Australia’s best email list never fails us and we’ve already had a good
explanation for the large number of multiple tickets in the Eurobodalla
elections on the NSW south coast.

Independent candidate for Albury Dave Gaukroger explains:

Hi Crikey,

Eurobodalla political hopefuls are obviously better organised than
most. The reason for the multiple tickets is a change to the NSW local
government act which requires groups who register for an “above the
line” voting box to indicate at least a second preference on their how
to vote card. The groups can no longer simply advise the electoral
office how they would like their preferences distributed as they have
in previous years.

This change has caught a lot of people off guard and has put the
frighteners on a lot of groups who can’t stand any of their rivals, but
must publicly show a second preference on their how to vote cards to
make them legal. Another change is that groups now have to have at
least 5 candidates in their group to qualify for above the line voting
as opposed to only needing 2 previously. Finally, groups who obtain
votes above the line cannot hand these preferences to anyone other than
another above the line group, which is designed to hamper preference
flows to non-aligned candidates.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that voters only have to number one
square above the line to record a valid vote, but as the groups cannot
advise the electoral office of their preferences this type of voting
will lead to an enormous number of extinguished votes.

Here in Albury there are 43 candidates for 9 positions. 42 of the
candidates are in groups, leaving a retired headmaster as the only
non-aligned candidate. Of the other candidates there are 2 groups of
two, who are not eligible for above the line voting, six groups of five
and a Liberal Party ticket of six. Obviously with seven groups somebody
is going to be left without anything in return for giving away their
preferences.

These changes are basically designed to make it harder for independents
to get onto local councils as the ALP and Liberals can much more easily
run two tickets each allowing them to cross preference, while
independents have to not only organise a group of five to access above
the line votes but they also have to find another standing group of
five to direct their preferences to. The large number of extinguished
votes also plays into the hands of the two major parties who no doubt
expect a higher primary vote than the independents.

I hope this helps clarify what’s happening in Eurobodalla.

Dave Gaukroger
Independent Candidate, City of Albury

Seeking southern comfort in Eurobodalla Shire

Sealed section – 8 March

What is going on in the sleepy shires down on the New South Wales/Victoria border?

Here in the Crikey bunker, we’ve been concentrating our coverage of the
forthcoming New South Wales local government elections on the Sydney
City Council and the quaint customers of the inner-city ALP.

That mean that goings on in Eurobodalla Shire on the NSW South Coast
have not been on our minds – and probably wouldn’t even registered if a
reader hadn’t drawn the very odd ballot paper for the March 27 election
to our attention.

What is going on? Readers will recall the unpleasantness in the local
Liberal Party when former Mayor Chris Vardon challenged blow-in city
moderate Andrew Constance in the electorate of Bega at last year’s
state election.

Perhaps there’s some flow on. Something is certainly happening, because
10 different groups have nominated for the nine vacancies in a
shire-wide proportional representation election.

Unlike most other councils where candidates nominate as Independents,
down in Eurobodalla, they have managed to register parties. The groups
on the ballot paper are:

Group A: Eurobodalla First
Group B: Voice for Eurobodalla
Group C: Euro-Vision
Group D: Euro-Vision
Group E: Euro-Vision
Group F: Community Action Group
Group G: Community Action Group
Group H: Eurobodalla First
Group I: The Greens
Group J: Real Peoples Party

(No jokes about Song Contests, please. They will get “nul points”.)

If anyone knows what is the burning issues that has generated all this
activity in normally placid Eurobodalla, we would be most interested to
know. Why exactly they have registered multiple tickets is also beyond
us as well.

Anyone wish to enlighten us?

A subscriber writes:

If you were to contact the editors of the numerous local newspapers you would probably be told that the main issues are:

  • Water Supply Infrastructure including the controversy of the new dam.
  • Logging
  • Jetskis
  • Development Control
  • Population Expansion Control
  • Kerbside Recycling
  • Vandalism
  • Parking Spaces in Batemans Bay
  • Traffic Lights in Batemans Bay & Moruya
  • Council Amalgamation
  • etc

The “Bay Post”, “Moruya Examiner” or “Eurosun” would probably have greater listings.

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