Clover Moore

City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore

When was the last time Australia went more than more than 12 months without a state or federal election?

It doesn’t happen often, but this is likely to be the case between the Western Australian state election held on March 11  this year and Queensland election, which can’t be held later than May 5 next year, or the Tasmania  election, which must be held before May 19, 2018.

After the disasters that Malcolm Turnbull, Colin Barnett and Theresa May encountered going early, expect the Tasmanian and Queensland premiers Will Hodgman and Annastacia Palaszczuk to go full term.  

If you are a political junkie needing an election fix, you can always get your teeth into the upcoming NSW local elections to be held on Saturday, September 9.

After that, we’ll be right into heavy electioneering with Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria all due next year, followed by NSW and the next federal poll in 2019. South Australia is fixed for March 17, 2018, and Victoria for November 24, 2018. There will be 46 NSW council elections on September 9. This follows on from the 81 held in September 2016.

Unlike Victoria, where all but six of the 79 councils have postal elections, NSW has compulsory attendance voting, which means candidates need resources and supporters to man the booths.

Twenty of these upcoming elections will involve councils that have been merged, so quite a few don’t have incumbent councillors and will be coming out of administration. This means about 420 councillors will be elected on September 9, which is a great opportunity for the citizens of NSW to get themselves elected. Nominations close on August 9.

There are also new rules that cap donations at $6100 from individual entities for registered parties or groups of candidates in these council elections. There are some interesting regulations on third-party participants. Anyone who spends more than $2000 on communications in an election must register with the NSW Electoral Commission and appoint an agent.

Unlike in Victoria, NSW allows citizens to decide if they want to have a directly elected mayor or a leader chosen by the other councillors. Of the 81 NSW council elections in 2016, 21 had separate elections to directly select the mayor.

There was also no single-member wards in the 2016 elections, with 60 of these council elections being undivided, meaning the quota to get elected is often relatively low. Here is the full list of the 20 newly constituted councils which will have their first post-merger elections on September 9.

Armidale (merger of Armidale, Dumaresq and Guyra)

Bayside (merger of Botany Bay and Rockdale)

Canterbury Bankstown (merger of Canterbury and Bankstown)

Central Coast (merger of Gosford and Wyong)

Cootamundra-Gundagai (merger of Cootamundra and Gundagai)

Cumberland (merger of Auburn, Holroyd and Parramatta)

Dubbo (merger of Dubbo and Wellington)

Edward River (merger of Conargo and Deniliquin)

Federation (merger of Corowa and Urana)

Georges River (merger of Hurstville and Kogarah)

Hilltops (merger of Boorowa, Harden and Young)

Inner West (merger of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville)

Mid-Coast (merger of Gloucester, Great Lakes and Greater Taree)

Murray River (merger of Murray and Wakool)

Murrumbidgee (merger of Jerilderie and Murrumbidgee)

Northern Beaches (merger of Manly, Pittwater and Warringah)

City of Parramatta (merger of Auburn, Holroyd, Hornsby, Parramatta and The Hills)

Queanbeyan Palerang (merger of Palerang and Queanbeyan)

Snowy Monara (merger of Bombaloa, Cooma-Monaro and Snowy River)

Snowy Valleys (merger of Tumbarumba and Tumut)

Expect Tony Abbott and a few of his factional enemies to take a keen interest in the new Northern Beaches council, and the giant Inner West council will be a fierce contest between Labor and the Greens.

The thoroughly corrupt Auburn has been carved up into an expanded Parramatta, which is the biggest new creation comprising a merger of five different smaller councils.

The other part of Auburn has gone into the new Cumberland council.

The full list of NSW councils and their election status is available here

Clover Moore secured her landslide control of City of Sydney last year, but there will be some other interesting ones to watch on September 9, including Newcastle, Woollahra, Hornsby, North Sydney, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Waverley (think Bondi Beach)  and the two undisturbed wealthy Liberal-leaning tiddlers, Mosman and Hunters Hill.

*Stephen Mayne is a recovering City of Melbourne and City of Manningham councillor in Victoria.

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