Thursday night, when submitters will appear from 6.30pm at the council chambers (Cnr Gower and High Streets, Preston) to make their final arguments before the VEC issues its final report to the Minister for Local Government, Richard Wynne, on 21 May. Approximately 18 submitters are expected to present, including council, Robin Scott, Michael Leighton, and myself.

Further analysis of the submissions is available as a PDF download

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