The Victorian Electoral Commission has recommended in its final report that the level of representation of the City of Melbourne be increased from 9 to 11 Councillors – 2 City wide Councillors plus the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor team)
The Commission failed to address concerns related to the method of election of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor and the City’s external boundaries and voter franchise.The Commissions report also failed to address concerns in relation to the above the line voting, calculation of the surplus transfer value and count-back process used in fulfilling casual vacancies. The terms of reference of the Commission review prevented it from addressing the real issues effecting the City Council.
Putting the limitations of the review aside the recommendation to increase the level of representation and maintain a city wide electorate is a positive for Melbourne. A ward system based on geographical boundaries would have divided the city and communities of interest.
The Council votes as a whole and should be elected as a whole.
The geographical size of the Council is not too large (Similar in size to a State or Federal electorate).
Under the system of proportional representation, in spite concerns about the serious flaws in the way votes are counted and issues pertaining to the voter franchise – the City wide multi-member electorate is the most democratic.
An increase from seven to nine members elected city wide would ensure on average that 95% of the electorate would be represented by a representative of their choosing, where in a single member electorate up to 49% of the electorate would be disenfranchised.
Whilst there is ongoing urgent need for review of the City’s electoral system, its external boundaries and the election of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor – the recommendations proposed in the final report should be supported.