Cr votes no to ‘pref­er­en­tial’

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Ebony Graveur [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

MANDA­TORY pro­por­tional pref­er­en­tial vot­ing in lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions could jeop­ar­dise the unity of the coun­cil, ac­cord­ing to Lock­yer Val­ley coun­cil­lor Michael Ha­gan.

The way the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion process takes place is among a num­ber of pro­posed changes made by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment.

It has pro­posed to in­tro­duce com­pul­sory pref­er­en­tial vot­ing for may­ors and di­vided coun­cils and pro­por­tional pref­er­en­tial vot­ing for un­di­vided coun­cils such as the Lock­yer Val­ley and Som­er­set.

Cr Ha­gan be­lieves this will be a mis­take as it’s the same sys­tem used for vot­ing for the Se­nate.

“The State Gov­ern­ment has put for­ward some changes they claim fol­low the Bel­carra re­port on lo­cal gov­ern­ment to make gov­ern­ment more ac­count­able and trans­par­ent,” he said.

“But some of th­ese changes aren’t re­flec­tive of the re­port.”

Cr Ha­gan said the pro­posal to change to pref­er­en­tial vot­ing wasn’t men­tioned in the rec­om­men­da­tions in the Crime and Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion’s re­port.

He be­lieved the State Gov­ern­ment in­tended to in­tro­duce the changes to Par­lia­ment by May.

“It doesn’t give time for the lo­cal gov­ern­ments as­so­ci­a­tion to have much con­sul­ta­tion with the lo­cal mem­bers and no time for the gen­eral pub­lic to even know what they’re propos­ing,” he said.

He said the in­tro­duc­tion of pro­por­tional pref­er­en­tial vot­ing would change the way lo­cal gov­ern­ment op­er­ated.

“At the mo­ment, our coun­cil is co­he­sive and work­ing to­gether,” he said.

“We’re six peo­ple elected by the com­mu­nity who have come to­gether to form one unit.

“If you open this up, all of a sud­den it starts to cre­ate di­vi­sions be­tween peo­ple, like who’s go­ing to give pref­er­ence to who.”

He said it could en­cour­age al­liances, in­clud­ing po­lit­i­cal ones in the com­mu­nity.

“You could end up get­ting vot­ing blocks and things like that, which never goes down well,” he said.

Mem­ber for Lock­yer and former coun­cil­lor Jim Mcdon­ald said he did not sup­port the changes.

“In­stead of fix­ing our hos­pi­tals, fix­ing our in­fra­struc­ture or bust­ing con­ges­tion, (La­bor is) more fo­cused on ma­nip­u­lat­ing elec­toral out­comes,” he said.

“An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk is out of touch and I call on her to scrap the pro­posal.”

He said the key to mak­ing a good de­ci­sion in com­mu­nity was sim­ple.

“You bring peo­ple on the jour­ney,” he said.

“You ask peo­ple what they think. This sort of thing is just ar­ro­gant.”

You could end up get­ting vot­ing blocks

— Cr Ha­gan

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