Fremantle Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

PERTH’S res­i­dents have a woe­ful record of vot­ing in lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions and it’s well be­yond time that changed.

Quite frankly, if you can’t be both­ered check­ing a box on a bal­lot pa­per that has been de­liv­ered to your house and then tak­ing it to a mail­box, you have no right to com­plain about all of the things coun­cils do that af­fect your daily life.

At the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions in 2013 and 2015, an av­er­age of just 35 per cent voted in the City of Fre­man­tle coun­cil elec­tion. Across metropoli­tan Perth, the av­er­age was an ap­palling 27.5 per cent.

Do you not care about the im­post of rates on your hip pocket dur­ing tough eco­nomic times?

Are you un­con­cerned about high-rise build­ings pop­ping up in sur­round­ing streets?

Con­cerned your street has be­come a race­way for young hoons? Did you vote?

Postal votes will ar­rive in your let­ter­box from Septem­ber 27 if there is a con­test in your area.

We im­plore you to fill it in and take it straight to the mail­box. It is your duty and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

VOTE: That’s the mes­sage from Univer­sity of Notre Dame pol­i­tics and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Martin Drum, who says de­spite it play­ing an im­por­tant role, lo­cal gov­ern­ment is of­ten un­der-es­ti­mated.

“It’s im­por­tant be­cause so many as­pects of our day-to-day lives are im­pacted by their de­ci­sions,” he said.

“For in­stance, the lo­cal ap­pli­ca­tions for de­vel­op­ment which your neigh­bour sub­mits, or a busi­ness which op­er­ates next to you.

“There’s also the cu­ra­tion of recre­ational spa­ces which many of us use ev­ery day, or it might be that your lo­cal street isn’t up to scratch.

“I sus­pect there are many peo­ple who com­plain about these things yet might not vote in lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.”

Dr Drum said while he be­lieved more peo­ple should vote, over­all num­bers would be un­likely to in­crease un­til a more user-friendly form of vot­ing was avail­able.

“I won­der whether postal votes are ef­fec­tive in fa­cil­i­tat­ing high voter turnout for lo­cal gov­ern­ment, so I think the over­all trend will be slightly down,” he said.

“A trial of on­line vot­ing at lo­cal gov­ern­ment level would be worth con­sid­er­ing for the next elec­tion.

“Ev­ery level of gov­ern­ment should be re­spon­sive and ac­count­able to the com­mun- ities they rep­re­sent but while voter turn-out is low, this ac­count­abil­ity is not as com­pre­hen­sive as it should be.

“Vot­ing helps us think about and dis­cuss what we ex­pect from a lo­cal representative, which is a healthy thing to do.”

The elec­tions are on Oc­to­ber 21.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d474171

She­lia Davies, Gail Wil­liams and Jess Nes­bitt will be vot­ing in the lo­cal gov­er­ment elec­tions.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey d418665

Martin Drum says we should all vote.

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