Tasmania postpones elections
The Tasmanian Government has announced it will postpone the state’s local government elections to coincide with major reforms in the sector.
Deputy Premier Bryan Green said that the elections, due in October, will be delayed until October next year to allow the reforms to be brought in at the same time.
The reforms, to be delivered under the Local Government Electoral Reform Bill, will make voting compulsory, ban councillors from also being Members of Parliament and will ensure that councillors, mayors and deputy mayors face election at the same time every four years.
“These changes are long overdue and will make local councils more representative and more accountable,” Mr Green said.
“The move to all in all out four-year terms will assist councils to align strategic policy and financial planning with the electoral cycle.
“It will improve the capacity of councils to act strategically and in the best interests of the communities they represent.
Mr Green said that the reforms have been introduced to stop the gradual decline in council elections throughout the state since 2005.
“In other States that have compulsory voting, participation rates are around 80 per cent whereas in South Australia and Western Australia where it is not the turn-out is only about 30 per cent.
“We are making voting compulsory in all our local government elections to help lift participation and make local government more representative of its communities.
Mr Green said Tasmania was now the only State that permits a councillor to also be a Member of Parliament.
“This reform is not a reflection on the quality of representation provided by anybody who has held dual roles.
“However, all other states have banned duel representation and it is time for us to accept that democracy is best served by having all members of Parliament working full time.