Boys with Toys VEC once again seeks to use computers to limit public scrutiny of election count

Reports coming in from scrutineers and candidates indicates that the Victorian Electoral Commission is once again proposing to use a computerised counting system for the Mooney Valley City Council By-election scheduled to be counted this weekend.

Under dispute is the need to conduct a computerised count for the election of a single member when a manual count would be quicker and require less resources and more important would be more open and transparent.

The use of a computerised count in a single member constituency can not be justified. The time and resources required to undertake a computerised count is much more then it would be if the election was manually counted. Any time saved is only at the expense the public scrutiny by cutting corners reducing the overall quality of the count.

Computerised counting was not used to count the results of the Victorian Legislative Assembly (Lower-house) election in November.

The Victorian Electoral Commissions conduct of the Victorian Legislative Council (Upper-house) election in November 2006 demonstrates that VEC’s computerised counting system has some major problems. Information obtained under FOI indicates that the software used by the Victorian Electoral Commission has not been fully certified and that there is insufficient checks and balances in the system to ensure that the results of the computerised count are accurate and correct.

The Victorian Local Government Act Schedule 3, Part 3 subclause 10 (c) (ii) requires that the VEC undertake a preliminary sort of ballot papers into parcels based on the allocated first preference vote.

The VEC claim that they are exempt from this provision of the act where the election is conducted by post and a computerised counting system is used.

The election is expected to take 24 data-entry operators two hours to count., That’s 48 man hours. A manual count would take four people approximately 4-5 hours to count a net savings of 28 man hours. So where is the benefit of a computerised count, and at what costs,. A computerised count is virtually impossible to effectively scrutinise.

The tally of the 2006 Victorian Legislative Council also required that the Victorian Electoral Commission presort ballot papers into parcels based on the first preference allocation.

This is an important part of the scrutiny of the ballot. Without this provision scrutineers are limited in their ability to undertake a proper scrutiny of the counting of the election. Ballot paper preferences are keyed in a random fashion and scrutineers are unable to focus on a particular candidates preferences.

The VEC electronic shell game

There is further concern that the Electoral Commission refuses to provide copies of the recorded preference data file for independent analysis and review, further denying the opportunities and ability to undertake a proper scrutiny of the count.

This is akin to the con-mans game of three shells and a pea where the returning officer declares the results of the game by lifting up one shell showing that the pea is not there but refuses to show what’s underneath the other two shells.

Use of computerised counting of single member constituencies should be prevented until such time as full and comprehensive review of the electronic voting systems has been undertaken,

A Manual count would facilitate an open and transparent scrutiny of the ballot and would be preferable then the proposed computerised count,

The Victorian Electoral Commission is more interested in playing with its latest toy then it is about public accountability and the maintenance of open and transparent electoral system.

Given the experience of recent past events the VEC management of the electronic count can not be trusted.

The fact that the VEC is prepared to misrepresent the facts in respect to the legislative requirements in order to cut corners is further evidence for a major review of the functions and operation of the Victorian Electoral Commission.

What’s also interesting

In reading the Victorian Local Government Election regulations clause 110 (4) states “Before calculating the result, the returning officer must reconcile the electronic record of ballot papers with the total number of ballot-papers received”.

This is something that was clearly missing from the November 2006 Victorian State Election.

Had the VEC reconciled the electronic record of ballot papers with the total number of ballot-papers received the significant number of errors in the conduct of the election count would not have occurred. A complete lack of due diligence on behalf of the Victorian Electoral Commission

The total number of ballot papers recorded in the final Western Metropolitan count had up to 470 ballot papers missing from the previous count.

There is little to wonder as to why the VEC does not want to publish the polling place details of the 2006 Legislative Council results as it prevents public review and independent analysis of the dodgy electronic election count.

Hopefully these errors in administration will not occur in the NSW State Election count and that copies of preference data-files and polling place results are readily available prior to the declaration of the poll.

Victorian Local Government Act 1989 (version 085)
Schedule 3, Part 3 clause 10 (c) ((ii)
Requires that the ballot papers must be sorted into parcels based on the allocated first preference

PART 3 RESULT WHERE ONLY ONE COUNCILLOR IS TO BE ELECTED

9. Only two candidates

If only 1 Councillor is to be elected and there are only
2 candidates the result is to be determined as follows
(a) the candidate who has received the greater number of
first preference votes is to be declared elected by the
r
eturning officer;

(b) if the 2 candidates have received an equal number of
votes the result is to be determined by lot by the
returning officer.

10. More than two candidates

If only 1 Councillor is to be elected and there are more than
2 candidates the result is to be determined as follows
(a) the candidate who has received the greatest number of
first preference votes if that number constitutes an
absolute majority of votes is to be declared elected by
the returning officer;
(b)

“Absolute majority of votes” means a number of
votes greater than one-half of the total number of
ballot-papers (excluding ballot-papers which are
rejected) and if necessary includes the vote by lot;
(c) if no candidate has received an absolute majority of
votes, the returning officer upon receipt of the several
sealed parcels from any authorised person and with
the assistance of any authorised persons and in the
presence and subject to the inspection of any
1 scrutineer, if present, appointed by each candidate
but of no other person, must
(i) open all the sealed parcels containing used
ballot-papers; and
(ii) arrange such ballot-papers together with the
allowed postal ballot-papers, if any, by placing
in a separate parcel all those on which a first
preference is indicated for the same candidate
and preference votes are also duly given for all
the remaining candidates, omitting ballot papers
which are rejected; and
(iii) declare the candidate who has received the
fewest first preference votes a defeated
candidate; and
(iv) distribute the ballot-papers counted to the
defeated candidate amongst the non-defeated
candidates next in order of the voters’
preference; and
(v) after the distribution again ascertain the total
number of votes given to each non-defeated
candidate;
(d) the candidate who has then received the greatest
number of votes if that number constitutes an absolute
majority of votes is to be declared elected by the
returning officer;
(e) if no candidate then has an absolute majority of votes
the process of declaring the candidate who has the
fewest votes a defeated candidate and distributing the
ballot-papers counted to the defeated candidate
amongst the non-defeated candidates next in order of
the voters’ preference is to be repeated until
1 candidate has received an absolute majority of votes
and is declared elected by the returning officer;
(f) if on any count 2 or more candidates have an equal
number of votes and 1 of them has to be declared a
defeated candidate, the result is to be determined
(i) by declaring whichever of those candidates had
the fewest votes at the last count at which those
candidates had a different number of votes to be
defeated; or
(ii) if a result is still not obtained or there has been
no count, by lot by the returning officer;

Boys with Toys VEC once again seeks to use computers to limit public scrutiny of election count

Reports coming in from scrutineers and candidates indicates that the Victorian Electoral Commission is once again proposing to use a computerised counting system for the Mooney Valley City Council By-election scheduled to be counted this weekend.

Under dispute is the need to conduct a computerised count for the election of a single member when a manual count would be quicker and require less resources and more important would be more open and transparent.

The use of a computerised count in a single member constituency can not be justified. The time and resources required to undertake a computerised count is much more then it would be if the election was manually counted. Any time saved is only at the expense the public scrutiny by cutting corners reducing the overall quality of the count.

Computerised counting was not used to count the results of the Victorian Legislative Assembly (Lower-house) election in November.

The Victorian Electoral Commissions conduct of the Victorian Legislative Council (Upper-house) election in November 2006 demonstrates that VEC’s computerised counting system has some major problems. Information obtained under FOI indicates that the software used by the Victorian Electoral Commission has not been fully certified and that there is insufficient checks and balances in the system to ensure that the results of the computerised count are accurate and correct.

The Victorian Local Government Act Schedule 3, Part 3 subclause 10 (c) (ii) requires that the VEC undertake a preliminary sort of ballot papers into parcels based on the allocated first preference vote.

The VEC claim that they are exempt from this provision of the act where the election is conducted by post and a computerised counting system is used.

The election is expected to take 24 data-entry operators two hours to count., That’s 48 man hours. A manual count would take four people approximately 4-5 hours to count a net savings of 28 man hours. So where is the benefit of a computerised count, and at what costs,. A computerised count is virtually impossible to effectively scrutinise.

The tally of the 2006 Victorian Legislative Council also required that the Victorian Electoral Commission presort ballot papers into parcels based on the first preference allocation.

This is an important part of the scrutiny of the ballot. Without this provision scrutineers are limited in their ability to undertake a proper scrutiny of the counting of the election. Ballot paper preferences are keyed in a random fashion and scrutineers are unable to focus on a particular candidates preferences.

The VEC electronic shell game

There is further concern that the Electoral Commission refuses to provide copies of the recorded preference data file for independent analysis and review, further denying the opportunities and ability to undertake a proper scrutiny of the count.

This is akin to the con-mans game of three shells and a pea where the returning officer declares the results of the game by lifting up one shell showing that the pea is not there but refuses to show what’s underneath the other two shells.

Use of computerised counting of single member constituencies should be prevented until such time as full and comprehensive review of the electronic voting systems has been undertaken,

A Manual count would facilitate an open and transparent scrutiny of the ballot and would be preferable then the proposed computerised count,

The Victorian Electoral Commission is more interested in playing with its latest toy then it is about public accountability and the maintenance of open and transparent electoral system.

Given the experience of recent past events the VEC management of the electronic count can not be trusted.

The fact that the VEC is prepared to misrepresent the facts in respect to the legislative requirements in order to cut corners is further evidence for a major review of the functions and operation of the Victorian Electoral Commission.

What’s also interesting

In reading the Victorian Local Government Election regulations clause 110 (4) states “Before calculating the result, the returning officer must reconcile the electronic record of ballot papers with the total number of ballot-papers received”.

This is something that was clearly missing from the November 2006 Victorian State Election.

Had the VEC reconciled the electronic record of ballot papers with the total number of ballot-papers received the significant number of errors in the conduct of the election count would not have occurred. A complete lack of due diligence on behalf of the Victorian Electoral Commission

The total number of ballot papers recorded in the final Western Metropolitan count had up to 470 ballot papers missing from the previous count.

There is little to wonder as to why the VEC does not want to publish the polling place details of the 2006 Legislative Council results as it prevents public review and independent analysis of the dodgy electronic election count.

Hopefully these errors in administration will not occur in the NSW State Election count and that copies of preference data-files and polling place results are readily available prior to the declaration of the poll.

Victorian Local Government Act 1989 (version 085)
Schedule 3, Part 3 clause 10 (c) ((ii)
Requires that the ballot papers must be sorted into parcels based on the allocated first preference

PART 3 RESULT WHERE ONLY ONE COUNCILLOR IS TO BE ELECTED

9. Only two candidates
If only 1 Councillor is to be elected and there are only
2 candidates the result is to be determined as follows
(a) the candidate who has received the greater number of
first preference votes is to be declared elected by the
r
eturning officer;

(b) if the 2 candidates have received an equal number of
votes the result is to be determined by lot by the
returning officer.

10. More than two candidates

If only 1 Councillor is to be elected and there are more than
2 candidates the result is to be determined as follows
(a) the candidate who has received the greatest number of
first preference votes if that number constitutes an
absolute majority of votes is to be declared elected by
the returning officer;
(b) “Absolute majority of votes” means a number of
votes greater than one-half of the total number of
ballot-papers (excluding ballot-papers which are
rejected) and if necessary includes the vote by lot;
(c) if no candidate has received an absolute majority of
votes, the returning officer upon receipt of the several
sealed parcels from any authorised person and with
the assistance of any authorised persons and in the
presence and subject to the inspection of any
1 scrutineer, if present, appointed by each candidate
but of no other person, must
(i) open all the sealed parcels containing used
ballot-papers; and
(ii) arrange such ballot-papers together with the
allowed postal ballot-papers, if any, by placing
in a separate parcel all those on which a first
preference is indicated for the same candidate
and preference votes are also duly given for all
the remaining candidates, omitting ballot papers
which are rejected; and
(iii) declare the candidate who has received the
fewest first preference votes a defeated
candidate; and
(iv) distribute the ballot-papers counted to the
defeated candidate amongst the non-defeated
candidates next in order of the voters’
preference; and
(v) after the distribution again ascertain the total
number of votes given to each non-defeated
candidate;
(d) the candidate who has then received the greatest
number of votes if that number constitutes an absolute
majority of votes is to be declared elected by the
returning officer;
(e) if no candidate then has an absolute majority of votes
the process of declaring the candidate who has the
fewest votes a defeated candidate and distributing the
ballot-papers counted to the defeated candidate
amongst the non-defeated candidates next in order of
the voters’ preference is to be repeated until
1 candidate has received an absolute majority of votes
and is declared elected by the returning officer;
(f) if on any count 2 or more candidates have an equal
number of votes and 1 of them has to be declared a
defeated candidate, the result is to be determined
(i) by declaring whichever of those candidates had
the fewest votes at the last count at which those
candidates had a different number of votes to be
defeated; or
(ii) if a result is still not obtained or there has been
no count, by lot by the returning officer;

Hiding the count Victorian Electoral Commission refuses to publish details of 2005 Municipal Elections

Mr Ian Quick, President of t Save Our Suburbs, has written to the Victorian State Government and the Victorian Electoral Commission seeking copies of the recorded ballot paper preferences used to tabulate the results of the election. For spacious reason unknown the Victorian Electoral Commission has refused to make this information available. The failure of the Electoral Commission to publish this information in association with the results of the election undermines public confidence in the conduct of Victoria’s elections.

With the introduction of electronic computer based counting systems access to this information is vital to maintaining an honest, open and transparent electoral system.

The City of Melbourne in 1999 and 2001 tried unsuccessfully to prevent the release of this information. The Melbourne City Council spent over $60,000, acting under the misguided direction of Alison Lyons, Melbourne City Council’s Governance Officer in attempt to deny open and transparent scrutiny of the conduct of the Council’s elections. This matter was the subject of a successful appeal to the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal in 1999 (van der Craats v City fo Melbourne [2000] VCAT 447 (29 January 2000) VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL General List No. 1999/057919)

The ruling of the tribunal requiring the City of Mlebourne and the Australian Electoral Commisison to release this information was made without reservation and was a clear indication that specious the argument put forward by the City of Melbourne was lacking substance and merit.

Why has the Victorian Electoral Commission refused to publish this information?

The VEC’s argument has no legal or administrative basis. Copies of the ballot prefence data file should be readily aviailable to the public and should form part of the declartion of the results of the election.

This issue has been back and forth with the Victorian Electoral Commission on a number of occasions.

Clearly the Victorian Electoral Commission in refusing to provide Mr Quick the information requested raises serious questions pertaining the conduct of Elections.

The need to provide open and transparent electoral procedures is important if public confidence in our electoral system is to be maintained. With the introduction of proportional representation in the election of the Legislative Council this issue needs to be resolved well before November State Election.

Hiding the count Victorian Electoral Commission refuses to publish details of 2005 Municipal Elections

Mr Ian Quick, President of t Save Our Suburbs, has written to the Victorian State Government and the Victorian Electoral Commission seeking copies of the recorded ballot paper preferences used to tabulate the results of the election. For spacious reason unknown the Victorian Electoral Commission has refused to make this information available. The failure of the Electoral Commission to publish this information in association with the results of the election undermines public confidence in the conduct of Victoria’s elections.

With the introduction of electronic computer based counting systems access to this information is vital to maintaining an honest, open and transparent electoral system.

The City of Melbourne in 1999 and 2001 tried unsuccessfully to prevent the release of this information. The Melbourne City Council spent over $60,000, acting under the misguided direction of Alison Lyons, Melbourne City Council’s Governance Officer in attempt to deny open and transparent scrutiny of the conduct of the Council’s elections. This matter was the subject of a successful appeal to the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal in 1999 (van der Craats v City fo Melbourne [2000] VCAT 447 (29 January 2000) VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL General List No. 1999/057919)

The ruling of the tribunal requiring the City of Mlebourne and the Australian Electoral Commisison to release this information was made without reservation and was a clear indication that specious the argument put forward by the City of Melbourne was lacking substance and merit.

Why has the Victorian Electoral Commission refused to publish this information?

The VEC’s argument has no legal or administrative basis. Copies of the ballot prefence data file should be readily aviailable to the public and should form part of the declartion of the results of the election.

This issue has been back and forth with the Victorian Electoral Commission on a number of occasions.

Clearly the Victorian Electoral Commission in refusing to provide Mr Quick the information requested raises serious questions pertaining the conduct of Elections.

The need to provide open and transparent electoral procedures is important if public confidence in our electoral system is to be maintained. With the introduction of proportional representation in the election of the Legislative Council this issue needs to be resolved well before November State Election.

Hiding the count Victorian Electoral Commission refuses to publish details of 2005 Municipal Elections

Mr Ian Quick, President of t Save Our Suburbs, has written to the Victorian State Government and the Victorian Electoral Commission seeking copies of the recorded ballot paper preferences used to tabulate the results of the election. For spacious reason unknown the Victorian Electoral Commission has refused to make this information available. The failure of the Electoral Commission to publish this information in association with the results of the election undermines public confidence in the conduct of Victoria’s elections.

With the introduction of electronic computer based counting systems access to this information is vital to maintaining an honest, open and transparent electoral system.

The City of Melbourne in 1999 and 2001 tried unsuccessfully to prevent the release of this information. The Melbourne City Council spent over $60,000, acting under the misguided direction of Alison Lyons, Melbourne City Council’s Governance Officer in attempt to deny open and transparent scrutiny of the conduct of the Council’s elections. This matter was the subject of a successful appeal to the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal in 1999 (van der Craats v City fo Melbourne [2000] VCAT 447 (29 January 2000) VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL General List No. 1999/057919)

The ruling of the tribunal requiring the City of Mlebourne and the Australian Electoral Commisison to release this information was made without reservation and was a clear indication that specious the argument put forward by the City of Melbourne was lacking substance and merit.

Why has the Victorian Electoral Commission refused to publish this information?

The VEC’s argument has no legal or administrative basis. Copies of the ballot prefence data file should be readily aviailable to the public and should form part of the declartion of the results of the election.

This issue has been back and forth with the Victorian Electoral Commission on a number of occasions.

Clearly the Victorian Electoral Commission in refusing to provide Mr Quick the information requested raises serious questions pertaining the conduct of Elections.

The need to provide open and transparent electoral procedures is important if public confidence in our electoral system is to be maintained. With the introduction of proportional representation in the election of the Legislative Council this issue needs to be resolved well before November State Election.

Beyond the Law Singer again in the media spotlight this time over planning breaches

Melbourne City Council’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Garry Singer, is again in the media spotlight following revelations that he and a company he works for breached local planning laws and commenced building without a planning permit.

Herald-Sun Friday Feb 17, 2006

More and more information comes to light that indicates that John So had made a serious error of judgment when he selected Gary Singer to be his no 2. Most people close to the City Council are of the belief that Gary Singer should resign and Catherine NG take over as John So’s Deputy. The problem is if Singer does resign, under the rules established by the State Government, the Melbourne City Council would have to hold a City wide by-election to replace Singer if he stood down. Costing the City 100’s of thousands of dollars. Garry Singer effectively is holding the City Council to ransom.

Clearly something has to be done. The State Government against all advice opted for a direct election system but in doing so failed to properly consider issues related to filling any casual vacancies. Under the current rules if Singer resigns within 6 months of the next election the City Council can elect a a fellow councilor to fill any vacancy in the Deputy Lord Mayor’s position but if the position is made vacant before 6 month then a by-elections has to be held.

The system of filling casual vacancies need review and changing. It is incumbent on Local Government Minister, Candy Broad, to change the City of Melbourne Act to permit the City Council to appoint a replacement. Failing that the Direct election system should be abandoned.

The Herald Sun reports “Cr Singer last year pleaded guilty to financial misconduct as a solicitor.
He admitted to withholding 116 cheques totaling $154,000, some for up to five years. The money should have been paid to barrister and professional witnesses. The Legal Profession Tribunal fined Cr Singer $10,000 with $8000 costs.

In 1999, he was found guilty of professional misconduct for “grossly excessive” overcharging of a client involved in a personal injuries case.

The latest revelations raise more doubts as to his suitability to remain in office.

Beyond the Law Singer again in the media spotlight this time over planning breaches

Melbourne City Council’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Garry Singer, is again in the media spotlight following revelations that he and a company he works for breached local planning laws and commenced building without a planning permit.

Herald-Sun Friday Feb 17, 2006

More and more information comes to light that indicates that John So had made a serious error of judgment when he selected Gary Singer to be his no 2. Most people close to the City Council are of the belief that Gary Singer should resign and Catherine NG take over as John So’s Deputy. The problem is if Singer does resign, under the rules established by the State Government, the Melbourne City Council would have to hold a City wide by-election to replace Singer if he stood down. Costing the City 100’s of thousands of dollars. Garry Singer effectively is holding the City Council to ransom.

Clearly something has to be done. The State Government against all advice opted for a direct election system but in doing so failed to properly consider issues related to filling any casual vacancies. Under the current rules if Singer resigns within 6 months of the next election the City Council can elect a a fellow councilor to fill any vacancy in the Deputy Lord Mayor’s position but if the position is made vacant before 6 month then a by-elections has to be held.

The system of filling casual vacancies need review and changing. It is incumbent on Local Government Minister, Candy Broad, to change the City of Melbourne Act to permit the City Council to appoint a replacement. Failing that the Direct election system should be abandoned.

The Herald Sun reports “Cr Singer last year pleaded guilty to financial misconduct as a solicitor.
He admitted to withholding 116 cheques totaling $154,000, some for up to five years. The money should have been paid to barrister and professional witnesses. The Legal Profession Tribunal fined Cr Singer $10,000 with $8000 costs.

In 1999, he was found guilty of professional misconduct for “grossly excessive” overcharging of a client involved in a personal injuries case.

The latest revelations raise more doubts as to his suitability to remain in office.

Beyond the Law Singer again in the media spotlight this time over planning breaches

Melbourne City Council’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Garry Singer, is again in the media spotlight following revelations that he and a company he works for breached local planning laws and commenced building without a planning permit.

Herald-Sun Friday Feb 17, 2006

More and more information comes to light that indicates that John So had made a serious error of judgment when he selected Gary Singer to be his no 2. Most people close to the City Council are of the belief that Gary Singer should resign and Catherine NG take over as John So’s Deputy. The problem is if Singer does resign, under the rules established by the State Government, the Melbourne City Council would have to hold a City wide by-election to replace Singer if he stood down. Costing the City 100’s of thousands of dollars. Garry Singer effectively is holding the City Council to ransom.

Clearly something has to be done. The State Government against all advice opted for a direct election system but in doing so failed to properly consider issues related to filling any casual vacancies. Under the current rules if Singer resigns within 6 months of the next election the City Council can elect a a fellow councilor to fill any vacancy in the Deputy Lord Mayor’s position but if the position is made vacant before 6 month then a by-elections has to be held.

The system of filling casual vacancies need review and changing. It is incumbent on Local Government Minister, Candy Broad, to change the City of Melbourne Act to permit the City Council to appoint a replacement. Failing that the Direct election system should be abandoned.

The Herald Sun reports “Cr Singer last year pleaded guilty to financial misconduct as a solicitor.
He admitted to withholding 116 cheques totaling $154,000, some for up to five years. The money should have been paid to barrister and professional witnesses. The Legal Profession Tribunal fined Cr Singer $10,000 with $8000 costs.

In 1999, he was found guilty of professional misconduct for “grossly excessive” overcharging of a client involved in a personal injuries case.

The latest revelations raise more doubts as to his suitability to remain in office.

So what’s upCatherine Ng and John So in disagreement with support growing for Catherine Ng to take over the role of Deputy

Information from our elves in the Council’s Governance department tell us that there is a serious split in the So team with Catherine Ng of the view that Garry Singer should go and that she should become John So‘s Deputy Lord Mayor. Catherine Ng is so furious it’s reported that she is hardly speaking to the Lord Mayor at present.

Whilst we have some reservations about Catherine Ng, her policies and actions, we recognise that Catherine Ng would make a better Deputy then Garry Singer. Catherine Ng was elected as John So‘s Lead Candidate on his teams ticket.

Garry Singer who was recently found guilty of professional negligence and fined by the Law Institute continues to bring the City Council into disrepute with an overal loss of confidence in his role as Deputy Lord Mayor. He has failed to live up to expectations and is often criticized by the other Councillors of not pulling his weight around the chamber. We understand if a vote of confidence was put before the City Council, Garry Singer would lose the vote.

The problem is if Gary Singer resigns the City of Melbourne will be required to hold a by-election to replace him, costing the City Council up to One Million Dollars.

This is a serious problem with the direct election model – one that the State Government failed to address when drafting its legislation.

If you have a dud elected for Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor, and for what ever reason Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee resign, under the current legislation the City Council has to hold a City wide election at great expense to the ratepayers.

We believe this is the reason why John So (as reported in the Herald-Sun) wants to restructure Councillor portfolio’s so that Garry Singer will effectively become Deputy In Name Only (or DINO as he has now become to be known) Other Councillors are not so sure or supportive of John’s idea.


Under John So‘s plan Cr Singer will have no responsibilities other then what he wants to do so long as he does not cause further trouble he can continue working the cocktail circuit and cashing on the City Council’s invitations to Arts, Sporting events and the occasional delegation and trip interstate and overseas.

Clearly the Government must do something. Victoria’s Local Government Minister,Candy Broad, must review the City of Melbourne Act and change it so that any vacancy in the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor’s positions can be filled by a vote of the remaining elected Councillors with a count-back of the original vote recorded at the General Election to determine who should fill the vacant Councillor position. This was the procedure before but now only applies to vacancies that occure within the last six months of the Council’s term of office.

So what’s upCatherine Ng and John So in disagreement with support growing for Catherine Ng to take over the role of Deputy

Information from our elves in the Council’s Governance department tell us that there is a serious split in the So team with Catherine Ng of the view that Garry Singer should go and that she should become John So‘s Deputy Lord Mayor. Catherine Ng is so furious it’s reported that she is hardly speaking to the Lord Mayor at present.

Whilst we have some reservations about Catherine Ng, her policies and actions, we recognise that Catherine Ng would make a better Deputy then Garry Singer. Catherine Ng was elected as John So‘s Lead Candidate on his teams ticket.

Garry Singer who was recently found guilty of professional negligence and fined by the Law Institute continues to bring the City Council into disrepute with an overal loss of confidence in his role as Deputy Lord Mayor. He has failed to live up to expectations and is often criticized by the other Councillors of not pulling his weight around the chamber. We understand if a vote of confidence was put before the City Council, Garry Singer would lose the vote.

The problem is if Gary Singer resigns the City of Melbourne will be required to hold a by-election to replace him, costing the City Council up to One Million Dollars.

This is a serious problem with the direct election model – one that the State Government failed to address when drafting its legislation.

If you have a dud elected for Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor, and for what ever reason Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee resign, under the current legislation the City Council has to hold a City wide election at great expense to the ratepayers.

We believe this is the reason why John So (as reported in the Herald-Sun) wants to restructure Councillor portfolio’s so that Garry Singer will effectively become Deputy In Name Only (or DINO as he has now become to be known) Other Councillors are not so sure or supportive of John’s idea.


Under John So‘s plan Cr Singer will have no responsibilities other then what he wants to do so long as he does not cause further trouble he can continue working the cocktail circuit and cashing on the City Council’s invitations to Arts, Sporting events and the occasional delegation and trip interstate and overseas.

Clearly the Government must do something. Victoria’s Local Government Minister,Candy Broad, must review the City of Melbourne Act and change it so that any vacancy in the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor’s positions can be filled by a vote of the remaining elected Councillors with a count-back of the original vote recorded at the General Election to determine who should fill the vacant Councillor position. This was the procedure before but now only applies to vacancies that occure within the last six months of the Council’s term of office.

So what’s upCatherine Ng and John So in disagreement with support growing for Catherine Ng to take over the role of Deputy

Information from our elves in the Council’s Governance department tell us that there is a serious split in the So team with Catherine Ng of the view that Garry Singer should go and that she should become John So‘s Deputy Lord Mayor. Catherine Ng is so furious it’s reported that she is hardly speaking to the Lord Mayor at present.

Whilst we have some reservations about Catherine Ng, her policies and actions, we recognise that Catherine Ng would make a better Deputy then Garry Singer. Catherine Ng was elected as John So‘s Lead Candidate on his teams ticket.

Garry Singer who was recently found guilty of professional negligence and fined by the Law Institute continues to bring the City Council into disrepute with an overal loss of confidence in his role as Deputy Lord Mayor. He has failed to live up to expectations and is often criticized by the other Councillors of not pulling his weight around the chamber. We understand if a vote of confidence was put before the City Council, Garry Singer would lose the vote.

The problem is if Gary Singer resigns the City of Melbourne will be required to hold a by-election to replace him, costing the City Council up to One Million Dollars.

This is a serious problem with the direct election model – one that the State Government failed to address when drafting its legislation.

If you have a dud elected for Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor, and for what ever reason Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee resign, under the current legislation the City Council has to hold a City wide election at great expense to the ratepayers.

We believe this is the reason why John So (as reported in the Herald-Sun) wants to restructure Councillor portfolio’s so that Garry Singer will effectively become Deputy In Name Only (or DINO as he has now become to be known) Other Councillors are not so sure or supportive of John’s idea.


Under John So‘s plan Cr Singer will have no responsibilities other then what he wants to do so long as he does not cause further trouble he can continue working the cocktail circuit and cashing on the City Council’s invitations to Arts, Sporting events and the occasional delegation and trip interstate and overseas.

Clearly the Government must do something. Victoria’s Local Government Minister,Candy Broad, must review the City of Melbourne Act and change it so that any vacancy in the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor’s positions can be filled by a vote of the remaining elected Councillors with a count-back of the original vote recorded at the General Election to determine who should fill the vacant Councillor position. This was the procedure before but now only applies to vacancies that occure within the last six months of the Council’s term of office.

Deputy In Name Only (DINO) explainedCouncil held to ransom: Deputy Lord Mayor’s resignation would cost the City up to $1million

Deputy Lord Mayor holds the City Council and State Government to ransom with the cost of a by-election costing the City Council up to one million dollars

The Melbourne City Council has failed to pass a vote of confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor. Gary Singer, following revelations of professional misconduct and the appointment of the Deputy Lord Mayor’s personal partner to a Council funded Arts position.

Under current legislation if Melbourne’s Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor resigns more then six months before the next scheduled general election (due in November 2008) then the City of Melbourne must conduct a by-election costing ratepayers up to a Million dollars.

This must bear heavily on the minds of the State Government and our City Councillors who have failed to pass a vote of confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor, Gary Singer.

Our City Councillors are faced with a dilemma. If they express a vote of no-confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor and he resigns then the City Council will have to foot the bill of a new election. It would be cheaper for the Lord Mayor and Councillors to allow the Deputy Lord Mayor to retain his position, in name alone, and do nothing.

This would explain a lot of what’s possibly going on with the proposed restructure recently reported in the Herald-Sun. (see previous posts)

Under current the provisions of the Local Government Act/City of Melbourne Act, if the office of Deputy Lord Mayor becomes vacant within six months before a general election then the City Council can elect one of their own to fill the vacancy and a count-back of the votes cast at the original election would determine who would fill the position of Councillor selected to become Deputy Lord Mayor. (In the case of a vacancy the in the office of Lord Mayor the Deputy Lord Mayor would assume office – It is unclear what the process would be if both Deputy and Lord Mayor resign simultaneously).

The rules related to the filling casual vacancies via a count-back of the original ballot maintain the democratic proportional representation of the Council and avoid the need for and associated costs of holding a by-election. There is no reason why these rules can not and should not apply to all casual vacancies and not just vacancies that occur within six months. (It should be noted that the count-back provisions are rather convoluted as there are two different options that can be chosen and each option can and will produce a different outcome – more on that latter)

What price do you put on democracy?

What happens if the Deputy Lord Mayor or Lord Mayor are hit by a buss, suffer an unfortunate accident or can no longer continue to fulfill their elected responsibilities. What happens if the elected Council pass a vote of no-confidence in the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor?

The cost of holding a by-election weighs heavily on the deliberations of the City Council which is being held to ransom. It would be cheaper and more convenient to allow the person to remain in the position without any responsibility. They would continue in remain there in name alone, eligible to receive payment of allowance and other benefits.

The method of filling casual vacancies in city wide or multi-member electorates MUST be reviewed.

The City Council should not be held to ransom by a person who has lost the confidence of the elected Council or be burdened by the costs involved in the conduct of a by-election should that person resign.

The responsibility for this situation lies with the State Government who must now review the Local Government Act in respect to casual vacancies.

The State Government must act and review the whole system of filling casual vacancies as well as the model of direct election of Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor must at all times maintain the confidence of the elected Council. State government legislation must address situations where the Council nolonger has confidence in it’s Mayor.

The alternative method of filling casual vacancies via a count-back system, as currently exists in legislation related to casual vacancies that fall within six months of an general election, should be extended and apply to all casual vacancies that occur during the term of office of the elected Council.

City of Melbourne Act

Section 24. Filling of vacancies

(1) If the office of Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant 6 months or more before a
general election
is due,
an election to fill the
vacancy must be held
on a Saturday to be
appointed by the Chief Executive Officer that is
not later than the 100th day after the vacancy
arises.

(2) If the office of Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant less than 6 months
before a
general election is due,
it is not necessary to hold
an election to fill the vacancy
.
(3) In the circumstances specified in sub-section (2)—
(a) if the office of the Lord Mayor becomes
vacant, the Deputy Lord Mayor becomes the
Lord Mayor on the passing of a resolution by
the Council that an election to fill the
vacancy not be held; and
(b) if the office of the Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant, the Council may appoint a
Councillor to fill the vacancy; and
(c) if the Council does so, the subsequent
vacancy in the office of the Councillor
appointed is to be filled in accordance with
Schedule 3A and section 37A(4) of the
Local Government Act 1989.

Deputy In Name Only (DINO) explainedCouncil held to ransom: Deputy Lord Mayor’s resignation would cost the City up to $1million

Deputy Lord Mayor holds the City Council and State Government to ransom with the cost of a by-election costing the City Council up to one million dollars

The Melbourne City Council has failed to pass a vote of confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor. Gary Singer, following revelations of professional misconduct and the appointment of the Deputy Lord Mayor’s personal partner to a Council funded Arts position.

Under current legislation if Melbourne’s Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor resigns more then six months before the next scheduled general election (due in November 2008) then the City of Melbourne must conduct a by-election costing ratepayers up to a Million dollars.

This must bear heavily on the minds of the State Government and our City Councillors who have failed to pass a vote of confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor, Gary Singer.

Our City Councillors are faced with a dilemma. If they express a vote of no-confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor and he resigns then the City Council will have to foot the bill of a new election. It would be cheaper for the Lord Mayor and Councillors to allow the Deputy Lord Mayor to retain his position, in name alone, and do nothing.

This would explain a lot of what’s possibly going on with the proposed restructure recently reported in the Herald-Sun. (see previous posts)

Under current the provisions of the Local Government Act/City of Melbourne Act, if the office of Deputy Lord Mayor becomes vacant within six months before a general election then the City Council can elect one of their own to fill the vacancy and a count-back of the votes cast at the original election would determine who would fill the position of Councillor selected to become Deputy Lord Mayor. (In the case of a vacancy the in the office of Lord Mayor the Deputy Lord Mayor would assume office – It is unclear what the process would be if both Deputy and Lord Mayor resign simultaneously).

The rules related to the filling casual vacancies via a count-back of the original ballot maintain the democratic proportional representation of the Council and avoid the need for and associated costs of holding a by-election. There is no reason why these rules can not and should not apply to all casual vacancies and not just vacancies that occur within six months. (It should be noted that the count-back provisions are rather convoluted as there are two different options that can be chosen and each option can and will produce a different outcome – more on that latter)

What price do you put on democracy?

What happens if the Deputy Lord Mayor or Lord Mayor are hit by a buss, suffer an unfortunate accident or can no longer continue to fulfill their elected responsibilities. What happens if the elected Council pass a vote of no-confidence in the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor?

The cost of holding a by-election weighs heavily on the deliberations of the City Council which is being held to ransom. It would be cheaper and more convenient to allow the person to remain in the position without any responsibility. They would continue in remain there in name alone, eligible to receive payment of allowance and other benefits.

The method of filling casual vacancies in city wide or multi-member electorates MUST be reviewed.

The City Council should not be held to ransom by a person who has lost the confidence of the elected Council or be burdened by the costs involved in the conduct of a by-election should that person resign.

The responsibility for this situation lies with the State Government who must now review the Local Government Act in respect to casual vacancies.

The State Government must act and review the whole system of filling casual vacancies as well as the model of direct election of Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor must at all times maintain the confidence of the elected Council. State government legislation must address situations where the Council nolonger has confidence in it’s Mayor.

The alternative method of filling casual vacancies via a count-back system, as currently exists in legislation related to casual vacancies that fall within six months of an general election, should be extended and apply to all casual vacancies that occur during the term of office of the elected Council.

City of Melbourne Act

Section 24. Filling of vacancies

(1) If the office of Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant 6 months or more before a
general election
is due,
an election to fill the
vacancy must be held
on a Saturday to be
appointed by the Chief Executive Officer that is
not later than the 100th day after the vacancy
arises.

(2) If the office of Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant less than 6 months
before a
general election is due,
it is not necessary to hold
an election to fill the vacancy
.
(3) In the circumstances specified in sub-section (2)—
(a) if the office of the Lord Mayor becomes
vacant, the Deputy Lord Mayor becomes the
Lord Mayor on the passing of a resolution by
the Council that an election to fill the
vacancy not be held; and
(b) if the office of the Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant, the Council may appoint a
Councillor to fill the vacancy; and
(c) if the Council does so, the subsequent
vacancy in the office of the Councillor
appointed is to be filled in accordance with
Schedule 3A and section 37A(4) of the
Local Government Act 1989.

Deputy In Name Only (DINO) explainedCouncil held to ransom: Deputy Lord Mayor’s resignation would cost the City up to $1million

Deputy Lord Mayor holds the City Council and State Government to ransom with the cost of a by-election costing the City Council up to one million dollars

The Melbourne City Council has failed to pass a vote of confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor. Gary Singer, following revelations of professional misconduct and the appointment of the Deputy Lord Mayor’s personal partner to a Council funded Arts position.

Under current legislation if Melbourne’s Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor resigns more then six months before the next scheduled general election (due in November 2008) then the City of Melbourne must conduct a by-election costing ratepayers up to a Million dollars.

This must bear heavily on the minds of the State Government and our City Councillors who have failed to pass a vote of confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor, Gary Singer.

Our City Councillors are faced with a dilemma. If they express a vote of no-confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor and he resigns then the City Council will have to foot the bill of a new election. It would be cheaper for the Lord Mayor and Councillors to allow the Deputy Lord Mayor to retain his position, in name alone, and do nothing.

This would explain a lot of what’s possibly going on with the proposed restructure recently reported in the Herald-Sun. (see previous posts)

Under current the provisions of the Local Government Act/City of Melbourne Act, if the office of Deputy Lord Mayor becomes vacant within six months before a general election then the City Council can elect one of their own to fill the vacancy and a count-back of the votes cast at the original election would determine who would fill the position of Councillor selected to become Deputy Lord Mayor. (In the case of a vacancy the in the office of Lord Mayor the Deputy Lord Mayor would assume office – It is unclear what the process would be if both Deputy and Lord Mayor resign simultaneously).

The rules related to the filling casual vacancies via a count-back of the original ballot maintain the democratic proportional representation of the Council and avoid the need for and associated costs of holding a by-election. There is no reason why these rules can not and should not apply to all casual vacancies and not just vacancies that occur within six months. (It should be noted that the count-back provisions are rather convoluted as there are two different options that can be chosen and each option can and will produce a different outcome – more on that latter)

What price do you put on democracy?

What happens if the Deputy Lord Mayor or Lord Mayor are hit by a buss, suffer an unfortunate accident or can no longer continue to fulfill their elected responsibilities. What happens if the elected Council pass a vote of no-confidence in the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor?

The cost of holding a by-election weighs heavily on the deliberations of the City Council which is being held to ransom. It would be cheaper and more convenient to allow the person to remain in the position without any responsibility. They would continue in remain there in name alone, eligible to receive payment of allowance and other benefits.

The method of filling casual vacancies in city wide or multi-member electorates MUST be reviewed.

The City Council should not be held to ransom by a person who has lost the confidence of the elected Council or be burdened by the costs involved in the conduct of a by-election should that person resign.

The responsibility for this situation lies with the State Government who must now review the Local Government Act in respect to casual vacancies.

The State Government must act and review the whole system of filling casual vacancies as well as the model of direct election of Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor must at all times maintain the confidence of the elected Council. State government legislation must address situations where the Council nolonger has confidence in it’s Mayor.

The alternative method of filling casual vacancies via a count-back system, as currently exists in legislation related to casual vacancies that fall within six months of an general election, should be extended and apply to all casual vacancies that occur during the term of office of the elected Council.

City of Melbourne Act

Section 24. Filling of vacancies

(1) If the office of Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant 6 months or more before a
general election
is due,
an election to fill the
vacancy must be held
on a Saturday to be
appointed by the Chief Executive Officer that is
not later than the 100th day after the vacancy
arises.

(2) If the office of Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant less than 6 months
before a
general election is due,
it is not necessary to hold
an election to fill the vacancy
.
(3) In the circumstances specified in sub-section (2)—
(a) if the office of the Lord Mayor becomes
vacant, the Deputy Lord Mayor becomes the
Lord Mayor on the passing of a resolution by
the Council that an election to fill the
vacancy not be held; and
(b) if the office of the Deputy Lord Mayor
becomes vacant, the Council may appoint a
Councillor to fill the vacancy; and
(c) if the Council does so, the subsequent
vacancy in the office of the Councillor
appointed is to be filled in accordance with
Schedule 3A and section 37A(4) of the
Local Government Act 1989.

Analysis: Victorian Senate vote 2004 to new Legilsative Council regions

Analysis of the 2004 senate vote based on the new Legislative Council boundaries

Being interested in electoral reform we thought it would be of some general interest and value to do an analysis of the 2004 Victorian Senate vote as it would apply to the new Legislative Council boundaries.

We chose the Senate because it provides an opportunity to access the relative strength of all the main political parties who nominated candidates for the Senate (The National Party had a joint ticket with the Liberal Party). This analysis is not 100% accurate as the preference negotiations and registered party allocations would be significantly different under the new eight electorate model but never the less we consider it worth reflecting on.

In our analysis we allocated and distributed the vote according to the registered “above-the-line” preferences for the 2004 Senate elections. No assessment has been made at this stage to consider the impact of below the line voting (This may effect the outcomes of the last position elected. We are waiting on further information from the Australian Electoral Commission which would enable more detailed analysis to be undertaken.

Analysis (Modified to reflect McGauran’s defection to thw Liberal party)

Based on the 2004 Senate result our analysis indicates that the Liberal/National Party coalition would have obtained an absolute majority (21 out of the 40 members) of the Legislative Council.

Results
Eastern Metropolitan Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib)
Eastern Victoria Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib)
Northern Metropolitan Region (ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib, Grn)
Northern Victoria Region (Lib, ALP, NP, Lib, ALP)
Southern Metropolitan Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, NP, Grn)
South Eastern Metropolitan Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, FFP)
Western Metropolitan Region (ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP)
Western Victoria Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, NP)

Sum
ALP (16) – (32.27%, 30.66%, 42.82%, 27.11%, 27.15%, 39.71%, 48.50%, 35.21%)
Liberal (18-19) – (49.11%, 50.45%, 33.38%, 53.50%, 49.93%, 42.65%, 33.39%, 46.76%)
National Party (3-2) *
Green (2) – (8.33%, 7.59%, 13.28%, 5.39%, 15.01%, 6.43%, 6.24% ,7.39%)
Family First (1) – (2.17%, 2.46%, 1.25%, 2.61%, 0.78%, 2.25%, 1.55%, 2.11%)

* the Liberal/NP ran on a single ticket with the NP listed no 2

Addendum (21-24 January 2006)

Please Note: The Liberal/National Party stood on a single ticket with the National Party listed at second place. For the purpose of the analysis the Liberal Party and National Party are considered one. In the case of non rural seats it is the Liberal Party support that contributes most to the outcome of the analysis.

The recent defection of Julian McGauran from the National Party to the Liberal Party would reduced the National support to two-three seats. Previously seats that would have been won by the Liberal Party were allocated to the National Party as they held the number two position on the coalition ticket. I have now reallocated those seats back to the Liberal party.

Some readers have not understood this fact. I thought that it was pretty obvious in the analysis listed above.

Clearly not to some. If the Liberal/National Party continue to run a joint ticket with the National Party second on their ticket then the National Party would win the second spot as indicated assuming all else is equal. Again This is a preliminary analysis and more detailed analysis is pending receipt of additional information requested by the Australian Electoral Office (Including below the line data).