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Major Parties Kill Greens' Common Sense on Councils

The Liberal Party allied with the Government to rush through the Local Government Act, despite the Greens’ attempt to stop the Bill due to alarming omissions and oversights.

In the Upper House Greens leader Samantha Ratnam pointed out several omissions from the Bill including the lack of reforms on Council donations and the lack of detail on rates.

“While this bill is an extensive reform of the Local Government Act, it is still incomplete. It is

silent on the rating system as the government is still awaiting the completion of the rating system

review which will require further amendments once complete.

“To sum up, the Greens are extremely disappointed with this legislation in its current form. What we have before us is a bill that contains an overdue overhaul of our local government system, long awaited by councillors and communities, but at the last minute distorted by Labor Party electoral interests—legislation that prioritises gerrymandering over much-needed donations reform.

Clifford Hayes from the Sustainable Australia Party, echoed the Greens’ disappointment in the

lack of donation reform with a lengthy speech detailing examples from the Casey Council IBAC hearings.

Tim Quilty from the Liberal Democrats took up Dr Ratnam’s objection to mandatory single-member wards.

“It is always suspect when the government initiates electoral reform—it is the fox reorganising the security arrangements on the henhouse—and when the change gets support from both Labor and Liberal, you know the fix is in.”

Mr Quilty used the numbers in State Parliament to demonstrate his point. In the Lower House which uses single member electorates, 7% of the MPs are from minor parties. In the Upper House, which uses multi-member electorates, 30% of the seats are held by minor parties.

“These changes (mandatory single member wards) are aimed straight at the Greens. While it is hard to think of a target I hold less sympathy for, what you (ALP) are doing is wrong.”

In all, there were five reasons the Greens wanted the Second Reading of the Bill deferred.

This is from hansard:

'That all the words after ‘That’ be omitted and replaced with the words ‘this house refuses to read this bill a second time until the government has addressed the significant concerns about the incomplete nature of the bill, including:

(1) the potential recommendations from the current IBAC investigation into allegations of corrupt conduct in the City of Casey;

(2) the anti-democratic mandating of single-member wards and removal of multimember ward options for councils;

(3) the lack of political donations reform for local councils, such as donation caps, greater transparency of donations and a ban on donations from property developers and the gambling industry;

(4) the ongoing ratings system review, which once complete will require further amendments to the legislation governing local councils; and

(5) making the draft regulations publicly available, given the enormous amount of detail left to the regulations.’.

MPs from the two major parties abandoned common sense and rejected the Greens’ amendment.

Noes, 31

ALP: Pulford, Kieu, Leane, Shing, Somyurek, Stitt, Elasmar, Jennings, Melhem, Erdogan, Mikakos, Garrett, Vaghela, Symes, Terpstra, Tierney, Taylor

Liberals and Nationals: Atkinson, Rich-Phillips, Bath, Crozier, Lovell, Davis, McArthur, Finn, O’Donohue, Ondarchie

Justice Party: Maxwell, Grimley

Shooters and Fishers: Bourman

Transport Matters: Barton

Ayes, 7

Animal Justice Party: Meddick

Greens: Ratnam

Independent: Cumming

Liberal Democrats: Quilty, Limbrick

Reason Party : Patten

Sustainable Australia: Hayes

I've put every vote in, so you can find your own MPs if you want to check whether their vote represents your wishes.

Only one of my six local MPs voted the same way I would have. But my mum keeps reminding me that common sense isn't that common.

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