Liberalised Democracy overtakes ALP policy

The Liberal party in addressing recent changes to local government legistation has spoken out in support of a proper selection review for the City of Melbourne.

Opposition local government spokeswoman Jeanette Powell said the changes to voting laws for Melbourne City Council did not go far enough.
“We have asked for a complete review of the City of Melbourne elections, it is the only local council that doesn’t have an electoral review every second election,” she said.

The fact that the Labor Government has not initiated a proper review of the electoral changes and external boundaries of the City of Melbourne is an indictment against the current minister for Local Government, Richard Wynne. There are a number of anomalies in the act that must be addressed before the November 2008 municipal elections. Richard Wynne rightly had come under criticism for the government’s refusal to include the City of Melbourne in a review process as every other municipality, except Melbourne is required.

The last review of Melbourne’s electoral system, which introduced the direct elecion of the Lord Mayor took place in 2001/2, was held by Bob Cameron behind closed doors and submissions were never published.

Liberalised Democracy overtakes ALP policy

The Liberal party in addressing recent changes to local government legistation has spoken out in support of a proper selection review for the City of Melbourne.

Opposition local government spokeswoman Jeanette Powell said the changes to voting laws for Melbourne City Council did not go far enough.
“We have asked for a complete review of the City of Melbourne elections, it is the only local council that doesn’t have an electoral review every second election,” she said.

The fact that the Labor Government has not initiated a proper review of the electoral changes and external boundaries of the City of Melbourne is an indictment against the current minister for Local Government, Richard Wynne. There are a number of anomalies in the act that must be addressed before the November 2008 municipal elections. Richard Wynne rightly had come under criticism for the government’s refusal to include the City of Melbourne in a review process as every other municipality, except Melbourne is required.

The last review of Melbourne’s electoral system, which introduced the direct elecion of the Lord Mayor took place in 2001/2, was held by Bob Cameron behind closed doors and submissions were never published.

Liberalised Democracy overtakes ALP policy

The Liberal party in addressing recent changes to local government legistation has spoken out in support of a proper selection review for the City of Melbourne.

Opposition local government spokeswoman Jeanette Powell said the changes to voting laws for Melbourne City Council did not go far enough.
“We have asked for a complete review of the City of Melbourne elections, it is the only local council that doesn’t have an electoral review every second election,” she said.

The fact that the Labor Government has not initiated a proper review of the electoral changes and external boundaries of the City of Melbourne is an indictment against the current minister for Local Government, Richard Wynne. There are a number of anomalies in the act that must be addressed before the November 2008 municipal elections. Richard Wynne rightly had come under criticism for the government’s refusal to include the City of Melbourne in a review process as every other municipality, except Melbourne is required.

The last review of Melbourne’s electoral system, which introduced the direct elecion of the Lord Mayor took place in 2001/2, was held by Bob Cameron behind closed doors and submissions were never published.

City Council in denial John So avoids public review

A case of a plague on both your houses.

The Herald Sun has reported on the growing unrest amongst Melbourne’s residents which comes as no surprise. BUT…

There is more to say about this issue and so little time. The fact is the City Council has only itself to blame and could have and should have done much more.

There was nothing stopping the City Councillors from calling on the State Government to subject the Council to a proper review. We have on many occasions raised this issue. It is not necessary to have John So blessing and the State Government should have and could have acted independently from the Council.

The fact that the City Council is not subjected to a regular review is an indictment against teh State Governments and a blot on Richard Wynne’s leadership. Richard more the anyone knows Melbourne ad the issues involved. Instead of addressing these issues the State government opted for a head in the sand turn a blind eye approach.

The Councillors suppoorting the review should also share some of the blame. They had three years in which to raise these issues, they choose not to, leaving it to teh last minute and allowing John So to scuttle ay hope for a meaningful review.

The Council could have also opened up0 the committee structure and provided more local input and expertise. The Council has failed in all respects to deliver much needed reform, they must share responsibility equally with John So who continues to pander to the popular at the expense of responsible good governance.


Residents put city council on notice

Ian Royall, Herald Sun, March 28, 2008 12:00am

AN alliance of 10 city residents’ groups has fired the first salvo in what it calls the battle for democracy in Melbourne.

The Coalition of Residents Associations has described the voting system for the Melbourne City Council as dysfunctional and undemocratic.

The group wants Local Government Minister Richard Wynne, who was mayor between 1990 and 1991, to intervene.

The push comes after the latest move for an electoral review was defeated by Lord Mayor John So Melbourne Living team at council on Tuesday.

The alliance wants:

POSTAL voting scrapped in favour of attendance voting;

REINTRODUCTION of the wards system;

REVIEW of the popular vote to elect the mayor. It claims the current method favours the richest candidate;

REVIEW of provisions allowing company directors and landlords to vote;

ALL candidates to have been on the electoral roll for at least two years before the election.

Former lord mayor Kevin Chamberlin said Melbourne was exempt from periodic reviews that applied to all other councils in Victoria.

“Melbourne could go for 50 years without a review under the current legislation.”

Cr Fiona Snedden said the city needed a return to one vote one value principles.

She called on the lord mayor to act.

Cr So said he had had fruitful talks with the residents’ groups.

“But six months before the election is not the appropriate time for a review,” Cr So said.

Melbourne is growing by more than 9000 people because of the boundary changes that rope Docklands, North Melbourne and Kensington into the municipality.

The lord mayor said he had worked with the government over the boundary changes and was confident the current system was effective.

Mr Wynne’s spokesman, Dan Ward, said: “The Government does not intend to change the council structure or the voting processes.”

CORA member Jackie Watts said residents hoped transparency could be restored at Town Hall.

Mr Chamberlin said the case for a review was overwhelming.

“There is a lack of transparency and a lack of democracy,” he said.

City Council in denial John So avoids public review

A case of a plague on both your houses.

The Herald Sun has reported on the growing unrest amongst Melbourne’s residents which comes as no surprise. BUT…

There is more to say about this issue and so little time. The fact is the City Council has only itself to blame and could have and should have done much more.

There was nothing stopping the City Councillors from calling on the State Government to subject the Council to a proper review. We have on many occasions raised this issue. It is not necessary to have John So blessing and the State Government should have and could have acted independently from the Council.

The fact that the City Council is not subjected to a regular review is an indictment against teh State Governments and a blot on Richard Wynne’s leadership. Richard more the anyone knows Melbourne ad the issues involved. Instead of addressing these issues the State government opted for a head in the sand turn a blind eye approach.

The Councillors suppoorting the review should also share some of the blame. They had three years in which to raise these issues, they choose not to, leaving it to teh last minute and allowing John So to scuttle ay hope for a meaningful review.

The Council could have also opened up0 the committee structure and provided more local input and expertise. The Council has failed in all respects to deliver much needed reform, they must share responsibility equally with John So who continues to pander to the popular at the expense of responsible good governance.


Residents put city council on notice

Ian Royall, Herald Sun, March 28, 2008 12:00am

AN alliance of 10 city residents’ groups has fired the first salvo in what it calls the battle for democracy in Melbourne.

The Coalition of Residents Associations has described the voting system for the Melbourne City Council as dysfunctional and undemocratic.

The group wants Local Government Minister Richard Wynne, who was mayor between 1990 and 1991, to intervene.

The push comes after the latest move for an electoral review was defeated by Lord Mayor John So Melbourne Living team at council on Tuesday.

The alliance wants:

POSTAL voting scrapped in favour of attendance voting;

REINTRODUCTION of the wards system;

REVIEW of the popular vote to elect the mayor. It claims the current method favours the richest candidate;

REVIEW of provisions allowing company directors and landlords to vote;

ALL candidates to have been on the electoral roll for at least two years before the election.

Former lord mayor Kevin Chamberlin said Melbourne was exempt from periodic reviews that applied to all other councils in Victoria.

“Melbourne could go for 50 years without a review under the current legislation.”

Cr Fiona Snedden said the city needed a return to one vote one value principles.

She called on the lord mayor to act.

Cr So said he had had fruitful talks with the residents’ groups.

“But six months before the election is not the appropriate time for a review,” Cr So said.

Melbourne is growing by more than 9000 people because of the boundary changes that rope Docklands, North Melbourne and Kensington into the municipality.

The lord mayor said he had worked with the government over the boundary changes and was confident the current system was effective.

Mr Wynne’s spokesman, Dan Ward, said: “The Government does not intend to change the council structure or the voting processes.”

CORA member Jackie Watts said residents hoped transparency could be restored at Town Hall.

Mr Chamberlin said the case for a review was overwhelming.

“There is a lack of transparency and a lack of democracy,” he said.

City Council in denial John So avoids public review

A case of a plague on both your houses.

The Herald Sun has reported on the growing unrest amongst Melbourne’s residents which comes as no surprise. BUT…

There is more to say about this issue and so little time. The fact is the City Council has only itself to blame and could have and should have done much more.

There was nothing stopping the City Councillors from calling on the State Government to subject the Council to a proper review. We have on many occasions raised this issue. It is not necessary to have John So blessing and the State Government should have and could have acted independently from the Council.

The fact that the City Council is not subjected to a regular review is an indictment against teh State Governments and a blot on Richard Wynne’s leadership. Richard more the anyone knows Melbourne ad the issues involved. Instead of addressing these issues the State government opted for a head in the sand turn a blind eye approach.

The Councillors suppoorting the review should also share some of the blame. They had three years in which to raise these issues, they choose not to, leaving it to teh last minute and allowing John So to scuttle ay hope for a meaningful review.

The Council could have also opened up0 the committee structure and provided more local input and expertise. The Council has failed in all respects to deliver much needed reform, they must share responsibility equally with John So who continues to pander to the popular at the expense of responsible good governance.


Residents put city council on notice

Ian Royall, Herald Sun, March 28, 2008 12:00am

AN alliance of 10 city residents’ groups has fired the first salvo in what it calls the battle for democracy in Melbourne.

The Coalition of Residents Associations has described the voting system for the Melbourne City Council as dysfunctional and undemocratic.

The group wants Local Government Minister Richard Wynne, who was mayor between 1990 and 1991, to intervene.

The push comes after the latest move for an electoral review was defeated by Lord Mayor John So Melbourne Living team at council on Tuesday.

The alliance wants:

POSTAL voting scrapped in favour of attendance voting;

REINTRODUCTION of the wards system;

REVIEW of the popular vote to elect the mayor. It claims the current method favours the richest candidate;

REVIEW of provisions allowing company directors and landlords to vote;

ALL candidates to have been on the electoral roll for at least two years before the election.

Former lord mayor Kevin Chamberlin said Melbourne was exempt from periodic reviews that applied to all other councils in Victoria.

“Melbourne could go for 50 years without a review under the current legislation.”

Cr Fiona Snedden said the city needed a return to one vote one value principles.

She called on the lord mayor to act.

Cr So said he had had fruitful talks with the residents’ groups.

“But six months before the election is not the appropriate time for a review,” Cr So said.

Melbourne is growing by more than 9000 people because of the boundary changes that rope Docklands, North Melbourne and Kensington into the municipality.

The lord mayor said he had worked with the government over the boundary changes and was confident the current system was effective.

Mr Wynne’s spokesman, Dan Ward, said: “The Government does not intend to change the council structure or the voting processes.”

CORA member Jackie Watts said residents hoped transparency could be restored at Town Hall.

Mr Chamberlin said the case for a review was overwhelming.

“There is a lack of transparency and a lack of democracy,” he said.

CEO pitches a curve ball on the eve of his departure

David Pitchford, Melbourne’s soon to depart CEO in an interview reported in the Age Newspaper has made some rather interesting comments. The statements raise more questions and could possible give some insight into why he did not make the grad.

Pitchford had overseen the expansion of the City Council at an unprecedented rate. His out of control unfettered “design me a job” benefits he offered his senior team had left the City facing near bankruptcy. It was not until the Council called in a team of experts management consultants (At an addition cost to the CEO’s $350,000 per year plus benefits remuneration) that the Council began to face reality.

Melbourne has only had three really good Ceos in recent memory. John Young, Elizabeth Proust and Andy Friend. Each person had a different approach and style to governance.

The Council went down hill fast following the appointment of Micheal Malouf (Who most people have forgotten already). It was under Malouf that governance standards declined dramatically and corruption began to set in. The Council no longer maintained a “non-political” professional management. Malouf’s contribution aided and abetted by Alison Lyons lead to the dismissal of the elected City Council who was held out as the escape goat for poor governance whilst Maklouf and the administration escaped blame or accountability. Sure there were just reasons to dismiss the City Council at the time but the situation was made worst by a CEO who was out of his depth.

Part of the solution introduced by the then Minister (He did not last long) Bob Cameron was the introduction of a directly elected Lord Mayor. (On what basis the minister made this decision is difficult to determine as the review hearing was held behind closed doors and copies of submissions received where never published) Exactly who supported the idea is unknown but what is clear is that the directly elected Lord Mayor is part of the problem and not the solution

The direct election of a popular Lord Mayor has failed to deliver good governance and the elected Council is worst off as a result. There are many arguments against the notion of a directly elected Lord Mayor which I will not go into here suffice to say that the Lord Mayor and chairman of the Council must maintain the confidence and support of the elected Council.

A directly elected Mayor is only held accountable once every four years where an appointed Mayor is held accountable daily by the elected Council.


“Mr Pitchford believes Local Government Minister Dick Wynne should review the City of Melbourne Act after next year’s council elections, to evaluate whether the system of a popularly elected lord mayor has worked.”


What was interesting in then Pitchford swan song was his request for the current Local Government Minister Dick Wynn (Former City of Melbourne Lord Mayor) for the Minister to review the direct election model.

The question should be why wait until the newly elected council is elected. Surely any review should be made prior to the 2008 election?

The City of Melbourne is due for a representation review but sadly the City is excluded from the process of review as applies to all other Municipalities in Victoria.

The State Government should undertake a comprehensive review of the City of Melbourne
(Including its external boundaries) early in the new year. Only then will we begin to address the real structural flaws that exist in the management of the City Council.

With the Federal Election soon out of the way NOW is the time to put the review in place and act before the November 2008 Municipal elections.

CEO pitches a curve ball on the eve of his departure

David Pitchford, Melbourne’s soon to depart CEO in an interview reported in the Age Newspaper has made some rather interesting comments. The statements raise more questions and could possible give some insight into why he did not make the grad.

Pitchford had overseen the expansion of the City Council at an unprecedented rate. His out of control unfettered “design me a job” benefits he offered his senior team had left the City facing near bankruptcy. It was not until the Council called in a team of experts management consultants (At an addition cost to the CEO’s $350,000 per year plus benefits remuneration) that the Council began to face reality.

Melbourne has only had three really good Ceos in recent memory. John Young, Elizabeth Proust and Andy Friend. Each person had a different approach and style to governance.

The Council went down hill fast following the appointment of Micheal Malouf (Who most people have forgotten already). It was under Malouf that governance standards declined dramatically and corruption began to set in. The Council no longer maintained a “non-political” professional management. Malouf’s contribution aided and abetted by Alison Lyons lead to the dismissal of the elected City Council who was held out as the escape goat for poor governance whilst Maklouf and the administration escaped blame or accountability. Sure there were just reasons to dismiss the City Council at the time but the situation was made worst by a CEO who was out of his depth.

Part of the solution introduced by the then Minister (He did not last long) Bob Cameron was the introduction of a directly elected Lord Mayor. (On what basis the minister made this decision is difficult to determine as the review hearing was held behind closed doors and copies of submissions received where never published) Exactly who supported the idea is unknown but what is clear is that the directly elected Lord Mayor is part of the problem and not the solution

The direct election of a popular Lord Mayor has failed to deliver good governance and the elected Council is worst off as a result. There are many arguments against the notion of a directly elected Lord Mayor which I will not go into here suffice to say that the Lord Mayor and chairman of the Council must maintain the confidence and support of the elected Council.

A directly elected Mayor is only held accountable once every four years where an appointed Mayor is held accountable daily by the elected Council.


“Mr Pitchford believes Local Government Minister Dick Wynne should review the City of Melbourne Act after next year’s council elections, to evaluate whether the system of a popularly elected lord mayor has worked.”


What was interesting in then Pitchford swan song was his request for the current Local Government Minister Dick Wynn (Former City of Melbourne Lord Mayor) for the Minister to review the direct election model.

The question should be why wait until the newly elected council is elected. Surely any review should be made prior to the 2008 election?

The City of Melbourne is due for a representation review but sadly the City is excluded from the process of review as applies to all other Municipalities in Victoria.

The State Government should undertake a comprehensive review of the City of Melbourne
(Including its external boundaries) early in the new year. Only then will we begin to address the real structural flaws that exist in the management of the City Council.

With the Federal Election soon out of the way NOW is the time to put the review in place and act before the November 2008 Municipal elections.

CEO pitches a curve ball on the eve of his departure

David Pitchford, Melbourne’s soon to depart CEO in an interview reported in the Age Newspaper has made some rather interesting comments. The statements raise more questions and could possible give some insight into why he did not make the grad.

Pitchford had overseen the expansion of the City Council at an unprecedented rate. His out of control unfettered “design me a job” benefits he offered his senior team had left the City facing near bankruptcy. It was not until the Council called in a team of experts management consultants (At an addition cost to the CEO’s $350,000 per year plus benefits remuneration) that the Council began to face reality.

Melbourne has only had three really good Ceos in recent memory. John Young, Elizabeth Proust and Andy Friend. Each person had a different approach and style to governance.

The Council went down hill fast following the appointment of Micheal Malouf (Who most people have forgotten already). It was under Malouf that governance standards declined dramatically and corruption began to set in. The Council no longer maintained a “non-political” professional management. Malouf’s contribution aided and abetted by Alison Lyons lead to the dismissal of the elected City Council who was held out as the escape goat for poor governance whilst Maklouf and the administration escaped blame or accountability. Sure there were just reasons to dismiss the City Council at the time but the situation was made worst by a CEO who was out of his depth.

Part of the solution introduced by the then Minister (He did not last long) Bob Cameron was the introduction of a directly elected Lord Mayor. (On what basis the minister made this decision is difficult to determine as the review hearing was held behind closed doors and copies of submissions received where never published) Exactly who supported the idea is unknown but what is clear is that the directly elected Lord Mayor is part of the problem and not the solution

The direct election of a popular Lord Mayor has failed to deliver good governance and the elected Council is worst off as a result. There are many arguments against the notion of a directly elected Lord Mayor which I will not go into here suffice to say that the Lord Mayor and chairman of the Council must maintain the confidence and support of the elected Council.

A directly elected Mayor is only held accountable once every four years where an appointed Mayor is held accountable daily by the elected Council.


“Mr Pitchford believes Local Government Minister Dick Wynne should review the City of Melbourne Act after next year’s council elections, to evaluate whether the system of a popularly elected lord mayor has worked.”


What was interesting in then Pitchford swan song was his request for the current Local Government Minister Dick Wynn (Former City of Melbourne Lord Mayor) for the Minister to review the direct election model.

The question should be why wait until the newly elected council is elected. Surely any review should be made prior to the 2008 election?

The City of Melbourne is due for a representation review but sadly the City is excluded from the process of review as applies to all other Municipalities in Victoria.

The State Government should undertake a comprehensive review of the City of Melbourne
(Including its external boundaries) early in the new year. Only then will we begin to address the real structural flaws that exist in the management of the City Council.

With the Federal Election soon out of the way NOW is the time to put the review in place and act before the November 2008 Municipal elections.

VEC refuses to publish submission critical of its handling of the State election Steve Tully brings the Local Government Review into disrepute

The Victorian Electoral Commission has refused to publish submissions made to the various Local Government Electoral Representation Reviews. The submission is critical of the conduct of the Victorian Electoral Commission’s administration of the 2006 State Elections and its management of the Local Government review.

A statement made by Ms Sue Lang, representing Steve Tully – Victoria’s Chief Electoral Commissioner, indicated that the VEC would not be publishing the submission.

The Victorian Electoral Commission’s refusal to publish the submission has once again brought the conduct of the Victorian Electoral Commission and the Victorian Local Government review into disrepute.

The submissions are similar to previous submissions that have been published by the Victorian Electoral Commission except that the current submission includes a section that is critical of the Victorian Electoral Commission’s administration and management of the 2006 Victorian State Election. Information that is relevant to the Local Government Electoral Representation Reviews.

Information obtained under Freedom of Information legislation has indicated that the software currently used by the Victorian Electoral Commission in determining the results of the election has not been fully certified.

The City of Melbourne in 2004 had paid the Victorian Electoral Commission over $100,000 for software development. Presumably similar amounts have been paid by other Local Council’s and the State Government in what is a very expensive software development project. The fact that the software has not been fully certified and there are a number of short falls in it’s design and implementation raises concerns in relation to exactly what has the Victorian Electoral Commission spent the money on.

The conduct of the November 2006 Victorian Legislative Council election had identified a number of serious errors in the administration and counting of the ballot indicating that the system put in place by the Victorian Electoral Commission were not fully tested and does not meet industry standards. Problems associated with the conduct of the State election was further compounded by the refusal of the Victorian Electoral Commissioner to publish detailed results of the State Election (including the number of postal and pre-polling votes issued and returned prior to November 25, recorded below-the-line preference data and the Commission’s refusal to published the detailed polling place results of the Victorian Legislative Council).

The software used by the Victorian Electoral Commission in the conduct of the State Election is the same software used for Local Council elections.

The Local Government Minister has yet to respond to the complaint.


Addendum notation

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 and not accounted for in the software used to determine the re4ulst of the 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