Queensland announces local government electoral reforms
The Queensland Government has announced a series of proposed reforms to the state's Local Government electoral system.
The Local Government Electoral Bill 2011, which has been four years in the making, has been tabled in front of the state's Lower House.
“The Bill consolidates the four laws currently covering council elections in Queensland into a new one-stop shop for local government ballots,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government Paul Lucas
“Control of those ballots will be handed to the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) to ensure the highest levels of propriety apply to each and every vote,” he said.
Council CEOs will also be removed from the process and their former role as returning officers, except in exceptional circumstances, to ensure the highest level of transparency at the ballot and to address community perceptions of a conflict of interest between the roles of CEO and returning officer.
“Council elections are often hotly contested, therefore one of the most important changes to the running of local government elections is that except in exceptional circumstances council CEO’s will no longer act as Returning Officer,” Mr Lucas.
Changes would allow absent voters in a divided council to attend any booth in that Local Government Area.
Pre-polling will no longer require eligibility criteria to be met before a vote is issued at a booth.
Under the proposals, the independent ECQ would assume control of all local government elections in time for the March 2012 elections. The organisation handled the 2008 elections after amalgamations.