Pos­i­tive start to coun­cil elec­tions

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - JIM ALOUAT EMILY BAKER

AL­MOST 53,000 Tas­ma­ni­ans have al­ready cast their vote in the lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions, with North-West coun­cils lead­ing the way.

This week, Aus­tralia Post de­liv­ered more than 350,000 bal­lot packs across the state, with 52,946 votes re­turned.

Smaller coun­cils led the way, with 29 per cent of the 825 Flin­ders res­i­dents al­ready hav­ing their say.

Clarence City had the high­est num­ber of votes re­turned, with 5784 res­i­dents em­ploy­ing their demo­cratic rights.

Launce­s­ton had the low­est per­cent­age re­turn of the week with only 5408 votes re­turned.

Tas­ma­nia Elec­toral Com­mis­sioner An­drew Hawkey said the northern coun­cil’s tally was down be­cause of Launce­s­ton Show Day on Thurs­day.

“We ex­pect a big­ger de­liv­ery on Mon­day,” he said.

Mr Hawkey said the num­ber of postal votes re­turned in the first week was en­cour­ag­ing but asked vot­ers not to be com­pla­cent. “With the week­end com­ing up it’s an ideal time to con­sider your can­di­dates and put it back in the mail,” he said.

Of south­ern Tas­ma­nian coun­cils, Glam­or­gan Spring Bay had a 23 per cent re­turn rate, per­haps be­cause of the high level of in­ter­est in the Cam­bria Green project.

Of the 37,906 el­i­gi­ble vot­ers in Ho­bart, only 5073 vot­ers have cast their bal­lot while 3772 King­bor­ough vot­ers have.

If you haven’t re­ceived your bal­lot by Mon­day, visit your coun­cil of­fice or call the TEC (1800 801 701) and ask for a re­place­ment pack. CHI­NESE-Aus­tralians liv­ing in Ho­bart have joined to de­nounce a Ho­bart City Coun­cil can­di­date with al­leged links to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.

Ten peo­ple from Ho­bart’s Chi­nese com­mu­nity have signed a let­ter dis­tanc­ing them­selves from Yong­bei Tang as the former Mul­ti­cul­tural Coun­cil of Tas­ma­nia trea­surer fights to be­come an al­der­man.

The sig­na­to­ries — who wished to re­main anony­mous — shared with the Mer­cury their love for Aus­tralian cul­ture and val­ues.

“Re­cently there has been neg­a­tive news about Chi­nese and as a re­sult our com­mu­nity is now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing forms of racism,” the let­ter said.

“Sev­eral of us have [ex­pe­ri­enced] slurs such as ‘ why do you Chi­nese en­dorse a can­di­date re­lated to the Com­mu­nist party’.

“Four years ago, there were two can­di­dates from the Chi­nese com­mu­nity stand­ing for al­der­men of Ho­bart City Coun­cil.

“No peo­ple crit­i­cised or ques­tioned them or their loy­alty to our Aus­tralia, or any hid­den agenda with the Com­mu­nist party, be­cause they never had any­thing to hide.

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