There should be single-councillor electorates
May I endorse Bryan Ellis's comments on the ward system for Council elections ("Neither Crouch nor Tesch talks about ward system", PN 541).
Of course, neither Crouch nor Tesch wants to talk about the ward system, because it is the large, organized parties that benefit from it.
It has always been my contention that there should be single-councillor electorates and that it should be a requirement that the councillor live in the electorate for which he/she stands.
If single-member electorates are appropriate for federal and state elections, what is the logic of a ward system for local-government elections?
With a single-councillor district, everyone in the district will know exactly who the local representative is and whom to go to for advice.
As it is, every ward councillor is responsible, which means that nobody is responsible, so it is easy to see why so many are dissatisfied with the responsiveness of our council officers.
However, of even more concern than the ward system is the pernicious above-the-line voting option.
This is a monument to the lazy-mindedness and apathy of the average voter, and it virtually guarantees that the two large parties will receive one third of the seats each, regardless, because of the donkey vote.
I'd be prepared to bet that a majority of above-the-line voters don't even know the name of the candidate they're voting for, let alone his policies.
As a corollary to this, there should be no indication of party affiliation allowed on the ballot paper: let voters assess each candidate on his/her merits and choose accordingly.
This is how local-government elections were meant to be, before they were perverted by party politics.
We have just heard the regrettable decision of one Federal candidate to withdraw from the campaign, because she simply cannot afford the costs.
It is obvious that many possible candidates do not stand in local elections for the same reason.
If we had a small, single-member ward, campaigning would be enormously simplified: an independent candidate could probably visit most constituents personally on foot, and the financial advantage of the party candidate would be greatly reduced.
This would be a small step towards returning democracy to the people; perhaps, Central Coast Friends of Democracy could give up harping uselessly on the amalgamation and focus on improving some democratic fundamentals.
Email, 11 Apr 2022
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy