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					INDEPENDENT REVIEW
            OF


LOCAL GOVERNMENT
    ELECTIONS
    South Australia 2007



   INTERIM
   REPORT
                                  PREFACE

This Independent Review of Local Government Elections has three milestones:

      Release of three Issues Papers
      Release of an Interim Report; and
      Delivery of a Final Report

This Interim Report has been informed by an extensive literature review and by a
comprehensive consultation process.

Feedback will be sought on the Interim Report and again, this will inform the
Final Report, which will be presented to the Minister for State/Local Government
Relations and the President of the Local Government Association.

To obtain this feedback the Interim Report has been placed on the Review‘s
website (www.localgovt.sa.gov.au/electionsreview) sent to every local
government authority, and sent to all others who made submissions or inquiries
to the review and to those who provided contact details when they completed
one of the 10-minute survey leaflets.

As the Final Report is required to be completed by December, comments on the
Interim Report will need to be submitted by 23 November 2007.

If possible, comments or submissions should be provided electronically in
(a) plain text (b) rich text format, (c) Word, or (d) HTML.

Comments may also be made by post or fax. Comments and submissions will be
published on the Independent Review‘s web site:
www.localgovt.sa.gov.au/electionsreview/
unless the author requests otherwise. Comments should be addressed to:

Mr Shane Sody
Executive Officer
Independent Review of Local Government Elections

Email (preferred):               Post:                      Fax:
                                 P.O. Box 8021
sody.shane@saugov.sa.gov.au      Station Arcade             08 8204 8734
                                 S.A. 5000

As Independent Reviewer, I have appreciated the considered and valuable input
that has been received to date, and look forward to similar participation in this
final consultation stage.

Margaret Wagstaff
Independent Reviewer
               Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                           TABLE OF CONTENTS



                            TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................... ix
    BACKGROUND ............................................................................................. ix
    METHODOLOGY ........................................................................................... x
    ISSUES RAISED ADDITIONAL TO THE TERMS OF REFERENCE ...................... xi
    INCREASING VOTER PARTICIPATION ......................................................... xii
    IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION ................................. xvii
    IMPROVING THE ELECTION PROCESS ......................................................... xxi
       OPTIONS 6.5.15: .............................................................................. xxiii



1           BACKGROUND ..................................................................... 1
    1.1     INTRODUCTION................................................................................. 1
    1.2     PREVIOUS REVIEWS.......................................................................... 1
    1.3     A DECADE OF LEGISLATIVE REFORMS ............................................... 3
    1.4     SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S STRATEGIC PLAN ............................................. 5
    1.5     THE CURRENT REVIEW ...................................................................... 7



2           METHODOLOGY ................................................................... 9
    2.1     ISSUES PAPERS ................................................................................. 9
    2.2     TEN-MINUTE SURVEY LEAFLET .......................................................... 9
    2.3     OFFICE FOR YOUTH ON-LINE SURVEY ............................................... 10
    2.4     WEBSITE ........................................................................................... 10
    2.5     LETTERS ............................................................................................ 11
    2.6     ADVERTISEMENTS ............................................................................. 12
    2.7     NEWS RELEASES ............................................................................... 13
    2.8     LIBRARIES ........................................................................................ 13
    2.9     MEETINGS ......................................................................................... 14
    2.10    PERSONAL APPOINTMENTS ............................................................... 14




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3             REVIEW OF ISSUES ........................................................... 15
    3.1       THE TEN-MINUTE SURVEY LEAFLET ................................................... 15
    3.2       OFFICE FOR YOUTH ON-LINE SURVEY ............................................... 15
    3.3       MAJOR SUBMISSIONS ....................................................................... 15
    3.4       PERSONAL APPOINTMENTS ............................................................... 16
    3.5       CATEGORISING THE SUBMISSIONS................................................... 16
    3.6       ISSUES RAISED THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE TERMS OF
              REFERENCE ....................................................................................... 18
      3.6.1     Should Mayoral candidates be required to have previous experience as a councillor?
                 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 18
      3.6.2      Should full preferential voting be discarded in favour of optional preferential voting?
                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 19
          OPTIONS 3.6.2 .................................................................................... 21
      3.6.3      Should any form of preferential voting be discarded in favour of first past the post?
                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 22
      3.6.4     Should the Representation Review process be changed? ----------------------------- 23
      3.6.5     Representation review matters: should wards be abolished? Alternatively, should
                elections at large be abolished? -------------------------------------------------------- 24
      3.6.6     Reducing the effect of the Donkey vote – with Robson rotation --------------------- 26
      3.6.7     Should terms of office be reduced? Should individuals be limited to 2 (or 3, or 4 etc)
                terms? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 28
      3.6.8     Should political party involvement be accepted; restricted; prohibited? ------------ 29
      3.6.9     Should council staff be prohibited from some aspects of running the election? ----- 30
      3.6.10 Should the voting age be lowered? ---------------------------------------------------- 31
      3.6.11 Should there be any new restrictions on campaigning methods etc? ---------------- 32
      3.6.12 Additional topics on which the Review intends to take no further action: ----------- 33




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4             VOTER PARTICIPATION .................................................... 35
    4.1       WHY IT IS IMPORTANT ..................................................................... 35
      4.1.1     SASP targets ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 35
      4.1.2     Building Communities ------------------------------------------------------------------- 36
      4.1.3     Local democracy ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 38
      4.1.4     Mandate --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 39
    4.2       WHAT IS HAPPENING ........................................................................ 40
      4.2.1     Trends in participation 2000, 2003 and 2006 ----------------------------------------- 40
      4.2.2     Number and percentage of councils with 50% or more voter participation – percentage
                of total voters --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 41
      4.2.3     Number and percentage of councils with 30% or less voter participation – percentage
                of voters --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 42
      4.2.4     The largest council areas --------------------------------------------------------------- 43
      4.2.5     Elected members, number and % of vote – trends and 2006 highest & lowest ----- 44

    4.3       LESSONS FROM INTERSTATE EXPERIENCE ........................................ 46
    4.4       ISSUES RELEVANT TO VOTER PARTICIPATION DISCUSSED IN THE
              TERMS OF REFERENCE ....................................................................... 48
    4.5       LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................ 49
      4.5.1     Papers prepared to inform the 2004 review ------------------------------------------- 49
      4.5.2     Dean Jaensch‟s study of 2006 candidates --------------------------------------------- 50
      4.5.3     LGA study of why people did not vote in 2006 ---------------------------------------- 50
      4.5.4     Community Leaders Breakfast – 30 November 2005. Report by the Local Government
                Association ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 51
      4.5.5     Postal Voting for Australian Local Government: Democracy or Conspiracy? by
                Rosemary Kiss --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 51
      4.5.6     Reasserting Local Democracy? by Rosemary Kiss ------------------------------------ 52
      4.5.7     Local media and local elections: voters‟ preferred information sources by Dianne Jones
                and Alison Feldman --------------------------------------------------------------------- 52
      4.5.8     Other relevant literature ---------------------------------------------------------------- 52
    4.6       RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 2004 REVIEW ...................................... 53
    4.7       ACTIONS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN THE 2004 AND 2007 REVIEWS
              AND THE IMPACT OF THESE .............................................................. 54




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4.8       SUBMISSIONS ON VOTER PARTICIPATION AND DISCUSSION OF MAIN
          ISSUES .............................................................................................. 55
  4.8.1     Targets to improve voter participation ------------------------------------------------- 55
      PROPOSAL 4.8.1: ................................................................................. 56
  4.8.2     Should responsibility for election promotion remain within the local government sphere
            (with councils or the LGA) or should it be assigned to an independent State body such
            as the State Electoral Office? ----------------------------------------------------------- 56
  4.8.3     Should councils be required to commit a specified minimum amount towards election
            promotion? If so, what should that minimum be, or how should it be calculated? 58
  4.8.4     Could the 2006 strategies be changed in future to achieve greater success in
            improving voter participation?---------------------------------------------------------- 59
  4.8.5      What sort of information or advertising campaigns would motivate potential voters?
             ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 61
  4.8.6     Given the reality that participation is higher in elections for councils with fewer voters,
            how should election promotion for large councils differ? ----------------------------- 62
  4.8.7     What strategies were used by councils that were successful in attracting high levels of
            voter participation? Do these strategies have relevance to larger and metropolitan
            councils with lower participation? ------------------------------------------------------ 63
  4.8.8     Discussion of election promotion options ---------------------------------------------- 64
      PROPOSALS 4.8.8: ............................................................................... 66
  4.8.9     Return to attendance voting? ---------------------------------------------------------- 67
  4.8.10 A consistent method of voting across all spheres of government? ------------------- 68
  4.8.11 Would an e-voting option help to increase voter participation? ---------------------- 69
  4.8.12 Discussion of voting method options --------------------------------------------------- 71
      PROPOSAL 4.8.12 ................................................................................ 75
  4.8.13 The property franchise – should it be left alone; reformed; or abolished? ---------- 76
      OPTIONS 4.8.13 .................................................................................. 83
  4.8.14 Should voting in local government elections become compulsory? ------------------ 84
      OPTIONS 4.8.14: ................................................................................. 86
  4.8.15 What change, if any, should be made to the timing of local government elections?
         e.g. Do they need to be further apart from State elections and in a different year? 87
      OPTIONS 4.8.15: ................................................................................. 88
  4.8.16 What changes, if any, should be made to the contents of the postal ballot pack,
         including the 150-word candidate profile? --------------------------------------------- 89
  4.8.17 Should the postal voting guide include information in other languages and about its
         availability in those other languages?-------------------------------------------------- 90
  4.8.18 Discussion of Postal voting pack options ----------------------------------------------- 91
      PROPOSAL 4.8.18: ............................................................................... 91
  4.8.19 Should 17-year-olds be permitted provisional enrolment for local government
         elections? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 92
      OPTIONS 4.8.19. ................................................................................. 92
  4.8.20 From the matters discussed above (or any other matters) what changes should be
         made to increase voter participation in local government elections in 2010? ------- 93




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5             IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION ....... 95
    5.1       WHY IT IS IMPORTANT ..................................................................... 95
      5.1.1     Encouraging a diversity of candidates ------------------------------------------------- 95
      5.1.2     The opportunity to exercise a vote ----------------------------------------------------- 96
    5.2       WHAT IS HAPPENING ........................................................................ 96
      5.2.1     Trends in number of candidates in 2000, 2003 and 2006 ---------------------------- 96
      5.2.2     Current and past trends in diversity – differences between metropolitan and regional
                and rural candidates -------------------------------------------------------------------- 99
    5.3   ISSUES RELEVANT TO IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT
           REPRESENTATION DISCUSSED IN THE TERMS OF REFERENCE .......... 101
    5.3       LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................ 102
      5.3.1     Papers prepared to inform the 2003 review ------------------------------------------- 102
      5.3.2     Other relevant literature ---------------------------------------------------------------- 102
    5.4       RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 2004 REVIEW ...................................... 102
    5.5       ACTIONS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN THE 2004 AND 2007 REVIEWS
              AND THE IMPACT OF THESE ACTIONS ............................................... 103
    5.6       SUBMISSIONS ON REPRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF MAIN
              ISSUES .............................................................................................. 105
      5.6.1     Developing potential candidates ------------------------------------------------------- 105
          PROPOSAL 5.6.1 ................................................................................ 106
      5.6.2     What changes should be made to encourage a broader spread of candidates for future
                local government elections, particularly from under-represented groups? ---------- 107
          PROPOSAL 5.6.2 ................................................................................ 110
      5.6.3     What changes should be made to assist successful candidates to improve the standard
                of their representation, and community engagement on a day-to-day basis? ------ 111
          PROPOSAL 5.6.3 ................................................................................ 112
      5.6.4     What factors would be likely to increase the spread of candidates for future local
                government elections? The availability of child care facilities? ----------------------- 113
      5.6.5     What factors would be likely to increase the spread of candidates for future local
                government elections? The level of allowances? ------------------------------------- 114
      5.6.6     What factors would be likely to increase the spread of candidates for future local
                government elections? Community leadership programs? --------------------------- 115
      5.6.7     What factors would be likely to increase the spread of candidates for future local
                government elections? Allowing candidates to nominate for councillor and mayor in
                the same election? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 116
          OPTIONS 5.6.7 .................................................................................. 120
      5.6.8     What factors would be likely to increase the spread of candidates for future local
                government elections? Other mentoring and support programs? ------------------- 121
          PROPOSAL 5.6.8 ................................................................................ 121
      5.6.9     What elements should be included in the proposed Local Government Citizenship
                Engagement Strategy?------------------------------------------------------------------ 122




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6             IMPROVING THE ELECTION PROCESS ............................. 125
    6.1       PROCEDURAL CHANGES INTRODUCED IN THE 1999 LEGISLATION ... 125
    6.2       RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 2000 AND 2003 REVIEWS .................... 126
    6.3       ISSUES RELEVANT TO IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT
              REPRESENTATION DISCUSSED IN THE TERMS OF REFERENCE .......... 127
    6.4       LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................ 128
      6.4.1     Papers prepared to inform the 2004 review ------------------------------------------- 128
      6.4.2     Other relevant literature ---------------------------------------------------------------- 128
    6.5       COMMENTS AND SUBMISSIONS TO THIS REVIEW ............................. 129
      6.5.1     Caretaker provisions -------------------------------------------------------------------- 129
      6.5.2     How long should a caretaker period last? ---------------------------------------------- 130
      6.5.3     What are the most important restrictions that should be in caretaker rules? ------- 131
          PROPOSAL 6.5.3 ................................................................................ 133
          OPTIONS 6.5.3: ................................................................................. 133
      6.5.4     The postal voting “window”. Should there be any changes to the length of the postal
                voting “window” or the time that voting closes? -------------------------------------- 134
      6.5.5     Disclosure of criminal background ----------------------------------------------------- 136
      6.5.6     Should candidates be required to disclose political affiliations and pecuniary interests?
                 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 137
      6.5.7     Should Mayoral nominations close two days earlier than councillor nominations? -- 139
      6.5.8     Timing of nomination closing and ballot draw ----------------------------------------- 141
          PROPOSAL 6.5.8. ............................................................................... 141
      6.5.9     Should the concept of a publisher “taking responsibility” for election commentary be
                introduced to the local government sphere? ------------------------------------------ 142
      6.5.10 Providing electoral roll data to candidates --------------------------------------------- 143
          PROPOSAL 6.5.10. ............................................................................. 144
      6.5.11 What changes, if any, should be made to existing mechanisms under which each
             council makes its own policy for the control of election signs? ----------------------- 145
      6.5.12 Power to require a retraction of misleading material; offence provisions and
             enforcement powers -------------------------------------------------------------------- 147
          PROPOSAL 6.5.12 .............................................................................. 149
      6.5.13 An SEO Advisory service ---------------------------------------------------------------- 150
      6.5.14 What changes, if any, should be made to voting packs, declaration envelopes, or their
             packaging to minimise the risks of being mistaken for junk mail, or of informal voting?
                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 151
          PROPOSAL 6.5.14 .............................................................................. 152
      6.5.15 What changes, if any, should be made to the rules on casual vacancies and
             supplementary elections? --------------------------------------------------------------- 153
          OPTIONS 6.5.15: ............................................................................... 154
      6.5.16 Failure of election when candidacy ends ----------------------------------------------- 155
          OPTIONS 6.5.16 ................................................................................ 156
      6.5.17 What steps, if any, should be taken to reduce informal voting? --------------------- 157
      6.5.18 Should there be any changes to provisions re campaign donation returns? --------- 158
          OPTIONS 6.5.18 ................................................................................ 159
      6.5.19 Should representation reviews be scheduled on a rotating or staggered basis to
             prevent a bottleneck? ------------------------------------------------------------------- 160
          PROPOSAL 6.5.19: ............................................................................. 160
      6.5.20 From the matters discussed above (or any other matters) what changes should be
             made to improve the local government election process in 2010? ------------------- 161


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ATTACHMENT A - TERMS OF REFERENCE .................................... 162
ATTACHMENT B – ON-LINE YOUTH SURVEY QUESTIONS............ 166
ATTACHMENT C – INVITATIONS TO GROUPS ............................. 169
ATTACHMENT D - NEWSPAPER COVERAGE ................................. 172
ATTACHMENT E – 10-Minute survey leaflet ................................ 196
ATTACHMENT F – INTERSTATE COMPARISON ............................ 197
      Western Australia .............................................................................. 197
      Tasmania ........................................................................................... 198
      Queensland ....................................................................................... 198
      New South Wales .............................................................................. 199
      Victoria .............................................................................................. 199
      Northern Territory ............................................................................. 200

ATTACHMENT G – PUBLIC NOTICES ........................................... 201
ATTACHMENT H – ENROLMENT & VOTING COMPARISON ........... 202
      REQUIREMENT TO ENROL .................................................................. 202
      QUALIFICATIONS – ENTITLEMENT TO ENROL .................................... 202
      QUALIFICATIONS – OBLIGATION FOR OTHERS TO TAKE ACTION TO
      ENROL ............................................................................................... 203
      CONTRASTS ....................................................................................... 204
      EXCLUSIONS OR EXCEPTIONS – NOT ENTITLED TO ENROL ............... 204
      ENTITLEMENT TO VOTE ..................................................................... 205
      EXCLUSIONS OR EXCEPTIONS – ENROLLED BUT NOT ENTITLED TO VOTE
      .......................................................................................................... 205

ATTACHMENT I – MAJOR FINDINGS OF 2000 REVIEW ............... 206




                                                       vii
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           Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    BACKGROUND
This Independent Review of Local Government Elections was jointly
commissioned by the Minister for State/Local Government Relations, the Hon.
Jennifer Rankine M.P., and the then-President of the Local Government
Association, Cr John Rich.

The Terms of Reference canvas an extensive range of issues that may be
categorised under three broad headings:
      1. Improving Local Government voter participation;
      2. Improving Local Government representation; and
      3. Improving the Local Government election process.

Previous reviews were held in 1997, 2000 and 2004 and led to extensive
legislative change with the passage of the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999
and the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act 2005.

The 2004 and current reviews have been undertaken in the context of South
Australia‘s Strategic Plan, March 2004 (updated 2007). The Plan contains a
number of topics and targets that have guided this Review. They include targets
to:
     increase voter participation in Local Government elections in South
      Australia to 50% by 2014;
     ‗align State and Local Government Strategic Plans within 12 months of the
      release of the Plan and agree joint initiatives from them‘. In 2007 this
      target was refocused on regionalising the plan in the next 2 years;
     increase women‘s involvement in leadership roles;
     increase the number of Aboriginal South Australians participating in
      community leadership;
     support multiculturalism, measured in part by the ‗proportion of culturally
      and linguistically diverse South Australians elected to Parliament, local
      government, and on corporate boards‘; and
     increase the proportion of eligible young South Australians (18-19 years)
      enrolled to vote to better the Australian average by 2014.

Margaret Wagstaff was appointed as the Independent Reviewer to undertake this
Review and was provided with the assistance of an Executive Officer, Shane Sody
from the Office for State/Local Government Relations.

Ms Wagstaff has also been supported by a Reference Group chaired by the Hon
Ian Hunter, MLC and including Chris Russell of the Local Government Association.




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            Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




    METHODOLOGY
Initially the Review produced three Issues Papers to inform discussion. These
were the basis for a comprehensive consultation on the issues of the Review. The
consultation occurred through a widely advertised call for submissions (including
some advertisements in Vietnamese), a web site, group presentations, quick
feedback sheets, an online survey tailored to young people, letters to a wide
variety of organisations and advertisements and feedback sheets in every public
library.

The approach aimed to obtain not only local government views, but also a broad
range of community views.

The Interim Report is being released for public consultation, prior to the drafting
of a Final Report. The Final Report is expected to be completed by the end of
2007.




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                  Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                              EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




       ISSUES RAISED ADDITIONAL TO THE TERMS OF
       REFERENCE
Although the Terms of Reference were very comprehensive, sixteen issues were
raised (by respondents) that were not part of the Terms of Reference. Several of
these issues were matters that councils may address in their representation
reviews and some others were raised by only a small numbers of respondents.
The Review determined to respond to only one of these matters.

With regard to the question, ‗should full preferential voting be discarded in favour
of optional preferential voting?‘ the Review proposes two options for
consideration:



OPTIONS 3.6.2
    A.    Take no action on this suggestion. Optional preferential voting
          should be examined again if and when either the Commonwealth
          or the State introduces optional preferential voting.

    B.    Consider an amendment to the Local Government (Elections) Act
          1999 equivalent to the ―saving‖ provision in section 63 of the
          Electoral Act 1985, so that candidates may register a ―ticket‖
          with the State Electoral Office, and ballots that fail to express a
          full distribution of preferences may be considered valid by
          distributing preferences in the manner envisaged by a
          candidate’s ticket. If this option is pursued, it will be necessary
          to consider whether the amendment should also (as the Electoral
          Act 1985 does) prohibit candidates advocating a vote that does
          not fully distribute preferences. 1




1
    Electoral Act 1985 (SA) s.126.

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                                       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




     INCREASING VOTER PARTICIPATION
In 2006, only 31.6% of eligible voters exercised their right to vote (a decline of
8.5% since 2000). The South Australian Strategic Plan target to increase voter
participation to 50% by 2014, is therefore seen as particularly important to
enhance the credibility of local government and as an indicator of strong and
involved communities and healthy local democracies. Very low voter participation
rates also result in some individual councillors being elected with a very small
vote.

Local governments do not appear to have embraced the 50% voter participation
target. Although 20 councils achieved the target of 50% participation rate, these
were all small council areas and represented only 5.6% of all eligible voters. The
13 largest council areas all had participation rates of less than 30%.

None of the councils with voter participation of less than 50% presented any
plans to try to achieve the SASP target. Many councils had the view that the
SASP target was a state government target that did not concern them.

The Review believes that there will be no improvement in voter participation
rates without the commitment of individual councils.



PROPOSALS 4.8.1:
A.     The State Government and the Local Government Association
       work together and with the Community Engagement Board for
       SA’s Strategic Plan to promote the concepts underpinning
       Target 5.5 to the local government community; and

B.     The OS/LGR and the Local Government Association work with
       local communities, local government and the Community
       Engagement Board for SA's Strategic Plan to promote
       increased participation in local government elections.




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                                       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


Previous reviews have recommended greater emphasis on the promotion of both
local government elections and the importance of exercising a vote. Despite
this, councils and candidates expended very small amounts in promoting the
2006 elections.

South Australia is the only State in which a State Electoral Office/Commission
does not take responsibility for a central publicity and promotions campaign for
local government elections. The Review proposes:



PROPOSALS 4.8.8:
   A. Require all candidates to include, as part of their election
      profile, lodged with the State Electoral Commission, contact
      details for voters to obtain more information about their
      candidacy. This could be a web site, phone number etc.

   B. Encourage each Council to develop, in conjunction with the
      Local Government Association, targets for voter participation in
      the 2010 elections and strategies to achieve these targets.

   C. Require councils to fund a State-wide creative election
      promotion campaign by the State Electoral Commission, with a
      mechanism in regulations to calculate the levy on a per-eligible
      voter basis.

   D. These funds also be used to develop a model campaign for
      large councils with low voter turnout.




Although there are some persuasive arguments against postal voting, it seems
impossible to even consider a return to attendance voting as an option when this
Review is constrained to consider options ―designed to improve participation‖.
The introduction of postal voting did lead to increased participation, well above
the rates experienced in decades of attendance voting.

Many younger respondents advocated for the introduction of electronic voting
options, but it is not clear that the expense and risks of implementing an
e-voting system would be justified, given the uncertainty about how much of an
improvement, if any, this would make to voter participation.



PROPOSAL 4.8.12
Ask the State Electoral Commission to monitor technologies and
safeguards used in other jurisdictions, with a view to the possible
introduction of a remote, internet-based electronic voting option,
when this becomes feasible.



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            Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



Virtually all local governments that were involved in the review raised, as an
issue, the complexity and cost of administering the property franchise electoral
roll. The lack of participation in elections by property franchisees despite the
effort made to place them on the roll was another issue.

South Australia is the only state with a property franchise where the franchisee is
not required to take any responsibility to enrol to vote in local government
elections. There are other anomalies in the entitlement to vote, and these
anomalies are also addressed with these proposals.



OPTIONS 4.8.13
A. Remove the differences in residential qualifications between the
House of Assembly roll and the Local government roll. That is to say,
persons who are
           non-citizens;
           those who have resided in the district for less than one
              month; (but who may still be on the roll in respect of their
              previous address); and
           those of ―unsound mind‖;
(who therefore are not entitled to vote in State Parliamentary
elections) to be also prohibited from voting in their current residential
district for local government elections. This would render the rolls
entirely consistent with each other, at least for residents.

B1. Abolish the property franchise entirely, to render the local
government franchise identical with the franchise for the State
Parliament; i.e. for residents only.

      OR

B2. Abolish the property franchise for all local governments except
the City of Adelaide.

OR

C. Require any property franchisee who retains an entitlement to vote
to complete an enrolment form if he/she wishes to be placed on the
roll for any election. This would remove the obligation upon local
governments to update and maintain a CEO’s roll, except to the extent
that franchisees apply for inclusion on the roll. This is consistent with
practice in other States that retain a property franchise.




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            Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



The majority of those who submitted to this Review were in favour of the
maintenance of voluntary voting in Local government elections. The Review
recognizes, however, that it will be extremely difficult to achieve the target of
50% voter participation without a change to compulsory voting.

In relation to voluntary or compulsory voting, there are two alternatives.



OPTIONS 4.8.14:
   A. Postpone consideration of compulsory voting, at least until after
      the 2010 local government elections, pending implementation of
      other options intended to improve voter participation.

       OR

   B. Introduce compulsory voting in local government elections in
      South Australia for the 2010 elections.




The State Electoral Commissioner argues that to have a local government
election later in the same year as the State Government election causes
significant operational difficulties for the State Electoral Office. The
Commissioner has proposed that local government elections be held in the
middle of the four year period between State elections, as occurs in New South
Wales and Victoria. The current timing of local government elections, so soon
after State elections, also produces problems for the scheduling of
supplementary elections to fill casual vacancies.



OPTIONS 4.8.15:
          A. Make no change to the local government election day

       OR

          B. Consistent with Option 6.5.15C, change the scheduling of
             local government elections so that they fall within the
             middle of the four year term for State Government
             elections.




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           Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



The Review considers that it is appropriate to have a clear distinction between
the publicly-funded, minimalist 150-word profiles that accompany local
government ballot papers, and the sometimes political, controversial,
campaigning messages that candidates are entitled to promote through other
means. Nevertheless, the Review proposes one change to the postal ballot pack:



PROPOSAL 4.8.18:
   Ensure that the postal ballot pack contains at least one sentence in
   each of the 12 most commonly used languages other than English,
   about the availability of postal voting instructions in those other
   languages.




One way to improve consistency between local government elections and
elections for the State and Commonwealth is to permit 17-year-olds who are
already provisionally enrolled, to vote if they have turned 18:



OPTIONS 4.8.19.
   A.   Make no change to the existing provisions;

            OR

   B.   Legislate so that a person who is provisionally enrolled on the
        House of Assembly roll as a resident may vote in a local
        government election, provided that the person will be 18 years
        or over by the date on which voting closes.




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                                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




      IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION
The Review believes that if there is to be a greater range of candidates for local
government election, there is a need to assist candidates with practical
instruction on successful campaigning methods.



PROPOSAL 5.6.1
The LGA consider the possibility of establishing (prior to the 2010
election campaign):
           a register of experienced election campaigners (e.g.
            currently serving, or retired elected members from any
            sphere of government) who are willing to act as volunteer
            campaign mentors to future, inexperienced candidates; and
           a mechanism for matching would-be candidates with a
            suitable volunteer mentor
and
The LGA and/or the Office for State/Local Government Relations
develop a website that provides simple practical information to assist
a prospective candidate to develop and implement an effective,
inexpensive election campaign.




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                                       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



In announcing this Review, the Minister for State/Local Government Relations
emphasised the importance of measures to support women, young people,
Aboriginal people and non-professional workers as candidates. This is also
reflected in SA Strategic Plan targets.

Diversity in local government representation not only enriches community
decision-making, it also encourages the civic engagement of a broad range of
community members as leaders and as participants in community life.

Prior to the 2006 elections a range of strategies was implemented to encourage a
broader range of candidates to stand for election. These had some success, but a
much more assertive approach will be required if all eligible South Australians
are to have an opportunity to exercise their vote and if the broadest range of
skills and experience are to be attracted to consider standing for election.

The elements of such a strategy are outlined in this Interim Report.



PROPOSAL 5.6.2
      That the Local Government Association and the Office for
      State/Local Government Relations develop and implement a
      series of promotional campaigns, using the framework outlined
      in section 5.6.2 of this report, to attract members of under-
      represented groups to nominate for the 2010 local government
      elections. This campaign should be developed to commence
      implementation at least 12 months before the election date.




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                                       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




Representing a community takes not only dedication and time, but also
knowledge and skills.



PROPOSAL 5.6.3
  The LGA and the OS/LGR review the extent to which training
  opportunities are taken up, and perceptions by participants of the
  effectiveness of the training.




The Terms of Reference of this Review require the development of proposals that
are likely to increase voter participation and improve representation. Dual
candidacy (that is a candidate nominating both for the position of Mayor and
councillor) may contribute to both these goals.



OPTIONS 5.6.7
  A.   Take no action on this suggestion;

  B.   Any candidate should be permitted to nominate for both Mayor,
       and councillor, with the Mayoral position to be decided first.
       Once the Mayoral ballot has been decided, votes can be
       counted for positions of councillor. Any votes for a councillor
       who has become the new Mayor would be transferred to the
       next preference on the ballot paper.

  C.   As for option B, but restrict the option of dual candidacy only to
       currently serving councillors. Under this option, persons
       without experience could still nominate for Mayor, or for
       councillor, but not for both positions.




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                                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




One obvious strategy to improve local government representation is to increase
the total number of candidates.

To assist in attracting candidates, six eastern metropolitan region councils joined
together to offer a total of 11 briefing sessions that were attended by 140
prospective candidates.



PROPOSAL 5.6.8
      Encourage other councils to follow the example set by eastern
      metropolitan region councils in 2006 by offering briefings to
      potential candidates on a regional basis, prior to the opening of
      nominations for the 2010 local government elections.




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                                         EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




       IMPROVING THE ELECTION PROCESS
Significant procedural changes have been introduced since 1999. This Review
was required to address:

       any legislative or administrative improvements that can be made to Local Government
       election procedure and practice on the basis of experience, including ways to redress any
       unintended consequences of the changes made by the Statutes Amendment (Local
       Government Elections) Act 2005, and any matters raised by the Electoral Commissioner.

In addition 23 specific matters were referred to the Review for consultation and
consideration. This Interim Report discusses each of these matters, but
proposes options for change in relation to only some of these. The introduction
and form of caretaker provisions was the procedural issue that aroused the
greatest discussion and there was widespread support for consistent caretaker
provisions across all local governments.



PROPOSAL 6.5.3
Provisions modelled on the Victorian legislation be enacted in the
Local Government Act 1999 or the Local Government (Elections) Act
1999 prohibiting a council, during a defined election period, from:

        making major decisions about the employment of a
         permanent Chief Executive Officer;

        entering into a contract or entrepreneurial venture that
         exceeds a value of $100 000 or 1% of the council's revenue
         from rates in the preceding financial year (whichever is
         greater) unless an exemption is granted by the Minister;

        permitting council resources to be used for the advantage of
         any candidates; and

        publishing electoral matter (unless it contains only
         information about the election process).



OPTIONS 6.5.3:
The election period, for purposes of the caretaker period, is to be
defined as the period ending at the close of voting, but commencing:

   A. when nominations open (i.e. 66 days)

              OR

   B. when nominations close (i.e. 52 days).




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                                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



The State Electoral Commissioner has proposed that the ballot draw (to
determine the order of candidates on the ballot paper) should be moved from ―as
soon as is reasonably practicable after the close of nominations‖ at 12 noon to
4.00pm, four hours after the close of nominations.



PROPOSAL 6.5.8.
Provide that the ballot draw (to determine the order of candidates on
the ballot paper) should be moved from ―as soon as is reasonably
practicable after the close of nominations‖ at 12 noon to 4.00pm,
four hours after the close of nominations.




Voters roll data is available to candidates in printed form (not electronic form)
but candidates with ties to a political party may obtain the data in electronic form
through that party. In considering any possible change to the restriction in
providing electronic data, the importance of assisting all candidates in their
campaigning must be weighed against the risk of this data being misused.



OPTIONS 6.5.10.
     A. Make no change to existing arrangements
     B.   Legislate so that voters roll data may be provided to local
          government election candidates – only after the close of
          nominations – in electronic format. Penalties should apply
          for use of the data for any purpose (or at any time) other
          than campaigning in the local government election for which
          the candidate has nominated.


The power to require a retraction of misleading material and enforcement of
these powers was another matter referred to the Review. Various suggestions
for change were made, to deal with misleading electoral material and the powers
of the State Electoral Commissioner.



PROPOSAL 6.5.12
Provisions equivalent to s113(4) of the Electoral Act 1985 be
inserted into the Local Government (Elections) Act to better
encourage the withdrawal or retraction of election advertising
material that the Returning Officer declares to be inaccurate or
misleading.




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                                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



As this Review supports the continuance of postal voting the design and
presentation of the voting pack and the declaration envelope is important.
Anecdotal evidence suggests some people mistook the 2006 ballot pack for junk
mail and discarded it. Others may have found the instructions confusing or too
difficult to bother with.



PROPOSAL 6.5.14
That the Returning Officer, in conjunction with the LGA and the OSLGR,
obtain appropriate advice to review the style, layout and content of
the ballot pack and contents to ensure that they are:
      eye-catching, yet
      recognisably formal and
      contain instructions that are as simple as possible to follow,
       consistent with the need to require the voter to formally assert
       his/her identity.




Changes made by the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act
2005 prevent a council from holding a supplementary election in the year in
which a period election is due. This means that one or more vacancies on the
council can remain unfilled for up to ten and a half months. For many months
during 2006, as a result of this provision, Kangaroo Island Council was left with
only five out of its eight elected members, a bare quorum.



OPTIONS 6.5.15:
     A.    Make no change to the existing provisions
     B.    Notwithstanding the difficulties that this would cause to the
           State Electoral Office, reduce the length of time that
           vacancies may remain unfilled by one month, allowing
           supplementary elections for vacancies that occur before
           1 February (rather than the present 1 January) in an election
           year if a council is no longer able to operate constitutionally
           due to the absence of a quorum.
     C.    Consistent with option 4.8.15B, move the dates of local
           government elections so that they fall within the middle of
           the four year term for State Government elections, thus
           permitting more options for the scheduling of supplementary
           elections to fill casual vacancies.




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                                       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY




There is a prohibition on a candidate ending his/her candidacy except in specified
circumstances. No respondents queried this prohibition – only the consequence
that an election MUST be deemed to have failed when a candidacy has
legitimately ended. This provision, first enacted in 1986-87 (and then again in
1999) was first implemented in 2006, at two elections.

The result was two expensive supplementary elections. Councils felt that this
was unnecessary when other candidates had nominated for the failed election.



OPTIONS 6.5.16
   A. Make no change to these provisions
   B. Repeal these provisions and prohibit any withdrawal of a
      candidate, as per the Electoral Act.
   C. Require an election to continue, with remaining candidates, if
      any, despite the legitimate withdrawal of one or more
      candidates.
   D. Give the Returning Officer (the State Electoral Commissioner) a
      discretion to either declare that the election has failed, or permit
      the election to continue with the remaining candidates,
      depending upon whether the Electoral Commissioner is satisfied
      that a legitimate withdrawal is not tainted by any attempt to
      manipulate the result of the election.



With regard to the provisions for campaign donation returns, one submission
drew attention to a difficulty that might have been unforeseen, when the local
government election date was switched from May to November. It was pointed
out that the 6 week deadline for this return means that returns must be lodged
during the Christmas/New Year period. This is difficult for both candidates and
councils.



OPTIONS 6.5.18
   A. Require a campaign donations return to be lodged earlier (say
      within 30 days or five weeks of the close of voting)
             OR
   B. Require a campaign donations return to be lodged later (say by
      the end of January of the following year)




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                 Independent Review of Local Government Elections. Interim Report October 2007
                                             EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Each council is required to review its composition structure (e.g. the number of
wards, if any, and the number of elected members) at least once every eight
years. The purpose of a representation review is to determine whether the
council‘s community ―would benefit from an alteration to its composition or ward
structure.‖2

Up to 50 representation reviews are expected to be lodged with the State
Electoral Commissioner in or before December 2009, causing a severe bottleneck
for the SEO just three months before a State election must be held.



PROPOSAL 6.5.19
          Amend section 12 of the Local Government Act in the manner
          suggested by the State Electoral Commissioner, to provide that
          representation reviews may be scheduled by regulation.
          Consider mechanisms that can be used to encourage
          compliance with the schedule.




2
    Local Government Act 1999 s.12 (3)

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         Independent Review of Local Government Elections.   Interim Report October 2007
                                        BACKGROUND




1 BACKGROUND
     1.1 INTRODUCTION
The Minister for State/Local Government Relations, the Hon. Jennifer Rankine
M.P., and the then-President of the Local Government Association, Cr John Rich,
on 20 April 2007 commissioned an Independent Review of Local Government
Elections.

The Terms of Reference developed for this Review canvas an extensive range of
issues that may be categorised under three broad headings:
       1. Improving Local Government voter participation;
       2. Improving Local Government representation; and
       3. Improving the Local Government election process.

Accordingly, in June 2007 the Review produced (with the assistance of the Office
for State/Local Government Relations, the Local Government Association, and a
Reference Group) three Issues Papers to deal with each of these three broad
topics. Subsequently the Review consulted widely throughout South Australia on
the matters raised in the Issues Papers.


The next stage in the Review is this Interim Report. It is released for
further public consultation, after which the Review intends to produce a
Final Report, to be delivered to the Minister and to the President of the
LGA in December 2007.



     1.2 PREVIOUS REVIEWS
Local Government elections in South Australia are held under the provisions of
the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 (the ―1999 Elections Act‖) and the
City of Adelaide Act 1998. These two Acts, along with their accompanying
regulations, replaced earlier provisions governing elections that were previously
in the Local Government Act 1934.

Neither the 1999 Elections Act nor its predecessor legislation required the local
government election system to be reviewed at any particular date. However,
recent practice has been for some form of review to occur after each election
cycle.

1997
Following the 1997 local government elections, the then Office of Local
Government and the Local Government Association of SA appointed legal firm
Johnson Winter Slattery and Corporate Registry Services Pty. Ltd to undertake a
review of the election process.

The Final Report included four pages of recommendations, including that postal
voting should be applied uniformly and that standard candidate information
should be included in each ballot pack. These reforms were introduced for the
2000 election.



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          Independent Review of Local Government Elections.   Interim Report October 2007
                                         BACKGROUND


Most of the other recommendations from the 1997 review were procedural in
nature, dealing with matters such as updating electoral rolls, roll closure, ballot
papers, envelopes, time periods, marking names off the roll, opening envelopes
and counting.

The 1997 review also found a need for a ―greater financial commitment to
election promotion‖.

2000
Following the 2000 local government elections, the first held under the 1999
Elections Act, the then-Minister for Local Government and the then-President of
the Local Government Association requested a review of the impact of the new
provisions on candidates and staff involved in the election process. The review,
carried out by Prodirections Pty Ltd was required to focus on ―the technical and
administrative aspects of the conduct of the election.‖

Twenty-seven discussion groups were organised with randomly selected
candidates at the May 2000 election (successful and unsuccessful). Discussion
groups were also conducted with council officers and other officials involved in
the conduct of the elections.

The Review‘s report, released in April 2001, contained five pages of findings,
predominantly dealing with matters such as the preparation of the voters‘ roll,
the nomination process, the candidate profile and other content of the postal
ballot packs, as well as the conduct of the count.

2004
Following the 2003 local government elections, the then-Minister for State/Local
Government Relations invited the Local Government Association of SA (―the
LGA‖) to lead a Review including consultation with the broader community. The
LGA promoted the review across the state and encouraged Councils to promote
the review in their communities.

The 2004 review was conducted in two stages. Stage 1 dealt only with the
timing of Local Government elections and a number of technical/minor matters
raised by the most recent report of the State Electoral Commissioner.
Consultation on Stage 1 was confined largely to local government.

Stage 2 dealt with a range of more significant election, representation and
governance issues. These included:
     1. Frequency of Local Government Elections (Term of Office) and
        Relationship to State Elections;
     2. The Representative Structure of Councils;
     3. Property Franchise – Entitlement to Vote;
     4. Voting Obligation and Voter Turnout;
     5. Voting and Counting System;
     6. Candidacy;
     7. Filling of Casual Vacancies;
     8. Election Campaigning; and
     9. Council Member Allowances and Benefits.




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                                            BACKGROUND


To support Stage 2 of the review, the LGA commissioned five independent
authors to produce five Discussion Papers, examining the topics above.3 The
consultation process for Stage 2 included not only these five Discussion Papers,
but also nine brief, more accessible, ―Information Sheets‖ outlining the various
options for change under these 9 headings.4 Stage 2 targeted key stakeholders,
including elected members and staff of local government, academics, peak
bodies, government agencies, former candidates etc. It also went further than
previous reviews in seeking media publicity to generate submissions from the
public.

Stage 2 of the 2004 Review received 32 written submissions. Nine of these were
from elected council members.

The results obtained informed preparation of the Statutes Amendment (Local
Government Elections) Bill 2005 that was enacted and brought into operation
before the 2006 elections.



       1.3 A DECADE OF LEGISLATIVE REFORMS
Postal voting for local government elections was introduced to South Australia
ten years ago, in 1997. However, it was not adopted universally at that time. At
the 1997 local government elections, councils had the choice of either postal
voting, or polling place voting.

That choice lasted only for one election. When introducing the Local Government
(Elections) Bill 1999 into the House of Assembly, the then Minister for Local
Government, the Hon. Mark Brindal, said:

                     ―The Bill promotes consistent practice across all council areas by
                     providing for:
                         universal postal voting (with exemptions possible in limited
                            circumstances)
                         one standard system for casting and counting votes (proportional
                            representation)
                         one independent authority—the Electoral Commissioner—to be
                            the returning officer for all council elections.

                     ―In 1997, council elections conducted by postal voting in South Australia
                     showed significantly higher voter participation than elections conducted
                     at polling places. This was consistent with experience elsewhere in
                     Australia and with the findings of studies previously undertaken.
                     Mandatory postal voting was therefore included in the draft legislation
                     for public consultation. …




3
   These Discussion Papers are available on-line at http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1072 and have
informed the conduct of the present Independent Review.
4
   Links to each of these Information Sheets are also available at http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1072



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                                           BACKGROUND




                   ―The Government has considered carefully the argument of some
                   councils that they should be able to choose the voting system to apply in
                   their areas. … In keeping with the aims of maximising participation and
                   simplifying procedures, the Bill puts a higher priority on having
                   consistent approaches in these fundamental matters of governance
                   across the State. The Bill therefore provides for one standard system for
                   casting and counting votes in council elections.

                   ―The proportional representation system of vote counting has
                   consistently been found to be the fairest system in a number of studies
                   …. This is therefore the system provided for in the Bill.

                   ―The integrity of and probity of Local Government elections will be
                   enhanced by the Bill‘s provision for the State Electoral Commissioner to
                   be the Returning Officer for all council elections. This innovation will
                   also bring important consistency of approach and policy co-ordination to
                                                                     5
                   the massive administrative and logistical task…

Since 1999, there has been one set of major amendments to the 1999 Elections
Act. Following reviews of local government elections after the 2000 and 2003
elections, the changes made by the Statutes Amendment (Local Government
Elections) Act 2005 first took effect at the 2006 local government elections.

The most significant of these changes were to:

                   ―…increase the term of office for council members from 3 years to 4
                   years from the 2006 Local Government elections, in conjunction with
                   altering the date for periodic Local Government elections from the first
                   business day after the second Saturday of May to the last business day
                   before the second Saturday of November. … The proposed shift to a
                   Spring election date will give newly-elected members more opportunity
                   to be involved in council budget and rating decisions for the following
                   financial year, and will also solve the clash between State and Local
                                                                    6
                   elections that would otherwise occur in 2006.‖

The Statutes Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act 2005 also:
     extended the term of office for councillors elected in 2003 so that they
      expired in November 2006;
     changed the requirement for councils to conduct reviews of their
      representative structure from once every 6 years to once every 8 years;
     introduced a requirement for a ―representation options paper‖ to be
      prepared as part of a representation review;
     required future representation reviews to consider:
          o (if the council has more than 12 members) whether the number of
             council members should be reduced; and
          o (if the council is divided into wards) whether the division of the area
             into wards should be abolished.
     reduced the number, and consequently the cost to communities, of
      supplementary elections needed to fill casual vacancies by—


5
  House of Assembly Hansard 17 February 1999 at p816
6
 The Hon. Rory McEwen, MP, then Minister for State/Local Government Relations. House of Assembly Hansard
9 March 2005 at p1991



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              Independent Review of Local Government Elections.   Interim Report October 2007
                                             BACKGROUND


              o extending the period before a periodic election within which casual
                vacancies are not filled from 5 months to just over 10 months – the
                period commences on 1 January of the periodic election year;
             o allowing a sitting member who is an unsuccessful candidate in a
                supplementary election for the office of mayor to retain his or her
                original office, avoiding the need for a further supplementary
                election;
         made a number of other minor and technical amendments to the local
          government election process.

As soon as the 2006 local government elections had concluded, the Minister for
State/Local Government Relations, the Hon. Jennifer Rankine, promised another
review. The Minister told the House of Assembly:

                     ―….the government intends to conduct a comprehensive review into the
                     local government election process. This review will examine the roles of
                     the Office for State/Local Government Relations, the Local Government
                     Association and the Electoral Commission in the provision of
                     information; voter education and election promotion; the effectiveness
                     of the postal voting system and any modifications that may need to
                     occur; measures that may be required to increase the number of
                     candidates from under-represented groups, such as women, young
                     people, Aboriginal people and non-professional workers; and other
                     issues identified during the process of this campaign, including local
                     government caretaker conventions and provisional voting for 17 year
                                                                           7
                     olds, as is the case for state and federal elections.


         1.4 SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S STRATEGIC PLAN
The Premier, the Hon. Mike Rann, launched South Australia‘s Strategic Plan in
March 2004 and an updated plan in January 2007. The Plan has six objectives:
    Growing Prosperity;
    Improving Wellbeing;
    Attaining Sustainability;
    Fostering Creativity and Innovation;
    Building Communities; and
    Expanding Opportunity.

The objective Building Communities has a number of topics and targets relevant
to the Terms of Reference of this Review. These support improved voter
participation and representation and the development of initiatives to achieve
these targets.

South Australia's Strategic Plan 2004 included a target to increase voter
participation in Local Government elections in South Australia to 50% within 10
years (T5.5) and a target to ‗align State and Local Government Strategic Plans
within 12 months of the release of South Australia‘s Strategic Plan and agree
joint initiatives from them‘ (T5.7). The 2004 Plan also contained a number of
targets relating to increasing women‘s involvement in leadership roles. These are
not particularly directed to local government, but reflect a general commitment
to increase the number of women in leadership and decision-making roles.

7
    House of Assembly Hansard 14 November 2006 at p1196



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                                        BACKGROUND




The target to increase voter participation in Local Government elections was
mentioned in the LGA submission to the 2004 elections review, but only in the
context of whether compulsory voting should be introduced. This option was not
favoured by the LGA. No other options for attaining the target were considered
by the LGA at the time. Nor did the Strategic Plan Target feature in the Stage 2
Community Consultation Report published in November 2004.

During 2006 a comprehensive community engagement process was undertaken
to obtain community views on improvements to South Australia‘s Strategic Plan.
The Department of Premier and Cabinet conducted planning days and public
forums in regional centres across the state. Suggestions for improvement
gathered during the state-wide consultations formed the basis for the updated
plan, which was released on 24 January 2007.

SA‘s Strategic Plan 2007 modified the voter participation target only slightly, by
setting a target date:

                T5.5 Local government elections
                Increase voter participation in local government elections in South
                Australia to 50% by 2014.

The 2007 Strategic Plan updates the original target for aligning state and local
government plans:

                 ―in favour of a more comprehensive process of ‗regionalising‘ the plan
                over the next two years. This means developing coordinated regional
                approaches to pursuing those South Australia‘s Strategic Plan targets
                that reflect priorities specific to each region‖.

The 2007 Plan also maintains targets to increase women‘s participation in
leadership roles, while introducing two new targets to increase the number of
Aboriginal South Australians participating in community leadership (T5.7) and
supporting multiculturalism (T5.8). The Plan includes reference to the 'promotion
of culturally and linguistically diverse South Australians elected to Parliament,
local government, and on corporate boards' as an important facet of the value
South Australia places on diversity.

The updated plan also modifies an existing commitment to encouraging young
people to register to vote as soon as they are eligible at 18 years of age.

                T5.4 Enrolment to vote
                Increase the proportion of eligible young South Australians (18-19
                years) enrolled to vote to better than the Australian average by 2014.

These Strategic Plan topics and targets are an important part of the background
to this Review.




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          Independent Review of Local Government Elections.   Interim Report October 2007
                                         BACKGROUND




       1.5 THE CURRENT REVIEW
As mentioned previously, this Review was jointly commissioned by the Minister
for State/Local Government Relations, the Hon. Jennifer Rankine, and the then
President of the Local Government Association, Cr John Rich.

The Review is a result of a commitment made by the Minister for State/Local
Government Relations after the 2006 Local Government elections.

The Review is required to report to the Minister for State/Local Government
Relations and the President of the Local Government Association on:

            o    The effectiveness of strategies for improving participation at the 2006
                 Local Government elections, and further measures that could be taken
                 to increase voter participation in Local Government elections;
            o    Further measures for increasing the range and diversity of candidates for
                 Local Government election, and encouraging effective civic participation
                 in councils;
            o    Any legislative or administrative improvements that can be made to
                 Local Government election procedures and practice on the basis of
                 experience, including ways to redress any unintended consequences of
                 the changes made by the Statutes Amendment (Local Government
                 Elections) Act 2005; and
            o    Other issues as appropriate and agreed by the Minister for State/Local
                 Government Relations and the Local Government Association

These Terms of Reference are supported by a comprehensive Appendix that was
jointly developed by the Local Government Association and the Office for
State/Local Government Relations. The Appendix elaborates on each Term of
Reference, provides examples of the key issues that should be addressed and
gives some options for change that should be considered. The complete Terms
of Reference are included in this Interim Report as Attachment A.

Margaret Wagstaff was appointed as the Independent Reviewer to undertake this
Review and was provided with the assistance of an Executive Officer, Shane Sody
from the Office for State/Local Government Relations.

Margaret Wagstaff has also been supported by a Reference Group chaired by the
Hon Ian Hunter, MLC and with the following membership:
      Chris Russell and David Hitchcock, Local Government Association;
      Tony Crichton, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division, Department of
       Premier and Cabinet;
      Con Founten, Multicultural SA;
      David Gully and Leeanne Redpath, State Electoral Office;
      John Hanlon, Executive Director, Community and Local Government Relations;
      Michelle Parker and Bec Jaudzems, Office for Youth, DFEEST;
      Melissa Stokes, Office for Women;
      Dr Bruce Visser, SA‘s Strategic Plan,Cabinet Office. .

The Reference Group has provided valuable advice as the Review has progressed
and has also been very helpful in assisting me to access their networks.


                                                  7
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                  Independent Review of Local Government Elections.      Interim Report October 2007
                                                METHODOLOGY




2 METHODOLOGY
         2.1 ISSUES PAPERS
The Independent Review of Local Government Elections began by reviewing the
reports of previous reviews (see Background), and examining literature published
worldwide on local government elections.8

After consultation with the Reference Group, the Minister for State Local
Government Relations and the Local Government Association, the Review
produced three Issues Papers, which were published on 6 June 2007.

Consistent with the Review‘s Terms of Reference, the three Issues Papers
covered three broad themes:
   1. Improving Local Government voter participation;
   2. Improving Local Government representation; and
   3. Improving the Local Government election process.

The Issues Papers addressed each of the issues identified in the Appendix to the
Terms of Reference and identified key questions in relation to most of the
issues.


         2.2 TEN-MINUTE SURVEY LEAFLET
The Review considered it important to reach out to a broader audience than the
few who would have the time or the inclination to peruse and respond to three
long documents.

Therefore, with the assistance of the Review Reference Group (who offered
comments on content and format) a more compact questionnaire, characterised
as a ―10-minute survey leaflet‖ was produced.

The 10-minute survey leaflet was a single A4 page (printed on both sides) with
only eight questions, and instructions for obtaining additional information. It
could be folded in three and posted, reply-paid, to the Review office.

The eight questions focussed on what were believed to be the most fundamental
and/or controversial of the many issues in the Terms of Reference, namely
election promotion, the property franchise, compulsory or voluntary voting,
encouraging a diversity of candidates, dual candidacy, the caretaker period and
voting activity.

It was my intention that this survey should be distributed as widely as possible,
and hopefully attract comments from not only people within local government,
but also the wider public.




8
    Most of the relevant reports were footnoted in the three Issues Papers.



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                                              METHODOLOGY




More than 6,000 copies of the 10-minute survey leaflet were printed and
distributed. A further 500 (translated into Vietnamese) were distributed in the
Port Adelaide Enfield council area by Councillor Tung Ngo.


      2.3 OFFICE FOR YOUTH ON-LINE SURVEY
Another survey, asking similar questions, was conducted entirely on-line at a
website hosted by the Office for Youth. The survey was open for the month of
August 2007 and attracted 46 responses. The list of questions in the youth on-
line survey is reproduced as Attachment B.

There were 26 female and 20 male respondents. Apart from two respondents
who gave their ages, respectively, as 51 and 54, the remainder gave their ages
as between 14 and 30. The median age of all 46 respondents was 19.

27 of these respondents were from metropolitan Adelaide; the remaining 19 from
regional areas.

The most significant difference between the group of respondents to the Youth
on-line survey and the other individual respondents was in the response to the
question ―Did you vote in the 2006 local government elections?‖ Of the 46
respondents to the youth on-line survey, only 14 said they had voted. 30 did not
vote (many were too young to have done so) and two could not remember.
(Among the 241 who answered this question in the 10-minute survey leaflet,
(most of them presumably older) 219 (91.1%) said they had voted.)


      2.4 WEBSITE
The Review set up a website, www.localgovt.sa.gov.au/electionsreview on which
the Issues Papers, the Terms of Reference, the 10-minute survey leaflet and
submissions and comments to the Review were published.

The website was updated regularly by the Executive Officer to the Review.

At 31 August 2007, the Review had received 313 responses from individuals,9
and 26 from organisations. Most arrived by mail, in the form of completed
10-minute survey leaflets. Others arrived by fax or email.

Only two of these submissions were marked confidential. The others were all
published on the ―Responses‖ pages of the website, where they remain.
Although responses were subject to the moderation of the Executive Officer, only
two had to be edited.10 The moderator added his comments in reply to only nine
responses, to answer direct questions or correct apparent misconceptions.

From 1 June to 31 August 2007, the website attracted 2,338 total hits, from 303
unique visitors.

9
  This number includes the 46 responses to the Youth On-Line survey
10
   One to remove a possibly defamatory remark; the other to remove very long discussion of topics that were
outside the Terms of Reference. One additional submission was in the nature of advertising for a commercial
service and so was disregarded.



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         2.5 LETTERS
Immediately after the release of the three Issues Papers and the 10-minute
survey leaflet, on 6 June 2007, the Review wrote to all council Mayors and CEOs
enclosing copies of each of these documents. The letter offered a PowerPoint
presentation to the council, or any group that, via the council, would like to learn
more or comment directly.

On 7 and 8 June, the Review wrote to 57 community groups (e.g. residents and
ratepayers groups, progress associations, community associations, Zonta, etc),
with a similar offer to give a PowerPoint presentation to their members.11

The Minister provided the names of six people who had contacted her in previous
months, regarding election issues. A personal letter, with documentation, was
sent to each of them.

On 19 June, the Review wrote to some peak bodies (Business SA, Unions SA,
SACOSS, COTA, Property Council, Landlords Association, CANH) asking them to
circulate information in any newsletters to their members, and/or provide links to
our web site on theirs.

On 21 June, the LGA circulated all councils separately with similar information12
effectively reminding each council of the information that would have earlier
been received.

Also in June, the Minister for State/Local Government Relations wrote separately
to all State MP's asking for their co-operation in spreading information about the
Review.




11
     A full list of the organisations that received these letters is in Attachment C
12
     Circular 25.6, 21 June 2007. http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=13201



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     2.6 ADVERTISEMENTS
Advertisements, seeking comment, were placed in each one of the regional and
suburban newspapers in South Australia, as well as the Sunday Mail and the
Stock Journal. These advertisements appeared in the last week of June and the
first week of July 2007.




In addition, a different advertisement was produced, targeted at people of non-
English speaking background. This advertisement was translated into
Vietnamese by the SA Government‘s Interpreting and Translating Centre, and
was published in two Vietnamese-language newspapers on 12 July.




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     2.7        NEWS RELEASES
To complement the advertising strategy, 19 News Releases were issued, each
highlighting relevant local government election issues in different regions of the
State or the metropolitan area. These news releases were well received,
especially by regional media. They prompted widespread coverage about the
Review in:
              The Border Watch (14 June, p6)
              South Eastern Times (14 June, p11)
              Port Lincoln Times (26 June, p6)
              Yorke Peninsula Country Times (26 June, p7)
              Plains Producer (27 June, p4)
              Northern Argus (27 June, p4)
              Border Times (27 June, p4)
              West Coast Sentinel (28 June, p5)
              Eyre Peninsula Tribune (28 June, p2)
              Eastern Courier Messenger (25 July, p10)
              Whyalla News (2 July, p5; and 9 August, p4)
              Weekly Times Messenger (11 July, p3)
              Standard Messenger (11 July, p4)
              Southern Times Messenger (11 July, p24)
              Southern Argus (12 July, p6)
              News Review Messenger (18 July, p22)
              Murray Valley Standard (19 July, p7)
              Leader – Barossa Valley (25 July, p19)
              The Bunyip – Gawler (1 August, p24)
              The Islander (KI) (9 August, p5)
              Murray Valley Standard (21 August, p5)
              Eastern Courier Messenger (22 August, p3)

Copies of news articles about the Review have been included in this report as
Attachment D.

There was also coverage of the Review on ABC radio, with interviews by:
            Minister Rankine on 2 July (ABC Regional, and ABC radio news)
            The Reviewer (Margaret Wagstaff) on ABC Radio South-East and
             ABC Yorke Peninsula /Mid North;
            Diana Laube (Executive Officer, Eyre Peninsula Local Government
             Association) on 2 August, (ABC regional radio & ABC radio news)


     2.8        LIBRARIES
On 5 July, the Executive Officer sent a package to each one of the 144 public
libraries in South Australia. Each of the packages contained an A4 poster (a copy
of the newspaper advertisement above), 35 copies of the 10-minute survey
leaflet, and a letter to the librarian. Each library was asked to put up the A4
poster so that visitors could see it, and also place the leaflets on display. The
libraries were advised that both the leaflets and the poster could be removed
after 10 August 2007.




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     2.9        MEETINGS
Response from the letters and the publicity was such that the Reviewer,
Margaret Wagstaff, could not handle all invitations personally. The Executive
Officer, Shane Sody, and the Director of the Office for State/Local Government
Relations, Mick Petrovski, assisted the Reviewer to fulfil all requests for personal
presentations.

As a result of the letters that were sent out and other informal contact, a
PowerPoint presentation and/or discussion about the central issues of the
Independent Review was scheduled and held for the benefit of 19 different
groups, in locations throughout South Australia.
               South-East Local Government Association (Mt Gambier, 1 June)
               Oakfield and Northgate Residents Association (Hillcrest, 13 June)
               Southern & Hills Local Government Association (Stirling, 15 June)
               Policy officers Network meeting, OS/LGR (Adelaide, 21 June)
               Premier's Women's Council (Adelaide, 6 July)
               Adelaide City Council (Adelaide, 10 July)
               City of Tea Tree Gully (Modbury, 10 July)
               City of Salisbury (Salisbury, 16 July)
               City of West Torrens (Hilton, 17 July)
               Business & Professional Women Club of Adelaide East
                (Kent Town, 17 July)
               SouthEast City Residents Association (Adelaide, 23 July)
               Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association (Wudinna, 1 August)
               City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters (Norwood, 1 August)
               Local Government Communicators Network (Green Fields, 2
                August)
               Hartley electorate community groups (Payneham, 6 August)
               Zonta Para Districts Club (Para Hills, 7 August)
               Central Region Local Government Association (Orroroo, 10 August)
               Murray & Mallee Local Government Association (Renmark, 10
                August)
               Aboriginal community members (Port Augusta, 24 August)
               Aboriginal leaders (Port Adelaide, 3 October)


     2.10       PERSONAL APPOINTMENTS
Issues Paper No. 1 made it clear that voter turnout has historically been highest
in the council areas of lowest population, and lowest in the councils with the
largest populations. This means that substantial progress towards the SASP
voter turnout target will be possible only if significant gains can be achieved in
the council areas with the largest populations.

The Review therefore arranged personal appointments with the Mayor, Chief
Executive and/or senior staff at four of the large metropolitan councils, where
voter turnout for the 2006 election had been under 30%. These meetings, at
the Cities of Onkaparinga, Port Adelaide Enfield, Charles Sturt, and
Campbelltown, occurred during July 2007 and afforded the Reviewer valuable
insight into the particular problems facing these larger councils.



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3 REVIEW OF ISSUES
The Review‘s Terms of Reference and the Appendix to the Terms of Reference
include dozens of topics. Some are controversial, some have potentially great
impact, and others are minor, technical or of little public interest.

The Review took the view that it would be impractical and counter-productive to
seek to engage the South Australian community on the full breadth of all the
topics in the Terms of Reference. Accordingly, in consultation with the Reference
Group, the Review selected six major issues, plus an open-ended general
question as the basis for a wide-ranging consultation strategy.


     3.1 THE TEN-MINUTE SURVEY LEAFLET
As previously mentioned, the 10-minute survey leaflet (and the PowerPoint
presentations that were given to 19 different groups) concentrated on questions
about six major issues as well as seeking information about voting activity and
some personal information about the respondent. The text of the 10-minute
survey is included as Attachment E, but in summary the questions related to:
   1. The effectiveness of local government election promotion
   2. The fairness of individuals getting one or more additional votes via the property
      franchise
   3. Whether voting in local government elections should be voluntary or compulsory
   4. Encouraging a more diverse range of candidates
   5. Candidates being permitted to nominate for councillor and Mayor in the same
      election
   6. Caretaker rules before elections

The 10-minute survey leaflet made it clear that responses need not be restricted
to the matters in these questions. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of
respondents answered only these questions (sometimes not all of these) and
made no other contribution.



     3.2 OFFICE FOR YOUTH ON-LINE SURVEY
As previously mentioned, another survey, asking similar questions, was
conducted entirely on-line at a website hosted by the Office for Youth.



     3.3 MAJOR SUBMISSIONS
Both the web site and the 10-minute survey leaflet made it clear that responses
that addressed the broad range of issues contained in the Terms of Reference
and the Issues Papers would be welcome.




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The three Issues Papers each contained a longer list of questions, and some
submissions took the form of answering most, if not all of the questions in the
Issues Papers. Other respondents wrote at length on one or several matters of
particular concern. Two councils wrote to the Minister for State/Local
Government Relations about election-related issues before the commencement of
this Review. The Minister advised both councils that their letters would be
considered as part of this Review.

On the Review‘s web site, responses were arbitrarily segregated into:
                      those made by individuals. 267 were received directly by the Review
                       and all except one confidential response were published on the
                       ―Responses‖ pages. (Another 46 received via the on-line survey at the
                       Office for Youth were not separately published); and
                      those made by organisations. 21 were published and one confidential
                       response was not published.

In general, responses made by organisations tended to be the longer and more
detailed, but this was not always the case. A handful of submissions from
individuals were more wide-ranging and comprehensive than any submission
from an organisation.



         3.4 PERSONAL APPOINTMENTS
As mentioned under ―Methodology‖ above, the Reviewer also met with Mayors,
CEOs and/or other senior staff at four of the large metropolitan councils,13 where
voter turnout for the 2006 election was under 30%. Only one of these four
councils made a formal submission to the Review, but the Reviewer nevertheless
took notes at these meetings. For present purposes the notes have been treated
as equivalent to the submissions received.



         3.5 CATEGORISING THE SUBMISSIONS
For the purposes of evaluating the vast amount of information received, the
Review has categorised responses as either ―quantitative‖ or ―qualitative‖.

The Review has considered ―qualitative‖ responses to be those submitted:
                      on behalf of any organisation, on the basis that even if the response was
                       quite brief, it was prima facie representative of the opinions of more
                       than one person; and
                      by any individuals, where the response ranged beyond the matters
                       raised in the 10-minute survey leaflet or in the on-line youth survey.




13
     The Cities of Onkaparinga, Port Adelaide Enfield, Charles Sturt and Campbelltown.



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The Review has considered all the remaining submissions to be ―quantitative‖.
This is because, for the most part, they consisted of yes/no or numerical answers
to the six major issues identified in the 10-minute survey leaflet or the on-line
youth survey, and therefore could be massed and analysed as data. This should
not be interpreted as meaning that comments and suggestions from individuals
in these survey leaflets or the on-line youth survey have been disregarded. On
the contrary, these comments have been exceptionally helpful, not only to clarify
each respondent‘s motivation and meaning, but also, in many cases to reinforce
comments made by others in the ―qualitative‖ responses.

Using this admittedly arbitrary categorisation, the Review received from:
              the 10-minute survey leaflet;
              the Office for Youth on-line survey;
              emails; and
              letters
a total of 299 ―quantitative‖ submissions from individuals.

The Review also received from:
              letters;
              formal submissions;
              emails; and
              personal appointments
a total of 40 ―qualitative‖ submissions, from individuals and organisations.

Because of the weight of numbers, the Review is relatively well-equipped with
public views on the six major issues posed in the 10-minute survey leaflet, and
equivalent questions in the youth on-line survey, but not nearly so well informed
with views from the public about the other matters in the Terms of Reference.

The total range of comments can be accessed on the Review‘s website.




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      3.6 ISSUES RAISED THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN
         THE TERMS OF REFERENCE
Although the Review‘s Terms of Reference and related Appendix are broad, there
were at least 16 matters not specifically included, that were raised by one or
more respondents.

Of the 16 issues discussed below, the Review has determined to take no action
to follow up 15 of them. Options for further consideration are given only for one
of the 16 proposals in this list.

             3.6.1    Should Mayoral candidates be required to have
                       previous experience as a councillor?
Five respondents raised this as an issue. Four supported the proposition – one
opposed it. Three of the four proponents were from Mitcham where, in 2006,
one Mayoral candidate, without experience, unsuccessfully campaigned on the
basis that he would ―cut rates by 5%‖. Examples of these comments are:

                    Many experienced members of Local Government believe that allowing
                    inexperienced individuals to run for the office of Mayor is totally
                    inappropriate. The Local Government Act of 1934 required mayoral
                    candidates to have had at least 12 months experience as a council
                    member. This should be reinstated in the 1999 Act.

                    …if the first time candidate becomes a Mayor – a chairperson of a
                    council – in an election, he or she will not have enough experience to
                    operate a council.

A contrary comment is:
                    Councillors and Mayors suffer from the ‗experience disease‘. Before
                    they get elected they have no council experience, and they claim that
                    ‗new blood‘ is essential to the future of their particular office. Then they
                    get the job. From then on, they claim to have experience. And now
                    they insist that any candidate in future must have experience before
                    being allowed to stand.

The requirement for a Mayoral candidate to have had previous Council
experience was deliberately removed from the current legislation in 1999, in the
belief that it was limiting the number and skill base of candidates nominating for
a mayoral position. It was also seen as a limitation upon the democracy of the
election, as it restricted the potential field of candidates. It is also worth noting
that no such requirement exists in any other sphere of government.14

The Review does not intend to pursue this matter.




14
   Candidacy, Filling of Casual Vacancies and Election Campaigning by E. Gottwald and M. Kelledy (2004)
http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Elections_Review_Discussion_Paper1.pdf



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              3.6.2   Should full preferential voting be discarded in favour
                       of optional preferential voting?
From among the 40 qualitative responses, five supported a change to optional
preferential voting (OPV). Some comments were:

                     If full optional preferential voting was introduced, it would increase voter
                     turnout and decrease the number of informal votes. If a voter only
                     wants to express a preference for one candidate or preferences for less
                     than the number to be elected, such a vote should not be dismissed as
                     informal.

                     Why should electors have to indicate preferences equal to the number of
                     vacancies when that sometimes means ―voting for candidates I don‘t
                     want‖. A truly optional preferential system would increase voter
                     participation.

This matter also came up among the 299 quantitative responses.

                     Make preferential voting optional.

OPV may be contrasted with full preferential voting, which is the voting system
used for State and Commonwealth elections.

There are reasonable arguments both for and against OPV. The State Electoral
Office published a report on the matter in 2004.15
                     ―Advocates of the current full preferential system argue that;
                         1. A full preferential system elects the candidate preferred by most
                            voters.
                         2. Allied parties can stand against each other without necessarily
                            resulting in a win to their common opponent.
                         3. Minor parties can influence the election result through the
                            allocation of preferences.

                     ―This current voting method requires voters to mark preferences for all
                     candidates (except one, which would automatically be taken as the last
                     preference). There is a saving provision in the South Australian
                     legislation for ballot papers that are not fully completed. Candidates
                     have the option of lodging a voting ticket with the Electoral
                     Commissioner within 72 hours of nominations closing. The advantage of
                     lodging a voting ticket is that ballot papers which are only partially
                     complete but are in accordance with the nominated ticket are not
                     informal, but may be re-included into the count with preferences
                     following the ticket.

                     ―….the amount of votes remaining in the count through this provision
                     are significant in number. Under the Electoral Act 1985 (SA), this saving
                     provision is not and cannot be publicised. … Effectively then, the South
                     Australian voting system is full preferential. ….




15
     http://www.seo.sa.gov.au/apps/uploadedFiles/news/264/OPTIONA_PREFS_FINALlow.pdf



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                ―Critics of compulsory, full preferential voting argue that this system is
                not democratic due to its compulsory nature and generation of ‗insincere
                voting‘. The full preferential system makes voters choose between
                candidates that they may have no preference for, or knowledge about.

                ―The OPV system on the other hand gives electors more options in
                casting a formal vote. The elector has the choice of expressing;
                1. A single first preference and leaving all other squares blank
                (plumping),
                2. A partial distribution of preferences or
                3. A full distribution of preferences, that is, completing the ballot paper
                as is required today.

                ―Optional preferential voting allows voters to restrict their votes to
                candidates whom they do support and refrain from voting for candidates
                they oppose. Under this voting system, voters who mark only one
                preference or ‗plump‘ for a candidate who finishes third or lower, simply
                exhaust their ballot.

As will be seen later in this Interim Report, there is considerable support from
respondents for the general principle that the process for local government
elections should not vary unnecessarily from the processes used for State and
Commonwealth elections. This review considers it would be unwise for local
government to lead the way in introducing OPV, when it has not been taken up
at State or Commonwealth level.

On the other hand, there is a mechanism, used in State elections, that might be
acceptable for those who advocate optional preferential voting. In State
elections, pursuant to section 63 of the Electoral Act, a candidate may register a
―ticket‖ with the State Electoral Office. Ballots that fail to express a full
distribution of preferences may be considered valid by distributing preferences in
the manner envisaged by a candidate‘s ticket. This mechanism was devised for
the purpose of saving votes that would otherwise be considered invalid, but it
also permits those who do not want to distribute preferences, to simply mark a
―1‖ on their ballot paper, thus accepting the preference recommendations of their
preferred candidate.




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Therefore, the Review proposes, for further discussion, two options:


OPTIONS 3.6.2

      A. Take no action on this suggestion. Optional preferential voting
         should be examined again if and when either the Commonwealth
         or the State introduces optional preferential voting.

      B. Consider an amendment to the Local Government (Elections) Act
         1999 equivalent to the ―saving‖ provision in section 63 of the
         Electoral Act 1985, so that candidates may register a ―ticket‖
         with the State Electoral Office, and ballots that fail to express a
         full distribution of preferences may be considered valid by
         distributing preferences in the manner envisaged by a
         candidate’s ticket. If this option is pursued, it will be necessary
         to consider whether the amendment should also (as the Electoral
         Act 1985 does) prohibit candidates advocating a vote that does
         not fully distribute preferences. 16




16
     Electoral Act 1985 (SA) s.126.



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             3.6.3     Should any form of preferential voting be discarded
                         in favour of first past the post?
First past the post is a voting system in which no preferences are distributed.
See box.


                 ILLUSTRATION OF FIRST PAST THE POST SYSTEM
In an election with four candidates, and 1,000 valid votes, the vote-count may be distributed as follows:

                          Candidate A                  130 votes    (13%)
                          Candidate B                  270 votes    (27%)
                          Candidate C                  310 votes    (31%)
                          Candidate D                  290 votes    (29%)

In this example, candidate C would be elected, notwithstanding that he/she had received less than 50% of the
vote, because no preferences would be distributed from any of the other candidates.



Four respondents raised general dissatisfaction with any form of preferential
voting. Examples of comments received are:

                     The Council [has] concerns regarding the proportional preferential
                     voting system, whereby the second or third preference vote carries a
                     significantly reduced value as opposed to the value of the vote for the
                     preferred candidate. In the event where a Ward requires two (2)
                     positions, an elector may wish to vote for two (2) candidates equally,
                     however, based on the current voting system this is not possible.

                     I disagree with preferential voting because it means that candidates with
                     few first preference votes can be elected with preferences ahead of
                     candidates who poll many more first preference votes, but who may not
                     have the support of sitting councillors.

The contrary argument, of course, is that the first past the post system does not
permit voters to exercise a second or third preference choice for any candidates
who might be acceptable, if not their most-preferred choice. Nor does it permit
voters to vote ―against‖ candidates, by preferencing them last. Under a first-
past-the-post system, individuals or groups whose preferred candidate does not
finish first in a contest, have no influence upon the outcome at all.

Further, successful candidates may be elected with a very small proportion of the
valid votes. In local government elections, where one of the aims of this Review
is to increase voter turnout, such a change is likely to discourage voters from
participating.

Preferential voting is used in nearly all Australian elections,17 and this Review
does not suggest there is any need to re-evaluate its use in the context of local
government elections in South Australia.




17
  Exceptions are W.A. local government elections, and some Queensland local government elections.
See next chapter.



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         3.6.4         Should the Representation Review process be
                        changed?
The process for representation reviews is specified in section 12 of the Local
Government Act 1999. Recently, the Adelaide City Council went through such a
process, and decided to re-introduce a ward system. Each council must review
its representation structure at least once in every eight years. Three
respondents raised separate concerns with different aspects of the process.

                Each Council should be able to determine whether to have a directly
                elected or appointed Mayor (after consulting the community, but not the
                current requirement for a referendum).

                Usually the Council has decided what the outcome is to be, and the
                prepared discussion paper reflects this decision. There is then a
                community consultation process, but with the decision already made
                there is usually only slight attention paid to written submissions and
                polite disinterest at presentations made at Council meetings. ……Many
                local ratepayers (either as part of a residents‘ group or as individuals)
                come away disappointed and disillusioned, and probably never get
                involved again in Local Government, including voting in Local
                Government elections.…..It would appear from the Representation
                Reviews, that the final decision should not be made by Councils, but
                someone separate from the Councils who will accept the
                recommendations and findings of the independent Representation
                Review process.

                Why not set out the basic qualifications necessary to undertake this
                function? Leaving council to decide what qualifications are necessary to
                undertake the task means that council can select anyone who will simply
                do what council wants without question. … If the minimum qualifications
                are mandated either in the Act or the regulations, there can be no doubt
                about the quality of the qualifications (if not the person) required to
                undertake the review.

Representation reviews are a very important part of the local government
election process and it may be that a review of the process is warranted, but this
Review was not required to specifically address this issue. As such the detailed
analysis and public consultation this topic warrants has not occurred and this
Review cannot pursue it further.




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         3.6.5         Representation review matters: should wards be
                         abolished? Alternatively, should elections at large
                         be abolished?
The representation review process requires councils to choose between the use
of wards, or area-wide councillors, or both. If wards are used, it is also
necessary to decide upon the size of each ward and the number of councillors to
represent each ward, so as to maintain a consistent ratio between the number of
electors per councillor.

A total of nine responses dealt with this topic. The suggestions were evenly
divided. Comments in favour of the abolition of wards, so that each council
would have only area-wide councillors are:

                The extra record-keeping and expenses to Councils are not justified by
                any perceived advantage. It won‘t matter how many candidates there
                are in each election, if there is only one election for each Council. …
                Similar changes state-wide would create vast savings in terms of
                allowances, election costs (only one election per council), and support
                services.

                For voters to be encouraged to vote, they need to see their votes
                actually electing candidates (and particularly the candidates getting their
                number one votes). … Proportional representation works better, the
                greater the number of members to be elected. As the number to be
                elected increases, the quota for election reduces and more voters find
                their votes electing someone. Also the number of candidates usually
                increases, and this greater choice also encourages people to vote.

On the other hand, other respondents seemed to suggest that only a ward option
should be allowed:

                Local means local - very large councils loose local basis - so should at
                least keep wards.

                I know what discourages (voters) - lack of wards.

                I would have single-councillor wards to hold each councillor accountable
                to the electors. This will reduce the doorknocking area making it easier
                for candidates to doorknock all of ward and engage their voters.

There are good arguments in support of both positions, and councils have the
opportunity to choose between these options at least once in every eight years.
The other related question is whether councils should continue to be permitted to
choose a mix of both options.




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Out of all 67 elected councils in South Australia, the City of Campbelltown was,
until recently, the only council that retained a mix of ward councillors and area-
wide councillors.18 The City suggested, in a recent discussion to inform this
Review, that the mix may be an unnecessary complication in its representation
structure.

                        The Council doesn't make it easy to vote. Having three ballot papers
                        (Mayor, Ward Cr, Area Cr) made it too hard & discouraged potential
                        voters from completing their voting papers.

That view is shared by the State Electoral Commissioner who suggested:

                        Consider abolishing the option to have combination of both (in the
                        interests of simplicity).

Only one respondent considered that having a mix of both was a good model:

                        We believe councils should have representatives to cover the individual
                        wards of the district and have aldermen (or their equivalent) to cover
                        the whole district and not be ward focused. We understand this could
                        create complexities during voting.

There are good reasons (discussed elsewhere in this report) to simplify the local
government election process where that is possible. 65 out of 67 councils find it
satisfactory to choose between either wards, or area—wide elections.

As mentioned previously, issues related to Representation Reviews have not
been sufficiently canvassed to provide a basis for the Review to propose any
change. If, however, on further analysis, it emerges that a combination of ward
and area-wide councillors discourages potential voters, this advice should be
provided to councils to inform further Representation Reviews.




18
     The Adelaide City Council voted in 2007 to return to this system, which it had used in the past.



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         3.6.6        Reducing the effect of the Donkey vote – with Robson
                       rotation
The submission below explains the perceived problem as well as the suggested
solution. Its proposal for rotation of names on the ballot paper has long been
championed by the Electoral Reform Society, among others.

                The current nature of the ballot paper strongly favours those drawing
                positions near the top. There is a natural inclination to work from the
                top down. Added to this a % of people who do not understand
                preferential voting effectively mark the ballot paper from the top down
                with numbers as though they were crosses producing a form of ‗donkey‘
                vote. The bias particularly affects elections with multiple candidates ….
                but also affects elections for a single candidate. The proof of this bias
                can readily be seen by working out the % of candidates elected who are
                in the number of top spots equal to the number to be elected eg the top
                2 where 2 are to be elected, the top 8 when 8 are to be elected and so
                on compared with candidates in all other positions. If there were no
                bias then the % across the State would be similar – in practice it is
                much higher for those in top positions. The result on one analysis is
                that in the order of 10% of candidates are elected because of luck of the
                draw which should be unacceptable for a democratic system. The order
                of candidates‘ names can readily be randomised to remove this bias.

                The Electoral Reform Society submitted that while the Society
                supports the current method of election, there are still a number of
                improvements that could be made to make proportional representation
                even more effective. These include:
                           o using Robson Rotation for ballot papers

Randomising the placement of names on the ballot paper would also negate the
need for any ‗ballot draw‘.

Robson rotation is used for elections to Parliaments in Tasmania and the A.C.T.
but not, as yet, in any other State or in the Commonwealth electoral process. It
is indisputably a fairer system. However, there are several arguments against it.

First, there would be an increased cost to printing the ballot papers. For
example a ballot paper with three names must be printed in six different ways to
randomise the position of each candidate‘s name on the papers.

Second, the use of Robson rotation would make it more difficult for voters to
follow how-to-vote cards because names on the ballot paper would not
necessarily appear in the same place on the candidate‘s how-to-vote card. On
the other hand, how-to-vote cards are not a common feature of local
government elections.

Third, using Robson rotation would increase the timeframe for all scrutiny and
counts and delay the results of the elections. Depending on the size of the count
(number of candidates to vacancies) this could increase the count by up to a day
or more.




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The problem of donkey voting is not as common in local government elections as
the first submission quoted above would suggest. Following the recent local
government elections a ballot paper analysis was completed for 14 elections,
which examined donkey and reverse donkey voting. The combined donkey and
reverse donkey voting was 0.8% of the formal votes. In elections with eight or
more candidates the overall rate of full donkey voting was 0.2% (2 in every 1000
ballot papers) and 0.1% (one in every 1000 ballot papers) for reverse donkey
voting.

In short, Robson rotation is a solution for a problem that does not appear to exist
in local government elections. This Review does not intend to pursue this
matter.




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         3.6.7        Should terms of office be reduced? Should
                       individuals be limited to 2 (or 3, or 4 etc) terms?
Five respondents raised this as an issue – all suggesting that elected members
should be limited in the number of consecutive terms that they may serve.
Comments included:

                The term of office should be 3 years and a councillor (should) only stand
                for two terms.

                It is also my view that as with the office of Lord Mayor ….. it is healthy
                to allow a mayor to serve only two terms. This allows for diversity in
                leadership and a chance for others to contribute their skills to the office.

                Reduce Council terms to 2 years (and maximum 4 year continuous term
                on Council whether Councillor or Mayor)

One of the themes of this Review is to encourage a greater field and greater
diversity of candidates in future. It would run counter to this objective to
prohibit experienced and willing volunteers from putting their names forward for
re-election. Often, in many smaller regional council areas, only the incumbent(s)
is/are willing to serve another term. When challenged, long-term incumbents
often succeed in their re-election attempt, which is an expression of the will of
the voters. This Review would be very reluctant to suggest voters should be
denied the choice to re-elect a long-term incumbent.

Although the Lord Mayor of Adelaide is restricted to two terms of office no other
sphere of government places a limit on the number of successive terms any
elected member may serve.

This Review does not intend to take this suggestion further.




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          3.6.8       Should political party involvement be accepted;
                       restricted; prohibited?
Traditionally there has been little, if any overt political party involvement in local
government elections in South Australia. However, several respondents suggest
that has recently been changing. Four respondents suggested that steps were
required to prevent or restrict this. Comments included:

                 The very obvious push by the major political parties to unofficially run
                 candidates in the last election explained the significant increase in
                 candidate numbers, as well as the decrease in voter interest. An
                 overwhelming number of residents have told me that they don‘t want
                 party politics in Local Government. They believe that local community
                 issues should remain local. … In my opinion there should be a total ban
                 on political parties fielding candidates for Local Government elections.

                 We suggest that the involvement of political parties in local government
                 matters and elections should be made illegal.

                 Nobody seems interested in confronting the issue of State MPs seeking
                 to interfere in local government elections. This is sometimes overtly
                 through support for a particular candidate or, more often, covertly
                 through financial help, copying of material or vocal attacks on the
                 incumbent, or the Council. Help of any sort from a State electoral office
                 is unfair. MPs have access to funds that most of us do not.

Only one respondent put forward the contrary view:

              Political parties should be able to clearly endorse a candidate in local government
              elections and that candidate campaign as a Greens, Family First etc candidate as to
              represent the values/platforms of that party, such is the case in Vic, NSW, Qld.

There is no logical reason why political parties or their members should be
singled out for exclusion, rather than (by way of contrast) organisations such as
sporting associations, migrant welfare organisations, unions, corporations, etc. or
their members. Any of these or other organisations or their members may
choose to devote resources to electing preferred candidates, and/or unseating
incumbents. Therefore, this Review does not intend to take this suggestion
further.




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          3.6.9       Should council staff be prohibited from some aspects
                        of running the election?
Council staff are required to take nominations and many are assigned to count
votes. They may also be asked to, for example, enforce a council‘s policy on
election signs by removing signs that have been erected in contravention of the
policy.

It is inevitable that in some circumstances there will be conflict between staff and
elected members or candidates who may perceive that staff are acting partially.

             No council staff members should be involved in the counting of votes, in the 2006
             local govt elections … Council staff including managers were employed by the
             Electoral Commission to count the votes. … surely there must be a clear separation
             between government and the electoral process in local government?

             Returning Officers during the council nomination and election process should not be
             paid staff of Council

             We believe that the SEC should take nominations from candidates so that Council
             staff may become entirely at arms length from the election process.

In addition, the Review received one confidential submission that detailed
specific ―intimidation, bullying, defamation‖ of a particular candidate by an
identified Council staff member, and alleged that there had been no consequence
for the perpetrator.

It is not feasible to conduct local government elections without the assistance of
local government employees. It should be remembered that State elections are
conducted with the services of State government employees and Commonwealth
elections are conducted with the services of Commonwealth public servants.

Although there may be tension between some local government staff members
and some candidates, it would be impractical to exclude all staff members from
the various tasks that need to be carried out to support the election.

In regard to counting of votes, candidates are entitled to have their own
scrutineers present, to safeguard their interests.

In regard to the taking of nominations, it is not clear what problem would be
addressed by requiring all nominations to be taken by staff of the State Electoral
Office. This change would pose serious difficulties for candidates at rural and
regional councils. Any council employee taking nominations would have signed a
Code of Conduct agreement with the SEO. Candidates also have the choice of
making a nomination directly to the SEO.

This Review does not intend to take this suggestion further.




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         3.6.10       Should the voting age be lowered?
This question is separate from the issues of:

              whether 17-year-olds should be permitted to provisionally enrol,
               to vote when they turn 18; and
              whether persons under 18 should be permitted to nominate as
               candidates.

Rather, this question asks whether voting should be permitted for persons aged
under 18. Three respondents argued for this change. Dr Bob Such MP
encapsulated these views.

                I … believe that 16 and 17 year olds should be given the option to vote to
                increase participation rates and to ensure that young people have a chance to
                express their views on community issues. This is especially important now that
                there is a four year election cycle (if you just miss out on a vote, there is a four
                year wait and your teen years and chance to contribute by way of voting have
                ‗disappeared‘). Also it is good to get people in the habit of voting while they are
                young!

The Electoral Roll that forms the main basis for local government elections is the
same roll that is used for State elections, which in turn is derived from the Roll
that is used for Federal elections. Apart from the issue of the property franchise
and the CEO‘s roll (see the next chapter of this Interim Report) a voter needs to
enrol only once, for the Commonwealth electoral roll, to ensure entitlement to
vote for all three spheres of government.

It would be possible to create a new class of voters, persons enrolled to vote
only in local government elections (as already is done for property franchisees
and others). However there is little evidence of widespread support for this
possible reform. Against this, is the fact that such a change would necessarily
reduce the already low level of consistency between local government elections,
and elections for the other spheres of government. This Review does not intend
to pursue this issue.




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               3.6.11 Should there be any new restrictions on campaigning
                        methods etc?
The cost of running an election campaign is sometimes said to be a disincentive
to would-be candidates for local government elections. Four respondents
suggested that to keep costs down (presumably to make campaigning more
affordable for a wider range of candidates) some restrictions should be placed
upon the nature of campaigning permitted.

                      Posters are a major cost. If they were outlawed or restricted, the cost
                      of campaigns would be significantly reduced.

                      For any individual candidate there should not be the rush of an extra
                      pamphlet/s or paid media publicity. Those with the wealth splash
                      pamphlets and individual posters in the electorate.

                      Ban all signs on poles on public roads.

                      There is no need for posters, or expensive mailouts to all the people in
                      the area, or radio interviews, TV ads, etc. If every candidate is restricted
                      to a total of $1000 for the campaign then everyone has an equal
                      chance. And councils do not have to police this. Other candidates will
                      provide the evidence if it annoys them, and the evidence can go to the
                      local electoral office.

There have been a few high-profile mayoral contests in which candidates have
spent tens of thousands of dollars. However a survey of 571 candidates in the
2006 local government elections, by Professor Dean Jaensch of Flinders
University found in most cases candidates for election to local government spent
very little on their campaign:

                           Total amount spent               % of candidates
                              Less than $250                      55.4
                                $251 - 500                        15.7
                               $501 - 1,000                       10.8
                              $1,001 - 2,000                       9.0
                              $2,001 – 4,000                       5.4
                              $4,001 – 7,500                       2.2
                               Over $7,500                         1.5
                                           (n=)                  (537)

Professor Jaensch reported on this finding:
                       ―…the amount spent was miniscule in comparison with State election
                      candidates. Given this, the question arises that for most candidates,
                      there is little opportunity to inform the voters sufficiently for them to
                      make an informed choice. This may be one factor explaining the low
                      turnout at local elections – voters who have had no real opportunity to
                      inform themselves about the candidates and their policies may well
                      decide not to participate. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many voters
                      had very little, if any information about the candidates they were asked
                      to choose between. 19



19
     Jaensch, D. (2007) Local Government Elections 2006 Candidate Survey



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Given this reality, it would appear to be counter-productive for this Review to
consider any measures to restrict the type of campaigning candidates are
permitted to undertake. On the contrary, there appears to be a strong case for
candidates to better inform potential voters about their candidacy and their
policies.

          3.6.12      Additional topics on which the Review intends to take
                        no further action:
   o   Prohibit popularly-elected Mayors- (have Mayors elected only from within
       council)
                 Do we really need some sort of presidential-style popularity vote? So
                 the person who is popular, or attractive, or just plain likeable, gets the
                 job without having a guarantee that even one single issue or program
                 will be supported by the other Councillors.

This is a matter that each council can address through its Representation Review.

   o   Lift the prohibition on council staff nominating for election

                 If a mayor or a councillor owns a business within a council area, or if
                 employed by a charitable institution within that same council area, it is
                 appropriate for that person to state their conflict of interest and then
                 leave the chamber while the conflicting issue or contract or whatever is
                 resolved. So why can we not trust council employees to have the same
                 level of ethics?

                 If a council employee is elected, and there is a discussion about the
                 budget in that person‘s work area, common sense would expect the
                 person to leave the chamber for a cup of tea.

                 It might be years before an employee even considers becoming a
                 candidate. But to expect an employee to have a right to vote but not a
                 right to stand, is to deny that person a proper franchise

As staff are under the direction of the CEO, and the CEO is responsible to the
elected council, it would be untenable for a staff member to be an elected
member of the same council.

   o   Delays in SEO notifying unsuccessful candidates;

                 The results of the counts had been available very promptly on the LGA
                 website (Saturday night and Sunday) and yet it was a further 4-5 days
                 before the successful candidates received any verbal or written
                 notification from the State Electoral Commission. This caused some
                 concern to successful and unsuccessful candidates who were contacted
                 by the media for comment prior to receiving any notification (either
                 formally or informally) by the SEC.

Raw data is available promptly. However formal notification cannot occur until
preferences have been distributed and the results checked.




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4 VOTER PARTICIPATION
     4.1 WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
The Term of Reference related to Participation requires the Review to report on
―the effectiveness of strategies for improving participation at the 2006 Local
Government elections, and further measures that could be taken to increase
voter participation in Local Government elections‖.

          4.1.1       SASP targets
As earlier stated (see Background) this Term of Reference relates to the South
Australian Strategic Plan 2007 target:

                T5.5 Local government elections
                Increase voter participation in local government elections in South
                Australia to 50% by 2014.

Also relevant is the Strategic Plan 2004 target to align State and Local
Government Strategic Plans and the 2007 target:

                T5.4 Enrolment to vote
                Increase the proportion of eligible young South Australians (18-19
                years) enrolled to vote to better than the Australian average by 2014.




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           4.1.2        Building Communities
These targets contribute to the South Australia‘s Strategic Plan‘s Building
Communities objective, which ―emphasises the importance of strong, connected
communities for the overall prosperity of South Australia and individual well-
being. It spans engagement in community life – measured through participation
in political elections and volunteering activities – and indicators of the viability,
prosperity and safety of our regional communities‖. Strong communities are built
on democratic practices where citizens ―aspire to be well-informed and engaged
in decision-making‖.20

What do we mean by ―community engagement‖?
Community engagement is based on principles of democracy, social inclusion and
responsible government. It assumes that citizen involvement inspires confidence
and collaboration in the governing process, informs decision-making and enables
public dialogue and the interplay of ideas to shape public policy. As such,
community engagement is considered to be more than the practice of
consultation. It is about a stronger move towards participative deliberative
democracy.21

The definition of ―community engagement‖ used in local government in South
Australia has been outlined recently in the LGA publication Community
Engagement Showcase – Leading practice examples in Local
Government in South Australia.

                     ―Community engagement is about involving the community in decision
                     making processes, which is critical in the successful development of
                     acceptable policies and decision in government, the private sector and
                                      22
                     the community.‖

Two dimensions of ―community‖ are:
    Communities of place: People (also referred to as residents and ratepayers) in
     a defined geographic location. For example, the topic under consideration
     may relate to ―the community north of the river‖.
    Communities of interest (may also be referred to as key stakeholders): those
     who may have a specific interest in a topic under consideration, for example,
     local community members, service providers, specific interest groups, or
     community groups.

The Department for Victorian Communities in ‗Indicators of Community Strength:
a framework and evidence‘ states that ―community participation and community
involvement in local governance are the hallmarks of strong communities‖
bringing benefits that include ―improved health and well-being, reduced crime,
better educational outcomes and improved community facilities‖. Strong local




20
   South Australia’s Strategic Plan 2007
21
   Adapted from “A Voice for All” Western Australia Citizenship Strategy 2004-2009.
22
   Adapted from www.dpi.wa.gov.au/communityengagement/717.asp



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governance is characterized by broad and inclusive networks and community
members that participate in community decision-making and problem-solving.23

The South Australian Department for Families and Communities has built on the
work of the Department for Victorian Communities to develop and undertake a
survey of community strength in South Australia. The results of this survey are
reported in „Indicators of Community Strength across South Australian Local
Government areas‟. The survey reported on a range of indicators of community
engagement and involvement with local governance networks. These included:
          Regularly volunteering their time in any form;
          Feeling part of their local community;
          Having been involved in community issues in the last 12 months;
          Being a member of an organised group in their local community;
          Being on a decision-making board or committee;
          Being actively involved with activities in their children‘s school; or
          Attending one or more local event in the last 12 months.

It is of interest that, except for membership of a decision-making board or
committee, the state average percentage of people who are engaged with their
local community in any of these ways is higher than the percentage of people
who voted in the 2006 local government elections.24

However, local government is the key instrument of local decision-making and
governance. Therefore, this Review would argue that participation in local
council elections is fundamental to a strong and engaged community.




23
  Indicators of Community Strength: a framework and evidence,
Department for Victorian Communities, Jeanette Pope June 2006
http://www.dvc.vic.gov.au/web14/dvc/dvcmain.nsf/headingpagesdisplay/research+and+publicationsindicators+of+community+strength
24
  Indicators of Community Strength across South Australian Local Government Areas,
Department for Families and Communities, Dr Gary Starr, May 2007
http://www.familiesandcommunities.sa.gov.au/DesktopModules/SAHT_DNN2_Documents/Download/633246702499531250/Comm Strength Report.pdf




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          4.1.3      Local democracy
The fundamental principle underpinning any democracy is that the formation of a
government is legitimised by the conduct of free and fair elections to select those
who will form the government.

In other words, the election is the process by which citizens select those who will
govern them. It follows that governments formed on the basis of the election
result have a legitimate claim to have the consent of the governed. To the
extent that any election is not free or fair, or does not otherwise reflect the
consent of the governed, the legitimacy of the government may be contested.

Local democracy, at least in some Australian contexts, suffers to a degree from a
perception that local governments are formed without the advantage of obtaining
the approval or even participation of a majority of their citizens. Although many
citizens who choose not to vote may be entirely satisfied with their local
government, their abstinence nevertheless risks undermining the legitimacy of
those who are elected. Though it may be no fault of their own, those councillors
elected by only a minority of those eligible to vote have obtained the consent of
only a minority of the governed.

Professor Bill Russell in a discussion paper ‗Voter Obligation and Voter Turnout‘
prepared for the Local Government Association to inform the review of the 2003
Local Government elections stated that

                      ―the state Strategic Plan target of increasing voter participation in Local
                      Government elections to 50% within 10 years is an important
                      commitment that deserves consideration. It implies a view concerning
                      the legitimacy of local government, namely that elections should involve
                      the participation of a majority, or at least a near majority, of voters.
                      Such a turnout would confer a degree of legitimacy that is absent if
                      voter turnout were to level out significantly below 50%, as it seems to
                      be doing at the moment‖.25

The 50% SASP Target can be seen, in this context, as not an ideal, but as the
minimum required for establishing the democratic legitimacy of local
government.




25
  Voter Obligation and Voter Turnout, Discussion Paper prepared for the Local Government Association of South
Australia, Professor Bill Russell, 16 August 2004
http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Voter_Turnout_Elections_Discussion_Paper_Prof_Russell_Aug_04.pdf



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          4.1.4       Mandate
In conducting a three-month process of community engagement on the issues of
this Review, it became apparent that this principle was not generally seen as an
issue of concern to local government.

It was rare to hear any elected member of local government speak of the need to
obtain a sufficiently strong mandate to legitimise their council‘s governance of
the community. On the contrary, a view frequently put was that ―it is quality,
not quantity that counts.‖ It is a widely held (though, of course not
universally-held) belief that local government in South Australia is better served
by having a minority of informed and/or motivated voters than by maximising
the number of those who exercise their right to vote.

One of the questions on the 10-minute survey leaflet was: ―If you were charged
with substantially increasing voter participation in local government elections,
what would you do?‖ These responses are illustrative of a general satisfaction
with the low levels of voter participation in local government elections:

                I wouldn't do anything.      Let's have an "informed vote" not a forced
                vote.

                It is not necessary to increase voter participation as you cannot force
                someone to be interested in something if they do not wish to be.
                Forcing people to vote leads to poor representation of those who are
                legitimately interested.

                Nothing - let those who are interested and care make the decision - it is
                more likely to be a better quality decision!

                Nothing. It is a free choice. No money should be spent on
                "substantially increasing voter participation."




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                             4.2 WHAT IS HAPPENING
          4.2.1       Trends in participation 2000, 2003 and 2006
Trends in voter participation in South Australia in recent years were discussed in
Issues Paper No. 1, under the heading 1.2 Recent History.

In summary, before the introduction of postal voting in local government
elections in 1997, the rate of voter participation in contested elections rarely
exceeded 20%. Since 2000 (when postal voting was used statewide for the first
time) participation rates have been consistently above 30%. However, after the
peak year of 2000 (when 40.1% participated) the trend has been downward,
with participation rates of 32.7% in 2003, and 31.6% in 2006. However the
total number of voters did increase in 2006.

It is not yet clear whether this downward trend will continue, or whether
participation might have stabilised in the range of 30 to 33 percent. Professor
Bill Russell, in the Discussion Paper referred to earlier, quotes the Western
Australian Electoral Commissioner who noted a decline in voter turnout in both
metropolitan and country areas when the novelty of postal voting had worn off.



                                           Voter participation in Local Government elections in South
                                                               Australia 1983 - 2006

                                  1983    1985    1987    1989     1991    1993    1995    1997     2000    2003   2006
                             50

                             45

                             40
  % of voter participation




                             35

                             30

                             25

                             20

                             15

                             10

                              5

                              0




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                      Number and percentage of councils with 50% or
                     4.2.2
                        more voter participation – percentage of total voters
In 2006, 60 of South Australia‘s 68 councils held elections.26 Not all of those
councils had elections in every ward, because in some wards there was no
contest as nominees were elected unopposed. However the total number of
electors who were able to cast a vote in at least one council election was
1,195,977.

Although 20 councils reached the 50% voter target, these councils were all
smaller and regional councils, each with fewer than 10,000 voters, and their
enrollees represented only a small fraction of South Australia‘s potential local
government voters.

                                          Below & above SASP Voter Target 2006



                60                                                                               1,200,000

                              Enrolled voters        Councils
                50                                                                               1,000,000




                                                                                                             Total enrolled voters
                40                                                               40              800,000
     Councils




                30                                                                               600,000



                20                       20                                                      400,000



                10                                                                               200,000



                0                                                                                0
                               50% or greater                           Under 50%
                               50% turnout                              Below 50%
                                 or m ore                                 turnout




26
   The other eight had no election because Adelaide City Council had its election postponed; Roxby Downs has
an unelected council administrator; and in six council areas (Lower Eyre Peninsula, Le Hunte, Kimba, Franklin
Harbour, Flinders Ranges and Cleve) there were insufficient candidates to require an election.



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                       Number and percentage of councils with 30% or less
                    4.2.3
                        voter participation – percentage of voters
47 out of 60 councils managed to get voter turnout of at least 30%. The only
councils with a very low voter turnout (below 30%) were the most populous
councils, all in the Adelaide metropolitan area. These 13 large councils contained
almost twice as many potential voters as the other 47 councils combined and so
represent the majority of South Australia‘s population. Clearly, no strategy to lift
local government election participation rates will be effective unless it specifically
addresses the reasons for non-voting in the largest metropolitan council areas.

               50                                                                         1,000,000
                                         47
               45                                                                         900,000


               40                                                                         800,000


               35                                                                         700,000




                                                                                                      Total enrolled voters
               30                                                                         600,000
                              Enrolled voters
    Councils




                              Councils
               25                                                                         500,000


               20                                                                         400,000


               15                                                                         300,000
                                                                          13
               10                                                                         200,000


               5                                                                          100,000


               0                                                                          0
                          30% turnout or m ore                Under 30% turnout




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         4.2.4        The largest council areas
The councils with voter participation rates below 30% in 2006 were:

                                             No. Eligible  Returned     Turnout
                                              Electors    Ballot Packs    %
         Campbelltown                             38,336        10,872      28.4
         Charles Sturt                            84,899        23,669      27.9
         Marion                                   64,692        17,702      27.4
         Mitcham                                  51,319        14,110      27.5
         Mount Barker                             20,701          6,133     29.6
         Norwood, Payneham & St
                                                  21,774            6,188         28.4
         Peters
         Onkaparinga                             118,054          25,659          21.7
         Playford                                 51,491          14,060          27.3
         Port Adelaide Enfield                    84,175          23,368          27.8
         Salisbury                                91,067          25,572          28.1
         Tea Tree Gully                           76,648          19,346          25.2
         Unley                                    31,585           9,264          29.3
         West Torrens                             47,318          12,959          27.4
         TOTALS                                 782,059         208,902           26.7




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         4.2.5          Elected members, number and % of vote – trends
                         and 2006 highest & lowest
Any election is won by a candidate who receives more votes than his or her
rivals. The lower an election participation rate, the more tenuous is the claim by
an elected officer (or a government) to have a ―mandate‖ or ―legitimate
authority‖ derived from the consent of the governed. This problem does not
arise in State or Commonwealth elections in Australia, because participation
rates are very high, due in large measure to the fact that voting is compulsory
and fines are imposed for those who do not participate. But local government
elections, at least in South Australia, are subject to an ongoing struggle to
achieve a mandate that is recognised and respected as such within and beyond
each community.

The struggle is made even harder by the fact that, unlike elections for the State
and Commonwealth, a significant proportion of candidates at local government
elections are unopposed, and hence are automatically elected without a contest.
The Review considers that a particular priority is to encourage sufficient numbers
of candidates to ensure that there is a contest in each election. The following
examples refer, of necessity, to elections that were contested.




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ILLUSTRATION – THE LOWEST
PARTICIPATION RATE IN 2006                                      ILLUSTRATION – THE HIGHEST
                                                                PARTICIPATION RATE IN 2006
In South Australia‘s 2006 local government
elections, the lowest participation rates were                  In South Australia‘s 2006 local government
in the City of Onkaparinga, and the lowest                      elections, the highest participation rates were
rate in any of the City‘s five wards was in                     in the District Council of Robe, in the
Pimpala ward. Four councillors were elected                     Council‘s Town Ward. There were 1,493
to represent each ward of the City of                           persons enrolled to vote in Town ward. If all
Onkaparinga. There were 22,830 persons                          of them had voted formally, the minimum
enrolled to vote in Pimpala ward. If all of                     quota for each successful candidate would
them had voted, the minimum quota for each                      have been 300 votes (which might, of course
successful candidate would have been 4,567                      have come through first preference votes, or
votes (which quota might, of course have                        combined with the preferences of
come through first preference votes, or                         unsuccessful candidates).
combined with the preferences of some of the
three unsuccessful candidates).                                 If only 50% had voted (thus reaching the
                                                                SASP voter participation target) the minimum
If only 50% had voted (thus reaching the                        quota for each successful candidate would
SASP voter participation target) the minimum                    have been 151 votes.
quota for each successful candidate would
have been 2,284 votes.                                          As it happened, 928 (62.2%) of the potential
                                                                voters in Town ward cast formal votes.29 The
As it happened, only 3,951 (17.3%) of                           first candidate elected, with the highest
Pimpala‘s potential voters cast valid votes.27                  number of first preference votes, received
The fourth and final successful candidate in                    238 first preference votes. Presumably this
Pimpala ward was elected with just 470 first                    Councillor also would have received some of
preference votes. Presumably the candidate                      the preferences (if he had needed them,
also would have received some (perhaps                          which he didn‘t) from the 252 first preference
hundreds) of preferences from the 958 votes                     votes that went to the three unsuccessful
cast in favour of the three unsuccessful                        candidates for Town ward.30 Allowing for this,
candidates,28 but even allowing for this, his                   his total of all votes is likely to have been
total of all votes is most unlikely to have                     greater than 300.
exceeded 1,000.
                                                                Even allowing for the fact that almost 38% of
What does this mean? Clearly, this Councillor                   potential voters didn‘t vote, this elected
was elected in a free and fair election, and                    Councillor still has an unassailable mandate
this illustration should not be interpreted as                  to represent all the residents and ratepayers
any adverse comment on him, or on any                           of Town ward. As much as (if not more than)
other councillor who has been elected in a                      any other elected councillor in SA, he and his
similar manner. However, the fundamental                        community know beyond doubt that he has
principle underpinning democracy (consent of                    the authority of the people of his ward to
the governed) leads us to expect that when                      represent them in Council.
four people are elected to represent 22,830
potential voters, the legitimacy (or mandate)
of their representative positions is
undermined by an inability to obtain even
1,000 expressions of approval.




27                                                              29
   There were 4,389 votes, but 438 (10%) were                      There were 978 votes but 50 (5.1%) were
invalid. It is customary to include invalid votes in the        invalid). It is customary to include invalid votes in
“turnout” figure, so that the actual turnout for                the “turnout” figure, so that the actual turnout for
Pimpala ward is considered to have been 19.2%.                  Town ward is considered to have been 65.5%.
28                                                              30
   It is unnecessary for purposes of this illustration             It is unnecessary for purposes of this illustration
to provide a full preference distribution.                      to provide a full preference distribution.



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         4.3 LESSONS FROM INTERSTATE EXPERIENCE
Attachment F contains a comparison of the legislative schemes in each of the
other Australian states. The information in Attachment F has been summarised
in the form of a table:

                         NSW                QLD            VIC             TAS            WA               SA
Method of             Attendance       Attendance      Postal OR       Postal         Postal OR       Postal
voting                                                 attendance                     attendance
                                                       (at                            (at
                                                       discretion of                  discretion of
                                                       Council)                       Council)
Property              Yes, after       No              Yes, after      Yes, after     Yes, after      Yes – no
franchise?            application                      application     application    application     enrolment
                      for                              for             for            for             application
                      enrolment                        enrolment       enrolment      enrolment       required
Compulsory?           Yes for          Yes for         Yes, for        No             No              No
                      residents        residents       residents
                                                       aged 18-70
                      Optional for
                      property                         Optional for
                      franchisees                      over 70‘s
                                                       and
                                                       property
                                                       franchisees
Avg                   85% +            85% +           75.2%           58.5%          37.4%           31.7%
participation                                                                         (postal)
rate at most                                                                          20.3%
recent poll                                                                           (attendance)
Ballot                Optional         Optional        Optional        Optional       1st past the    Full
marking and           preferential     preferential    preferential    preferential   post (block     preferential
counting              voting for 1     voting for      voting for 1-   voting for     voting).        (to the
                      or 2-            single-         member          1-member                       number of
                      member           member          contests.       contests.      Only ticks.     positions to
                      contests.        contests.                                      No              be filled)
                                                       Proportional    Full           preferences.
                      Proportional     1st Past Post   preferential    preferential
                      preferential     for other       when 2 or       (to the
                      when 3 or        contests.       more to be      number of
                      more to be                       elected         positions to
                      elected                                          be filled)
                                                                       when 2 or
                                                                       more to be
                                                                       elected
Publicity             State-wide       State-wide      State-wide      State-wide     State-wide      Councils /
                      by the NSW       by Electoral    by Victorian    by             by WA           LGA only
                      State            Commission      Electoral       Tasmanian      Electoral
                      Electoral        Qld31           Commission      Electoral      Commission
                      Office                                           Commission     plus
                                                                                      statutory
                                                                                      minimum by
                                                                                      councils
Dual                  Yes              No              Not             Not            Yes             No
Candidacy                                              applicable.     applicable.
                                                       Mayor must      Mayor must
                                                       be elected      be a
                                                       from among      councillor
                                                       councillors.


31
     Electoral Act 1992 (Qld) s.8 (1)(d)



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From the above comparison of provisions in other States it can be seen that:
         South Australia has the lowest participation rate in local government
          elections (although, of course, it is not a real comparison with the
          three States that have compulsory voting);

         South Australia is the only State in which a State Electoral
          Office/Commission does not take responsibility for a central publicity
          and promotions campaign for local government elections;

         South Australia is the only State in which property franchisees (i.e.
          non-resident owners and business lessees) are automatically enrolled
          without taking any action to seek enrolment. This alone arguably
          would account for the difference in participation rates between SA and
          WA;

         South Australia is one of only two States with popularly elected
          mayors that restricts candidacy for Mayoral positions to exclude
          persons who have also nominated as councillor.




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    4.4 ISSUES RELEVANT TO VOTER PARTICIPATION
       DISCUSSED IN THE TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Review‘s Terms of Reference require examination of:
                the effectiveness of strategies for improving participation at the 2006
                Local Government elections, and further measures that could be taken
                to increase voter participation in Local Government elections;

Under the heading: 1. Improving Local Government voter participation, a wide
range of issues is canvassed in the Appendix to the Terms of Reference. These
are reproduced in full in Attachment A. In summary, the Appendix requires the
Review to consider:
         issues in voter education and information;
         issues in election promotion; and
         the basic features of the local government electoral scheme, insofar as
          they may be relevant to improving voter participation.




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         4.5 LITERATURE REVIEW
This Review has been informed by a review of material prepared to inform
previous election reviews as well as other relevant material accessed by the
Reviewer referred to the Review by interested respondents.

           4.5.1      Papers prepared to inform the 2004 review
Two papers that were prepared for the 2004 review of local government elections
have particular relevance to the issues being addressed in relation to voter
participation. They have dated little, if at all, and were of major assistance to this
Review. They were:

           The Electoral Franchise – Entitlement to Vote by L.B. (Basil) Kidd32
            The purpose of this paper was to stimulate debate on the local
            government electoral franchise and the entitlement to vote. The author
            notes that there is an emphasis in the legislation on automatic
            entitlements to enrolment i.e. enrolment without any action on the part
            of the elector. It is also noted that the merging of the House of Assembly
            roll and records compiled and managed by councils cause considerable
            processing problems. It is concluded that if this aspect of the franchise
            was brought into line with State and Federal practice (and applications
            forms were appropriately designed) council‘s roll management task could
            be simplified. With regard to elector participation it is noted that it is
            generally accepted that the higher the voter turnout at elections, the
            better. This is seen to be one motivation behind the current franchise
            provisions – in particular those related to automatic entitlement to be
            enrolled. The main impediment to the exercise of people‘s democratic
            right to vote would seem to be apathy. It is arguable that interested
            electors, given some encouragement, should be prepared to make an
            effort to enrol as well as to vote.

           Voting Obligation and Voter Turnout by Professor Bill Russell33
            The purpose of this paper was to encourage debate about whether the
            provision for voluntary voting in local government elections should be
            changed to provide for compulsory voting and whether there are any
            middle options. He outlined a series of arguments for and against
            compulsory voting and concluded that declining low voter turnout poses a
            significant risk to the future standing and legitimacy of local government
            in South Australia. He also proposed that positive action was needed,
            and that the South Australian community, government, LGA and councils
            should give serious consideration to introducing either compulsory voting
            in metropolitan Adelaide for persons at their principal place of residence
            or a hybrid model, in which compulsory voting can be selectively
            implemented by council decision, or automatically triggered by a decline
            of turnout below a regulated minimum percentage or when a municipality
            exceeds a specified population.



32
     http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Elections_Review_Franchise_Discussion_Paper_Basil_Kidd1.pdf
33
     http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Voter_Turnout_Elections_Discussion_Paper_Prof_Russell_Aug_04.pdf



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           4.5.2      Dean Jaensch’s study of 2006 candidates
As noted in Issues Paper No. 2, Professor Dean Jaensch of Flinders University
conducted a survey of candidates (both successful and unsuccessful) in the 2006
local government elections. Some 571 candidates (almost 47%) returned their
questionnaires, allowing Professor Jaensch to confidently draw conclusions about
the total number of candidates.

The survey responses dealt with the candidates‘ backgrounds, their previous
relationships with the community they were seeking to represent, their
assessment of materials provided by the State Electoral Office and the LGA, their
campaign strategies and funding, electoral regulations, and particular issues in
the election campaign.

With regard to communication with the community as part of their campaigns,
the preferred methods by both successful and unsuccessful candidates were
letter-boxing, working with community groups, media releases and door
knocking.



         4.5.3      LGA study of why people did not vote in 2006
The LGA commissioned McGregor Tan research to complete two studies on local
government voters. One study, of a quantitative nature, arose from a survey of
a random sample of 511 South Australians, including 342 who admitted not
voting.

The other was more in the nature of a qualitative study, examining attitudes of
two focus groups, in December 2006, one comprising voters and the other
exclusively non-voters.

The authors found that the main reasons people did not vote were because they
could not be bothered, they did not have enough information about the
candidates or they forgot. For the 2006 elections, only 8% of respondents said
that they did not receive the ballot papers.




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               4.5.4   Community Leaders Breakfast – 30 November 2005.
                        Report by the Local Government Association
One purpose of this discussion was to engage industry and community leaders to
assist the promotion of council elections. With regard to communication by
councils, participants suggested that:

                      Council could improve their communications with key community and
                      business groups and get better at informing the community about local
                      government‘s role and the services and functions provided.

                      Open and transparent communication is a key issue – councils should
                      not be afraid to advertise or communicate key issues and challenges to
                      their communities and other stakeholders.

                      Councils could use new technology more effectively including websites,
                      email systems etc. - need to explore new and innovative ways of
                      reaching people.

                      Community business forums with councils.

                      Communicate with the community rather than to community.



               4.5.5    Postal Voting for Australian Local Government:
                         Democracy or Conspiracy? by Rosemary Kiss34
This paper argues that although universal postal voting appears to enhance
democratic practice by increasing the voter participation rate and reducing the
rate of informal voting, it may in fact hamper progress towards local
representative democracy and equal citizenship at the local government level.
The author notes the arguments that voter apathy and indifference to local
politics can call into question to extent to which councils can claim to represent
their communities and legitimately govern and recognises that efforts to improve
electoral turnout and participation have the potential to enhance democracy.

However, the author argues that universal postal voting disregards the principle
that every individual is entitled to a secret vote, the voting kit encourages an
uninformed vote as the vote can be cast with a minimum of effort (a well-crafted
candidate statement may be sufficient to attract a sizable vote) and as local
government is the only sphere of government with postal voting, it reinforces
that local government is not an essential part of the democratic process.




34
     http://www.essex.ac.uk/ecpr/events/generalconference/marburg/papers/5/5/Kiss.pdf



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           4.5.6         Reasserting Local Democracy? by Rosemary Kiss
This paper argues that despite considerable interventions during the last decade
of the twentieth century to reform local government, the legitimacy of local
government has not been strengthened. The two reasons the author gives for
this is that firstly, the emphasis on representing a local community is not
regarded and supported by other spheres of government as the special domain
local government and has, in fact has been used to bypass local government and
undermine their representative structure, and secondly, that the continuance of
property voting fails to satisfy the test of representative local democracy.



              4.5.7   Local media and local elections: voters’ preferred
                       information sources by Dianne Jones and Alison
                       Feldman35
This paper reports on a study of the information sources used by voters in
Queensland to get information about local government elections and candidates.
The study found that the local newspaper was the most used source of
information, but there was extensive use of other information sources such as
brochures, letterbox drops leaflets and direct contact with candidates. These
latter sources were the main information sources for voters aged 18 to 24 years.
Radio is used extensively as an information source by voters over 65 years.

The authors also note that while the internet was not widely used for information
about local government elections, this is likely to change, to become the primary
source of information for 18 to 34 year-olds in future elections.

        4.5.8       Other relevant literature
A number of other helpful papers were obtained. These included:

               Electing Local Authorities by ACE Encyclopedia, Electoral Knowledge
                Network36
               The State Of Play In Australian Local Government by Brian Dollery37
               History Of Electoral Provisions For Local Government In South
                Australia by Jade Bruss38
               Bicameralism - The Politics of Democracy in South Australia by Prof.
                Dean Jaensch39
               Report on Optional Preferential Voting 2003 – 2004 by the State
                Electoral Office40
               Voter turnout: Size isn't everything - by Jennie Bristow41
               Election Results and Voting systems (page of various links)42



35
     http://eprints.usq.edu.au/archive/00001061/01/jones_jul_2006.pdf
36
     http://www.aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/es/ese/ese06
37
     http://www.munimall.net/articles/05/050616australia.pdf
38
     http://www.seo.sa.gov.au/apps/uploadedFiles/news/263/LGAHIS~1.DOC.pdf
39
     http://www.history.sa.gov.au/history/Democracy%20Conference/Jaensch%20BICAMERALISM%20_2_.pdf
40
     http://www.seo.sa.gov.au/apps/uploadedFiles/news/264/OPTIONA_PREFS_FINALlow.pdf
41
     http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA9A1.htm
42
     http://www.barnsdle.demon.co.uk/vote/vote.html



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          4.6 RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 2004 REVIEW
A review of local government elections, conducted in 2004, included a process of
community engagement. There were 32 written submissions to the review.
These were summarised in a report by Janet Gould & Associates.43

The community consultation report summarised both the predominant/shared
view of the respondents, as well as some alternative suggestions. It found there
was predominant support for:

                    three year (not 4-year) terms;
                    elections in Spring;
                    councils to continue determining their own representative structure
                     through regular reviews;
                    retaining the property franchise;
                    retention of the voluntary postal voting system, with increased
                     measures to inform and educate potential voters;
                    retaining current arrangements for proportional representation;
                    reducing nomination period from 21 to 14 days;
                    access to a greater level of information and training for candidates
                     about the role of elected members;
                    extending the period during which a position can remain vacant
                     before a general election to 6 or 7 months;
                    retention of the 150-word limit on candidate profile with ballot
                     papers.




43
     http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Community_Consultation_Report___Elections_Review___November_2004.pdf



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     4.7 ACTIONS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN THE 2004
        AND 2007 REVIEWS AND THE IMPACT OF THESE
The 2004 review process led to a number of proposed reforms, most of which
were implemented by the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act
2005.

The major changes made by this Act included:
          extending the term of local governments elected from 2006, from
           three years, to four years;
          scheduling of elections every four years, in November, eight months
           after each State election;
          all Councils being required to prepare and adopt a training and
           development policy for their Members;
          all councils being required to comprehensively review their
           composition and representation structures every 8 years, (rather
           than six);
          the period before a periodic election within which casual vacancies
           are not filled will commence on 1 January of the year of the periodic
           election;
          a sitting Council Member who unsuccessfully contests a
           supplementary election for mayor will retain his/her seat; and
          the nomination period for candidates nominating for Council will be
           reduced from 21 to 14 days.

These changes were implemented in time for the 2006 elections.




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         4.8 SUBMISSIONS ON VOTER PARTICIPATION AND
            DISCUSSION OF MAIN ISSUES
          4.8.1       Targets to improve voter participation
One occasionally notices comments to the effect that Australia is
―over-governed‖ by our three spheres of government. From time to time,
commentators make proposals for fundamental change such as abolishing local
government. Some respondents made similar remarks. This is however, well
outside the scope of this Review.

Local government has been, for more than 150 years, and still remains a part of
the constitutional structure of South Australia44 and the political structure of both
the State and the nation.

Unfortunately, local government seems to be perceived by some people
(probably only a minority, but perhaps a significant minority) as irrelevant, a
nuisance, or (more charitably) just as a service provider, rather than a
government as such.

The SASP Target 5.5 to lift the level of participation in local government elections
to 50% by 2014 needs to be seen as an effort to improve the underlying
credibility and support for local government. In a voluntary voting system,
attracting more voters to participate in a local government election is a method
of underpinning the institution of local government. Any person‘s decision to
vote (regardless of which candidates are supported) is a show of support for the
institution itself.

Yet not all of those in local government see it that way. One of the key
challenges for improving voter participation in South Australia is the level of
scepticism within the local government community about the merit of SASP
Target 5.5.

During the comprehensive community engagement process on the SA Strategic
Plan that occurred throughout 2006, local government was well represented,
both in terms of facilitating the engagement and in providing ideas for improving
the Plan.

Nevertheless, it has become apparent while undertaking this Review that there
are many within local government who see the Target of 50% voter participation
by 2014 as the State Government‟s target, not a target that is owned or even
supported by local government.

This Interim Report has already argued that the level of voter turnout is a
measure of community strength and is linked to perceptions of legitimacy and
mandate.45




44
     Constitution Act 1934 (SA) section 64A
45
     See the discussion at sections 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 under the headings “Local Democracy” and “Mandate”.



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It would appear to be short-sighted not to accept the challenge implicit in Target
5.5 and work to improve and strengthen local government by increasing voter
participation.

The Community Engagement Board for SA‘s Strategic Plan has been working in
2007 to try to promote new partnerships around the Plan‘s targets, and to
regionalise the Plan. No decisions have been reached, but some targets may be
adjusted to take account of regional variations in voter turnout. For example, in
the Murraylands region, five of the region‘s seven councils exceeded the 50%
target in 2006. Maintenance of voter turnout rather than increased voter
participation may, therefore, be an appropriate regional target in the
Murraylands region. On the other hand, a target of 30% by 2010 may be an
achievable intermediate milestone for all of the Adelaide metropolitan regions.
However, no target is of value unless all participants embrace it.



PROPOSAL 4.8.1:

         A. The State Government and the Local Government
            Association work together and with the Community
            Engagement Board for SA’s Strategic Plan to promote the
            concepts underpinning Target 5.5 to the local government
            community; and

         B. The OS/LGR and the Local Government Association work
            with local communities, local government and the
            Community Engagement Board for SA's Strategic Plan to
            promote increased participation in local government
            elections.




         4.8.2     Should responsibility for election promotion remain
                     within the local government sphere (with councils
                     or the LGA) or should it be assigned to an
                     independent State body such as the State Electoral
                     Office?
From among 40 qualitative responses, there were 19 answers to this question.

          Eleven supported assigning the role to an independent body;
          Five supported the status quo; and
          Two supported a shared role for an independent State body and the
           LGA.
Responses included:

                If a single body were responsible for election promotion then promotional
                activities would achieve greater penetration and could also achieve economies of
                scale for some forms of promotion (for example, television/radio advertising.

                A state body is able to promote elections more broadly and cost effectively than
                leaving it up to individual councils.



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                We believe the responsibility of managing the election promotion could be a role
                for the State Electoral Office. It would assist local councils to promote elections
                more consistently and widely, as well as provide an overarching advisory and
                organizational resource. This could improve voter turnout at council elections.

                The promotional campaign co-ordinated by the LGA is strongly supported.

                LGA to continue election promotion via a levy on councils but programme to be
                expanded to include radio & TV with more emphasis on explaining what LG does
                and how individuals can be involved.

The 10-minute survey leaflet did not pose this question. Rather, it asked: ―Could
local government elections be promoted better? If ‗yes‘ what could be done (or
done better?)‖ Of the 232 persons who answered this question, 73.7%
answered ―yes‖. However, there was some confusion about the intent of this
question. Many respondents took it to be referring to candidates‘ campaigning
methods, rather than overall promotion of the election itself.

Of those who interpreted the question in the way the Review intended, there
seemed to be a majority in favour of the view that some external control would
be an advantage, although few dealt with the question of cost:

                Yes. Should not be left to local councils. The LGA and State Electoral Office
                should promote, so there is consistency across the whole State.

                Yes. Promotion to be done by the State Electoral Office - not by individual
                councils. TV & newspaper advertisement about how to enrol, entitlement to
                enrol, & closure dates. More promotion about the forthcoming council elections
                & the importance to vote.

                Yes.   State Government could take responsibility for this - and pay for it.

                Yes. Advertise more prominently - SA Government should promote elections,
                voting and participation.




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         4.8.3     Should councils be required to commit a specified
                     minimum amount towards election promotion? If
                     so, what should that minimum be, or how should it
                     be calculated?
From among 40 qualitative responses, there were 14 answers to this question:
        Six agreed
        Four disagreed
        Four partially agreed

Those in favour made comments including these:
                Minimum - $1.00 per enrolled voter would appear to be necessary, based on
                data showing $1.00 per enrollee seemed to work at last elections. Smaller rural
                councils most successful spending $1.00 per enrollee where they targeting
                residents with perceived urgent local concerns. Larger councils will need to
                spend more in order to gain similar interest

                Yes, based on a formula for the size of Council.

                Yes. Arrive at the figure as a percentage of budget and perhaps set a minimum
                and maximum amount to allow for the differences in council sizes. Country
                council could be a lesser amount due to local community knowledge of elections.

Those against included:
                The most effective promotion and advertising for Council elections in rural and
                regional areas is generally that which appears as news articles or editorial, such
                as an article concerning each of the candidates. These types of articles do not
                cost the Councils.

                Council believe that Local Government Elections are promoted extensively and
                no increase is required

Many of the 299 quantitative responses, while not specifically answering this
question, nevertheless raised the same or related issues about funding for
election promotion:

                Have the State Government commit considerable funds to promote the elections
                and why we should vote.

                Yes, by the candidates. Just as Federal and Local elections are mainly funded by
                the parties although with some help from the taxpayer.

                Yes. Give responsibility to State Electoral Office or if by Local Government, apply
                minimum expenditure level.

                Expense is the main problem. If the Govt wants 50% turnout by 2014 let it
                provide the effort and funds. Don't cost shift this to L.G.

The 46 respondents to the on-line youth survey were asked: ―Do you think
councils should have the power to decide how much they spend to promote
elections?‖ They were given a choice of four replies:

                  o   Yes, it‘s their choice how to spend their budget
                      (9 responses – 20%)
                  o   No, they should be told to spend a per-head amount
                      (7 responses – 15.5%)
                  o   No, it‘s a conflict of interest. Someone neutral should promote
                      elections (27 responses – 60%)
                  o   Other (2 responses – 4%)


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         4.8.4        Could the 2006 strategies be changed in future to
                       achieve greater success in improving voter
                       participation?
Among the 14 who directly responded to this question, there was unanimity that
the 2006 strategies could be improved upon. There was, however, great
diversity in the suggestions put forward for improvement:

                  o   A better quality and range of promotional materials developed by
                      the LGA would assist.
                  o   More effective targeting of specific groups and at appropriate
                      venues such as recreational facilities, high schools etc.
                  o   Working with the education department to develop a curriculum
                      activity in Australian Studies which includes Local Government and
                      voting etc.
                  o   Place polling stations in each ward for two weeks prior to the
                      election, including polling day.

                There is a view that traditional means of advertising do not have an
                impact.

                A greater education of the voters of the future is imperative. This should
                be done through the secondary school system prior to young people
                getting their first time vote.

A more effective publicity campaign needs to be undertaken to more specifically
engage people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This can
be undertaken most effectively by utilising the communication avenues available
through the various ethnic community groups.The hundreds of people who
completed the 10-minute survey leaflet threw up many other suggestions:
                  o   More TV advertising;
                  o   Public forums/debates; Publicise "your vote counts"
                  o   Posters in public places, shop windows, Post Offices etc
                  o   Fliers with rate notices in election year
                  o   Advertise more prominently - SA Govt should help
                  o   local papers
                  o   Advertise in a 'user-friendly' way
                  o   Promote the benefits of electing a GOOD Cr
                  o   Explain postal vote system
                  o   More info on each candidate; use council website
                  o   Advertise well in advance
                  o   Lengthier & less restrictive candidate profiles
                  o   Enough coverage already
                  o   Radio ads
                  o   Pamphlets, fridge magnets, TV ads
                  o   Educate people about what councils do
                  o   Professional marketing
                  o   Through business sectors, community centres
                  o   Session at social functions




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The 46 respondents to the on-line youth survey were asked to choose one or
more of the following alternatives. Many chose several different promotional
options:

                 How could local government elections be better promoted,
                       to let young people know that they are on?
                          Office for Youth on-line survey, August 2007 (total respondents: 46)
  35


  30


  25
           Promotion at youth-focused events




  20
                                                               TAFE and Universities
                                               e-mail or SMS




  15
                                                                                                        Radio adverts and




                                                                                                                                                                       Using high-profile
                                                                                       Newspaper ad s




                                                                                                                            TV adverts and



                                                                                                                                              Street Press




                                                                                                                                                                                            Merchandise and
                                                                                                           interviews


                                                                                                                             placements




                                                                                                                                                                          supporters
                                                                                                                                                             Website

  10




                                                                                                                                                                                                              Competitions
                                                                                                                                                                                               giveaways
  5




                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Other
  0




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         4.8.5      What sort of information or advertising campaigns
                     would motivate potential voters?
Many of the responses to this question were of a similar nature:

                The information in the advertising for any candidate must be simple and
                correct! The advertising campaign should be done at the right time (one
                month before the election is held, and the advertisings should be
                repeated once again at least one week before the election is held) to
                achieve its goal.

                To increase voter turnout, Councils also need to be encouraged to
                organise candidate forums, so that voters have a chance to see how the
                candidates perform in front of the public and the opportunity to question
                the candidates. To ensure impartiality, perhaps the Local Government
                Association, or the State Electoral Office, needs to be obliged to
                organise such meetings. Such meetings would also assist in generally
                lifting the public profile of Local Government.

                This depends on the demographic of the voter. Market research could
                provide input here. Elderly citizens may appreciate personal talks and
                visits at their local day care centre, or community lunch. Younger people
                may prefer using only electronic media, such as internet or SMS. Busy
                workers may also prefer electronic media strategies. Motivation to care
                about your local environment is the first element of the communications
                campaign; motivation to vote would follow automatically.

The on-line youth survey posed this question, and accepted multiple answers
from each of the 46 respondents:

            What do you think w ould m otivate you to vote in local governm ent elections?
                   Office for Youth on-line survey, August 2007 (total respondents: 46)


  35


  30
                   Knowing more ab out the people standing for




  25
                                                                 · Understand ing more abo ut what
                             election (cand idates)




  20
                                                                      local g overnment does




  15
                                                                                                     Better promotion




                                                                                                                        Better or more




  10
                                                                                                                          candid ates
                                                                                                                           choice of




   5
                                                                                                                                         Other




   0




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         4.8.6          Given the reality that participation is higher in
                          elections for councils with fewer voters, how should
                          election promotion for large councils differ?
This is a difficult question, although four respondents offered meaningful
contributions:
                There is some argument to suggest that this is because candidates are
                well known in areas with fewer voters (smaller communities). Greater
                opportunities for candidate promotion, coupled with the type of
                campaign mentioned previously in relation to creating a ―culture‖ of
                voting may serve to increase voter participation.

                More turn out to vote in smaller Councils. They are aware that their
                vote WILL affect the outcome. Perhaps smaller Councils are seen as
                more relevant and approachable in electors‘ day-to-day lives. People
                vote at State and Federal elections because it is compulsory. If this was
                not the case it would be interesting to see what the turnout would be.

                This big area has many ethnic groups; Australian – Vietnamese,
                Australian-Cambodian, Australian-Chinese, Australian-Italian,
                Australian-Greek…etc…; and in order to for them to know and
                participate the election, the election promotion for large councils should
                be disseminated through their newspaper (reading), radios (hearing),
                and televisions (seeing and hearing) with their mother language, they
                will understand what‘s happening in the society, they will feel the
                election is very close with them, and they are therefore ready to
                participate!

                Spend more money on advertising and promote elections heavily
                through local clubs, organisations etc.




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         4.8.7       What strategies were used by councils that were
                      successful in attracting high levels of voter
                      participation? Do these strategies have relevance to
                      larger and metropolitan councils with lower
                      participation?
There were only seven responses to this question, and only three that were
directly relevant. Many councils with high levels of participation did not respond.

                Perhaps larger councils need to use the electronic mediums more than
                smaller councils. Smaller councils may have higher turnouts because
                people know each other, interact with their neighbours and may know
                all of their local candidates more personally. Slogans such as ―I‘m
                voting. Are you?‘ might raise awareness about voting and that a citizen
                should vote, but from the statistics it did not appear to make a
                significant difference to voter participation

                You cannot reproduce the elements that make a country life unique, in
                the city, so therefore the city approach has to be modified to suit.

                It is difficult to determine precisely what led to increased voter
                participation in the City in 2006. It would appear to have been related to
                higher candidate activity (letterboxing and door knocking) and numbers,
                with some increase possibly attributable to greater advertising and
                promotion.




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               4.8.8          Discussion of election promotion options

The State Electoral Commissioner, as the Returning Officer, and councils have
certain statutory responsibilities for advertising. A number of ―public notices‖
must be published in newspapers, calling attention to the close of the electoral
roll, inviting nominations, listing the nominations received, etc. 46




However, these types of notices, intended as they are to fulfil statutory
obligations, are not designed to be eye-catching, or to persuade those indifferent
to the coming election that participation would be worthwhile or meaningful.47

The SEO‘s total advertising spend for the November 2006 elections was $94,000,
while election cost schedules, reported to the SEO by councils, included another
$80,000 for advertising.48 Thus the total expenditure on advertising in 2006 was
$174,000. It may be safely assumed that the vast majority of this amount (if
not all) was spent on advertising of the ―public notice‖ variety.

Councils have a statutory requirement to inform potential voters about
candidates who are standing for election and to provide information, education
and publicity designed to promote public participation in the electoral process.49
Following the 2006 local government elections, the Local Government Association
requested information about council expenditure on election promotion for the
recent elections. Thirty-nine councils reported on their spending. Although one
council reported expenditure of over $6 per enrollee, 33 councils reported
expenditure of less than 50 cents per enrollee, and 23 councils reported
expenditure of 10 cents or less for each enrollee. In addition to this,
metropolitan councils each provided $700 and rural councils $300 to the Local
Government Association to fund a central campaign to create awareness of the
coming elections and to try to encourage voter participation (‗I‘m voting – are
you?‘). Clearly this is a very small expenditure by councils, either individually or
collectively on election promotion.




46
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at p18
47
     See examples at Attachment G.
48
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at p43
49
     Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 Section 12 (b)



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The discussions with large councils with low voter turnout also point to the
difficulty of encouraging people to vote in local government elections when there
is no real concept of ‗local‘. These councils reported that traditional methods of
election promotion have not been successful in attracting additional voters,
despite planned promotion campaigns and contentious local issues. Wards are
necessarily very large and so few potential voters can identify with their
councillor as a local advocate and candidates cannot engage personally with
many of the potential voters. All this presents particular difficulties for large
councils as they attempt to increase their voter turnout. However, this issue is
critical if overall voter turnout is to increase.

In addition, there are two other related matters that have previously been
mentioned:

        the very small sums that candidates spend, on average, on their own
         election campaigns, (see section 3.6.11 in the Chapter on ―Review of
         Issues‖); and
        that South Australia is the only State in which a State Electoral
         Office/Commission does not take responsibility for a central publicity
         and promotions campaign for local government elections.

This Review is of the opinion that local government elections need to be better
promoted in four ways:

      by each candidate; ensuring that potential voters know not merely the
       details in their ballot profile, but enough to make an informed decision;
      by each council; developing, in conjunction with the Local Government
       Association and the Community Engagement Board for SA‘s Strategic Plan,
       targets for voter participation in its 2010 elections, and strategies to
       achieve these targets;
      by the LGA; working particularly with large councils with low voter turnout
       to develop specific campaign approaches to encourage potential voters to
       exercise their vote; and
      through a centrally co-ordinated, and creative campaign typical of
       commercial advertising.




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PROPOSALS 4.8.8:
      A. Require all candidates to include, as part of their election
         profile, lodged with the State Electoral Commission,
         contact details for voters to obtain more information about
         their candidacy. This could be a web site, phone number
         etc.

      B. Encourage each council to develop, in conjunction with
         local communities, the Local Government Association and
         the Community Engagement Board for SA's Strategic Plan,
         targets for voter participation in the 2010 elections and
         strategies to achieve these targets.

      C. Require councils to fund a State-wide creative election
         promotion campaign by the State Electoral Commission,
         with a mechanism in regulations to calculate the levy on a
         per-eligible voter basis.

      D. These funds also be used to develop a model campaign for
         large councils with low voter turnout.




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         4.8.9        Return to attendance voting?
The Issues Paper did not pose any particular question about this matter, but the
topic came up in a total of 13 responses:

             NO NEED FOR ATTENDANCE OPTION:
               Council supports the retention of voluntary voting via postal ballot.

                The advantage of postal voting is that it means that the voting paper is
                in voters‘ hands and that voters receive consistent information about
                candidates.

                …postal voting … helps to distinguish Local Government elections. More
                importantly, postal voting gives all candidates the opportunity to provide
                directly to all voters details about themselves. If the current process of
                postal voting changed, the number of people voting is likely to decline.
                … If attendance voting is re-introduced, we would prefer that attendance
                voting is not seen as an alternative, but supplement full postal voting.

                Postal voting makes it much easier for potential voters to vote.

             HAVE AN ATTENDANCE OPTION:
               Modify mandatory postal voting to provide for attendance voting
               options. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people refused to vote
               since postal voting came in for local government elections. … Many had
               kept the postal vote thinking they could take it on ‗voting day‘.

                Further use of alternative and flexible voting methods should be
                considered eg personal voting at council offices in the lead up to polling
                day, electronic voting and options for absentee voting.

             RETURN TO ATTENDANCE ONLY:
               Our Association is opposed to the current system of universal postal
               voting. While it may result in a slight increase in participation, anecdotal
               evidence suggests that the system is open to abuse. We have heard of
               residents that are elderly, sick, have a poor command of English being
               pressured to vote for particular candidates. Postal voting also places an
               unnecessary financial burden on the community.

                The City supports a return to attendance voting because of postal
                voting‘s cost, complexity, potential for abuse and its clear failure to
                achieve improved voter participation. The fact that there are relatively
                few informal votes … suggests that people who have difficulties following
                the process simply do not participate.




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         4.8.10      A consistent method of voting across all spheres of
                       government?
There was no specific question, but this topic came up in numerous responses:

                Have a consistent method of voting across all 3 spheres of Government.
                Include options for absentee voting, such as the lodging of votes at the
                council office, including votes relating to other council areas, and make
                specific provision for voting papers to be sent to an elector who is
                absent from the area at an address other than the address on the roll.
                Anecdotal evidence suggests that voters on holidays in South Australia
                thought they could still hand deliver their postal vote in another council
                office, as was the case previously.

                Local Government should not be perceived as being of lesser
                importance.

                Federal: Compulsory at a polling booth; State: Compulsory at a polling
                booth; Council: By post only if you feel like it – Let‘s be consistent about
                this too.

Respondents who filled out the 10-minute survey leaflet frequently cited a need
for consistency, when they were responding to other specific questions:

                Same as for State and Federal elections

                No - same as State and Federal. Local Government needs to be taken
                seriously and this is a must

                One vote for each adult so same as Federal and State elections




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         4.8.11      Would an e-voting option help to increase voter
                      participation?
This question was posed in Issues Paper No. 1, but it was not mentioned in the
10-minute survey leaflet. Nevertheless, among the 253 responses, several
mentioned e-voting when answering how they would increase voter participation:
                Provide more diversity in the way residents can vote:
                         Internet.
                Perhaps incentives and a variety of methods to vote would be more
                appropriate - such as a rebate on fees, postal or internet elections.

                Offer internet voting.

                Electronic voting.

Among the   40 qualitative responses, there were 16 direct responses to this
question.
           Nine supported the concept;
           One opposed it;
           Six expressed varying degrees of partial support or interest;

             SUPPORT:
               Yes, particularly amongst the younger members of the community.

                Seriously look at one-step electronic voting. People are too busy for
                long complicated processes.

                Yes absolutely, particularly for the youth, busy people, isolated
                electorates and those ‗web savvy‘ citizens. It could be another tool to
                assist with voting, compliment the paper-based model and perhaps
                encourage greater voting if it was not compulsory or linked to State
                Government elections.

                an e-voting option may increase voter participation and decrease the
                overall cost of running an election. Appropriate ballot security matters
                will need to be addressed.

             QUALIFIED SUPPORT:
               Doubtful for the population at large, although I would use it.

                Postal voting should remain, although there is interest in the concept of
                electronic voting and how that environment can be controlled to
                maintain the integrity of the election.

                I believe that further use of alternative and flexible voting methods
                should be considered eg electronic voting.

             OPPOSED
               Council does not support E-voting. It would appear to add unnecessary
               complexity and problems of security.




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The 46 respondents to the on-line youth survey were asked: What techniques
would work best to get young people to vote? Some chose more than one
option:

                  What techniques w ould w ork best to get young people to vote?
                   Office for Youth on-line survey, August 2007 (total respondents: 46)


  30



  25



  20

                                                 Electronic
  15

                                                                           Polling
                          Postal                                           booths
  10



  5



  0




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          4.8.12       Discussion of voting method options
This Interim Report has already dealt with optional preferential and first past the
post voting systems.50 Discussion under this heading therefore is confined to the
issue of postal voting versus attendance voting - or versus e-voting.

The introduction of postal voting in South Australia from 1997 and its universal
adoption throughout the State since the local government elections of 2000 has
been credited with boosting the level of voter turnout from its lows of under 20%
in the preceding years, to what appears to be a consistent level of over 30%.

Postal voting is convenient in that it allows voters time to consider their options,
to read at least the candidate profiles in the ballot pack, and obtain more
information about specific candidates if they wish to do so. Therefore it can be
said that postal voting offers at least the possibility of more informed voting.

Yet postal voting is subject to a number of criticisms.

First, postal voting is a radical departure from the form of voting used in State
and Commonwealth elections. More than anything else, the use of postal voting
signifies that local government elections are at least ―different‖. Its use is
obviously contrary to the general objective of consistency between voting
systems. A stronger claim is that this form of voting actually serves to erode the
status of local government:

                    As a method of voting, postal voting is, at best, comparable to voting as
                    a shareholder or a member of a trade or professional organization.
                    What is reinforced is the image of local government as a forum of
                    decision-making that is not an essential part of a democratic political
                    system.51

Second, postal voting represents a partial departure from the principle of a
secret ballot. There is a risk that persons completing a postal ballot, delivered to
their home, may be influenced or even intimidated by others.

Third, it is easier for dummy candidates to compete in a postal election, than
with attendance voting. Dummy candidates who do not actively campaign are
sometimes used as a tactic at elections to channel preferences to other
candidates who are actively campaigning.

Fourth, what has been described as ―the ritual and communal aspects of voting
by attendance‖ are lost.




50
   See Sections 3.6.2 and 3.6.3 in the previous chapter.
51
    Kiss, R. (2003) Postal Voting for Australian Local Government: Democracy or Conspiracy? Paper prepared
for the ECPR Conference, Marburg, Germany, 18-22 September 2003 at p.11. Retrieved on 13 Sept 2007 from:
http://www.essex.ac.uk/ecpr/events/generalconference/marburg/papers/5/5/Kiss.pdf



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Fifth, the introduction of postal voting is said to have ―reversed progress
towards a democratic franchise, allowing local residents to vote as equal citizens
in their own municipalities‖ by making it easier for absentee property owners to
participate.52

Sixth, a system of postal voting is certainly more expensive than voting at
polling places. The City of Salisbury made reference to this fact in its
submission.

Seventh, the extent of literacy required to participate in a postal election
exceeds that required to participate in an election at a polling place. It is not
sufficient to merely read the names on the ballot paper and place numerals in
the boxes alongside the names. One must also be able to comprehend the
postal voting instructions, and there is some evidence that the level of literacy
required does exceed the capacities of some voters, who are disenfranchised as a
result.




                                                                                               53




52
     All five of these points are made by Kiss (2003) op. cit. at pp 10-12.
53
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at p30



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Although there was a reduction in the number of rejected ballot papers (down
from 3.9% in 2003 to 2.9% in 2006) there were still more than 11,000 South
Australians who failed to follow the enclosed instructions. Some rejected
envelopes may have been the result of inadvertent mistakes, but it is apparent
that some persons, desiring to have their vote recorded, were unable to
comprehend the instructions. It is impossible to estimate how many non-voters
do not even make an attempt to participate because they cannot (or are not
willing to make the effort to) understand the instructions.

The alternatives to postal voting are attendance voting, and e-voting, or some
combination of these three methods.

A switch back to attendance voting would be entirely consistent with
Commonwealth and State elections. That is perhaps the strongest reason for
changing back to attendance voting. A change back would also avoid most of
the problems identified above, associated with postal voting.

Yet it seems impossible to even consider a return to attendance voting as an
option when this Review is constrained to consider options ―designed to improve
participation‖. The introduction of postal voting did lead to increased
participation, well above the rates experienced in decades of attendance voting.

The Appendix to the Review‘s Terms of Reference requires the Review to
consider:
                  o   Modifying mandatory postal voting and providing for attendance
                      voting options.
                  o   Options for absentee voting, such as the lodging of votes at the
                      council office, including votes relating to other council areas, and
                      whether there is a need to make specific provision for voting
                      papers to be sent to an elector who is absent from the area at an
                      address other than the address on the roll.

These possibilities may be disposed of quite briefly. After voting papers are
received in the mail, they may be lodged at a council office, in person, provided
they are contained within a signed declaration envelope. The voter would be
merely replacing Australia Post as the delivery agent. It is not clear how an
―attendance voting‖ option would differ substantially from this arrangement.

Nor is there any need for specific ―absentee voting‖ provisions. An elector who is
absent from the area at an address other than the address on the roll may
simply arrange to have his/her mail re-directed. Ballot papers are not the only
important papers that arrive by mail. Neither the State Electoral Office nor the
Council should be responsible for re-directing a person‘s mail when that person
has not taken responsibility for it. Any person who is living at another address
for more than a month has a responsibility to amend his or her listing on the
electoral roll.




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A person who receives his or her ballot papers in the mail (whether at their
enrolled address or re-directed to another temporary address) does not need to
lodge an ―absentee vote‖. The postal voting papers may be mailed to the
Returning Officer from anywhere in the world.

Electronic voting, however, is another matter. As Issues Paper No. 1 pointed
out, the generic term ―electronic voting‖ has three possible meanings. It can
refer to electronic methods of counting ballot papers. In a second sense, it can
refer to electronic methods of receiving votes in specified polling booths. Neither
of these meanings need concern this Review. They both concern attendance
voting, and to the extent that these options may become relevant or useful tools
for elections conducted by attendance voting, it is to be expected that they will
be trialled or adopted for Commonwealth and/or State elections first.

The third meaning of e-voting is remote or internet voting, and this concept
bears some similarity to the current postal voting system. The internet has
become a familiar environment for millions of Australians, and there are growing
numbers who are now much more familiar with electronic correspondence and
transactions than they are with what they sometimes scathingly refer to as ―snail
mail.‖

For many years, electronic forms of communication and transactions have been
gradually superseding the use of their paper-based counterparts. There is no
reason to doubt that the trend will continue, and it is plainly foreseeable that a
secure method of electronic voting will almost certainly, in future, replace ballot
papers.

The question for the present, however, is how and when the process of transition
should commence.

There are relatively few Australians who do not have any access to the internet,
if they need it or want it. If it is not available at home, or at work, it is possible
to get access at most public libraries. Nevertheless, as recently as June 2006,
30 percent of Australians had not used the internet at all, and the rate of growth
in internet usage was slowing.54

Therefore a significant proportion of the population evidently choose not to
access the internet. In contrast, there are few, if any of us who choose not
have access to postal services. It would be difficult, if not impossible to exist in
Australian society without a postal address. It is obvious, therefore, that any use
of the internet for voting would have to be as an option, available for those who
want it, not as a wholesale replacement for postal voting. It is unlikely that ‗snail
mail‘ will be entirely superseded for decades, if ever.




54
     http://www.dcita.gov.au/communications_for_business/industry_development/statistical_benchmarking/online_statistics



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It is reasonable to assume that e-voting might tempt some voters to cast a vote
that they might not otherwise cast. However, despite comments from some
respondents (especially the Youth on-line survey) it is impossible to know the
extent to which that might occur. The obvious question is whether the expense
of implementing an e-voting system would be justified, given the uncertainty
about how much of an improvement, if any, it would effect in voter participation.


PROPOSAL 4.8.12

Ask the State Electoral Commission to monitor technologies and
safeguards used in other jurisdictions, with a view to the possible
introduction of a remote, internet-based electronic voting option,
when this becomes feasible.




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         4.8.13         The property franchise – should it be left alone;
                         reformed; or abolished?
SUBMISSIONS
The second question in the 10-minute survey leaflet asked whether the property
franchise was ―fair‖. With the benefit of hindsight, this was probably the wrong
question to have asked. Many gave no reason for believing it either ―fair‖ or
―unfair‖ and of those who did, some clearly misunderstood how the system
presently works.

Nevertheless a majority of the quantitative responses were that the present
system was not ―fair‖:

   PROPERTY FRANCHISE:
               Yes=fair                                 Omitting those with no answer:
                                                           % voting yes, current system is
     Those who answered 'yes'    34%    (n=86)                                        fair   37.7%
      Those who answered 'no'    56.1% (n=142)              % voting no, system is unfair    62.3%
    Those who gave no answer     9.9% (n=25)
              All Respondents    253
         Total with answers      228

Among the 40 qualitative responses, 28 expressed a view on the subject.

          seventeen proposed some type of change or supported the property
           franchise in a more limited form (e.g. a restriction on the number of
           property franchise votes one person may have)
          five proposed that there should be no change. Note, however, that
           the status quo was supported only by assertions that it is adequate,
           not by any arguments; and
          six urged that the property franchise be abolished entirely.

             LEFT ALONE:
               There is no compelling reason to change the property franchise.

                Yes it is fair. No change suggested

                No change should be made to existing system

             REFORMED:
               The property franchise provides for a more equitable representation of
               ratepayers, particularly in a Capital City environment. However, it is
               important that exercise of the property franchise is limited in a manner
               similar to the restrictions placed on the Adelaide City Council under
               Schedule 1 of the City of Adelaide Act 1998, which provides for the
               exercise of a vote in only one capacity.

                I suggest one vote and one vote only for a company and landlords
                within any one local government area. My rationale is that money and
                assets should not buy votes and unreasonable influence of a council.

                Maximum one extra vote per occupier or landlord irrespective of how
                many properties are owned.




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                 ABOLISHED:
                   The integration of a separate voters‘ roll based on property entitlements
                   is administratively wasteful, and perpetuates a 19th century view of
                   property-based voting entitlements. Few corporations or non-resident
                   ratepayers actually vote in Council elections. Corporations and non-
                   resident ratepayers do not get to vote in Commonwealth and State
                   Elections despite paying taxes – in general only Australian citizens are
                   entitled to vote. Only enrolled Australian Citizens should be entitled to
                   vote at their principal place of residence. That should not preclude
                   people who can establish a relevant interest being eligible to be a
                   candidate (eg ratepayer or involved in local community activities).

                    We suggest that the property franchise should be abolished. We believe
                    that the property franchise is an anachronism from the 19th century
                    that gives multiple property owners an unfair vote and influence in local
                    government matters. As for state and federal elections, everyone
                    should be entitled to one vote for the council in which they reside,
                    irrespective of the number of properties they own.

The on-line youth survey gave respondents four choices dealing with the
property franchise.55

                                      Youth responses to property franchise
                          Office for Youth on-line survey, August 2007 (total respondents: 46)
     30



     25
                                                   It’s sort of fair – if you don’t live in the

                                                  rent business pro perty, you shou ld get
                                                    council area, but you’re a landlord or




                                                                                                       It’s partly fair – land lords shou ld get a




     20
                                                              a vote, but only one.




                                                                                                            vote, b ut not business renters




     15
                       It’s fair - votes should




                                                                                                                                                     people who live in the
                                                                                                                                                      council area should
                         be allo cated o n the

                        properties a p erson
                         owns and/o r rents;
                         basis of how many




                                                                                                                                                       It’s not fair – only




     10
                                                                                                                                                            get a vote




     5



     0




55
   The choices are mutually exclusive, and the survey should have been designed to prevent respondents
checking more than one box for this question, but two respondents gave two responses each, so that for 46
respondents, the responses total 48.



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DISCUSSION
As noted above, there is considerable confusion about how the entitlement to
vote is calculated. Many respondents misunderstood the present provisions.
This is not surprising, as the provisions are complicated.

The Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 refers to a single ―voters roll‖ that is
used for local government elections. However, it also recognises the reality that
the voters‘ roll is comprised of two parts.

The larger part is the House of Assembly roll, i.e. the same names and
addresses that are used by the State Electoral Office for the purposes of State
elections. This list is supplied to each council, for a fee, by the SEO, and the
Council is entitled to rely on the accuracy of this roll without further inquiry.

The smaller part is known informally as the ―CEO‘s roll‖ because the CEO has a
statutory duty to maintain the roll. The CEO‘s duty is to ensure that the roll is
up-to-date immediately before a periodic election or any supplementary election.
The CEO‘s roll contains the names and addresses of those additional electors who
are entitled to vote in local government elections, even though they are NOT on
the House of Assembly roll. Most of these additional electors on the CEO‘s roll
are entitled to exercise one or more ―property franchise‖ votes, by reason of
their ownership or occupation of land (separate from the residency entitlement
on the House of Assembly roll).

Attachment H categorises the difference in entitlements and requirements for
election for each of the three spheres of government.

Until 1973, the only South Australians who were permitted to cast a vote for the
Legislative Council were those who owned property. The initiative to abolish the
property franchise for the Legislative Council came from then-Premier Don
Dunstan, who said:

        I believe that, in this day and age, it is scarcely necessary to address to this
        Chamber argument in favour of the proposition that all the adult residents of this
        State should have an equal say in the Government of this State and in the
        election of their Parliamentary representatives. This restricted franchise for the
        Legislative Council has its origin in a society in which there was a notion that
        ownership and occupation of property gave to the owner and, in some limited
        circumstances, to the occupier a special stake in the country, so that those
        persons, it was said, had the right to exercise political control over policies of the
        Government. As the years have passed, the emphasis has shifted from property
        to persons. The tone and outlook of society has gradually altered and become
        more democratic.

        That being the case …it is again submitted that the only proper franchise and the
        only proper method of electing members of Parliament is the vote of all the people
        of the State expressed in a way that gives to them an equal say in the make-up of
        the Parliament that makes the laws for them. 56



56
  The Hon. D.A. Dunstan (Premier) Second reading speech introducing the Constitution Act Amendment Bill
(Franchise) 1973 House of Assembly Hansard 19 June 1973, p18
The Bill had the support of the Opposition, the Liberal Country League, (Leader Dr Eastick, Hansard 20 June
1973, p50 as well as the former Premier, Steele Hall (pp50-52)



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The franchise for local government elections is not ―restricted‖ as was the
Legislative Council franchise up until 1973. Residents who are not owners are
not excluded from participating. However, they do not have ―an equal say‖ when
compared to those who may cast multiple votes. For example, under the present
system:

               a single person who owns land in 10 different council areas is entitled
                to a vote in each of those council areas; i.e. ten votes; one in each
                council area; plus a vote in each of 10 Mayoral contests;

               if a council is divided into wards (e.g. the eight wards of the City of
                Charles Sturt) and a person owns land in each one of those wards,
                that person may vote once for councillors in each ward; i.e. eight
                votes, plus another one for any Mayoral contest.

No residents are excluded from voting, but their participation is not on an equal
basis to those who own and/or occupy multiple parcels of land.

Except in the City of Adelaide, there are relatively few property franchise voters
who exercise their right to multiple votes. After each Council prepared its CEO‘s
roll, at considerable expense (see below) only 18.5% of non-resident property
owners or occupiers actually took advantage of their opportunity to vote in 2006,
in the council area where they held property.

Comparative figures are available for 40 of the 60 councils that had elections in
2006. Elections for these 40 councils attracted a total of 308,096 voter turnouts.
Therefore, the table below, including data from 40 councils, represents 81.5% of
all turnouts:

                      Turnout com pared to enrollees - 2006 local governm ent elections
                                            (sample: 40 councils)


  1,000,000
                                                                                891,137
   900,000
                         Voter turnout
   800,000

   700,000               Enrollees

   600,000

   500,000

   400,000

                                                                   276,501
   300,000

   200,000                            170,904
                                                                        31.0% turnout

   100,000
                         31,595            18.5% turnout
         0
                              CEO's roll                           House of Assembly Roll




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The 40 councils represented in the above chart spent considerable resources
compiling their respective CEO‘s voters‘ rolls, on which a total of 170,904 names
were entered.

Compiling the CEO‘s voters‘ roll includes a labour-intensive task of cross-
checking the names of property owners in the council‘s rates record against the
names (supplied by the State Electoral Office) of those enrolled as residents on
the House of Assembly roll. This checking process is further complicated by the
complexity of the legislation pertaining to group entitlements and also because of
the differing name conventions acceptable to the two entities. Councils record
legal names for property ownership while the SEO will accept voter enrolment
using known or chosen names. The cross-checking is required to remove
duplicates, i.e. to ensure that each owner-occupier gets only one vote, not two.



                                        Commercial lessees

Some councils undertake an additional task, though there appears to be some
doubt about whether or not the task is required. Commercial lessees can vote
as ―occupiers‖ if their names are entered in the council‘s assessment record.
The assessment record would normally include only the names of owners, not
lessees. However the assessment record must also include:

           (e) so far as is known to the chief executive officer, the name of any
           occupier of the land (not being an owner or principal ratepayer in
           respect of the land);57

Some councils have interpreted this to mean that the CEO has a duty to seek
out the names of occupiers, so that these names can be inserted into the
assessment record, and from there into the CEO‘s voters‘ roll. Attempts to
fulfil this duty are made by placing advertisements in newspapers, advising
lessees of the opportunity to have their names placed on the assessment
record. Anecdotal evidence suggests there are generally very poor responses
to such advertising.

On the other hand, many councils make no attempt to identify lessees,
believing they are under no statutory duty to do so.



The Review contacted the South Australian Institute of Rating Administrators
(SAIRA) whose members are usually the officers who are charged with
maintaining the CEO‘s voters‘ roll at each council.

The Review, through SAIRA, asked rating officers to quantify the amount of time
spent preparing the CEO‘s voters‘ roll, prior to the 2006 local government
elections.




57
     Local Government Act 1999 s.172 (1)(e)



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Twenty-three officers responded. Seventeen of them were from councils where
the data available permitted the Review to calculate the time involved in this
task and compare it to the number of voters on the CEO‘s roll, and the actual
turnout of voters who were enrolled on the CEO‘s roll. The chart below uses data
from 16 of these 17 councils.58

                                                  Cost of Updating CEO's roll for 2006 elections
                                        Sample: 16 councils - Cost basis assumes $200 per person-day of w ork.
                                                Source: IRLGE Survey of SAIRA members, August 2007

     $14.00
     $13.00                                                                          Cost per CEO's enrollee
     $12.00                                                                          Cost per CEO's roll VOTER
     $11.00
     $10.00
      $9.00
      $8.00
      $7.00
      $6.00
      $5.00
      $4.00
      $3.00
      $2.00
      $1.00
      $0.00
                                                                      Holdfast Bay




                                                                                                                                                                                 Unley




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Yankalilla
                                                                                        Light
                                          Burnside




                                                                                                          Onkaparing a




                                                                                                                                        Port Adelaide Enfield
              Barossa




                                                                                                                                                                                         Victor Harbor

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Walkerville
                        Berri Barmera




                                                                                                                                                                Tea Tree Gully
                                                                                                Mitcham
                                                     Charles Stu rt




                                                                                                                         Peterborough




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       West T orrens




The Review assumes that other councils would incur costs of a similar nature.

As noted above, South Australia is the only State where property franchisees are
enrolled to vote in local government elections without applying for such
enrolment. If South Australia‘s practice were brought into line with other States
(at least to the extent of requiring each potential voter to take the initiative of
applying for enrolment before permitting a property franchise vote) these costs
would be reduced considerably.




58
   The one council excluded from the chart was Southern Mallee District Council, where costs of $4,000 were
incurred to facilitate the votes of only 50 franchisees. This occurred because after updating the entire roll, only
one ward had a contested election. The inclusion of data from Southern Mallee would have distorted the chart, by
requiring it to range up to $80 per voter.



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This would have some effect on ―representation reviews‖ and require some
councils to re-evaluate the numbers of eligible voters in each ward.

This would also have a substantial positive effect on the voter turnout
target. Automatic enrolment of those parties who do not want to participate in
the Council election process only serves to drag down the overall participation
figure. For 2006 only 18.5% of those receiving automatic entitlement to vote
chose to participate. The non-participation of the other 81.5% indicates the
significance of the resource level that is effectively wasted in producing the CEO‘s
roll.


                                Residential qualifications to vote

The property franchise is not the only difference between the rolls for local
government, and State Government elections.

There was no discussion of this matter in the Issues Paper, nor in any
responses to the Review, but it seems strange that there are several
categories of residents who are not permitted to enrol for State and/or
Commonwealth elections but nevertheless are permitted to enrol (on the CEO‘s
roll) for local government elections, if they so choose.

The three categories of residents who cannot enrol for State elections are:
          non-citizens;
          those who have resided in the district for less than one month;
             (but who may still be on the roll in respect of their previous
             address); and
          those of ―unsound mind‖;59

By way of contrast, enrolment on the CEO‘s Roll is permissible for any resident
―above the age of majority‖60 who is not on the House of Assembly Roll.

There does not appear to be any rationale for the distinction between the two
sets of provisions. It is unlikely that many persons excluded from the State
roll (or the Commonwealth roll) would choose to pursue enrolment for local
government elections alone.




59
     Electoral Act 1985 s.29(1)
60
     The Age of Majority Reduction Act 1971 (SA) provides that the “age of majority” is 18



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OPTIONS 4.8.13

A. Remove the differences in residential qualifications between the
House of Assembly roll and the Local government roll. That is to say,
persons who are
           non-citizens;
           those who have resided in the district for less than one
              month; (but who may still be on the roll in respect of their
              previous address); and
           those of ―unsound mind‖;
(who therefore are not entitled to vote in State Parliamentary
elections) to be also prohibited from voting in their current residential
district for local government elections. This would render the rolls
entirely consistent with each other, at least for residents.

B1. Abolish the property franchise entirely, to render the local
government franchise identical with the franchise for the State
Parliament; i.e. for resident citizens only.

      OR

B2. Abolish the property franchise for all local governments except
the City of Adelaide;

      OR

C. Require any property franchisee who retains an entitlement to vote
to complete an enrolment form if he/she wishes to be placed on the
roll for any election. This would remove the obligation upon local
governments to update and maintain a CEO’s roll, except to the extent
that franchisees apply for inclusion on the roll. This would be
consistent with practice in other States that retain a property
franchise.




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          4.8.14          Should voting in local government elections become
                          compulsory?
SUBMISSIONS
This was the third question in the 10-minute survey leaflet, and generated more
responses than any other. Among the 299 quantitative responses, there was a
clear majority in favour of retaining voluntary voting.

                                                             Omitting those
                              COMPULSORY?                   with no answer:
 Those who answered 'yes'      41.5% (n=124)                           Yes:         44.4%
  Those who answered 'no'       51.8% (n=155)                           No:         55.6%
Those who gave no answer         6.7% (n=20)
          All Respondents            299
   Total with answers                   279

Among the 40 qualitative responses, the opposition to compulsory voting was
even more clear-cut. Twenty-six expressed a view, and of these, 16 were
opposed to compulsory voting, seven were in favour, and three gave answers
that were ambiguous.
              FOR:
                YES, how can Federal and State governments justify that it is ok for
                them and not for local government, is local government less worthy and
                why is it ok in local government elections for it to be compulsory to vote
                in NSW and not here? It is pathetic that even with postal voting that less
                than 1 in 3 people will vote even though every eligible voter is sent a
                voting paper and reply paid envelope at considerable cost.

                 Have a consistent method of voting across all 3 spheres of Government.
                 Local Government should therefore have compulsory voting in line with
                 State and Federal voting so that Local Government is not perceived as
                 being of lesser importance. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many
                 people don‘t vote in local government elections in South Australia
                 because they don‘t have to.

                 Voluntary voting encourages community disinterest and apathy. This
                 approach does not foster a robust and vigorous local democracy.

              AGAINST:
                No, it would create additional hostility towards local government if
                voting was compulsory.

                 Our Association is opposed to compulsory voting as we believe that
                 persons with no interest in local affairs are unlikely to make an informed
                 and considered decision when voting. There is also the very real danger
                 that political party involvement will become more prevalent.

                 Compulsory voting would increase the turnout, but is not favoured
                 because it would result in a significant vote component from electors
                 with no knowledge or interest in politics at any level. Local Government
                 will not be improved by compelling the disinterested or apathetic to
                 vote.




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DISCUSSION
Most of the arguments for and against compulsory voting are well known. They
were summarised in Issues Paper No. 1.

If compulsory voting were to be introduced, considerable thought would need to
be given to the mechanism that would be required to encourage and then
enforce compliance. Although fines and expiation fees would presumably be
enacted, it is questionable whether the revenue raised by such measures would
offset all of the significant new cost of administering the compliance regime.

The Review is firmly of the opinion that Target 5.5 in the SA Strategic Plan would
be achieved if compulsory voting were to be introduced. In 2004, Professor Bill
Russell formed the same opinion. However, it is not so clear whether the Target
could be achieved in the absence of compulsory voting.

Professor Russell believed it would be possible:

                      ―…with some combination of actions such as:
                        o A sustained voter education/information program as in Tasmania;
                        o Media support and promotion of Local Government elections as in
                           Tasmania;
                        o Selective application of compulsory voting in low participation
                                   61
                           areas.‖

The Review received no responses in favour of selective application of
compulsory voting in low participation areas. Such a move would obviously
involve sending mixed messages to the electorate, and complicate what should
be a simple promotional message in future elections.

The 2004 Local Government Election Review recommended that:

                         o    ‗Voluntary voting be retained in local government elections;
                         o    The LGA continue to encourage councils to play a greater role in
                              the promotion of elections and encouraging increased voter
                              turnout‘

Although the South Australian Government accepted this recommendation, voter
participation decreased rather than increased between 2003 and 2006. Professor
Russell proposed a more assertive approach to election promotion using the
Tasmanian example as a model. As previously noted, South Australia is the only
State where there is no centrally funded publicity and promotions campaign for
local government elections. In the absence of such a campaign, and other
possible reforms discussed above, it cannot be said that South Australia has
made a sufficiently determined attempt to boost voter numbers within a
voluntary voting environment. It is possible, although unlikely, that an assertive
and coordinated education and promotion campaign could achieve voter
participation near to the SASP target.



61
  Voting Obligation and Voter Turnout. Discussion Paper prepared for Local Government Association of South
Australia By Prof Bill Russell 16 August 2004 at p. 6.
http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Voter_Turnout_Elections_Discussion_Paper_Prof_Russell_Aug_04.pdf



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As noted above, public response is divided but a majority of respondents were
not in favour of compulsory voting. To this it must be added that the
overwhelming majority of respondents to this Review did vote in the November
2006 local government elections, and so it is a reasonable assumption that
support for compulsory voting would be even lower among non-voters.

For this topic, there are two alternatives.


OPTIONS 4.8.14:

   A.     Postpone consideration of compulsory voting, at least until
          after the 2010 local government elections, pending
          implementation of other options intended to improve voter
          participation.

        OR

   B.     Introduce compulsory voting in local government elections in
          South Australia for the 2010 elections.




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        4.8.15       What change, if any, should be made to the timing of
                     local government elections? e.g. Do they need to be
                     further apart from State elections and in a different
                     year?
There were 20 responses to this specific question.
          Six recommended no change to the current provisions
          Nine proposed a ―different year‖
          Three proposed ―at the same time as a State election‖
          Two proposed only that November was not a good time

            NO CHANGE:
              State and Local elections should remain separate. It is important that
              Local Government elections retain their November timing for the
              purpose of maintaining a continuing recognition.

               The Society supports Local Government elections being held in spring.
               The main reason is that this is after the annual budget has been set,
               and so new Local Councillors have time to familiarise themselves before
               the next year‘s budget is prepared. Spring elections will also mean
               these elections do not clash with State elections (now fixed in March
               every four years), even when both happen to be in the same year.

            DIFFERENT YEAR:
              State Electoral Commissioner:
              .. the short timeframe between the two major electoral events creates
              operational difficulties and delays the reporting of state election
              outcomes due to the high workload associated with the preparation and
              conduct for a possible 250 simultaneous council elections. It may also
              contribute to elector fatigue and apathy when electors are required to
              vote in another election within such a short timeframe resulting in lower
              voter participation. It is recommended that the scheduling of local
              government periodic elections be changed to ensure that they fall within
              the middle of the four year period for State Parliamentary elections
              similar to that which has been arranged in both New South Wales and
              Victoria since the Electoral Commissioners in those states have had full
              responsibility for local government election conduct.

               …they need to be further apart from State elections and in a different
               year to emphasise difference and also gain interest and support from
               voters who may feel overloaded with elections and attendant
               electioneering by candidates.

               It is also advisable that each election be two years apart from each
               State election.

            SIMULTANEOUS
              If the local government elections should perhaps be scheduled on the
              same day as State elections, so that both could be promoted at the
              same time, saving the expense of promoting them separately.

            NOT NOVEMBER
              November is a very poor time for elections. It is too close to Xmas.

               November is not a good time for an election (student exams; close to
               Christmas; too long a break between induction and council meetings in
               December and holiday period in January.)



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DISCUSSION
The Statutes Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act 2005 introduced four
year terms for council members and established the election day as the last
business day before the second Saturday in November. This took effect for the
first time in 2006. There was high level, but not universal support for four-year
terms.

The State Electoral Commissioner argues that to have a local government
election later in the same year as the State Government election causes
significant operational difficulties for the State Electoral Office. The
Commissioner has proposed that local government elections be held in the
middle of the four year period between State elections, as occurs in New South
Wales and Victoria.

The scheduling of supplementary elections to fill casual vacancies is also affected
problematically by the current timing of local government elections. See the
discussion of this matter below, at Section 6.5.15.

The Review recognises the workload issues that the present election timing
causes the State Electoral Office, but is of the view that another change in the
election date would add to the difficulty in substantially increasing voter
participation by 2014.


OPTIONS 4.8.15:

         A. Make no change to the local government election day

       OR

         B. Consistent with Option 6.5.15C, change the scheduling of
            local government elections so that they fall within the
            middle of the four year term for State Government
            elections.




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         4.8.16       What changes, if any, should be made to the contents
                       of the postal ballot pack, including the 150-word
                       candidate profile?
A frequent theme in responses was that voters needed more information about
candidates for election. Some formed the view that the remedy for this problem
was to increase the size and/or quality of the material provided about candidates
in the ballot pack:
                The publicity for local government elections does not usually provide
                enough information about each candidate

                …the last piece of information viewed by a voter before deciding how to
                mark the voting paper is the series of very poor mugshots and
                curriculum vitae supplied with the voting paper. It is obvious that this
                information has been compressed to fit into limited paper space and
                reflects an unrealistic budget and poor appreciation of its value.
                I suggest that this is the weak link in the candidate publicity process.

                Comprehensive information on candidates (and their policies) well
                before voting day.

Among the qualitative responses, some other issues about the ballot pack were
also raised. There were 16 responses.
          Twelve suggested more information was required in the profiles
          Two proposed removing the existing restriction that the profile
           cannot be used to criticise council decisions
          Two proposed no change to the 2006 ballot pack

             MORE INFORMATION:
              It is agreed that the candidate profile is too short and should be
              increased to 200 words. … The ballot packs are perceived to be a major
              part of the problem of poor voter participation. The actual voting
              instructions need to be spelled out very clearly, boldly and simply.
              Perhaps colour code each step of the process.

                anecdotal evidence suggests that if voters have not received any further
                information from candidates, the profiles may not be sufficient for voters
                to make a decision, and may result in decreased participation. This may
                be of concern particularly in councils with large numbers of electors
                where candidates are unable to campaign effectively across a large
                area. It is recommended the candidate profile remain at 150 words
                per candidate in order to ensure printing costs are not increased, but
                that the prohibition on commenting on council decisions be removed.

                The candidate profile included in the Ballot Pack is far too short and
                should be increased to 300 words. Candidates should also be allowed to
                criticise former Council decisions and policies.

             NO CHANGE:
               None. If it becomes too bulky it will be discarded. 150 words is suitable,
               the greater the number of candidates the more profiles that have to be
               included.

                Council believes the current Postal ballot pack represents a balance of
                information without being overly complex.



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         4.8.17       Should the postal voting guide include information in
                        other languages and about its availability in those
                        other languages?
The leaflet "Postal Voting Guide" that was inserted in the 2006 ballot packs
contained simple information about how to exercise a postal vote. The leaflet
included information that copies of the Postal Voting Guide were available in 10
other languages. However, that information was printed only in English. Of the
12 responses to this question, 10 agreed that at least one sentence on the postal
voting guide should be printed in a range of languages.

             SUPPORT:
               Most definitely, particularly in areas with a large multicultural base.

                Yes & possibly indicate where people can seek help with understanding
                the process.

                Including information in the postal voting guide is likely to increase
                printing costs, but it is important to ensure that electors are aware that
                the guide is available in other languages, and how this can be accessed.

                Anecdotal evidence suggests that older voters from CALD backgrounds
                often did not understand postal voting instructions.

                If the postal voting guide include information in other languages,
                example: Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodian, Italian, Greek… etc… in
                order to attract voter participation, of course, it is a very good idea!

             OPPOSED:
               No, Voting and contributing immigrants must understanding the English
               language.

                …a command of our language marks the voter‘s commitment to his / her
                community and shows he / she is ready to vote. Help is always
                available for the few rare cases needing it.




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           4.8.18      Discussion of Postal voting pack options
It is tempting to propose, as several respondents did, that the contents of the
postal ballot pack should be expanded, to permit longer candidate profiles, or
that restrictions on the profiles should be relaxed. That would be a simple legal
manoeuvre that would make the prospect of election campaigning much easier,
perhaps even superfluous for some candidates.

However the Review is not persuaded that this type of action would be
justifiable. The ballot pack is produced by the State Electoral Office to provide
the mechanism of the election itself. It is publicly funded, and contains
instructions about how to exercise a valid vote.

Candidates should not rely on the mechanism of the ballot pack alone to convey
their electoral message. Writing a profile should constitute only a very small part
of election campaigning. Further, it is appropriate to have a clear distinction
between the publicly-funded, minimalist messages that accompany the ballot
papers, and the sometimes political, controversial, campaigning messages that
candidates are entitled to promote through other means.

Nevertheless, the Review must propose one change to the ballot pack


PROPOSAL 4.8.18:

   Ensure that the postal ballot pack contains at least one sentence in
   each of the 12 most commonly used languages other than English,
   about the availability of postal voting instructions in those other
   languages.




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         4.8.19      Should 17-year-olds be permitted provisional
                      enrolment for local government elections?
There were only 10 qualitative responses to this question. Five agreed and five
disagreed. Given that this proposal is merely to make local government voting
enrolment consistent with State and Commonwealth entitlement, it is likely that
some respondents misunderstood the question to be asking whether 17-year-
olds should be permitted to vote. That is a separate question, addressed on a
later page.
             FOR:
               Yes, this would bring enrolment into line with other forms of
               government.

                There is agreement this should change to reflect the existing provisions
                for State and Federal elections.

                Again, this rule should be the same as in State and Federal elections.


             AGAINST:
               Do not believe this would increase voter participation to any noticeable
               degree.

                Council does not support provisional enrolment of 17 year olds. There
                has to be a clear cut-off point somewhere.

Although this subject was not raised in the 10-minute survey leaflet, it was
nevertheless raised, unprompted, by three respondents.

                Yes, extend provisional enrolment for 17-year-olds.

                Permit 17-year-olds to enrol provisionally as is done in State elections.



OPTIONS 4.8.19.

         A. Make no change to the existing provisions;

             OR

         B. Legislate so that a person who is provisionally enrolled on
            the House of Assembly roll as a resident may vote in a local
            government election, provided that the person will be 18
            years or over by the date on which voting closes.




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         4.8.20       From the matters discussed above (or any other
                       matters) what changes should be made to increase
                       voter participation in local government elections in
                       2010?
This question was deliberately open-ended in the hope that some respondents
might come up with novel ideas or suggestions. There were seven responses,
including these three:

                Engage the community:
                  o Agendas & attachments at the same regular venues two working
                     days before meetings, i.e. Libraries and Council Chambers.
                  o All Councils and Committee meetings in each ward once during
                     year or at least in the term of office. Where the council chamber/s
                     has been sold at least these meetings in a community venue in
                     that ward.
                  o Those Development notification to be located on-site and at
                     shopping centres/local neighbourhood / community Centres
                  o Regular Council doorknocking / canvassing over all areas including
                     businesses during Council‘s term but in the Adelaide Hills Council
                     area selected due to the locality and long distances in rural
                     living/country areas.
                  o Regular Council info desk at same venues as 1.
                  o Reducing Council terms to 2 years (and maximum 4 year
                     continuous term on Council whether Councillor or Mayor)
                  o Ward / Community forums usually annually or as require.

                Perhaps some sort of lucky dip/prize could be offered to participating
                voters. This could take the form of shopping vouchers from local
                traders which may have the increased effect of the local traders
                promoting the election in terms of participating with voting returns.

                  o   Polling booths available on polling day across the Council area;
                  o   Polling booth in the Council office for the period of the election,
                      although this will increase election costs significantly;
                  o   lmplement e-voting;
                  o   lmprove information in the ballot pack;
                  o   Ensure Council or SEO logo are on the ballot packs; and
                  o   Greater promotion of the importance of voting in local government
                      elections especially in under-represented groups.

DISCUSSION
The Review does not endorse the suggestion of offering prizes for voting.
Although that might motivate some voters, it is inconsistent with the conception
of voting as engagement with one‘s community for the purposes of governance.
Several of the other suggestions have merit, and may be taken up by individual
councils as and when they develop strategies as evisaged in Proposal 4.8.1 and
Options 4.8.8. Other suggestions are dealt with elsewhere in this Interim
Report.




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5 IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  REPRESENTATION

           5.1 WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
         5.1.1      Encouraging a diversity of candidates
The second Term of Reference of this Review relates to improving local
government representation. The Review is required to examine:

                     Further measures for increasing the range and diversity of candidates
                     for Local Government election, and encouraging effective civic
                     participation in councils

The Appendix to the Terms of Reference elaborates on this and includes an
examination of measures that have been previously taken to increase the
number of candidates from under-represented groups, elements of successful
campaign strategies and support for candidates, measures to develop future
leaders, and support for consultation and community engagement.

The Minister for State/Local Government Relations, when speaking about the
local government election review in the House of Assembly emphasised the
importance of measures to support women, young people, Aboriginal people and
non-professional workers as candidates.62

South Australia‘s Strategic Plan 2007, discussed earlier in this Interim Report,
includes targets related to supporting women, Aboriginal people and people from
culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in leadership positions, including
as elected members of local government as well as encouraging young people to
enrol as voters.

The arguments for encouraging a broad spectrum of people to engage in all
spheres of community life are well known. As well as satisfying basic
requirements of a just and equitable society, it also:

           Ensures that community institutions benefit from the perspectives and
            skills of the whole, not just part, of the community;
           Ensures that council decision-making is informed by views that represent
            the make-up of their local community; and
           Provides an opportunity for diverse community members to see people in
            leadership positions with whom they can identify and relate.

Diversity therefore, not only enriches community decision-making, it also
encourages the civic engagement of the broad range of community members as
community leaders and as participants in community life.




62
     House of Assembly Hansard 14 November 2006 at p1196



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                  5.1.2       The opportunity to exercise a vote
        The previous section focussed on encouraging potential voters to exercise their
        vote. This is only significant, however, if voters have the opportunity to vote
        through each local government having a contest for the mayoralty and in every
        ward and/or area. The lack of a contest has been a significant issue in rural
        South Australia, although the number of contests has grown throughout the
        state. Still, however, in 2006, 142 councillors and mayors were elected
        unopposed and so none of the potential voters in these locations had an
        opportunity to vote.



               5.2 WHAT IS HAPPENING
                     5.2.1    Trends in number of candidates in 2000, 2003 and
                               2006
        As noted in Issues Paper No.1 there was a record field of candidates who stood
        for election in November 2006. The table below, compiled by the LGA,
        compares statistics from 1983 to 2006. It is important to note the distinction
        between ―nominations‖ and ―candidates in elections‖. The number of nominees
        peaked in 1995, but at that time there were almost twice as many councils (118
        then down to 68 councils now) and 580 of those 1995 nominees (37% of them)
        were elected unopposed. Therefore, in 1995 a very large number of voters had
        no chance to vote – i.e. no choice at all. The same is true for all other election
        contests dating back to the early 1980‘s if not earlier.

                             1983    1985     1987    1989     1991       1993    1995    1997    2000     2003     2006
Possible No. Councils         124      124    113*    111*      113*      118*    115*     63*       67       67      66*
Possible No. Positions        646 1270 1154 1170 1102                     1174    1150     740      766      751      728
Total No. Nominations         855 1581 1384 1546 1513                     1549    1565    1139    1162     1201     1237
Elected Unopposed             459      792      691     613      541       608     580     214      226      177      142
Positions with Elections      137      478      463     557      561       556     570     526      535      574      585
as % of total              21.21 37.64 40.12 47.61 50.91                 47.36   49.57   71.08   69.84    76.43    80.36
Supplementary Elections                                                                               5        6         1
as % of total                                                                                      0.65     0.80     0.14
Candidates in Elections       296      789      693     933      972       941     985     925      936    1024     1095
Ratio Candidates to Pos=     1.32     1.24     1.20    1.32     1.37      1.32    1.36    1.54     1.52     1.60     1.70
Women Nominees                 92      211      227     260      308       324     350     290      288      313      338
as % of Total nominees     10.80 13.40 16.40 16.80 20.30                 20.90   22.36   25.46   24.78    26.06    27.32
Mayoral Elections              10       15       17      27        23       24      21      23       28       32        35
out of No. Mayors            -        -        -       -         -          63      64      41       47       48        47
Aboriginal candidates       n/a      n/a      n/a    n/a       n/a       n/a         8      14        2        8       n/a
        * Numbers reduced from totals due to amalgamations in progress




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Trends that are arguably more meaningful than either the number of candidates
or the number of nominees, are the ratio of candidates to positions, and the
percentage of positions with contests, both of which indicate the extent to which
local government elections have become more competitive over recent years.

                                      Ratio of nom inees to LG positions


  1.8


  1.6

  1.4


  1.2


  1.0


  0.8


  0.6


  0.4


  0.2


  0.0
        1983



                     1985



                              1987



                                      1989



                                               1991



                                                        1993



                                                                 1995



                                                                           1997



                                                                                  2000



                                                                                          2003



                                                                                                 2006




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The percentage of contested Mayoral positions has also been rising over the past
14 years.63

     80%


     70%



     60%


     50%


     40%


     30%


     20%


     10%


     0%
               1993             1995              1997             2000              2003             2006




63
   Note this graph refers only to contests for Mayors elected at large. i.e. it does not include those Mayors who
are elected from within a council, by their fellow councillors.



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         5.2.2        Current and past trends in diversity – differences
                       between metropolitan and regional and rural
                       candidates
The table of figures above includes some figures indicating the number and ratio
of female nominees, and Aboriginal candidates. It does not include a more
detailed breakdown of nominees and their economic, social or cultural
backgrounds.

Nominees for local government positions are not asked to disclose their
economic, social or cultural background. However, Professor Dean Jaensch of
Flinders University has conducted surveys of local government election
candidates since 1997. His most recent survey in December 2006 attracted 571
responses.

Professor Jaensch‘s report contains a snapshot of the candidates‘ gender, age,
family structure, education, birthplace, national identity, employment, occupation
and income. The survey also describes candidates‘ involvement in work, public
bodies, politics, service organisations and sports and arts.

Professor Jaensch has provided an executive summary of these matters:

                The proportion of female members in 1973 was only 3 per cent. This
                increased to 25 per cent by 1997, but then plateaued, with 26 per cent
                in 2004. The 2006 survey found almost 29 per cent of the candidates
                were female, as were 29 per cent of the elected members. Hence there
                has been a slight increase. This was essentially brought about by a
                significant increase in the number of female candidates and successes in
                the metropolitan area – up to 35 per cent in the large metropolitan
                Councils. But there has not been an equivalent increase elsewhere.

                The most constant trend in Local Government has been the ―aging‖ of
                the membership. In 2004 only 5 per cent of the members were below
                45 years of age, and 44 per cent were over 60. Attracting young people
                has been a priority. In the 2006 survey, there was an important
                change: 32.4 per cent of the 1st contestants were below 45 years of
                age. The extent of the change is shown by the fact that only 4.8 per
                cent of the incumbents were below 45 years. On the other hand, the
                elected membership after 2006, while ―younger‖ that 2004, still shows
                that only 17.5 per cent are below 45 years of age. That is, the ―age
                problem‖ has improved, but it could be better, and will need a further
                inflow of younger candidates in 2010.

                The family structures of the candidates varied little from previous
                surveys: 77 per cent married, seven per cent de facto, nine per cent
                single, seven per cent separated or divorced. A total of 32.6 per cent
                had dependant children.




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                      The secondary education level reached continued to show a steady rise
                      over previous surveys. 58.8 per cent of the 1st contestants completed
                      year 12, compared to only 37.4 per cent of the incumbent candidates.
                      This pattern was most evident in the metropolitan area and least in the
                      rural Councils. The proportion with post-secondary qualifications was
                      also significantly higher in 1st contestants, with 71.3 per cent, compared
                      to 54.2 per cent of incumbents.

                      34.3 per cent of the candidates were in the paid work force, with 21.5
                      per cent full-time; 34.3 per cent were employers or self-employed, 23.9
                      per cent were categorised as professionals, and 24 per cent had retired.
                      These dominating categories showed a marked change from the 2004
                      membership: an increase in the proportions in the paid work force and
                      employer/self-employed, and a decrease in the proportion who are
                      retired. These changes resulted from the very different profile among
                      the 1st contestants than the incumbents, for example: 44.8 per cent in
                      paid work force (26.0 per cent of the incumbents); 16.9 per cent retired
                      (29.5 per cent incumbents).

                      The occupational profile was skewed, as would be expected, to primary
                      industry among the country candidates, and with a significantly higher
                      proportion of managerial, executive, professional and white collar
                      candidates in the metropolitan Councils. There was a continuing rise in
                      the proportions of managerial, executive and professional occupations in
                      the 1st contestants. Candidates from the trade/manual occupations still
                      constitute only a miniscule proportion of Council candidates and
                      members.

                      There was a marked change in the data on employment sector. While
                      the private sector still dominated, with four fifths of the candidates, and
                      65 per cent of the 1st contestants, almost one quarter, a significant
                      increase, of 1st contestants came from the State public sector.

                      Relations with the Community
                      As with previous member surveys, the 2006 candidates showed a broad
                      involvement with the community: of the 571 candidates, 84 per cent
                      were involved with work-related organizations, 72 per cent with school,
                      hospital and advisory groups, 75 per cent with service organizations,
                      and 81 per cent with sports and arts.

                      A surprising result was that while 48 per cent of all candidates were
                      involved in political organizations, only 30.5 per cent of the 1st
                      contestants were. Of the 571 candidates, 74 stated they were a
                      member of a political party, but only 41 of the 1st candidates were
                      members.64




64
     Jaensch, D. (2007) Local Government Elections 2006 Candidate Survey



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     5.3     ISSUES RELEVANT TO IMPROVING LOCAL
             GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION DISCUSSED IN
             THE TERMS OF REFERENCE
As mentioned previously, the Review‘s Terms of Reference require the Review to
report on ―further measures for increasing the range and diversity of candidates
for Local Government election, and encouraging effective civic participation in
councils‖.

The Appendix to the Terms of Reference goes into greater detail:

                  The review should examine the effectiveness of strategies for
                  encouraging nomination at the 2006 elections, and options for
                  increasing the range and diversity of candidates for Local Government
                  election, and encouraging effective civic participation in councils. Issues
                  under this heading include:

                    o   Measures to increase the number of candidates from
                        under-represented groups such as women, young people,
                        Aboriginal people, and non-professional workers;
                    o   The elements of successful candidate campaign strategies, and
                        measures to support candidates;
                    o   An appropriate mechanism for setting council members‘
                        allowances;
                    o   On-going programs for developing people as civic leaders who may
                        be future council members;
                    o   The age requirement for standing and voting in Local Government;
                        and
                    o   Support for genuine consultation and community engagement
                        initiatives in Local Government.




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     5.3 LITERATURE REVIEW
         5.3.1       Papers prepared to inform the 2003 review
      Candidacy, Filling of Casual Vacancies and Election Campaigning by
       E. Gottwald and M. Kelledy (2004)
       http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Elections_Review_Discussion_
       Paper1.pdf


         5.3.2       Other relevant literature
      Sainsbury, D. (2001) ―Rights Without Seats: The Puzzle of Women‘s
       Legislative Recruitment in Australia.‖ in Elections Full, Free and Fair, M.
       Sawer (ed) Federation Press, Sydney at p.74
      Burdess, N and O‘Toole, K (2004) ―Elections and Representation in Local
       Government: A Victorian case study.‖ in Australian Journal of Public
       Administration, June 2004




     5.4 RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 2004 REVIEW
The Local Government Elections and Representation Review, 2004, undertaken
by the Local Government Association had, as one of its objectives, the promotion
of diversity in local government representation. The issue was addressed as part
of the discussion of candidacy. The key issue was identified as ―encouragement
for candidates from under-represented groups to stand for election‖.

The recommendation of this review was:

                ―the need for additional strategies to encourage candidates from under-
                represented groups to stand for election.‖

In discussion with councils about this issue, it was thought that such candidates
would benefit from improved education and training sessions prior to the election
and that the special needs of under-represented groups could be addressed
through child minding, material being available in languages other than English
and financial support.




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       5.5 ACTIONS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN THE 2004
          AND 2007 REVIEWS AND THE IMPACT OF THESE
          ACTIONS
As noted in the previous chapter, the 2004 review process led to a number of
proposed reforms, most of which were implemented by the Statutes Amendment
(Local Government Elections) Act 2005. The major change adopted, with some
relevance to greater diversity of representation, was the requirement for all
councils to prepare and adopt a training and development policy for their
Members.

A significant initiative in 2005 was the formation of an Interdepartmental
Reference Group, comprising State agency representatives and the Local
Government Association, which was charged with developing a State
Government Strategy, complementary to Local Government initiatives, to,
among other things:
       encourage and support a diverse range of candidates at local government
        elections particularly from under-represented groups and in regional
        areas; and
       ensure sufficient candidates nominate in regional and rural areas to avoid
        the failure of elections

The Interdepartmental Reference Group focussed on:
       disseminating information about local government elections through
        existing State Government networks; and
       developing collaborative projects with State agencies such as Aboriginal
        Affairs and Reconciliation Division, Multicultural SA, Office for Volunteers,
        Office for Youth and Office for Women to target specific groups in the lead
        up to the November 2006 local government elections.




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The projects developed included:
      with the support of State Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division,
       updating and re-issuing a poster and brochure with Aboriginal artwork,
       setting out key election dates to help councils with their promotional
       campaigns. This was followed up with six information sessions specifically
       for Aboriginal community leaders and networks to help get the message
       across about Local Government and the nomination process. These were
       organised in liaison with host councils at Noarlunga, Port Adelaide, Berri,
       Port Augusta, Ceduna, and Murray Bridge;
      holding two information sessions with Multicultural SA‘s Community
       Volunteers Group providing opportunities to discuss Local Government
       and the election process;
      translation of radio and media announcements and placement of
       advertisements in ethnic press to promote enrolment and voting dates;
      with the support of the Office for Youth, as well as advertisements in the
       street press, a youth brochure promoting enrolment and nominating was
       widely distributed, to all councils, TAFE colleges and Youth Advisory
       Committees to spark an interest amongst youth in Local Government;
      in partnership with the Messenger Press and the Country Press
       Association, a statewide competition entitled ―My Local Council‖. School
       students were invited to submit a short literary piece on ―What would you
       do if you were the Mayor/Chairperson of your Council?‖

Also the Local Government Association developed, in 2006, an Integrated
Approach to a Comprehensive Community Awareness and Community Support
Strategy. As well as developing a statewide promotional campaign for the 2006
elections, the Strategy also involved the review and update of a range of
resources that aimed to increase the involvement of a range of
under-represented groups as both candidates and voters. Groups particularly
targeted were indigenous people, young people, women and people from
culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Strategies were also developed
to attract candidates to nominate in country areas.




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     5.6 SUBMISSIONS ON REPRESENTATION AND
        DISCUSSION OF MAIN ISSUES
         5.6.1      Developing potential candidates
Some respondents proposed that elected members of council should be
―encouraged‖ to devote time and resources to developing potential local
government candidates.

No doubt there have been a few, perhaps even many councillors (or former
councillors) who, out of goodwill, friendship, or family ties cheerfully offer the
benefit of their expertise on matters such as campaigning, and representing the
community. However, systematic development of candidates cannot rely merely
on ad-hoc informal mentoring.

It would be rare for a councillor to volunteer to help train a future electoral
opponent. Far more likely is that a mentor might assist a potential candidate to
win election in a different ward or council area.

Prior to the 2006 local government elections, a collection of materials was made
available to potential candidates by the Local Government Association and the
State Electoral Office. These materials were:
             ―So you want to be on Council?‖ (LGA booklet);
             Briefing session (run by Council or LGA);
             Candidate Handbook (SEO);
             Nomination Kit (SEO); and
             Information from discussions with Council.

Professor Dean Jaensch‘s survey of 2006 candidates shows that these materials
were generally well received, especially by those who were contesting their first
election.

The materials cover essential matters pertaining to a candidate‘s legal
obligations, and the duties that would be expected of an elected councillor.
However, these materials stop short of giving practical instruction on
campaigning methods.

Clearly the SEO must retain a strictly impartial stance in electoral contests, and
therefore appropriately confines its assistance to the promotion and mechanics of
the election. The LGA might be able to play a broader role in supporting
candidates but this has not been its practice.

So, how is a first-time candidate expected to learn the ropes of campaigning?
Who can she or he turn to for guidance, on the use of leaflets, advertisements,
posters, doorknocking, news releases, or any other campaign strategy or tactic?




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The Australian Local Government Women‘s Association (SA Branch) produced, in
February 2007, an information kit for women interested in standing as
candidates in Council elections in South Australia. This information kit provides
information about the role and operations of councils, the election process and
the role of council members. It also provides very helpful campaign checklists
and information and practical advice about a range of communication options to
assist a candidate to get her message across to the local community. This type
of information would be invaluable for any first time candidate or member
seeking re-election to assist them with their election campaigning, but at present
it is not easily accessible.

This campaign guide points to the importance of an experienced mentor because,
without this a would-be candidate is likely to be left behind by any opponent with
knowledge of previous successful campaign strategies.

There are many people who have retired from local government (or who intend
to retire at the next local government election) or who have been actively
involved in other aspects of community life who might be willing to act as a
volunteer mentor for a future candidate, if asked. The main obstacle to using
this potential volunteer resource is the difficulty of matching would-be candidates
with would-be informal advisers.



PROPOSAL 5.6.1
The LGA consider the possibility of establishing (prior to the 2010
election campaign):
           a register of experienced election campaigners (e.g.
            currently serving, or retired elected members from any
            sphere of government) who are willing to act as a volunteer
            campaign mentor to a future, inexperienced candidate; and
           a mechanism for matching would-be candidates with a
            suitable volunteer mentor
and

The LGA and/or the Office for State/Local Government Relations
develop a website that provides simple practical information to assist
prospective candidates to develop and implement an effective,
inexpensive election campaign.




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          5.6.2         What changes should be made to encourage a
                        broader spread of candidates for future local
                        government elections, particularly from under-
                        represented groups?
SUBMISSIONS
The Review‘s 10-minute survey leaflet asked: ―Should we encourage a more
diverse range of candidates? If so, how?‖ Among the quantitative responses,
there was strong support for this general proposition:

                                                            Omitting those
                                                           with no answer:
 Those who answered 'yes' to
                         Q4      70.0%      (n=177)                      Yes       79.0%
  Those who answered 'no' to
                         Q4      18.6%      (n=47)                        No       21.0%
Those who gave no answer to
                         Q4      11.5%       (n=29)
             All Respondents     253
        Total with answers       224

However there was definitely no consensus about how this goal should be
achieved. These are some of the comments made, by those who answered
―yes‖:
                  o   Better advertising
                  o   Allowances tax free/reducing committees
                  o   Meeting times to suit those in FT work/FT allowances
                  o   Candidates should be self-reliant
                  o   Allowances/childcare/meeting times
                  o   Info sessions in other languages
                  o   Raising allowances would help
                  o   Council info sessions to explain Crs role
                  o   Encourage all/keep contesting affordable
                  o   TV ads, and advertise for candidates
                  o   Just promote MORE candidates
                  o   More women, non-anglos, youth
                  o   Proportional to demographic. i.e., an area with 10% Indigenous
                      have 10% of seats assigned to an Indigenous representation for
                      (say) 5 years, back this up with training and empowerment of local
                      Indigenous people,
                  o   Contact community groups - seek nominations
                  o   Hold meetings in the evening
                  o   Offer courses to encourage nominations
                  o   Pay Crs 80% of State backbencher's salary
                  o   Do not offer more money
                  o   Civic studies in schools
                  o   invite candidates with needed expertise
                  o   Candidates should come from private sector
                  o   Promote opportunities - diversity will follow
                  o   But no special interest groups
                  o   Professionalise LG Insist on Qualifications
                  o   Invitations, encouragement
                  o   Reduce term. 4 yrs too long




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Among the 40 qualitative responses, five argued there should be no
encouragement of candidates from under-represented groups; e.g.:
                 There should be no special effort to target groups of ―under
                 represented‖ individuals. ... In a truly democratic society, all citizens
                 should be treated equally. Targeting groups of so called ―under
                 represented‖ individuals could in itself create an imbalance and result in
                 accusations of favouritism from other groups. Tinker with the system
                 and other problems will be created.

Of the others,
           seven suggested campaigns be devised & implemented for this
            purpose;
           three recommended research into this topic;
           three proposed targeting future councillors by making regular
            presentations to groups for this purpose;
           two proposed targeting desired individuals;
           two proposed that this goal would be achieved by general
            improvement in local government‘s relevance to the community;
           one proposed restrictions on the time meetings may be held; and
           one proposed changes to the electoral system.


DISCUSSION
The strategies discussed in section 5.6.1 above have relevance to all prospective
candidates for local government. If, however, candidates are to be attracted
from groups who are currently under-represented among Mayors and councillors
or in areas where few candidates nominate, additional encouragement and
support is needed.

In the course of this Review discussions were held with a number of individuals
and groups from these under-represented groups. Some common themes were:

      Concern that the council may not take their views seriously;
      Concern about being a lone member of a particular group on council;
      Lack of advice and support with running a campaign;
      Concern about the possible cost of running a campaign;
      Lack of time to adequately consider nominating;
      The potential time commitment and cost of being a councillor; and
      Concern that they may not have sufficient support to be able to meet the
       expectations of other members of their group or community.

With this is mind, and following analysis of strategies developed prior to the
2006 local government elections, the following are proposed as essential
elements of any campaign to attract and support under-represented candidates.
The differences between rural and metropolitan councils should be recognised in
implementing any campaign. For example, rural councils (much more than
metropolitan councils) have difficulty attracting sufficient candidates for an
election to occur, and have proportionally lower rates of female candidates.




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   Targeted information and campaigns. Information needs to be specifically
    targeted to a particular under-represented group and then sold to that
    group at a local or regional level. Statewide promulgation of the material
    will only be successful if the prospective candidate is strongly linked to a
    statewide body.
   Contact with organisations that can identify and support potential
    candidates. An important part of any campaign to attract the under-
    represented to stand for council would be the identification of
    organisations well-linked with target groups who can be enlisted as
    supporters to sell the importance of local government and to identify
    potential candidates. If these people nominate for election, these
    organisations can provide a support base for these candidates.
   Asking people to stand. Surveys of candidates for previous local
    government elections have found most candidates stand because they
    were asked to stand. Members of under-represented groups are unlikely
    to have potential supporters within a council to invite their nomination.
    Therefore respected members of a particular under-represented group
    should be enlisted to approach local community leaders personally and
    ask each of them if they would be prepared to stand as candidates for
    election to local government.
   Role models. Those from under-represented groups need to perceive that
    they could contribute to a council, if they are to nominate. Therefore
    existing or past councillors from particular groups should be identified
    who can be given a profile as part of a targeted campaign. If there are no
    local South Australian role models, they should be located interstate and
    brought to South Australia to take part in the campaign.
   Workshops for particular groups. Those who are identified as potential
    candidates need to be given the confidence to be clear that they can
    contribute to a council. The SEO and the LGA run workshops which have
    been well regarded by candidates. Targeted groups need that additional
    assistance of specific workshops that can address their specific concerns
    and information needs.
   Quick identification of a support person. As soon as a person from an
    under-represented group nominates for election, a support person should
    be identified who can assist the candidate to develop his/her campaign
    and help to identify resources to assist the candidate. This substitutes for
    the support that many candidates already receive from sitting councillors
    or established local groups.
   Council engaging with under-represented groups in the course of their
    day to day business. Currently a person from an under-represented
    group might consider nominating for election, if he or she perceives the
    council as being relevant to him/her them and others of the group. It is
    important, therefore, that the Council engage with all members of its
    community as important participants in community life and as valued
    contributors to local decision-making. People who are seen as problems
    or whose needs are paid only lip service because of ‗political correctness‘
    are unlikely to feel that they either can or would want to be involved in
    council as elected members. Councils need to demonstrate their interest
    in the issues that are important to under-represented groups through
    visible symbols of support (eg flying a flag), their employment of liaison



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       officers, the establishment of advisory groups, effective consultation and
       acting on outcomes or recommendations.

      State government and LGA endorsement of a strategy and State Agency
       representatives and the LGA actively supporting the strategy centrally and
       regionally. Leadership by state agencies and the LGA is critical. It is not
       sufficient to develop resource materials, however effective. These
       materials need to be supported by direct contact and support both
       centrally and regionally. Agencies should use either regional staff or
       regional networks to support potential candidates with information
       provision and support.



PROPOSAL 5.6.2
That the Local Government Association and the Office for State/Local
Government Relations develop and implement a series of promotional
campaigns, using the framework outlined in section 5.6.2, to attract
members of under-represented groups to nominate for the 2010 local
government elections. This campaign should be developed to
commence implementation at least 12 months before the election
date.




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          5.6.3          What changes should be made to assist successful
                         candidates to improve the standard of their
                         representation, and community engagement on a
                         day-to-day basis?
SUBMISSIONS
There were 11 responses to this question. Eight of these referred to training
opportunities that are (or should be) either available, or, perhaps, compulsory.

                 The requirement of all councils to have a Training and Development
                 Policy is a step in this direction, which should achieve improved
                 representation in the longer term.

                 Assist successful candidates with workshops and community awareness
                 programs. New councillors should be encouraged to set up procedures
                 which will encourage regular contact with local residents.

                 There is sufficient resource material from the LGA and the State
                 Electoral Office.

                 Appropriate, thorough and timely induction (within one month of
                 election); regular mandatory training and development; regular (eg
                 annual) reviews perhaps by asking the community how they feel their
                 candidates are performing.

                 Travel to and from the [committee] meeting venue can sometimes take
                 up to 3 hours. If some of these special meetings or Committee meetings
                 were able to be electronically held the time commitment for all involved
                 would be dramatically reduced.

A council must have a training policy for its members, and details of members‘
training must be included in the council‘s annual report, but this falls short of a
regime of compulsory training.




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DISCUSSION
It has been only since 1 July 2006 that each council has been required to have a
training and development policy for elected members.65 The Review has
insufficient evidence to form a conclusion about the effectiveness of this
legislative requirement. Given the enormous range of capacities and abilities
between councils of varying sizes, it could be expected that some councils would
now have a vigorous and effective policy, while a few might be paying mere lip
service to the need to have such a policy. No doubt some councillors recognise
the need to seek training to improve their representation and community
engagement; while others might not and perhaps would eschew any offers of
training.


PROPOSAL 5.6.3

     The LGA and the OS/LGR institute an arrangement to measure or
     monitor the extent to which training opportunities are taken up, and
     perceptions by participants of the effectiveness of the training.




65
     Local Government Act 1999 s80A



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          5.6.4          What factors would be likely to increase the spread
                         of candidates for future local government elections?
                         The availability of child care facilities?
SUBMISSIONS
A council member has a statutory right to reimbursement for the expenses of
child care ―necessarily incurred … as a consequence of the member's attendance
at a meeting of the council or a committee‖.

However, there may be no paid child care available (e.g. in a country town) and
this provision does not cover other council events or functions.

Only 12 respondents mentioned this topic. Ten of them supported the provision
of ―child care facilities‖ without discussing the distinction between the actual
provision of facilities versus the reimbursement of expenses. Two respondents
drew attention to the reimbursement provisions and considered them
satisfactory.


DISCUSSION
As discussed at 5.6.3 above, a council member has a statutory right to
reimbursement for the expenses of child care ―necessarily incurred … as a
consequence of the member's attendance at a meeting of the council or a
committee‖. Issues Paper No. 2 asked whether the provision of child care
facilities might increase the spread of candidates. However, it would seem
impractical to insist that a council provide child care specifically for councillors
during a council meeting or a committee meeting.

If, in a country town, no paid child-carers were available for a councillor to
employ in a private capacity, then the council would face the same difficulty in
recruiting a trained child carer for employment at the council chambers. The
council, of course, would presumably have an obligation to employ only properly-
trained child-carers, whereas the councillor, in a private capacity, could choose
informal child-care arrangements, and still have the expenses reimbursed.

The Review sees no advantage in proposing any change from the current
legislative arrangements.




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         5.6.5          What factors would be likely to increase the spread
                        of candidates for future local government elections?
                        The level of allowances?
SUBMISSIONS
There were 12 responses. All but one cited the level of allowances as a relevant
matter. Four proposed that councillors should be eligible to receive a full-time
wage, albeit offset (in 2 of these proposals) by a reduced number of councillors.

                There probably needs to be fewer candidates/councillors but they need
                to be full time and paid accordingly. In this day and age, people expect
                instant responses to their queries, either by mobile phone/email/direct
                contact etc. this is not possible with most councillors due to their need
                to work full time to support themselves or their families.

Four proposed that allowances be set by an independent body or mechanism.

                The Remuneration Tribunal should make an independent assessment of
                the level of elected members‘ allowances and entitlements.

In discussions with the LGA, the Minister has indicated her support for a
mechanism for determining allowances that is independent of both the council
and State Government.


DISCUSSION
Officer level discussions are continuing between the Office for State/Local
Government Relations and the LGA, with a view to presenting a draft proposal to
the Minister for State/Local Government Relations for her consideration. It is
anticipated that a final decision will be made and publicly announced this year,
regarding the framework for such a mechanism. Legislative amendments will be
required to effect changes to the existing process and establish an independent
mechanism.




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         5.6.6         What factors would be likely to increase the spread
                        of candidates for future local government elections?
                        Community leadership programs?
There were nine responses that were all supportive of the concept of leadership
programs, although none offered arguments or evidence that they would be
successful in attracting election candidates. Three explicitly argued that such
courses, though they may be valuable or justifiable on other grounds, should not
be relied upon for this purpose.

                Many members of the community may already be involved in
                community leadership development through involvement in local
                schools, recreational clubs and spiritual organisations. Development of
                community leaders could be enhanced and encouraged by offering
                training and support to these groups, rather than a specific council
                program. If done in partnership with councils, this could not only
                enhance community leadership, equipping leaders for potential
                candidacy, but also enhance awareness of councils and opportunities to
                participate more generally.

                Many people who are active in the community are not motivated to sit
                on Council, and leadership programs will not necessarily convince them
                otherwise. Encouraging Youth Action Teams within Council is seen as a
                positive step.

The Review considers that community leadership programs should continued to
be encouraged and developed




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           5.6.7          What factors would be likely to increase the spread
                          of candidates for future local government elections?
                          Allowing candidates to nominate for councillor and
                          mayor in the same election?
SUBMISSIONS
The question of ―dual candidacy‖ was one of those posed in the 10-minute
survey leaflet, although in the leaflet the question was not couched in terms of
increasing ―the spread of candidates‖. Nevertheless, a total of 254 responses
dealt with this question of dual candidacy. The quantitative responses showed a
narrow majority approving the idea:

5. Should candidates be permitted to nominate for councillor and Mayor in the same
                                     election?
                                                                Omitting those with no
                                                                              answer:
Those who answered 'yes' to Q5    49.8%     (n=126)                                Yes     54.8%
 Those who answered 'no' to Q5    41.1%     (n=104)                                 No     45.2%
  Those who gave no answer to
                            Q5    9.1%      (n=23)
               All Respondents    253
          Total with answers      230

Among 26 qualitative responses,
         fourteen were in favour;
         ten were opposed; and
         two had alternative proposals to deal with the same issue.

Examples of comments include:
                  [From an unsuccessful 2006 Mayoral candidate]:
                  Basically the community would hope that their best community leaders
                  would stand for Mayor, but they may not necessarily hope that if such
                  candidates loose that they will be banished from the council until the
                  next election. The current single candidacy actually discourages
                  candidates from standing for Mayor for fear of losing and not being on
                  council at all, this has given great advantage to incumbent mayors and
                  explains many Mayors being elected unopposed.

                  [From a Mayor successfully re-elected in 2006]:
                  Allowing dual candidacy for Mayor/Councillor would attract large fields of
                  candidates. Bring election process into disrepute – many non serious
                  candidates As it is, only persons fully committed put their hands up.
                  A large field of candidates will be a turn off for Voters. Unsuccessful
                  Mayoral candidates should not be members of the Council. If they were,
                  there would be an inbuilt and automatic instability in the Council. It will
                  be the start of party politics in local government.

Some other suggestions were:
            permit dual candidacy as an option only for experienced Councillors,
             (two responses);
            require all Mayors to be selected from among the ranks of Councillors
             (i.e. abolish the option of a popularly-elected Mayor); and
            abolish the need for a poll of electors before changing the Mayoral
             selection method.


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DISCUSSION
As noted in the previous chapter, dual candidacy is standard practice in Western
Australia and New South Wales. It is not applicable in Victoria and Tasmania,
where the Mayor must be a member of council before becoming Mayor. Dual
candidacy is prohibited in Queensland.

There are strong arguments both for and against dual candidacy:

                    FOR                                              AGAINST
   1. A serving councillor who makes an               1.   It would be likely to cause confusion
      unsuccessful attempt to contest the                  for electors. A voter faced with two
      Mayoral position at a periodic                       ballot papers that feature one or
      election, need not, necessarily, be                  more of the same names on each
      lost to local government entirely.                   paper might wish to know which, if
      Such a person might still have                       any of the councillor candidates will
      sufficient support to be elected as a                be unavailable, before distributing
      councillor, so that his/her skills and               his or her desired preferences for
      talents would still be available to the              councillor.
      council.
                                                      2.   Dual candidacy may encourage
   2. Dual candidacy would certainly                       unnecessarily large fields of
      increase the field of candidates in                  candidates contesting Mayoral
      mayoral elections, giving the voters                 elections.
      a greater choice, including a choice
      of persons who are experienced in               3.   It may even result in the election of
      local government.                                    a council comprised mainly or
                                                           entirely of unsuccessful Mayoral
   3. Elections in which there is a contest                candidates; jeopardising the
      for the Mayoralty have a higher                      working relationship between the
      voter turnout, on average, than                      Mayor and the remainder of the
      elections where there is no Mayoral                  Council.
      contest. (See graphs, below.)
                                                      4.   It would add to election costs, and
   4. Few sitting councillors choose to                    delay results.
      challenge a sitting Mayor because
      even fewer succeed, so the system
      discourages Mayoral contests.




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In 2006, there were:
   o   eleven mayors re-elected unopposed;
   o   sixteen mayors re-elected in contests against 23 challengers (including
       eight sitting councillors, all of whom lost);
   o   nine mayors defeated in contests against 17 challengers (including seven
       sitting councillors, five of whom lost);
   o   ten new mayors elected in contests, to replace a retiring mayor; and
   o   one new mayor elected unopposed, to replace a retiring mayor

This indicates that a contest for the mayoral position is much more likely to occur
when the incumbent mayor is retiring, so that no candidate has the advantage of
incumbency.

Although challengers defeated nine sitting mayors, the more telling statistic is
that 36 sitting mayors faced a total of only 40 challengers – an average of only
1.1 each. Only 15 of those 40 challenges were made by sitting councillors, and
of those 15, only two were successful. The other 13 were lost to local
government.

However, the focus should not be only on the 13 who were unsuccessful. The
related point to consider is why, out of the hundreds of councillors in South
Australia (from councils with a popularly elected Mayor) only 15 were willing to
risk a contest against the sitting Mayor. Of 40 people who were willing to
challenge a sitting Mayor, fewer than half were councillors. It is obvious that the
system discourages challenges to sitting Mayors from the people who are in the
best position (with the most experience) to offer a viable alternative.

The Review is not persuaded by the argument that elections for Mayor might be
brought into disrepute or somehow harmed by having too many candidates.
Elections for the State or Commonwealth Parliament (especially for the
Legislative Council or the Senate) often attract very large fields of candidates,
some of whom have very little support. On the contrary, the existence of a large
field should be viewed as evidence of a vibrant democracy.




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In fact, the more persons who nominate and campaign for the position of Mayor,
the more publicity and community awareness they will generate for their
campaign. This can only be positive for the goal of voter participation, as the
statistics for the past three local government elections indicate:




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It is true that dual candidacy would delay election results, because the Mayoral
position would need to be resolved before counting could commence for other
council positions. At present, the legislation provides that a recount may be
requested within 72 hours after the declaration of provisional results, so the
delay could be as long as four days, unless this provision was also amended.

However, two of the central purposes of this review are to increase voter
participation and improve representation, and it would seem that dual candidacy
may help in both respects.



OPTIONS 5.6.7

   A. Make no change to the existing provisions.

   B. Any candidate should be permitted to nominate for both Mayor,
      and councillor, with the Mayoral position to be decided first.
      Once the Mayoral ballot has been decided, votes can be counted
      for positions of councillor. Any votes for a councillor who has
      become the new Mayor would be transferred to the voter’s next
      preference on the ballot paper.

      OR

   C. As for option B, but restrict the option of dual candidacy only to
      currently serving councillors. Under option B, persons without
      recent experience as an elected member could still nominate for
      Mayor, or for councillor, but not for both positions.




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         5.6.8       What factors would be likely to increase the spread
                      of candidates for future local government elections?
                      Other mentoring and support programs?
There were 10 responses, some of which confused the issue of support for
prospective candidates with support for successful candidates, i.e. elected
members. Of those who restricted their comments to candidates:
           three suggested sufficient support was available in 2006;
           two agreed with the question, without any comment;
           one merely agreed with all the possible support options mentioned in
            the Issues Paper; and
           one proposed that unsuccessful candidates at previous elections
            could be offered the role of mentor for future candidates.

A particularly useful submission came from the City of Burnside, which attracted
the largest field of candidates of any council at the 2006 election (46 in all).

                Ensuring potential candidates understand the requirements of being an
                elected member is important to ensure that these candidates are
                supported and their experience is positive, allowing them to share these
                positives with other potential candidates and electors. In the 2006
                election, the City of Burnside partnered with other Councils in the
                eastern region to provide information to candidates prior to, and during,
                the candidate nomination process.

                The concept was to broaden the availability of sessions to potential
                candidates, so that a person could attend any session in the region, and
                receive the same information. This was the first occasion that sessions
                were undertaken in this fashion, and the first time that briefing sessions
                were held prior to the opening of the nomination period. A total of 11
                sessions were held across six councils, with 140 potential candidates
                attending the sessions.

                A total of 46 people attended the first five sessions held before
                nominations opened. Out of the total number of attendees, 11 people
                attended a session that was not in the area in which they were
                considering nominating. Informal feedback provided by potential
                candidates suggests support for the holding of an information session
                before nominations opened.

DISCUSSION
Although not all councils in the region were successful in attracting more
candidates, this is a positive approach to supporting potential candidates.


PROPOSAL 5.6.8
Encourage other councils to follow the example set by eastern
metropolitan region councils in 2006 by offering briefings to potential
candidates on a regional basis, prior to the opening of nominations for
the 2010 local government elections.




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            5.6.9          What elements should be included in the proposed
                           Local Government Citizenship Engagement
                           Strategy?
SUBMISSIONS
There were only six responses to this question, with a range of suggestions:

                   The strategy should show the community how much an ordinary citizen
                   can assist their local community by involvement and participation with
                   local government.

                   Firstly education in regard to how local government works. This could be
                   done in high school in year 8. Also as part of the New Citizen education
                   process for intending citizens.

                   It will be important for the Strategy to clearly define the concept of
                   ―citizen/community engagement‖ and to consider adoption of the
                   concepts of ―inform, consult, involve, collaborate and empower‖.
                   Consideration should be given to the wide variety of ways in which the
                   community may be involved and changing communication technologies.

                   The community engagement policy should strengthen links with
                   community groups and potentially encourage people to vote

                   We believe many voters do not understand the difference between
                   Council administration decisions and processes, and their Elected
                   Members‘ decision making powers. An education and communication
                   campaign about who is responsible for decision making in council may
                   assist with this. Community engagement is about ensuring the
                   community knows when their voice will make a difference.
                   ‗Engagement‘ has different meaning for council staff, Councillors and the
                   community.

DISCUSSION
The definitional concepts referred to above are outlined in detail by the
International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) as follows:

     Inform             One way communications – providing balanced and objective
                            information to assist understanding about something that is
                            going to happen or has happened.
     Consult            Two way communications – obtaining public feedback about ideas
                            on rationale, alternatives and proposals to inform decision
                            making.
     Involve            Participatory processes - inviting involvement to help identify
                            issues and views to ensure that concerns and aspirations are
                            understood and considered prior to decision making
     Collaborate        Working together to develop understanding of all aspects of issues,
                            work out alternatives and identifying preferred solutions.
     Empower            Providing opportunities and resources for communities to be part of
                            solutions by valuing local talents and skills and acknowledging
                            their capacity to be decision makers in their own lives.66



66
   LGA Community Engagement Showcase – Leading practice examples of Local Government in South Australia
http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1324



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The IAP2 spectrum includes ―empower‖ as a method of community engagement,
whereby final decision making is in the hands of the public. Within the local
government context the Local Government Act 1999 limits the power of a council
to delegate its decision-making.

However, the terms ―empower‖ and ―empowering communities‖ are often used
when referring to community development and community capacity building
initiatives. Many Councils engage with local communities in this way, and it is
within this context that reference is made to the terms of ―empower‖,
―empowered‖, and/or ―empowering communities‖.

Issues Paper No. 2 mentioned that the Office for State/Local Government
Relations and the Local Government Association were working on a Citizen
Engagement project, to research and encourage the application of models of
successful citizen engagement in Local Government across South Australia.
Specifically, the project is designed to oversee the preparation of a draft Local
Government Citizenship Engagement Strategy.

The first phase of the Community Engagement Project was completed with the
public release in July of the Community Engagement Showcase – a
documentation of leading practice examples of community engagement across
Local Government in SA.67

The Showcase has been published by the LGA with assistance from the SA
Government through the Office for State/Local Government Relations. The
publication is designed to reflect the importance of proper public consultation and
engagement.

The document emphasises that Councils continue to listen to their communities
in a variety of innovative and practical ways and to strive to improve how they
do so. A total of 25 Councils provided case studies in response to the LGA
survey, including seven from country SA.

Feedback from local government, community stakeholders and within State
Government has been consistently positive and appreciative of the initiative.

The LGA, with continuing support from the State Government, has now
commenced a second phase of the project designed to prepare a practical
―toolkit‖ or manual to assist Councils further in relation to community
engagement.

The Review supports this initiative.




67
     http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1324



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6 IMPROVING THE ELECTION PROCESS

       6.1      PROCEDURAL CHANGES INTRODUCED IN THE
               1999 LEGISLATION
The Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 included many of the pre-existing
election provisions taken from the Local Government Act 1934. However, it also
introduced several important changes in local government elections. The main
ones were:

         universal postal voting (with exemptions possible in limited
          circumstances);
         one standard system for casting and counting votes (proportional
          representation); and
         one independent authority—the Electoral Commissioner—to be the
          returning officer for all council elections.

Other changes included in the 1999 Act were that:
    a candidate for election had to be an Australian citizen, or a non-citizen
      who was a member of a council between 1997 and 2000;
    a candidate could not be a member of any Australian Parliament;
    details of campaign donations over $500 had to be submitted in a return
      no later than six weeks after the elections, and this information had to be
      kept on a publicly accessible register;
    a new offence was created of unlawfully interfering with any computer
      program or system used by an electoral officer for the purposes of an
      election or poll; and
    to overcome any uncertainty about how complaints about electoral
      matters can be made and investigated, the State Electoral Commissioner
      was empowered to investigate any matter connected with the operation of
      the Act, and was given explicit power to initiate proceedings for offences.68




68
     Hon. Mark Brindal, Minister for Local Government. House of Assembly Hansard 17 Feb 1999 at 816



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       6.2 RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 2000 AND 2003
          REVIEWS
2000
The local government elections of May 2000 were the first to be held under the
provisions of the new Act. After the election concluded a review was
commissioned by a Steering Committee comprised of representatives of the
Local Government Association, the Office of Local Government and the State
Electoral Commissioner. The review was required to focus mainly on the
technical and administrative aspects of the conduct of the election.69

The key findings of this Review are reproduced as Attachment I. It is interesting
to note that six and a half years later, most of the problems identified by the
2000 Review have not been addressed and are very similar to the problems
identified by this 2007 Review. Certainly no legislative changes were made to
the Act between the 2000 and 2003 local government elections.

2004
As noted earlier in this Interim Report, a more wide-ranging process was
undertaken for the Review of the 2003 local government elections; leading to the
introduction of legislative changes that were implemented in time for the 2006
election.70




69
   See section 1.2 of this Interim Report and Attachment I
70
  See sections 1.2 and 1.3 in the first chapter of this Interim Report, and section 4.7 above that summarises the
legislative changes made by the 2005 amendments.



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     6.3 ISSUES RELEVANT TO IMPROVING LOCAL
        GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION DISCUSSED IN
        THE TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Review‘s Terms of Reference contain one general, open-ended term:

                 any legislative or administrative improvements that can be made to
                 Local Government election procedure and practice on the basis of
                 experience, including ways to redress any unintended consequences of
                 the changes made by the Statutes Amendment (Local Government
                 Elections) Act 2005, and any matters raised by the Electoral
                 Commissioner;

as well as many specific terms dealing with ―issues identified in the course of the
2006 Local Government election process:

                    Caretaker rules/conventions for Local Government to avoid councils
                     making major decisions that would bind an incoming council,
                     prevent the use of public resources in ways that are seen as
                     advantaging or promoting sitting council members who are seeking
                     re-election, or new candidates and ensure council officers act
                     impartially in relation to candidates.
                    Current provisions for deferral of supplementary elections until the
                     general election when a casual vacancy occurs on or after 1 January
                     of a general election year, in cases where a number of vacancies
                     occur and the council then operates with this reduced
                     representation for a long period.
                    Whether ―election period‖ needs to be defined for the purposes of
                     electoral material.
                    Provisional enrolment for 17 year olds.
                    Strategies to improve the quality of the council‘s voters roll.
                    The eligibility provisions for nomination relating to previous criminal
                     offences, and whether candidates should be required to provide
                     publicly accessible information about any history of serious criminal
                     offences.
                    Considering the option for Mayoral nominations to close 2 days prior
                     to remainder of positions, to reduce the last-minute nomination
                     rush.
                    Closing nominations at 12:00 noon, and conducting the ballot paper
                     draw at 4:00 pm.
                    The form in which roll data is provided to candidates.
                    The policies and practices of councils in relation to the control of
                     election signs.
                    Effect of the current provisions relating to failure of the election due
                     to a candidate withdrawing or becoming ineligible after close of
                     nominations and before close of voting.
                    Optimal design of voting material to indicate its official nature and
                     prevent it being treated as junk mail, increase the number of
                     correctly completed declaration envelopes, and increase the number
                     of valid votes.




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                           The effect of the current timeframes, including those between the
                            close of nominations and the issuing of ballot packs, and between
                            the issuing of ballot packs and the close of voting, and whether
                            there should be a reduction in the time allowed to lodge a postal
                            vote.
                           Closing voting at 12.00 noon, not 5.00, as for supplementary
                            elections.
                           The rate of, and reasons for, informal voting.
                           Powers to require a retraction in case of misleading electoral
                            material.
                           Whether additional offence provisions or enforcement powers are
                            required to deal with aspects of candidates‘ conduct during
                            campaigns.
                           Allowing for bulk exclusions in the counting process for single
                            vacancy contests.
                           Whether a free advice service should be provided to candidates
                            querying issues regarding the conduct of the election on, and after,
                            polling day.
                           The clarity of provisions and procedures regarding access to a
                            recount.
                           In relation to the results advice to CEOs, replacing ―immediately‖
                            with ―as soon as practicable‖, to allow for recount provisions.
                           Form and timing of candidates‘ campaign donations returns, and
                            the period for which returns, and records relating to returns, must
                            be retained.
                           Logistical problems anticipated in dealing with the certification of
                            around 50 council reviews of representation by January 2010. ‖




         6.4 LITERATURE REVIEW
           6.4.1       Papers prepared to inform the 2004 review
One of the papers commissioned by the LGA for the 2004 elections review is
particularly relevant to the matters in this chapter:

               Candidacy, Casual Vacancy & Campaigning (Norman Waterhouse
                Lawyers)71

                6.4.2          Other relevant literature

                 Election Results and Voting systems (page of various links)72




71
      http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Elections_Review_Discussion_Paper1.pdf
72
     http://www.barnsdle.demon.co.uk/vote/vote.html



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      6.5 COMMENTS AND SUBMISSIONS TO THIS REVIEW
           6.5.1      Caretaker provisions
There were no questions in the on-line youth survey about a caretaker period
prior to local government elections. However, the ten-minute survey
questionnaire included four related questions about the possibility of introducing
a caretaker period, for local government, prior to an election. It attracted
hundreds of responses:

                     From among 253 individual (quantitative) responses:
                   Q6a. Should councils be subject to caretaker rules before elections?
                                                           Omitting those with no answer:
 Those who answered 'yes' to Q6a    65.6%     (n=166)                                Yes      76.1%
  Those who answered 'no' to Q6a    20.6%      (n=52)                                 No      23.9%
Those who gave no answer to Q6a     13.8%       (n=35)
                All Respondents     253
           Total with answers 218


                          Q6b. Should all councils have exactly the same rules?
                                                             Omitting those with no answer:
 Those who answered 'yes' to Q6b    69.2%     (n=175)                                  Yes    82.5%
  Those who answered 'no' to Q6b    14.6%      (n=37)                                   No    17.5%
Those who gave no answer to Q6b     16.2%      (n=41)
                All Respondents     253
           Total with answers 212




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From among the 40 qualitative respondents, there were 25 responses to these
questions. Eighteen were in favour of uniform, mandatory, legislated caretaker
provisions. Only four were opposed, or argued that this should be a matter
entirely at the discretion of each council. Three others gave partial support, for
example:
            yes, depending upon the model selected;
            yes, but partially mandatory & partly discretionary; or
            believing such a proposal is of ‗limited value‘

Among the comments in favour of a caretaker period, this response seemed to
most clearly state the case:

                    The aim of introducing the caretaker rules is to provide assurance to the
                    community that Councils are acting with propriety and in the best
                    interests of the community in the lead up to an election. Enabling each
                    individual Council to determine whether it implements the caretaker
                    rules is likely to result in only a few Councils adopting such an approach.
                    This would mean that the objective of developing caretaker rules is not
                    likely to be achieved.

This response, from a council, clearly articulates the opposite view:

                    …does not believe that such a convention is necessary in local
                    government. It believes that it has sufficient controls in place in order
                    to ensure fair and transparent processes during a Local Government
                    Election. Further, Council does not ‗govern‘ in the same sense as its
                    state or federal counterparts and has a community management role
                    that it must fulfil until the day of the next election making a ‗Caretaker‘
                    Policy impractical.



          6.5.2       How long should a caretaker period last?
Combining both the quantitative and qualitative responses, a total of 153
responses were received, with little differences between the two groups. Some
respondents in the quantitative group appeared to misunderstand the nature of a
caretaker period, because two suggested the period should be as long as 12
months, and several others proposed 6-month periods. Nevertheless, a very
common response from both groups was to propose that the period should be
tied either to the opening, or closing date for nominations.

On the 2006 timetable, this would equate to terms of either seven or nine weeks.
Not surprisingly then, the median term proposed by quantitative respondents
was 8 weeks.73 The average term proposed by the 16 qualitative respondents
was 7.97 weeks.




73
   The “median” is preferred here, because the “average” of the quantitative responses (10.4 weeks) was
distorted by the few respondents who proposed unrealistically long periods of 6 months or 12 months.



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          6.5.3       What are the most important restrictions that should
                        be in caretaker rules?
Given the diversity of opinion on most other topics, the response to this question
was surprisingly close to uniform. Nearly all respondents proposed some
variation on one or more of the general type of provisions enacted in Victoria,
namely prohibiting a council in a caretaker period from:
         publishing electoral matter unless it contains only information about
          the election process; or
         making major decisions about the employment of a permanent Chief
          Executive Officer, or entering into a contract or entrepreneurial venture
          that exceeds a value of $100 000 or 1% of the council's revenue from
          rates in the preceding financial year (whichever is greater) during the
          election period (unless an exemption is granted by the Minister).
         permitting council resources to be used for the advantage of any
          candidates.

A sample of responses illustrates the extent of general consensus on this matter:

          o   Only non-budgeted items and most senior appointments
          o   Self promotion of candidates through council website/ publications etc.
              should be watched carefully
          o   Adjusting any budget items particularly big budget ones or the likes of
              approving big ticket expenditure on things like trips etc. Changing
              previous decisions
          o   As in Victoria:·
                      – No contracts or ventures or agreements binding incoming
                         council in a major way or exceeding $100,000.
                      – Appointment of permanent CEO
                      – publishing electoral material other than procedural
          o   Amount of funds available to be committed for budget projects. Restriction
              on resources from council for incumbent candidates
          o   Appointments of CEO‘s, senior staff, tenders, major contracts, major
              expenditures outside of formal budget process
          o   Committing council to future projects by old councillors
          o   No new business unless urgent
          o   Capital expenditure > $80,000. Contracts for infrastructure. Appointment
              of CEO
          o   Approval of matters affecting local minority and directed to induce voters




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DISCUSSION
As Issues Paper No. 3 pointed out, caretaker periods before State and
Commonwealth elections are a matter of convention, rather than legislation.
Nevertheless, the principles underpinning these conventions attract bipartisan
political support and the conventions are accepted in practice by both spheres of
government.

In May 2007, the Local Government Association released for discussion a ―Model
Caretaker Policy‖.74

The LGA provides a valuable service for councils by preparing model guidelines
on this and many other topics, but (apart from two exceptions that are not
relevant here) its guidelines do not have legislative force.75 At present, it is open
to any council to make its own changes to any proposed guideline on caretaker
policies, endorse an entirely different type of policy, or even refuse to adopt any
policy on the subject. Although responses to the Review were strongly in favour
of a caretaker period being introduced, support was far from universal. Among
the responses highlighted above there were some, including those from elected
council members, which were strongly opposed to any caretaker period.

As one respondent so accurately stated, the purpose of a caretaker period ―is to
provide assurance to the community that Councils are acting with propriety and
in the best interests of the community in the lead up to an election‖. This cannot
be achieved with voluntary guidelines, because of the risk that some councils will
not see the need for them. This Review is of the opinion that minimum
acceptable standards must be in legislation.

The question then becomes: what is the minimum standard that must be
provided in legislation? The Victorian legislative model76 seems to deal directly
with each of the issues identified by respondents, without being overly
prescriptive. On the contrary, the Victorian legislation has the advantage of
requiring a minimum standard, but permitting individual councils the option to
adopt policies that are more stringent or prescriptive, if they wish.

The Victorian legislation, however, specifies that a caretaker period must
commence at the close of the voters‘ roll and lasts until the close of voting. In
Victoria, this is a period of 57 days. In South Australia, the period between the
close of the voters roll and the last day to submit a vote is much longer – 13
weeks, or 91 days. The LGA‘s Model Caretaker Policy proposed a period of 13
weeks, and many responses to the LGA expressed the view that this period was
too long. The Review agrees it would be impractical for a caretaker period to last
so long, and the Review can see no need for a period of such long duration.




74
     http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=191&c=13017
75
   There are two exceptions, where documents drafted by the LGA have been adopted, in Regulations, as
requirements for all local governments, but these two exceptions are not relevant in the present context.
76
   Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) sections 55D, 76C and 93A.
Seer also explanation of the Victorian legislation at
http://www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/web22/dvclgg.nsf/headingpagesdisplay/council+electionscaretaker+arrangements



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In the Victorian legislation, any decision that a council might make in
contravention of the caretaker rules is invalid, and any person who suffers loss or
damage by acting in reliance on such a decision is entitled to compensation from
the council.


PROPOSAL 6.5.3

Provisions modelled on the Victorian legislation be enacted in the
Local Government Act 1999 or the Local Government (Elections) Act
1999 prohibiting a council, during a defined election period, from:

       making major decisions about the employment of a permanent
        Chief Executive Officer;

       entering into a contract or entrepreneurial venture that
        exceeds a value of $100 000 or 1% of the council's revenue
        from rates in the preceding financial year (whichever is
        greater) unless an exemption is granted by the Minister;

       permitting council resources to be used for the advantage of
        any candidates; and

       publishing electoral matter (unless it contains only information
        about the election process).


The election period, for purposes of the caretaker period, is to be
defined as the period ending at the close of voting, but commencing:

OPTIONS 6.5.3:

   A. when nominations open (i.e. 66 days).

             OR

   B. when nominations close (i.e. 52 days).



The Review agrees with the LGA Model Caretaker Policy that there is insufficient
reason to introduce a caretaker period before supplementary elections.




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               6.5.4 The postal voting “window”. Should there be any
                       changes to the length of the postal voting “window”
                       or the time that voting closes?
There were only 11 responses to this question. Six proposed there be no
change to the postal voting window and four proposed a shorter period. One
proposed that the entire seven-week period before close of voting was ―too long‖

Only one response dealt with the question of whether postal voting should close
at midday or 5pm. Among those in favour of the status quo of 14 to 18 days to
return a ballot paper, were these comments:

                      The current postal voting ―window‖ is considered appropriate to give
                      electors the maximum opportunity to cast their vote, and to receive new
                      ballot papers if they have lost/spoilt the first set.

                      The current voting window of up to eighteen days should remain.
                      Anything less may disadvantage voters.

On the other hand, the four in favour of a shorter time period expressed views
such as this:

                      A shorter election period would be appreciated - it is difficult to maintain
                      momentum.

The State Electoral Commissioner has proposed that the last postal ballots
should be received at midday, rather than 5pm (which would have the effect of
shortening the postal voting window by five hours.) The Electoral
Commissioner‘s view is that this would:

                      allow for additional time to process and distribute ballot material
                      received on the last day of voting. The volume of ballot material lodged
                      at council offices and deposited in ballot boxes, in addition to returned
                      mail, causes considerable time delays and pressures on the ability to
                      collect, collate and process prior to distribution to Deputy Returning
                      Officers in time for the commencement of the count early on the
                      Saturday morning. This change would also bring consistency with the
                      time for close of voting for supplementary elections under subsection
                      6(8).77

The only respondent who dealt with this subject did not agree:
                      The previous 12 noon closure of the poll led to confusion. The closure at
                      5.00pm is what one would normally expect. I do not support any
                      change




77
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at pp 45, 46



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DISCUSSION
The Review is not persuaded that there is any merit in shortening the ―window‖
of time during which ballot papers may be returned. Despite recognising the
potential difficulties in stretching a campaign over a period as long as 18 days, if
the window of opportunity were to be reduced, there would be a substantial risk
that some voters might be disenfranchised, especially when mail is sent to
remote rural locations, or re-directed.

There is also some risk associated with closing the ballot at 12 noon, instead of
5pm on the final day. Publicity to promote local government elections is likely to
focus on the final date and there would be a legitimate expectation among
last-minute voters, that their voting papers would be accepted up until 5pm.

In business parlance, ―close of business‖ is not usually interpreted as midday.
Notwithstanding the acknowledged difficulties that 5pm closing may cause for
administration of the vote count, the Review considers it more important to leave
open the possibility of obtaining hand-delivered votes throughout the final day of
voting.

Accordingly, the Review does not offer any proposals or options for change in
relation to these matters.




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          6.5.5       Disclosure of criminal background
There was no specific question related to this topic. Issues Paper No. 3 pointed
out that candidates in neither Federal nor State elections are required to declare
any involvement in past legal proceedings, criminal or civil. Nevertheless, two
respondents offered opinions on this matter

                Comment is also made on the lack of disclosure requirements in relation
                to a candidate‘s criminal background. It is noted that there are a
                number of exclusions from candidacy in local government elections and
                none of these are required to be disclosed either. It is recommended
                that unless all disclosures are required to be made on the nomination
                form, there is no need for disclosures of criminal history to be made.

                Candidates should be required to provide publicly accessible information
                about any history of serious criminal offences

DISCUSSION
The Review is not persuaded that local government election candidates should be
put to a higher standard than candidates in Commonwealth or State elections.
Therefore, the Review does not offer any proposals or options in relation to this
matter.




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          6.5.6       Should candidates be required to disclose political
                        affiliations and pecuniary interests?
Issues Paper 3 pointed out that no such disclosures are required of candidates at
Federal or State elections. Only 14 of the qualitative respondents (and none of
the quantitative respondents) dealt with this question. The 14 responses were
split 50/50.

In favour of disclosure:
                Yes, a candidate is putting themselves forward for public office they
                should disclose their affiliations and pecuniary interests. We believe that
                is the price for public office. It may also influence how the electorate
                votes. However, we do not believe financial details need to be disclosed.

                Candidates should be required to provide the same level of information
                that is required for the current Primary Return filled in by an elected
                councillor. Voters need to have as much information about candidates
                to make a decision to vote. This includes candidates‘ political
                affiliations, property owned, age.


Opposing disclosure:
                If candidates must declare a political affiliation then party politics will
                gain a greater place in the process as the party seeks to have its own
                members elected in as many council areas as possible. If that party
                then gains government at the State or Federal level it will have greater
                control over the actions of councillors. Any prospect of independence
                will be lost and the worth of councillors will be even less than their
                current minimalist value.

                These requirements should be no more restrictive than those that exist
                for State and Federal candidates.




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DISCUSSION
There is a discrepancy between sitting councillors (including Mayors) and
candidates who are not already on the council. The latter do not have details of
their affiliations and pecuniary interests on the public record, unless they choose
to place them there, as part of their campaign.

However, the argument that all candidates should be placed on the same footing
in this regard overlooks the reason behind the requirement for disclosure by
elected members. This was touched upon in Issues Paper No 3. The
requirement for disclosure is a public safeguard against a possible conflict of
interest by an elected member, in respect of any matter that might be before the
council.

Although these affiliations and pecuniary interests may be of interest to voters,
no candidate can have a conflict of interest in a matter before the council,
because candidates do not have duties as such, except the duty to respect the
laws relevant to election campaigning.

The Review encourages candidates to disclose their affiliations and pecuniary
interests. Voters would be pleased to know what interests the candidates have.
Knowledge that a candidate is a member of political party may encourage voters
to support that person. However, as a matter of law, disclosure of these matters
should be left to the candidate‘s discretion or, perhaps, to the discretion of the
candidate‘s opponents, or their supporters.

In short, the Review is not persuaded that local government election candidates
should be put to a higher standard than candidates in Commonwealth or State
elections. Therefore, the Review does not offer any proposals or options in
relation to this matter.




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          6.5.7       Should Mayoral nominations close two days earlier
                        than councillor nominations?
Only eight qualitative responses dealt with this question and were divided
four/four on each side of the question, although those answering ―no‖ offered no
explanations for their views.

Of those who agreed, three gave reasons:

                 Sometimes the manoeuvring that occurs in the minutes leading up to
                 the close of all nominations causes unfortunate consequences.

                 It is considered appropriate to close nominations for Mayor before
                 councillor nominations. The present rules require candidates to withdraw
                 one nomination before lodging another. When this occurs just prior to
                 the close of nominations, it increases the likelihood of a nomination
                 being rejected due to a technical deficiency in the nomination.
                 Candidacy should be encouraged wherever possible and a change in
                 timing could reduce the likelihood of nomination rejection.

                 If it could provide an option to withdraw their nomination if they did not
                 want to become a councillor it is probably a good idea. However, we
                 advocate dual candidacy therefore this question may be irrelevant.


DISCUSSION
Issues Paper No. 3 expressed the matter this way:

                 The law against dual candidacy makes it difficult for some potential local
                 government candidates to determine whether to nominate for a position
                 as a councillor, or as Mayor. Such a decision is often influenced by
                 knowledge of who else might have nominated. This leads candidates to
                 adopt strategies such as:

                      o    nominating for Mayor, then withdrawing that nomination and
                           nominating for councillor instead if a candidate with better
                           prospects nominates for Mayor afterwards;

                      o    making multiple nominations, then withdrawing all but one at
                           the last moment; or

                      o    delaying any nomination until the last possible moment.

                 These strategies have limited success, especially when multiple
                 candidates are all trying to delay their changes until after their rivals
                 have made changes.

                 Unless dual candidacy is introduced as an option, the State Electoral
                 Commissioner has suggested that one way to deal with this problem is
                 to close nominations for Mayoral elections two days earlier than
                 nominations for other council positions.

One of the qualitative respondents quite rightly pointed out that it is not possible
to make multiple nominations and withdraw all but one at the last moment.
Such a strategy is prohibited by section 19(7) of the Local Government
(Elections) Act. Issues Paper 3 was wrong to suggest otherwise. However, for
the other stated reasons the question still requires resolution.


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The Review has earlier proposed that dual candidacy be accepted as a feature of
local government elections. If that proposal is accepted, the Review believes
that this question would not need to be addressed.

Nevertheless, the State Electoral Commissioner, in her report on the 2006 local
government elections, raises a related issue: the suggested repeal of section 21:

                     21—Display of valid nominations
                     The returning officer must, as soon as practicable after the receipt of a
                     valid nomination, cause a copy of the nomination to be displayed in the
                     principal office of the council.

The Electoral Commissioner argues:

                     This requirement gives opportunity for prospective candidates to be
                     selective with their intended nomination and allows for ‗jockeying‘ for
                     positions, particularly where there is a multiple ward system. The public
                     display of nominations after receipt does not occur for state or federal
                     elections and additionally, some potential candidates may be
                     discouraged from standing for election knowing that another popular
                     candidate has already nominated. Conversely, candidates already
                     nominated often wish to change their nomination to a different election
                     after a later nomination by a candidate against whom they do not wish
                     to compete.78

However the Review is of the view that this proposal should not be supported.
Firstly, it is a subject that was not mentioned in Issues Paper No. 3 and hence
there has been no opportunity for public discussion. Second, it may be that the
selectivity and ―jockeying‖ to which the Commissioner refers is not a bad thing.

Local government elections differ from Commonwealth and State elections in that
there are usually hundreds of positions throughout the State for which there is
no contest. Candidates are most often in short supply in rural areas, but even in
the metropolitan area, in November 2006 there were 12 councillors and two
Mayors elected unopposed in five council areas.79 The public availability of
information about who has nominated, and which ward has few or no
nominations may be helpful in providing an opportunity for those who are willing
to serve as a councillor, to give themselves the best opportunity of nominating
for a position that is vacant or least contested.

Accordingly, the Review does not offer any proposals or options in relation to this
matter.




78
  at p. 46
79
  City of Charles Sturt (2 Councillors in one ward); City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters (Mayor, and two
councillors in one ward); Prospect (two councillors in one ward) City of Unley (six councillors in 3 wards); and
West Torrens (Mayor). In rural areas, there were of course, many more elected unopposed; too many to list here.



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          6.5.8      Timing of nomination closing and ballot draw
There was no specific question about this matter. Issues Paper No. 3 discussed
the suggestion from the State Electoral Commissioner that the ballot draw (to
determine the order of candidates on the ballot paper) should be moved from ―as
soon as is reasonably practicable after the close of nominations‖ at 12 noon to
4.00pm, four hours after the close of nominations.

Two responses (apart from the SEO‘s own response) supported this.

                There should be a specified time, which could be later on the same day
                as nominations close.

                4pm is supported by Council, as it provides a certain time for all
                candidates, and allows the draw to be publicised generally to allow
                interested members of the community to attend.

DISCUSSION
The ballot draw is important for all candidates and will be required for the
foreseeable future. The reasons advanced by the Commissioner and the two
respondents seem persuasive to the Review and hence the Review proposes:


PROPOSAL 6.5.8.

Provide that the ballot draw (to determine the order of candidates on
the ballot paper) should be moved from ―as soon as is reasonably
practicable after the close of nominations‖ to 4.00pm, four hours after
the close of nominations.




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          6.5.9       Should the concept of a publisher “taking
                       responsibility” for election commentary be
                       introduced to the local government sphere?
There were seven responses to this question. Only one, however, recognised the
depth of the question, i.e. that if consistency is considered desirable, should local
government model its provisions on the Commonwealth or on the State
provisions, which are themselves inconsistent? Recognising the complexity of
the three differing models, however, this respondent declined to nominate a
preferred solution, other than to support consistency as a goal.

One respondent proposed following the State model, but offered no argument to
support the view that requiring someone to ―take responsibility‖ for
―commentary‖ was warranted or desirable in a local government context from
2010 and beyond. In short, no comments provided guidance to the Review.

DISCUSSION
The Review is not aware of the specific mischief which the relevant provisions of
the State Electoral Act 1985 were designed to prevent. Given that there is no
similar provision in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and no respondents
advanced any reason why local government elections should follow the State
legislative provisions in this respect, the Review does not put forward any
proposal or options in regard to this matter.




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          6.5.10      Providing electoral roll data to candidates
There was no specific question about this, but there were seven responses to the
topic that was discussed in Issues Paper 3, at paragraph 3.2. It was also raised
in many face-to-face discussions. Formal responses were split 4-3 in favour of
making electoral roll data available electronically.

             IN FAVOUR:
               Council submits that it would be appropriate to distribute the Roll to
               candidates in electronic form. This allows candidates to campaign more
               effectively and may lead to increased voter participation. Penalties
               could be applied for misuse of the information provided.

                Technology has already beaten us. For $20 you can buy a computer disk
                that has the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every residence
                in Australia. For $200 you can buy a disk that allows all these records to
                be mail-merged into advertising brochures. And we are worried that
                some local real-estate agent might want to look at our electronic rolls?
                They already have white pages on the internet!

             OPPOSED:
               We would urge this not to be adopted due to the misuse which could
               occur and where an electronic form could end up. We would hope that
               even the paper copy would have to be returned immediately following
               an election.

                The same provisions should apply as for State and Federal elections.

DISCUSSION
Section 15(15) of the Local Government (Elections) Act provides that copies of
the electoral roll are available, for a fee, ―in printed form‖. The State Electoral
Commissioner has advice from the Crown Solicitor that ―the reference to ‗printed
form‘ is specific in nature and is meant to restrict the availability of the voters
roll electronically.‖ This is how it has been interpreted to date. Nevertheless the
Commissioner suggests that the wording of sub-section (15) needs clarification
to confirm whether or not this sub-section is intended to prohibit distribution of
the roll in electronic form.

The Review is sympathetic to the legitimate needs of local government election
candidates for a cost-effective method of campaigning and does not doubt that
the availability of the voters roll in electronic format would assist candidates to
reach their constituents by direct mail. As some of the respondents suggested, it
would certainly be possible to legislate so that the access was made available,
albeit with suitable penalties for any commercial use or misuse of the data.

The Review understands that electoral roll data is provided in electronic format to
State and Commonwealth Members of Parliament, and to registered political
parties. Other persons may obtain State and Commonwealth electoral roll data
only on paper, which obviously makes it more difficult to use the data in a
mailing campaign.




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However, a candidate in a local government, State Government or
Commonwealth Government election may obtain electoral roll data in electronic
form from a political party. The data is not provided directly to any candidate
from the State Electoral Office or the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) but
parties presumably have their own rules about assisting their members and/or
endorsed candidates and/or informal allies in this way. The Review is not aware
whether, or under what conditions any parties may have chosen, in the past, to
provide this data to candidates in local government elections. A local
government election candidate (like any candidate for election to State or
Commonwealth parliaments) may be able to obtain electoral roll data in
electronic form, only if he/she
               is a member of,
               has the support of; or
               has the right contacts in
a registered political party that has obtained the data from the SEO or AEC.

It could be argued that local government candidates, who rarely have the explicit
backing of a political party, are more in need of the assistance of an electronic
voters roll, because their campaigns are typically low-cost and underfunded, and
any encouragement to candidates would increase competition and indirectly
voter turnout.

On the other hand, voters provide their information to an electoral office or
commission with the expectation that it will be used for electoral purposes only.
The more widely the electronic roll is distributed the greater the risks that this
information may be misused.

This Interim Report has proposed in several instances that in the interests of
consistency, the arrangements for local government elections should not differ
from equivalent arrangements that are in effect for State and/or Commonwealth
elections unless there are pressing reasons for variation.




OPTIONS 6.5.10.
    A. Make no change to existing arrangements

     B.       Legislate so that voters roll data may be provided to local
              government election candidates – only after the close of
              nominations – in electronic format. Penalties should apply for
              use of the data for any purpose (or at any time) other than
              campaigning in the local government election for which the
              candidate has nominated.




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         6.5.11      What changes, if any, should be made to existing
                      mechanisms under which each council makes its
                      own policy for the control of election signs?
There were only 7 responses; with 3 supporting the status quo. For example:

                It is appropriate for each council to make its own policy in this regard,
                although it is recognised that these policies are also subject to the
                requirements of infrastructure providers such as ETSA Utilities and the
                Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (that are usually
                incorporated as part of the council policy). From Issues Paper 2, it does
                not appear that street signs have had a significant impact on electoral
                success for candidates, but Council‘s own experience suggests that the
                amenity impact of election signs (for Federal, State and local elections)
                is a concern to the community.

Some of those opposed to the current arrangements wanted to have their
preferred policy imposed across all council districts:

                A uniform policy is required and strict limitations should be placed on
                signage. E.g. maximum 20 signs for a councillor and 60 signs for a
                mayoral candidate to limit costs to candidates. This would also reduce
                risks applying to erection and taking down of signs and also help the
                visual appearance of a council area during the campaign

                It should be a State Electoral commission policy. There should be
                stricter time limits.

                Ban all signs on poles on public roads.


Of course, the issue of making policy is linked to the question of who should
enforce the policy:

                ―…the Council's ability to police such a policy given current legislative
                powers and the political influences that can come into play is
                questionable. Further, it is very difficult for Councils to be seen to be
                remaining at arms length from the election process if they are required
                to be the policing authority for any part of the election process. We
                believe that there is a need for legislative change in this area such that
                the powers that exist for the State and Federal elections also apply to
                signage for Local Government Elections. Further to this, in the case of
                Local Government Elections, the State Electoral Commission should
                enforce any such legislation with respect to election signs, and provide
                direction to Local Government officers to carry out removals etc as
                required, such that the Councils are purely the actioning officers rather
                than the decision makers.‖

The question of enforcement is discussed in section 6.5.12 below.




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DISCUSSION
The State Electoral Commissioner, in her official report on the 2006 local
government elections, proposed a legislative amendment that would define an
―election period‖ during which electoral signs could be permitted. The
Commissioner‘s view was that such a period would logically commence from the
first day of the nomination process, a total of 66 days before voting closes.80

The LGA has produced ―model guidelines‖ for Councils considering a policy on the
control of elections signs.81 These model guidelines give a clear statement of the
laws under which councils can regulate election signs. They are intended to
apply to all candidates in all elections (Commonwealth, State and local
government) although, of course, a council may choose to adopt a policy that is
different from the LGA‘s model guidelines or no policy at all.

The Review considers that the amendment suggested by the Commissioner runs
the risk of binding councils to a standard for local government elections that
would differ from the standard that many councils have adopted in their policies
for State and Commonwealth election signs.

Although there would be virtue in a consistent policy across the State, the
Review considers this is an area where each council should be free to adopt its
own guidelines or policy, within the constraints of the Local Government Act.

The Review strongly supports the actions of the LGA in developing model
guidelines for councils and does not put forward any additional proposal in regard
to this matter.




80
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at p45
81
     http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/LGA_Guidelines_for_Control_of_Election_Signs_2006.doc



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         6.5.12        Power to require a retraction of misleading material;
                        offence provisions and enforcement powers
There were only six responses to this matter; all with various suggestions for
change, to deal with the matter of misleading electoral material and the powers
of the State Electoral Commissioner.

For example:
                Misleading material is an increasing problem and any steps to require
                the retraction of misleading material is supported. I would even like to
                see penalties for offenders

                [There] should be powers to require a retraction in case of misleading
                electoral material during the election. Complaints etc need to be dealt
                with far more quickly by the Electoral Commissioner.

DISCUSSION
The State Electoral Commissioner usually receives a great many complaints
about questionable practices during election campaigns. To ensure that staff
respond in an appropriate but neutral manner, the Commissioner has developed
a complaints protocol, designed to ensure that the returning officer or any
electoral officer does not become inappropriately drawn into election debate.

The necessity to remain neutral can be misinterpreted by complainants as a
reluctance to take action. As one respondent submitted:

                The State Electoral Commissioner refused to rule that the material was
                ―misleading to a material extent‖, even though every other person I
                spoke to had that opinion.




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During the 2006 local government election period, the Returning Officer received
267 complaints, but not a single one led to a prosecution.

                       The decision not to prosecute is only made after joint assessment with
                       the Crown Solicitor‘s Office. Assessment concentrates on:
                                  o What mischief, if any, has actually occurred.
                                  o Whether, regardless of any technical matter, it was clear
                                     who was taking responsibility for the material.
                                  o The response of the authoriser following notification of the
                                     complaint.
                                  o The public interest and costs involved in mounting a
                                     prosecution.




                                                                                               82




82
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at p36



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Partially in response to the increased number of complaints about ―inaccurate or
misleading material‖ the State Electoral Commissioner, in her official report on
the 2006 local government elections, has proposed a legislative amendment that
would give:
                       ―…the Returning Officer powers to require a publisher of misleading
                       material to withdraw the material, publish a retraction in a specified
                       manner or both. This would be consistent with the provisions under
                       subsection 113(4) of the Electoral Act 1985.83‖

Section 113 (4) of the Electoral Act 1985 does not, in fact, give the Electoral
Commissioner the power to ―require‖ a withdrawal or retraction. Rather, the
Commissioner may only ―request‖ the advertiser to do so. However this request
does have some legal teeth, because section 113 (4) continues:

                       (and in proceedings for an offence against subsection (2) arising from
                       the advertisement, the advertiser's response to a request under this
                       subsection will be taken into account in assessing any penalty to which
                       the advertiser may be liable).

Therefore, most State election candidates who receive such a ―request‖ from the
State Electoral Commissioner would promptly comply.

The Review considers that there is considerable virtue in aligning the relevant
provisions of the Electoral Act 1985 and the Local Government (Elections) Act
1999 and therefore puts forward, as a proposal:


PROPOSAL 6.5.12
Provisions equivalent to s113 (4) of the Electoral Act 1985 be inserted
into the Local Government (Elections) Act to better encourage the
withdrawal or retraction of election advertising material that the
Returning Officer declares to be inaccurate or misleading.




83
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at p46



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          6.5.13      An SEO Advisory service
Issues Paper No. 3 proposed that the SEO might be able to provide a telephone
―advice service‖ for candidates. Only two responses were received to this
suggestion, both supportive.

DISCUSSION
The Electoral Commissioner did, in fact, maintain a telephone advice service
throughout the duration of the 2006 local government election period. However,
this was not specifically for candidates:

                       A call centre was established to respond to election enquiries. The call
                       centre received 3285 telephone calls over the election period. The
                       majority of enquiries were in relation to voting entitlements and voting
                       requirements (specifically on whether voting was compulsory). The
                       following table shows the number of calls that related to these areas for
                       the last three elections.




                       Translations were provided in ten languages other than English and a
                       telephone interpreter service was made available for additional
                       languages.84

There would be nothing to prevent any candidate contacting the SEO call centre.
However, the SEO is not in a position to give legal advice to candidates about the
specific problems that candidates might encounter, beyond the very general
advice that it distributes, as a general guide to all candidates, in printed form. If
a particular candidate needed legal advice about how the Local Government
(Elections) Act should be interpreted in that candidate‘s particular circumstances,
the candidate must rely on his/her own knowledge of the facts and the law, or
consult a solicitor.

The SEO call centre is a helpful and valued part of the election process and the
Review does not intend to put forward any proposal or options for change in
regard to this matter.




84
     State Electoral Office November 2006 Local Government Election Report at p19



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               6.5.14 What changes, if any, should be made to voting
                       packs, declaration envelopes, or their packaging to
                       minimise the risks of being mistaken for junk mail,
                       or of informal voting?
This Interim Report has already discussed what changes, if any, should be made
to the contents of the ballot pack,85 in the context of improving voter
participation and providing better information about candidates.

This question deals with a different but related matter. It is concerned with the
design and presentation of the voting pack and the declaration envelopes etc.
Anecdotal evidence suggests some people mistook the 2006 ballot pack for junk
mail and discarded it. Others may have found the instructions confusing or too
difficult to bother with.

There were 13 responses to this question. All 13 agreed that some changes
were necessary. Although the responses differed, there were few, if any, who
offered suggestions that were inconsistent with the others. Taken as a whole,
these responses together suggest that the voting pack envelope should be
eye-catching, yet recognisably formal – to distinguish it from junk mail - and that
the overall package should be simplified, if possible.

                       The current system of having to fill in two envelopes and include a name
                       and address on the envelope which is returned with the ballot papers is
                       a disincentive for people to vote.

                       Envelopes containing voting packs should be clearly labelled as ―Election
                       Material - Voting Papers Inside‖ or similar to prevent inadvertent
                       disposal on receipt by voters.

                       We MUST have a special design for the Voting packs. … The colour of
                       the packet SHOULD be in Blue (the colour of Spirit and Hope), and the
                       packet MUST have the logo of local government election outside. These
                       two important details – or the whole packet – SHOULD be advertised on
                       television to notice the voters during pre-election.

None of the 299 quantitative responses directly dealt with this question, although
there were three relevant responses to the question of how voter participation
might be improved. All called for simplification.




85
     At sections 4.8.16 to 4.8.18



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DISCUSSION
There is (as some respondents pointed out in response to other questions)
potential for a postal voting system to be abused. It may be true that a postal
voting system is easier to abuse than an attendance voting system. The Review
does not express any opinion in that regard. Nevertheless, it is obvious that
postal voting cannot be made as simple as attendance voting.

In an attendance voting system, the voter declares his/her name to an electoral
official at a polling booth, and asserts the right to vote under that name.

In a postal voting system, there must be a mechanism that serves a similar
purpose. In practice, this requires a voter to sign a declaration of his/her
identity as the person entitled to exercise the vote. This step cannot be omitted.
It necessarily makes exercising a postal vote more complicated and more
susceptible to error than attendance voting.

However this does not mean that the design and presentation of the ballot pack
cannot be improved. The Electoral Commissioner has acknowledged that
unforeseen printing delays and the tight timelines in the 2006 local government
elections combined in an unsatisfactory result that saw the ballot back envelope
posted without the required logo on it. This is a matter that is already
earmarked for close attention in 2010.


PROPOSAL 6.5.14
That the Returning Officer, in conjunction with the LGA and the OSLGR,
obtain appropriate advice to review the style, layout and content of
the ballot pack and its content to ensure that they are:
      eye-catching, yet
      recognisably formal and
      contain instructions that are as simple as possible to follow,
       consistent with the need to require the voter to formally assert
       his/her identity.




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             6.5.15   What changes, if any, should be made to the rules on
                       casual vacancies and supplementary elections?
There were 11 responses to this question. Six supported the status quo. Two
supported what they said was a change, but their proposal seemed to be
describing the current provisions of the Elections Act. Four had varying
proposals for change, for example:

                    There [is] support for the Mayor to be elected from within Council, in the
                    event of the incumbent Mayor resigning before the end of his/her term,
                    regardless of the remaining term.

                    There are a number of options for filling casual vacancies. While each
                    Council should be allowed to choose whether to hold by-elections or use
                    countbacks, this Society encourages Councils to use countback to fill all
                    casual vacancies, except where there are no candidates left in the count
                    or where the remaining candidates do not now wish to be considered.
                    As in Victoria, vacancies occurring only in the last six months of a
                    Council‘s term should remain unfilled.

                    Losers with the highest losing votes would be declared as alternates,
                    and given places on sub-committees. …The top one or two alternates
                    are automatically appointed to the councillors ranks. No costly elections,
                    no confusion, no problems.

                    The unfilled vacancies to go with a maximum of 10 months, they need
                    to be filled!


DISCUSSION
Changes made by the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act
2005 prevent a council from holding a supplementary election in the year in
which a period election is due. This means that one or more vacancies on the
council can remain unfilled for up to ten and a half months. For many months
during 2006, Kangaroo Island Council was left with only five out of its eight
elected members as a result of this provision; a bare quorum.86

It is plainly foreseeable that one or more councils might be in a similar, perhaps
even worse situation in 2010, 2014, or 2018. It is not clear how a council would
function if resignations in the final year of a council term left the council unable
to reach a quorum.

In these circumstances it may be appropriate to allow a council to hold a
supplementary election later than the current 1 January cut off date.

The State Electoral Office advises that it would be extremely difficult to conduct
supplementary elections in February, March or April of a periodic election year,
because this is the time when State elections are scheduled. That is why the
Statutes Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act 2005 made it impossible



86
   A quorum is one-half of the elected members (ignoring any fraction) plus one. Local Government Act 1999
s.85



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for any council to have a supplementary election after 1 January, in the year of
its term.

The Review does not endorse the idea that casual vacancies in such a situation
should be filled by countback, with reference to the previous election. For one
thing, in several rural councils, there were no elections, and all councillors were
elected unopposed. In those circumstances, the proposal would be impossible to
implement. However, even if there were unsuccessful candidates who might be
available and willing to serve, it would be contrary to democratic principles (to
say nothing of the legitimacy and perceived mandate of such a person) to
declare him or her ―elected‖.

Nor would it be appropriate to have the remaining councillors or the Minister
merely select or appoint one or more replacements.



OPTIONS 6.5.15:
      A. Make no change to the existing provisions
      B. Notwithstanding the difficulties that this would cause to the
         State Electoral Office, reduce the length of time that vacancies
         may remain unfilled by one month, allowing supplementary
         elections for vacancies that occur before 1 February (rather than
         the present 1 January) in an election year, if a council is no
         longer able to operate constitutionally due to the absence of a
         quorum.
      C. Consistent with option 4.8.15 B, move the dates of local
         government elections so that they fall within the middle of the
         four year term for State Government elections, thus permitting
         more options for the scheduling of supplementary elections to
         fill casual vacancies.




The proposal that a popularly elected Mayor should be replaced from within the
council, in the event of a casual vacancy at any time during the term of office,
cannot be supported. Only one respondent advanced this proposal. It would
permit a Mayor to resign just one day after a periodic election, and have a Mayor
chosen from within council serve the entire four-year term, contrary to the
council‘s own representation structure that provided for a popularly elected
Mayor.

A casual vacancy in the position of Mayor is handled in the legislation in a similar
way to a casual vacancy in the office of any councillor. A vacancy occurring on
or after 1 January in the year of a periodic election may be filled by a councillor
voted by fellow councillors into that role, for the remaining period before the
election.87 A vacancy in the office of Mayor occurring any earlier than 1 January
in a periodic election year must be filled by a supplementary election. The
Review sees no reason to depart from that arrangement.

87
     Local Government Act 1999 s.54 (8)



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          6.5.16       Failure of election when candidacy ends
There is a prohibition on a candidate ending his/her candidacy except in specified
circumstances. No respondents queried this prohibition – only the consequence
that the election MUST be deemed to have failed when a candidacy has
legitimately ended. This provision, first enacted in 1986-87 (and then again in
1999) was given its first use in 2006, at two elections. There were five formal
responses to this question and it was raised in a number of discussions. Four
respondents supported a change to the legislation.

                    This is an unsatisfactory and unfair situation, which can be avoided in
                    the future if the legislation is amended to provide the State Electoral
                    Commissioner with the authority to make a decision other than to
                    declare an election as having "failed". In short, if a candidate withdraws
                    in accordance with the provisions of the Act, why should the whole
                    election process fail.

                    There has to be a better way of dealing with this situation. If there is a
                    sufficient field of candidates then the election should be allowed to
                    continue. The current situation which demands a supplementary
                    election after the conclusion of the periodic election, allows no
                    opportunity for the councillors who are elected at the supplementary
                    election to represent the council on subsidiaries, DAP or community
                    organisations, as this selection process takes place at the first meeting
                    of the new Council. It also means that the constituents of the ward in
                    question miss out on this type of representation by their ward
                    councillors.


DISCUSSION
The rationale for this provision was provided to Parliament in 1986:

                    This provision includes two additional matters that will cause an election
                    to fail. The first is where a candidate, after the close of nominations but
                    before the conclusion of an election, ceases to be qualified for election;
                    in such a case it is thought to be appropriate to provide that the election
                    fails and a supplementary election must be held at a later time. (This
                    will allow persons who supported the nomination of the candidate to
                    nominate someone else.) The second situation is where the candidate
                    becomes seriously ill. However, to ensure that the candidate is not
                    influenced by other considerations, the notice that the candidate is
                    withdrawing must be accompanied by a certificate of a legally qualified
                    medical practitioner certifying that the candidate is too ill to carry out
                    satisfactorily the duties of a council member.‘88

The clause was not discussed by any of the Members of either House who spoke
on the Bill, and in the Committee stage of the debate the clause was passed
without amendment or debate.




88
   The Hon, Barbara Wiese, (Minister of Local Government) Legislative Council Hansard
19 November 1986 p.2063



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It appears that Parliament intended the need for a supplementary election in
order to make it possible for people who ―…supported the nomination of the
candidate to nominate someone else.‖ This appears to be a fairly weak
justification for the considerable expenses and inconvenience caused by a failed
election.

There is no need to review the current prohibition on ending a candidacy. For a
number of reasons (but especially to guard against intimidation) a candidate,
once successfully nominated, should not be permitted to withdraw from an
election without an excellent reason. The current permitted reasons for
withdrawal are:
           serious illness, or
           the candidate ―ceases to be qualified for election.‖ e.g. ceases to be
            an Australian citizen‖89

There is no provision in the Electoral Act 1985 that permits a candidate to
withdraw their candidacy for State Parliament for any reason. A candidate who
becomes irrecoverably ill before election day (or a candidate who becomes
ineligible during the election campaign) presumably would not be elected, if news
of his/her situated were circulated in the media. However, should such a
candidate be elected, he or she would presumably have to retire, causing a by-
election to be held.


OPTIONS 6.5.16
     A. Make no change to these provisions
                  OR
     B. Repeal these provisions and prohibit any withdrawal of a
        candidate, as per the State Electoral Act.
                  OR
     C. Require an election to continue, with remaining candidates, if
        any, despite the legitimate withdrawal of one or more candidates
                  OR
     D. Give the Returning Officer (the State Electoral Commissioner) a
        discretion to either declare that the election has failed, or permit
        the election to continue with the remaining candidates,
        depending upon whether the Electoral Commissioner is satisfied
        that a legitimate withdrawal is not tainted by any attempt to
        manipulate the result of the election.




89
   There are other ways that a candidate can cease to be qualified for election especially if the property franchise
is maintained and a body corporate nominates a person as a candidate – see s.17 of the Local Government
(Elections) Act 1999



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               6.5.17  What steps, if any, should be taken to reduce
                        informal voting?
There were seven responses to this question. Six believed a response was
needed or desirable, and two of them recommended the introduction of optional
preferential voting for this purpose.90 Three others mentioned better voter
education, and information in languages other than English.


DISCUSSION
Issues Paper 3 did not make clear that there are two separate but related
problems here. Although ―informal voting‖ is low (about 2%), there are another
3% of would-be voters whose ballot envelope is rejected, i.e. ruled ineligible
(most often because a declaration is not signed).91 Because the envelope is
rejected, it is discarded unopened and so the question of whether or not the vote
inside would have been ―formal‖ or ―informal‖ does not arise. The total of
―informal votes‖ and ―rejected envelopes‖ combined was about 5% in 2006.

The Review considers that the level of informal voting is not sufficiently different
from informal voting in other elections to be considered a serious issue.
However the level of rejected envelopes is a concern. The Review considers that
its Proposal 6.5.14 above would make an improvement to this problem.




90
     See Section 3.6.2 earlier in this Interim Report.
91
     See Table 18 – Rejected Ballot Paper envelopes at Section 4.8.12 above



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         6.5.18        Should there be any changes to provisions re
                        campaign donation returns?
There were only four responses to this question – with sundry various
suggestions. One other respondent confused the ‗campaign donations return‘
with the primary and ordinary returns required of elected members. One
particularly useful response drew attention to a difficulty that might have been
unforeseen when the local government election date was switched from May to
November:

                The 6 week deadline for this return is very poorly timed for an early
                November election. The deadline falls during the Christmas / New Year
                period. It is not possible to follow up with candidates when Council is
                closed for a week over this period and/or candidates are on holiday to
                ensure that all returns are submitted on time.

Other respondents thought campaign donations should be dealt with in the
context of an election campaign, not afterwards:

                reconsider the timing of campaign donation information [in the context
                of providing information to voters]

                All candidates should declare their property holdings, memberships,
                employers, donations if known, etc prior to the election so the public can
                detect any potential conflicts or voting blocks before casting a vote.

                Political donations should be illegal over a given amount, say $50. Large
                amounts can be seen as bribes to change political minds.




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DISCUSSION
The Review considers that it would be impractical for any candidate to complete
a campaign donations return prior to the completion of the election. The
proposal misconceives the purpose of the return, in the same way that some
respondents misconceived the purpose of the declaration of affiliations and
pecuniary interests.92

Nor would it be consistent to prohibit donations of more than $50 (or any larger
figure) given the reality that few candidates spend more than $1,000 on their
election campaign.93 There is little if any evidence that large campaign donations
are corrupting local government. The protection against such a possibility is the
fact that the campaign donations return is a public document, and the severe
penalties of up to $10,000 that may be imposed for failing to lodge a return, or
for lodging a false or misleading return.94

Nevertheless, the Review accepts that the timing required for the campaign
donations return is now impractical. This matter seems to fall squarely under the
heading of ―unintended consequences of the changes made by the Statutes
Amendment (Local Government Elections) Act 2005‖.95 Clearly, for an election
concluding on 10 November (as it did last year), a time limit of 6 weeks for a
campaign donations return requires a return to be lodged in the few days before
Christmas.


OPTIONS 6.5.18
      A. Require a campaign donations return to be lodged earlier (say
         within 30 days or five weeks of the close of voting)
                  OR
      B. Require a campaign donations return to be lodged later (say by
         the end of January of the following year)




92
     See section 6.5.6 above
93
     See section 3.6.11 above
94
     Local Government (Elections) Act 1999, s.85
95
     See the Review’s Terms of Reference – Attachment A



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              6.5.19  Should representation reviews be scheduled on a
                       rotating or staggered basis to prevent a bottleneck?
There were eight responses, all of which agreed with this proposition. As
mentioned in Issues Paper No.2, each council is required to review its
composition structure (e.g. the number of wards, if any, and the number of
elected members) at least once every eight years. The purpose of a
representation review is to determine whether the council‘s community ―would
benefit from an alteration to its composition or ward structure.‖96

The Electoral Commissioner has advised that many councils submit their
representation review report for certification as late as legislatively permissible,
placing a great strain on the staff and resources of the office. While this strain
has been manageable in recent years, with 17 reviews completed by the end of
2005, and only one by the end of 2006, there is a foreseeable bottleneck
pending in the year 2009-10, when a State election is also due. The Electoral
Commissioner advises that approximately 50 of South Australia‘s 68 councils will
have their representation reviews due for completion by 31 December 2009, less
than three months before the State election:

                      The processes involved in determining whether each review has satisfied
                      the legislative requirements of the Act are onerous and resource
                      intensive. Where so many reviews are submitted so late in the election
                      cycle there is increased risk that any technical failure, in the conduct of
                      the review, may render it invalid and place the council in a position
                      where it fails to meet the requirements of the Act.

                      The latter could have serious constitutional implications for the
                      representative structure to be applied at the pending periodic elections.
                      …
                      It is recommended that consideration be given to amending the Local
                      Government Act 1999 to provide for:
                          o    A schedule that prescribes the order and timing for
                               representation reviews undertaken between periodic elections so
                               that each council completes a review at least once during an
                               eight year period spanning two periodic election events.

                          o    A default representation model that would take effect for the
                               next following periodic election where a council fails to comply
                               with the requirements for completing a review within the
                               prescribed schedule.


PROPOSAL 6.5.19:
Amend section 12 of the Local Government Act in the manner
suggested by the State Electoral Commissioner, to provide that
representation reviews may be scheduled by regulation. Consider
mechanisms that can be used to ensure compliance with the schedule.




96
     Local Government Act 1999 s.12 (3)



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         6.5.20       From the matters discussed above (or any other
                       matters) what changes should be made to improve
                       the local government election process in 2010?
This was a deliberately open-ended question, which unfortunately attracted only
one response.

                More awareness programs on how local government works and the
                responsibilities of those elected to Council.

DISCUSSION
The Review considers this matter is adequately dealt with by the remarks above.




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                                        ATTACHMENT A




         ATTACHMENT A - TERMS OF REFERENCE
      FOR THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS


The review is to report to the Minister for State/Local Government Relations and the
President of the Local Government Association on:
 the effectiveness of strategies for improving participation at the 2006 Local Government
   elections, and further measures that could be taken to increase voter participation in
   Local Government elections;
 further measures for increasing the range and diversity of candidates for Local
   Government election, and encouraging effective civic participation in councils;
 any legislative or administrative improvements that can be made to Local Government
   election procedure and practice on the basis of experience, including ways to redress
   any unintended consequences of the changes made by the Statutes Amendment (Local
   Government Elections) Act 2005, and any matters raised by the Electoral Commissioner;
 and other issues as appropriate and agreed between the Minister for State/Local
   Government Relations and the Local Government Association.


The review should cover the issues identified as examples in the following appendix, but is
not limited to these.




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                                            APPENDIX

1. Improving Local Government voter participation.
    The review should examine participation experience, factors affecting participation (both
    generally, and any specific factors that appear to have affected participation in 2000,
    2003 and 2006), the voting patterns and motivations of electors, especially in larger
    metropolitan councils, the effectiveness of information and promotional strategies for
    improving participation in 2006, and further options for improving participation.

   Issues in voter education and information and election promotion include:
        The roles of councils, the LGA, the Electoral Commissioner and OSLGR;
        What information voters need about candidates to make a decision to vote, and
          how this is best provided, including –
              o suggestions that candidates should indicate political affiliations;
              o the role of, and current restrictions on, the candidate profile included with
                  postal voting papers.
        Strategies to improve the participation of under-represented groups, including the
          targeting of information to specific socio-demographic groups;
        Access to voting information in languages other than English;
        Strategies to improve the participation of electors who are non-residential
          property owners/occupiers;
        Better education and promotion on how to lodge a postal vote..

    Options for changes to the basic features of the Local Government electoral scheme
    designed to improve participation should also be explored. These could include:
        Modifying mandatory postal voting and providing for attendance voting options;
        Options for absentee voting, such as the lodging of votes at the council office,
          including votes relating to other council areas and whether there is a need to
          make specific provision for voting papers to be sent to an elector who is absent
          from the area at an address other than the address on the roll;
        Changes to the property franchise and its operation, including optional enrolment
          for non-resident property owners/occupiers;
        Consideration of voluntary vs. compulsory voting;
        The potential impact of holding State and Local Government elections on the
          same day;
        Having a consistent method of voting across all 3 spheres of Government; and
        Electronic voting options.
   In considering options the review should take into account a range of matters including
   relevant democratic principles, the inter-relationships between different features of the
   scheme, complexity and cost/benefit.




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2. Improving Local Government representation.
    The review should examine the effectiveness of strategies for encouraging nomination
    at the 2006 elections, and options for increasing the range and diversity of candidates
    for Local Government election, and encouraging effective civic participation in councils.
    Issues under this heading include:
         Measures to increase the number of candidates from under-represented groups
           such as women, young people, Aboriginal people, and non-professional workers;
         The elements of successful candidate campaign strategies, and measures to
           support candidates;
         An appropriate mechanism for setting council members’ allowances;
         On-going programs for developing people as civic leaders who may be future
           council members;
         The age requirement for standing and voting in Local Government; and
         Support for genuine consultation and community engagement initiatives in Local
           Government.




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3. Improving the Local Government election process.
    Issues identified in the course of the 2006 Local Government election process include:
        Caretaker rules/conventions for Local Government to avoid councils making
          major decisions that would bind an incoming council, prevent the use of public
          resources in ways that are seen as advantaging or promoting sitting council
          members who are seeking re-election, or new candidates and ensure council
          officers act impartially in relation to candidates;
        Current provisions for deferral of supplementary elections until the general
          election when a casual vacancy occurs on or after 1 January of a general election
          year, in cases where a number of vacancies occur and the council then operates
          with this reduced representation for a long period;
        Whether “election period” needs to be defined for the purposes of electoral
          material;
        Provisional enrolment for 17 year olds;
        Strategies to improve the quality of the council’s voters roll;
        The eligibility provisions for nomination relating to previous criminal offences, and
          whether candidates should be required to provide publicly accessible information
          about any history of serious criminal offences;
        Considering the option for Mayoral nominations to close 2 days prior to remainder
          of positions, to reduce the last-minute nomination rush;
        Closing nominations at 12:00 noon, and conducting the ballot paper draw at 4:00
          pm;
        The form in which roll data is provided to candidates;
        The policies and practices of councils in relation to the control of election signs;
        Effect of the current provisions relating to failure of the election due to a candidate
          withdrawing or becoming ineligible after close of nominations and before close of
          voting;
        Optimal design of voting material to indicate its official nature and prevent it being
          treated as junk mail, increase the number of correctly completed declaration
          envelopes, and increase the number of valid votes;
        The effect of the current timeframes, including those between the close of
          nominations and the issuing of ballot packs, and between the issuing of ballot
          packs and the close of voting, and whether there should be a reduction in the
          time allowed to lodge a postal vote;
        Closing voting at 12.00 noon, not 5.00, as for supplementary elections;
        The rate of, and reasons for, informal voting;
        Powers to require a retraction in case of misleading electoral material;
        Whether additional offence provisions or enforcement powers are required to deal
          with aspects of candidates’ conduct during campaigns;
        Allowing for bulk exclusions in the counting process for single vacancy contests;
        Whether a free advice service should be provided to candidates querying issues
          regarding the conduct of the election on, and after, polling day;
        The clarity of provisions and procedures regarding access to a recount;
        In relation to the results advice to CEOs, replacing “immediately” with “as soon as
          practicable”, to allow for recount provisions;
        Form and timing of candidates’ campaign donations returns, and the period for
          which returns, and records relating to returns, must be retained;
        Logistical problems anticipated in dealing with the certification of around 50
          council reviews of representation by January 2010.




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ATTACHMENT B – ON-LINE YOUTH SURVEY
            QUESTIONS

How old are you?

Are you? Male/Female

Which local council area do you live in? .............................

What best describes you? (you can select more than one)
                 Resident (living at home/parents)
                 Resident (renting)
                 Home owner
                 Business Owner
                 Council Employee
                 Council Elected Member

1. Did you know that there was a local government election held in Nov 2006?
Yes/No. If Yes, how did you find out?
                 Direct mail voting envelopes
                 Radio ads
                 TV ads
                 Newspaper ads
                 My own research
                 Other

2. How could local government elections be better promoted to let young people know
    they are on?
                 Website
                 Radio adverts and interviews
                 TV adverts and placements
                 e-mail or SMS
                 Newspaper ads
                 Street press
                 Promotion at youth focused events
                 TAFE and Universities
                 Using high profile supporters
                 Competitions
                 Merchandise and giveaways
                 Other

3. Did you vote in the 2006 local government elections?
Yes/No/I can't remember.      Why?

4. Do you know anyone who did vote in the 2006 local government elections?
If Yes, who?
                 Friend
                 Family member
                 Workmate
                 Employer
                 Other


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5. What do you think would encourage you to vote in local government elections?

                Understanding more about what local government does
                Knowing more about the people standing for election (candidates)
                Better promotion
                Better or more choice of candidates
                Other

6. Currently local government elections are held by postal vote (snail mail). What
techniques would work best to get young people to vote?
                Postal vote
                Electronic
                Polling booths
                Other

7. Do you think voting in local government elections should be made compulsory?
Currently it’s voluntary and less than 32% of people voted in the 2006 elections.
Yes/No. Why...?

8. Do you think councils should have the power to decide how much they spend to
promote elections?

                Yes, it’s their choice how to spend their budget
                No, they should be told to spend a per-head amount
                No, it’s a conflict of interest. Someone neutral should promote elections
                Other

9. Do you think it’s fair that people who don’t live in a council area can have a vote?
Currently, landlords and people who rent business properties can potentially have multiple
votes.
                It’s fair - votes should be allocated on the basis of how many properties a
                 person owns and/or rents;
                It’s partly fair – landlords should get a vote, but not business renters
                It’s sort of fair – if you don’t live in the council area, but you’re a landlord or
                 rent business property, you should get a vote, but only one.
                It’s not fair – only people who live in the council area should get a vote
                Other

10. Did you know that young people 18 years and over could stand for election to local
council? Yes/No. If Yes, how did you find out about it?
                Direct mail voting envelopes
                Radio ads
                TV ads
                Newspaper ads
                My own research
                Other




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11. Did you stand for the 2006 local government elections?
Yes/No    Why?

12. Do you know anyone who stood for election in the 2006 local government
elections? Yes/No. If Yes, who?

               Friend
               Family member
               Workmate
               Employer
               Other

13. Have you, or would you ever consider standing for local government elections?
Yes / No.     Why?

14. What, if anything might encourage you to stand for election?
               More/better information about what’s involved
               Mentoring/support from existing councillors (an elected member of council)
               Full wages/salary as a councillor
               Child care availability during council meetings
               Nothing, I’d never do it
               Other




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     ATTACHMENT C – INVITATIONS TO GROUPS
GROUPS to whom documents and invitations were emailed (7 June 2007).

Barossa Region Residents' Association
Bowden-Brompton Community Group
Brukunga Residents Association
Coffin Bay Progress Association
Davoren Community Centre
Evanston Gardens Progress Association
Forreston Community Centre Inc.
Hillcrest Community Centre
Huntingdale Residents' Association
Hut Community Centre Inc.
Kensington Residents Association
Kilburn Community Centre
Macclesfield Community Association
Manoora Community Committee
Maslin Beach Community Association
Mintaro Progress Association
Morialta Residents Association
Mount Barker & District Residents Association
Northgate-Oakden Residents Association
Norwood Residents Association
Parks Community Centre
Payneham Community Centre
Payneham Residents & Ratepayers Action Group
Pine Road Residents' Association
Port Adelaide Residents Environmental Protection Group
Seaford Rise Residents' Association
Sellicks Community Working Group
Southern Community Project Group
Thebarton Residents' Association
Torrens Valley Ward Residents and Ratepayers Association
The Walkerville Society
Western Suburbs Residents Environmental Association
Whyalla Ratepayers and Residents Association




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GROUPS to whom documents and invitations were posted (8 June 2007).
Aldinga Bay Residents Association
Angle Vale & District Residents Association Inc.
Burnside Residents Action Group
Burnside Residents' Association Inc.
Campbelltown Residents & Ratepayers Association Inc.
Cherryville Residents Association
Church Hill Heritage Area Residents Group
Clarendon Community Association
Clayton Community Association Inc
East Gambier Residents' Action Group
Fleurieu Multicultural Network
The Friends of the Back Beach Port Augusta Inc.
Goolwa District Ratepayers & Residents Association Inc.
Greenhill Community Association
Hope Forest Residents Association
Netley Residents Association Inc
Old Noarlunga Community Inc.
Onkaparinga Northern Network
Port Germein Progress Association
South Australian Retirement Villages Residents' Association Inc.
Stirling District Residents Association Inc
Teringie Heights Residents Association
Waterfall Gully Residents' Association
West Torrens Residents Association




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GROUPS to whom PowerPoint presentations were given
(and/or with whom discussions were held):
South-East Local Government Association (Mt Gambier, 1 June)
Oakfield and Northgate residents Association (Hillcrest, 13 June)
Southern & Hills Local Government Association (Stirling, 15 June)
Policy officers Network meeting, OS/LGR (Adelaide, 21 June)
Premier's Women's Council (Adelaide, 6 July)
Adelaide City Council (Adelaide, 10 July)
City of Tea Tree Gully (Modbury, 10 July)
City of Salisbury (Salisbury, 16 July)
City of West Torrens (Hilton, 17 July)
Business & Professional Women Club of Adelaide East (Kent Town, 17 July)
SouthEast City Residents Association (Adelaide, 23 July)
Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association (Wudinna, 1 August)
City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters (Norwood, 1 August)
Local Government Communicators Network (Green Fields, 2 August)
Hartley electorate community groups (Payneham, 6 August)
Zonta Para Districts Club (Para Hills, 7 August)
Central Region Local Government Association (Orroroo, 10 August)
Murray and Mallee Local Government Association (Renmark, 10 August)
Aboriginal community members (Port Augusta, 24 August)




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ATTACHMENT D - NEWSPAPER COVERAGE




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ATTACHMENT E – 10-Minute survey leaflet




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                                        ATTACHMENT F




ATTACHMENT F – INTERSTATE COMPARISON
Western Australia
In Western Australia, local government elections are held every second year.
Councils may choose between postal elections and in-person elections. Generally
in-person voting tends to be used by smaller, rural and regional councils, and
postal voting by larger and metropolitan councils. The most recent turnout
figures available are from 2005, when 93.5% of all votes cast were postal votes,
and the turnout in council areas using postal voting was generally higher than in
the council areas where polling places were used:

                                                               2005
                      Number of councils                        50
                      using postal voting
                         Postal voting                       37.43%
                       Average turnout
                      Number of councils                         91
                       using in-person
                            voting
                      Average in-Person                      20.28%
                        voting turnout

However the popularity of postal voting, at least in the Perth metropolitan area
and in larger regional councils, appears to have plateaued in the mid to high
30% range:




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Another postal election is due to conclude on 20 October 2007.97

Publicity for local government elections in W.A. is a joint exercise between
individual councils (which are required by statute to publish only three print
advertisements) and the WA Electoral Commission, which authorises a state-
wide creative advertising campaign.

Non-resident owners and non-resident occupiers of rateable property must apply
for enrolment to vote.

Dual candidacy is permitted, i.e. one person may be a candidate for both
councillor and Mayor.98


Tasmania
Tasmania has local government elections every second year, with half the council
up for re-election each time. The next elections are scheduled for October 2007.
The most recent statistics are for the election in October 2005.

In 2005, only one of Tasmania‘s 29 councils failed to achieve a 50% voter
turnout. The average turnout was 58.52%. Turnout is regarded as an important
issue in Tasmania, and is cited as a performance indicator for good governance
in the Local Government Association‘s good governance framework.

Owners and commercial occupiers (including representatives of corporations) can
vote in Tasmanian local government elections, but must apply for enrolment.

At all councils, voting must be conducted by post.

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission co-ordinates all publicity.


Queensland
In Queensland, local government elections are held every four years, on a fixed
date in March. The last elections were held on 27 March 2004. The Electoral
Commission of Queensland conducted only the election for the Brisbane City
Council. Every other local government authority conducted its own election, with
the council‘s chief executive officer (or his/her appointee) as the Returning
Officer.

Only residents may vote in local government elections – there is no property
franchise in Queensland.

Voting is compulsory, and is held at polling booths, not by post (although
provision is made for absentee votes, etc, to be made by post, similar to
Commonwealth elections). Failing to vote may be expiated by payment of a fee
of $37.50.




97
     http://www.waec.wa.gov.au/download/Lg_Timeline_86087_1.pdf
98
     Local Government Act 1995 (WA) s.4.48

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                                               ATTACHMENT F


Optional preferential voting is used in single-member wards. In other cases, it is
the first-past-the-post voting system. Dual candidacy is expressly prohibited.

In 2004, voter turnout exceeded 85%.99

New South Wales
In New South Wales, local government elections are held every four years on a
fixed date in September. The date is 18 months after the fixed date of the State
election.

Elections are conducted under the name of the Electoral Commissioner, but the
Commissioner appoints a returning officer and a substitute for each council area.
Normally such a person is a council manager. In 2004, the New South Wales
Electoral Office itself conducted elections for only 17 councils.

N.S.W. permits dual candidacy.

Entitlement to vote is of three types:
          those who are on the roll for State and Commonwealth elections;
          non-resident owners of land, and
          occupiers and ratepaying lessees.
Persons entitled to vote in the latter two categories cannot do so unless they
apply for enrolment on the respective voters roll.

Voting is compulsory for residents, but optional for both types of property
franchisee, and no-one may vote for more than one ward. Voting is by
attendance at a polling place, although provision is made for absentee votes, etc.
to be made by post, similar to Commonwealth elections.

Failure-to-vote notices are issued by the Electoral Commissioner. The maximum
penalty is $110, although the ―penalty notice fee‖ (equivalent to an expiation
fee) is $55.

The voting system is optional preferential, unless voters are electing three or
more councillors in a ward or across the council area, in which case the voting
system is proportional.100

Political parties may endorse candidates, and if they do so, the name of the party
is printed on the ballot paper alongside the candidate, or group of candidates.

In 2004, voter turnout exceeded 85%.101 The NSW State Electoral Office
provides state-wide publicity on the electoral process.


Victoria
From 2008 all councils will go to election on the last Saturday in November, and
all councillors will be elected for a four-year term. This is the same day of the

99
      Australian Bureau of Statistics 1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2004
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/A5F91A7BB33A9903CA256E7D00002653?opendocument
100
      Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) s.285.
101
      Australian Bureau of Statistics 1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2004
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/A5F91A7BB33A9903CA256E7D00002653?opendocument

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                                        ATTACHMENT F


year as Victorian Government elections, but state and local government election
dates will be two years apart.

The council decides whether voting will be entirely by postal voting or primarily
by attendance voting. In 2005-06, 48 councils chose postal voting, and only six
chose attendance voting.

In recent years the Victorian Electoral Commission has been contracted by all
individual councils to run their elections. This means that the Returning Officer
for each council election is a person appointed by the Electoral Commissioner.

The vote-counting systems used are the same as the systems used for
Commonwealth elections, i.e. full preferential for single-member wards and
proportional preferential for all-area contests. There is a different system for
the Melbourne City Council.

Voting is compulsory for residents (except those aged over 70) but optional for
non-resident property franchisees. The maximum penalty for failing to vote is
$100 although the infringement notice penalty fee is $50.

Apart from residents on the Commonwealth and State electoral roll, other
categories of persons may apply to be enrolled specifically for local government
elections, i.e.:
           a non-Australian citizen who lives and pays rates in the municipality;
           a person who pays rates on a property he/she occupies and has no
            other voting entitlement in the municipality; or
           a director or company secretary of a corporation that pays rates in a
            municipality and has no other voting entitlement within the
            municipality.

Despite the fact that voting is compulsory (for residents aged 18-70) the
participation rate in 2005-06 was an average of 75.19%


Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is undergoing a major change in its system of local
government, due to be completed by July 2008. However new legislation is not
yet in place. For present purposes, it has been omitted from this survey.




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                                  ATTACHMENT G




ATTACHMENT G – PUBLIC NOTICES
               Examples of SEO “Public Notice” print advertising




                                             201
              Independent Review of Local Government Elections.          Interim Report October 2007
                                            ATTACHMENT H




ATTACHMENT H – ENROLMENT & VOTING
COMPARISON
                             COMPARATIVE LEGISLATIVE SCHEMES
                                FOR ENROLMENT AND VOTING


                                       REQUIREMENT TO ENROL
      Local Government                        State Parliament                            Commonwealth
                                         Entitlement to enrolment                           Parliament
                                          in ONE-only subdivision
                                                 (electorate)
Not compulsory to enrol                  Not compulsory to enrol                  Compulsory to enrol. s.101
(but State Roll provided to              (but C‘wealth rolls provided             Penalty: 1 penalty unit
Council CEO so for residents             to SEO for State Roll                    ($110)
who have enrolled for                    purposes under both Acts)
C‘wealth it is automatic).               so for residents who have
                                         enrolled for C‘wealth it is
                                         automatic.



                       QUALIFICATIONS – ENTITLEMENT TO ENROL
      Local Government                          State Parliament                        Commonwealth
                                                                                          Parliament
Enrolled on the House of                 Attained the age of 18 years             Attained the age of 18 years
Assembly roll in respect of
place of residence 102 -

Any resident ―above the age              An Australian citizen (or                An Australian citizen (or
of majority‖ who is not on               enrolled pre-1984 as a                   enrolled pre-1984 as a
the HoA Roll                             ―British subject‖)                       ―British subject‖)
(But only if the person
applies to the CEO for
enrolment) 103
                                         Has lived at the principal               Has lived at the principal
                                         place of residence for at                place of residence for at
                                         least one month                          least one month




102
     Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 s14 (1) (a) (i)
103
    s 14 (1) (a) (ii). This would include a resident who is not on the House of Assembly roll, for example, because
the resident (a) is not an Australian citizen, or (b) has not lived at the address for at least one month, or (c) is not
of sound mind.

                                                          202
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                                           ATTACHMENT H




      QUALIFICATIONS – OBLIGATION FOR OTHERS TO TAKE ACTION TO
                                 ENROL
      Local Government      State Parliament    Commonwealth
                                                  Parliament
A ratepayer (sole owner) 104
(CEO must obtain info &
enrol)
A ratepayer who is sole
occupier 105 but not a
resident at that address
(CEO must obtain info &
enrol)
A body corporate that is a
ratepayer AND either sole
owner OR sole occupier of
the land 106
(CEO must obtain info &
enrol)
A ―group of persons‖ who
are joint owners or joint
occupiers of rateable
property and none are
otherwise enrolled 107
(CEO must obtain info &
enrol)




104
    s. 14 (1) (a) (iii) For residential land, an owner-occupier would already be included on the House of Assembly
roll by reason of his/her residence so in practice this means either (a) a non-resident investor-owner, i.e. a
residential landlord, or (b) the landlord of commercial/industrial land.
105
    s. 14 (1) (a) (iv). A “ratepayer” is defined to include a lessee (see separate box) provided the lessee’s name is
known to the CEO, so this sub-paragraph applies to commercial/industrial lessees (not residents, who would be
automatically included as being on the House of Assembly roll).
106
     s. 14 (1) (b). This paragraph extends the meanings of the previous two sub-paragraphs to include bodies
corporate.
107
     s.14 (1) (c) This brief description understates the complexity of the relevant statutory provision. It would
apply, for example to:
“a group” of two; e.g. a married couple holding an investment property in joint names in a council area other than
the one in which they reside; and
“a group” that is a small business leasing premises under two or more company names; etc.

                                                        203
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                                        ATTACHMENT H




                                        CONTRASTS
  Local Government                    State Parliament                     Commonwealth
                                                                             Parliament
On application by a              Prisoners may enrol –                Prisoners may be enrolled
―natural person‖ who             s29(4)                               but cannot vote.
resides in the area and          And vote - s.69 using
who is excluded from             declaration votes
House of Assembly roll,          s71(2)(c).
the CEO must include
that person on the roll,‖        Prisons are ―declared
viz:                             institutions‖ – See
                                 Gazette 1 Dec 2005
 Non-citizens;                  pp.4036-39
 Those who have
  resided in district for
  less than one month;
 Those of ―unsound
  mind‖;
CEO cannot refuse an
application from a person
who is newly-resident in
the area but may still be
on the roll for another
address in a different
council area


       EXCLUSIONS OR EXCEPTIONS – NOT ENTITLED TO ENROL
  Local Government       State Parliament        Commonwealth
                                                   Parliament
                     ―of unsound mind‖      ―by reason of being of
                                            unsound mind, is
                                            incapable of
                                            understanding the nature
                                            and significance of
                                            enrolment and voting‖
                     already enrolled in    already enrolled in
                     respect of a different respect of a different
                     address                address
                                            ―convicted of treason or
                                            treachery and not
                                            pardoned‖
                                            ―Holder of a temporary
                                            visa under the Migration
                                            Act‖
                                            ―An unlawful non-citizen
                                            under the Migration Act‖
                                            Inappropriate or false
                                            names



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                                       ATTACHMENT H




                                ENTITLEMENT TO VOTE
  Local Government                State Parliament                       Commonwealth
                                                                           Parliament
On electoral roll – s16(1)      On electoral roll      s.69          On electoral roll
As the nominee of a
group or corporation that
has its name on the roll –
s16(2) & (3)



                    EXCLUSIONS OR EXCEPTIONS –
               ENROLLED BUT NOT ENTITLED TO VOTE
  Local Government      State Parliament             Commonwealth
                                                       Parliament
                     Provisionally-enrolled 17- Provisionally-enrolled 17-
                     year-olds - s.69           year-olds - s.93(4)
                                                Prisoners s93 (8AA)




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                                         ATTACHMENT I




     ATTACHMENT I – MAJOR FINDINGS OF 2000
                    REVIEW
REVIEW OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS CONDUCTED IN MAY 2000
                                                                                    Prodirections Pty Ltd
                                                                                          February 2001
MAJOR FINDINGS
ADMINISTRATIVE AND TECHNICAL ASPECTS
                                      Roll Preparation
1. There was widespread consensus from all officers groups that the preparation of
   the Voters Roll to meet the new requirements of the Act was the single most
   problematic issue for councils in preparation for the May 2000 election especially
   in relation to the treatment of duplicates and the inclusion of automatic
   entitlements.

2. The automatic entitlement for groups, corporate bodies and sole occupiers of
   non-residential property created enormous problems especially for larger councils
   (metropolitan and provincial cities). There was almost universal agreement that
   eligible corporate bodies, groups and sole occupiers of non residential property
   should be required to register to vote and to nominate a natural person to
   exercise that vote prior to the close of the roll.

3. The majority opinion was that the preparation of the roll had a significant to
   extreme impact on council resources with many (but not all) believing that similar
   impacts would occur in future elections.

4. In relation to the resolution of duplicates a post-election initiative of the SEO to
   provide unique elector numbers was welcomed but there was a significant
   majority view that an “industry wide” approach should be taken to developing
   standards and software solutions that would facilitate roll preparation prior to the
   next election. This would require coordinated effort between the SEO, councils
   and software vendors.

5. For the reasons outlined above a small number of participants believed that the
   responsibility for the preparation of the Voters Roll should be transferred to the
   SEO.

                                   Nomination Process
6. The majority of officers and candidates believed that the time period allowed for
   candidate nominations could be reduced form twenty one to fourteen days. This
   would allow additional time to be allocated in the election timetable for voting pack
   preparation.

7. Candidates had no difficulty obtaining information about the nomination process
   and no difficulty in the completion of legal forms.

                                     Candidates Profile
8. All candidates and officer groups agreed that the candidates profile was the
   “single most important piece of literature” impinging on the electoral prospects of
   the candidate.

                                                206
           Independent Review of Local Government Elections.   Interim Report October 2007
                                          ATTACHMENT I


9. A majority of officers and candidates expressed satisfaction with the 150-word
   count limit for the candidates’ profile, but others (mostly candidates) proposed an
   increase to 200 or 250 words. Some suggested that mayoral candidates should
   have a larger word limit than councillor candidates.

10. There was a diversity of opinion on the content restrictions imposed on
    candidates’ profiles (i.e. the prohibition on commenting on specific decisions or
    actions of the council). A significant proportion of candidates and some officers
    believe that the current restrictions unfairly inhibit the candidates’ ability to present
    their “platform” to the electors and believe that the restrictions should be relaxed
    or completely abolished. However, most persons acknowledge the need for
    some form of control on contents.

11. Candidates and officers agree that the development of a proforma to assist
    candidates with the preparation of an acceptable candidates profile would be
    desirable.

12. Some participants stated that problems with content restrictions would be
    alleviated if candidates could place some campaign material in the postal ballot
    pack and/or through council sponsored advertising in the local media.

13. All agree with the removal of the guideline for photographs, if supplied for the
    candidates profile, to be black and white – noting that it is not a requirement that a
    photograph be included.

                         Nomination Process – Other Issues
14. The vast majority of participants supported the public display of nominations with
    many commenting that public display helped avoid “unnecessary contests”.

15. There was a general consensus that the timing of the draw for position on ballot
    papers should be deferred until at least one hour after the close of nominations.

                                   Election Campaigning
16. Most candidates believed that the rules and procedures for election campaigning
    were fair and reasonable although issues were raised about elections signs
    (council policy), capacity to respond to complaints during the election period and
    bulk mailout of campaign material.




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                                         ATTACHMENT I



                                    Postal Ballot Packs
17. There was general consensus that a minimum of fourteen days is an adequate
    period of time for the mailout and return of postal ballot packs, although the
    impact of longer mail delivery times in some country areas should be recognised.

18. A number of individual issues or problems reported by electors with the postal
    ballot packs were identified but there were no widespread problems that were of a
    serious nature. Issues reported in several groups included electors not
    understanding why they had more than one entitlement and candidates
    concerned about timing of delivery so they could plan campaigning.

19. The rate of rejection of returned postal voting packs was not “significant” in the
    opinion of most officers with some (who had experienced postal voting before)
    reported much lower rejection rates than the previous election.

20. The majority of candidates and officers believed facilities for the hand delivery of
    votes by electors should be retained, even though the rate of usage was not high
    in some councils.

21. There was general satisfaction with the contents of the postal voting pack with the
    most frequently cited improvement being different coloured ballot papers for
    different wards.

                                  Conduct of the Count
22. Most participants believed that the close of voting at 12 noon on the Tuesday
    after a long weekend was “a good idea” with a small number suggesting that
    close of voting should be at 5 pm.

23. It was generally agreed that an estimated count starting time should be
    nominated and advised to candidates and scrutineers taking into account the
    practical realities of preparing for the count in each council.

24. Candidates are generally unhappy with the time taken to obtain the results of the
    count, especially where the result was not known for more than 24 hours.
    Generally speaking, candidates did not have a good understanding of the reasons
    for longer processing and counting times compared with previous voting systems.

25. There was general consensus that the first preference count should be done
    locally compared with the option of centralised computer counting in Adelaide.
    However there was an almost universal view that it would be preferable for
    computer counting to be made available locally or at least at regional centres.




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                                            ATTACHMENT I



                                         Post Election Matters
26. There was general dissatisfaction with the procedures and requirements
    surrounding the campaign donations returns by both officers and candidates with
    a range of views on improvements including abolition for all, abolition for
    unsuccessful candidates, clarification of dates etc. Most agreed that the six-week
    time for return could be reduced and a number proposed that the SEO should be
    responsible for collection of returns.

                                      Election Support Matters
27. In general, councils experienced an excellent relationship with the Electoral
    Commissioner and the SEO and any problems were relatively minor in the
    context of the significant change to the electoral system.

28. The general view of officers was that the training and supporting documentation
    provided by the SEO was excellent and the documentation provided for
    candidates was also very good, with some suggestions that the Candidates
    Handbook could be simplified.

29. There was a general view that the Candidates briefing sessions were also very
    good but should be held as early as possible in the nomination process.

                           MAJOR FINDINGS – OTHER MATTERS
A number of issues were raised frequently in discussion groups and written submissions which were clearly
outside of the technical and administrative aspects of the election. As required by the terms of reference for the
review these matters were to be reported separately.
                                   Proportional Representation
30. There was a fairly widespread (but not universal) objection to the mandatory use
    of proportional representation in local government elections, especially from
    candidates. However, this needs to be qualified as there appears to be a
    significant level of misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the system and, in
    particular, its application to multi member electorates.

                                               Postal Voting
31. There is majority support for the continuation of mandatory postal voting for
    normal periodic elections although there is a significant minority (of mainly
    candidates) who oppose postal voting “in principle” or believe it should be left to
    the decision of each council.




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                                         ATTACHMENT I



                                        The Franchise
32. A small number of participants/contributors proposed that the property franchise
    should be removed from local government elections.

33. Similarly a small number believed that voting in local government elections should
    be compulsory.

                                 Timing of the Elections
34. The timing of local government elections in May is generally not supported for a
    range of different reasons, but particularly based on consideration of budget
    matters by the “old” and the “newly elected” councils. While there were different
    views about alternate times, a small majority supported the holding of the election
    earlier in the calendar year, say, March.

                                Supplementary Elections
35. Councils which had experienced casual vacancies raised concern about the cost
    and inconvenience of conducting supplementary elections by way of postal ballot
    – it was suggested that councils with wards should not be required to conduct a
    supplementary election for a single casual vacancy (similar to the exemption for
    area councillors); it was also suggested that postal voting should not be
    mandatory for the conduct of a supplementary election.

                             Primary and Ordinary Return
36. For officers and successful candidates there was widespread concern about the
    scope, design and lodgement procedures for the Primary and Ordinary Return
    required of elected members pursuant to the Local Government Act 1999, and
    there was a general view that they should be thoroughly reviewed and modified.

                                      City of Adelaide
37. The City of Adelaide Act 1998 has a number of provisions which are different to
    the requirements of the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 applying to all
    other councils. These differences include the single voting entitlement, the
    provision for public inspection of the roll prior to closure and the timing of the roll
    closure. The City recommends that the key election timetable dates be aligned in
    both Acts and that other differences be promoted in generic advertising
    campaigns associated with local government elections.

38. The provision for campaign donation returns should be amended to be consistent
    with the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999.




                                                210

				
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