Greens, independents say council fight set to be fairer after how-to-vote cards scrapped

Megan Bailey, Cranbourne Leader

September 2, 2016 2:15pm

CHANGES to postal ballot packs could make council elections fairer by making it harder for hopefuls relying on dummy candidates to get votes. State politicians last week voted to ban how-to-vote cards in postal ballot packs.The move was sought by the Liberals and backed by the Nationals and Greens.

Labor voted to keep the cards in the packs earlier this year, saying removing them would increase informal voting.

The change will mean that election candidates who plan to use dummies will have to spend more money sending their preference information to voters or pay to mail out brochures for dummy candidates running on their behalf.

“This is a good move but we’re yet to hear whether the VEC have been told by the government that these will be the rules for the election,” Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said.“We hope the government doesn’t do something dodgy to try and reinstate preferences and stooge candidates.”

Former Casey councillor Steve Beardon, who said he was now planning to run in October, said the decision was great news.“Independents have the greatest opportunity now more than ever to take control of council and return it to the people, to our communities,” he said.

Rex Flannery, who earlier in the year told Leader he felt he had no choice but to use dummy candidates in this election, said it would even the playing field for independents. “Four years ago when I ran in the Springfield Ward, I was subjected to eight candidates out of eleven placing myself at the bottom of the ballot paper,” he said. “This will make way for fewer dummy candidates running and give all independents a fairer chance of winning. “Only those candidates who want a chance to become a councillor will publish a brochure to send out to the residents and they will see who the real candidates are.”

Cr Gary Rowe, who will stand for election this year, said the decision may stop the manipulation of the election process.“There will still be “dummies” running in every ward but hopefully fewer of them,” he said. “They can be identified by lack of a genuine campaign, checking the flow of preferences and where they end up.“The ‘real’ candidate is the ultimate beneficiary of the preference flow.”

Monash councillor Geoff Lake said changes to how-to-vote cards were ‘overwhelmingly opposed’ by councils.  “If the opposition consulted councils, like the government recently did on this very issue, they would be aware that the overwhelming majority of the local government sector opposed this change,” he said. “Voters who are used to receiving a how to vote card whenever they vote are now going to be on their own when voting at these elections — in some situations with more than 20 boxes to number.”

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/greens-independents-say-council-fight-set-to-be-fairer-after-howtovote-cards-scrapped/news-story/ba230ecff55d88bf39bbdb56b38031df


We welcome the absence of How-toVote cards in the election packs sent out to residents. This will not remove dummy candidates  but it will ensure that it makes it that much more difficult for votes to be steered and manipulated in a specific direction.

The Leader article however is not 100% correct. Those councils undertaking attendance voting will still be permitted to hand out How-to-Vote cards in their election packs. Glen Eira has opted for postal voting.

Below we feature part of the ‘application’ process that candidates have to fill out. Question 4 is basically useless in that it asks candidates if they are ‘endorsed’ by any political party. Given that only the Greens officially ‘endorse’ candidates it reveals nothing about the candidates political leanings, nor does it reveal if they happen to be a member of either the Libs or Labor. When the flyers start arriving in letter boxes we urge all residents to carefully scrutinise candidates’ preferences.






Is it a mere coincidence that now with Paul Burke gone, and rumours that Linda Smith has also departed, that the GESAC basketball issue has again come to the fore? It would seem that Bob Mann has been ousted – much to his chagrin since he is threatening legal action. Be this as it may, residents have never received full disclosure on the following:

  • Have the Warriors been completely fulfilling the terms of their ‘lease’?
  • Have they occupied all the court hours they promised?
  • Have they been paying the entire weekly rent as promised?
  • Have they been subletting?
  • Was the new lease signed with new conditions?
  • Are residents subsidising this group in any shape or form?

We repeat what we have continually stated – until a comprehensive ledger account is provided of GESAC operations, including full:

  • staff costs
  • maintenance costs
  • income from contracts/leases/memberships
  • insurance costs
  • heating costs
  • water costs
  • interest repayments
  • car park expansions
  • lawyers’ costs, etc.etc.

residents have every right to continue to question the operation of this facility and whether in fact GESAC is paying its own way as continually claimed. Until there is complete transparency, doubts must remain.

Only 200 voted on Melbourne Racing Club change

Date: May 2, 2016

Patrick Bartley

The board of the Melbourne Racing Club was again under pressure to explain how only 1.5 per cent of its membership voted in last Thursday’s controversial special meeting at Caulfield racecourse to give office bearers a further six-year term

And of the membership of 14,000-plus, only a little more than 200 voting members carried the motion to extend the terms in office and, of that figure, many were postal votes lodged by friends and family of board members.

While outraged members began to form groups to challenge the club, a spokesman for the MRC said there would not be another vote on the issue despite the small number of votes.

A spokesman for the MRC, Jake Norton, said he and his club doubted that the state’s ruling body, Racing Victoria, had jurisdiction over the club, despite being asked for a please explain after last Thursday’s meeting, which was described by members as a “farce”.

He said the club had been in constant communication with Racing Minister Martin Pakula. But Fairfax Media understand RVL has the power to register all clubs in Victoria each year.As well, a core of members is  in talks with a constitutional lawyer in a bid to find a way to have last Thursday’s decision overturned.

Other members on Monday lodged letters of complaint to not only the minister but Premier Daniel Andrews and all federal members within the Caulfield district.

“We will have this changed,” one member said. “It cannot possibly go on. We have 200 members voting on the most important issue the club has faced since the new century.

“And we know now that thousands and thousands of members were not contacted. That’s, of course, unless you were a friend or a family member of a board member. It’s outrageous and the ill feeling within the membership is growing by the day.”

It takes 150 signatures of Melbourne Racing Club members to spill the board, a figure that will easily be gathered by the end of the week, according to those members against the move

Racing Victoria officials confirmed they had received an explanation from the Melbourne Racing Club after last Thursday night. “We will be examining the report over the next few days but at the moment we won’t be commenting,” a spokesman said.

Other members have been outraged because they never knew of the meeting. A doctor from the Mornington Peninsula said: “We have been manipulated. We were told that we’ve got to get onto the website and look up an obscure page to find the most important piece of legislation the club’s ever voted on.

“They have flouted their position of trust and what an outrage – just over 200 votes and the matter swept away.

“If Martin Pakula and the government here can’t do anything, my friends and I will go federally. Many prime ministers have been members of this club and it’s now reduced to a boys’ club.”

Other questions have been raised over how the executive wages bill has jumped from $2 million to $4 million and why a race club needs 50 per cent ownership in a bakery in Collingwood.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/horseracing/only-200-voted-on-melbourne-racing-club-change-20160502-gokcsl.html#ixzz47YTWM5GO



Sky rail’s ‘secret expansion’: four-track future looms for Melbourne’s south-east

Date: March 10, 2016 – 12:15AM

Adam Carey

Parts of the planned $1.6 billion sky rail between Caulfield and Dandenong could be demolished within 12 years of being built, and new linear parks and paths beneath the line built over, to allow a new structure with two extra rail tracks.

Two extra tracks for express trains, V/Line and freight, are part of longer-term plans for the Cranbourne-Pakenham rail corridor, and could see parts of the sky rail torn down under a secret deal between government authorities.

The third and fourth tracks have been omitted from the scope of the Andrews government’s sky rail project: the removal of nine of Melbourne’s most congested level crossings and the rebuilding of five railway stations by 2018, just in time for the next state election.

The project will boost capacity on the line by 42 per cent, the government says.

But some time beyond 2018, a future Victorian government will face a painful choice of either building a new rail viaduct down the middle of the two raised viaducts the government is to begin building this year, or potentially acquiring dozens of properties between Carnegie and Hughesdale.

The Level Crossing Removal Authority, which is in charge of the project, insists the sky rail design unveiled last month includes provision for the future construction of a third and fourth track.

But it has refused to reveal basic details of where those tracks will go.

“The third and fourth track is not part of the level crossing removal project,” authority chief executive Kevin Devlin said.

“The alignment of these tracks will be determined in the future, as part of a separate project.”

However, The Age has learned of planning details for the extra tracks.

Public Transport Victoria estimates the extra tracks will be needed from 2030, based on forecast passenger demand for Melbourne’s busiest and most overcrowded rail line.

About 37,000 passengers are expected to travel on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line in the two-hour morning peak by 2030, more than double current levels and thousands more than on any other line in Melbourne.

In planning for this huge growth, PTV and the Level Crossing Removal Authority struck a confidential agreement last year on what can be built now on land where the third and fourth tracks will eventually go.

Under this agreement, sky rail infrastructure that could be demolished or built over for the extra track pair includes shared walking and cycling paths, station platforms, station car parks, lifts, ramps, buildings and minor utility services.

The Level Crossing Removal Authority agreed to this, on the condition that it did not add to the $1.6 billion cost of the current project.

The rail corridor is just 20 metres wide at its narrowest point between Grange Road in Carnegie and Poath Road in Murrumbeena, making it difficult to build four tracks without acquiring residential property along the line.

Edward Meysztowicz​ and his family own a house in Murrumbeena that backs onto the northern side of the line.

In meetings with the Level Crossing Removal Authority, Mr Meysztowicz obtained the dimensions of the planned sky rail structure, and its proximity to his home.

The authority confirmed the viaduct will be 10.6 metres above ground level and 4.3 metres away from his back fence where it runs behind his property. He used those dimensions to commission an illustration of the sky rail from his own backyard.

Mr Meysztowicz runs a business in industrial Dandenong South and insists he supports new infrastructure, even on the rail line behind his home.

But he argues the government is thrusting a cheaper, inferior option on the public, and should spend what it takes to build all four tracks below ground level now.

“Do it once but do it properly,” he said.

Only when the third and fourth tracks are built will the true scale of sky rail be revealed, he argued – a rail viaduct that will dominate and transform the suburban environment far beyond what is depicted in the authority’s promotional material.

Mr Meysztowicz also commissioned speculative images of his neighbourhood with a third and fourth track.

“The sheer bulk of sky rail in the landscape demands cloaking with multi-storey development,” Mr Meysztowicz said.

“This is inter-generational infrastructure our children will be grappling with.”

Jeremy Reynolds, an urban planner who played important roles in Melbourne’s development from the 1970s until his retirement in 2014, agrees that the Andrews government has failed to be up-front with the community about the fact that sky rail is “just part one” of long-term plans for the Cranbourne-Pakenham rail line.

“Given the scale of patronage growth, surely the government should be openly planning for four tracks between Caulfield and Dandenong now,” Mr Reynolds said.

“The Level Crossing Removal Authority does say that the current two track proposal makes allowance for additional tracks to be added in the future and that the future project will be subject to a separate planning, design and consultation process.

“But this has not been made clear to local residents as they gawp at slick videos, paw over designs for linear parks and worry about noise and light consequences of just two elevated railway tracks.”
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/sky-rail-is-just-part-one-fourtrack-future-looms-for-melbournes-southeast-20160309-gnetq5.html#ixzz42Rog6R4o


Crs Pilling/Okotel
That a report be provided that provides options for a response from Council whereas;
A/ a Councillor has made remarks against a section of the community in the Council chamber that are widely viewed as racist,
B/ a Councillor has made statements to the media that are widely viewed as false and damaging to the reputation of Council,
C/ this report to be presented at the February 23rd meeting.
Cr Lipshutz called for a DIVISION on the voting of the MOTION.

Cr Lipshutz
Cr Hyams
Cr Esakoff
Cr Delahunty
Cr Pilling
Cr Sounness
Cr Okotel
Cr Magee

On the basis of the DIVISION the Chairperson declared the Motion CARRIED

Female executive a favourite for Victorian Senate

Primrose Riordan

14 January 2016

The Australian Financial Review

Victoria’s all-male Liberal Senate team could be facing a shake up: AustralianSuper adviser Jane Hume has emerged as a favourite to replace outgoing Senator Michael Ronaldson.

Freedom and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson’s decision to bow out of the race on Tuesday is “building momentum” for an all-female ticket at the 2016 election, say Liberal MPs, and could help Ms Hume take the top slot.

Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer’s chief of staff Julian Sheezel, who was thought to be in with a chance, also pulled out of the race last week.

“Before Tim quit [Ms Hume] had a good chance, now she has an even better chance,” a Liberal source said. “Jane’s got friends across the party”.

To have the best chance of winning and becoming a senator, candidates must be in the top two spots. National Senator Bridget McKenzie will retain the number two position. Senior party sources said Ms Hume is supported by Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg, Wannon MP Dan Tehan, and Deakin MP Michael Sukkar.

One Liberal MP said: “Jane Hume is strongly favoured to win the first spot. Jane has cross-party support”.

“I think it’s time we walk the talk and had more women,” said another MP supporting Ms Hume.

Institute of Public Affairs deputy director James Paterson, 28, is also running for the number one spot, and his supporters say he has the backing of at least two Liberal ministers.

Mr Paterson has told party selectors his media and fundraising experience would allow him to start campaigning as soon as possible in a busy election year.

Ms Hume’s supporters hoped for an all-female Senate ticket, and to slot Glen Eira City Council Deputy Mayor Karina Okotel into the third spot, which some in the party view as winnable.

That spot is also likely to be contested by a former Liberal candidate for Frankston, Sean Armistead.

Nominations close on January 25 and Liberal members will vote on March 6.


Introduction and first reading

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government)—I move:

That I have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Local Government Act 1989 to improve the governance standards of councils, amend arrangements for local government elections and provide for other matters, to amend the City of Melbourne Act 2001 to repeal part 4A of that act and to consequentially amend the City of Greater Geelong Act 1993, the City of Melbourne Act 2001, the Electoral Act 2002 and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 and for other purposes.

Mr CLARK (Box Hill)—I ask the minister to provide a brief explanation of the bill, further to the long title.

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government)—This bill will raise the standards of behaviour by councillors and generally improve——

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER—Order! I remind members to remain silent while the Chair is on his feet. That applies at all times during parliamentary proceedings. I request members to comply with that.

Ms HUTCHINS—The bill will raise standards of behaviour by councillors——

Mr R. Smith interjected.

The SPEAKER—Order! I warn the member for Warrandyte!

Ms HUTCHINS—It will generally improve council governance in Victoria and improve the conduct of the general council elections to be held in 2016.

Motion agreed to.

Read first time.


SouthernMetropolitan Region

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)—My constituency question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Merlino. Recent reports have suggested that a local councillor is campaigning for a third secondary school in the Glen Eira area, very close to two existing secondary schools. The land which the Labor mayor of the City of Glen Eira, Cr Jim Magee, is campaigning for the government to acquire in order to build a secondary school is in Virginia Park. Virginia Park is only 500 metres from the existing Bentleigh Secondary College.

The shadow Minister for Education, Nick Wakeling, and I visited Bentleigh Secondary College only last week to meet with the newly appointed principal. Bentleigh Secondary College has an excellent reputation and we were both fortunate enough to meet the dedicated teachers and a number of students. It was confirmed to Mr Wakeling and myself that Bentleigh Secondary College has capacity for further student enrolments. Nearby McKinnon Secondary College also has additional capacity and the principals of both McKinnon and Bentleigh secondary colleges do not think a third secondary school in such close proximity is necessary.

Constituents are confused and concerned about comments from the mayor. Does the government support the campaign by Cr Magee and what is the government’s position on acquiring the land at Virginia Park, as suggested by Cr Magee?

NOTE: no response to this query from Minister Noonan (Minister for Police)

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