Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So's vote is in the post

John So's day of Shame

John So has used his numbers to force the City of Melbourne into holding it's election next year by postal vote.

The 2004 postal vote Election cost the City of Melbourne in excess of 1.2 Million dollars and critics of John So's proposal question the integrity of the postal voting system with allegation that the system is wide open to abuse and fraud.

Under the current provisions of the Local Government Act the City Council must determine if the election is be to held by postal or attendance voting.

The Local Government Act should be changed to allow for a combination of attendance and postal voting with Postal votes automatic being issued to those who do not resident within the city and the option of attendance voting available to inner city residents.

John So sat in the council chamber stoned faced and refused to outline on what basis he decided to overturn the committee recommendation amidst calls of Shame Shame Shame from the public gallery.

Mayor votes to go postal despite critics
The Age September 26, 2007

A backlash is building against Lord Mayor John So among a coalition of inner-city resident groups that have vowed to campaign against him.

The pledge from 33 resident groups followed a decision by Cr So last night to use his numbers on the Melbourne City Council to dump a push for attendance voting at council elections - a system that might have hurt his chances of re-election.

To cries of "Shame! Shame!" from the public galleries, the Lord Mayor used his vote to back postal voting.

Postal voting favours cashed-up candidates like Cr So, a wealthy restaurateur who has spent more than $300,000 on his two successful mayoral campaigns in 2001 and 2004.

Candidates need money to spend on expensive mail-outs. Postal voting also encourages the expensive practice of setting up large teams of dummy candidates - as Cr So did in 2004.

The Lord Mayor refused to speak on the issue last night.

Since 1996, Melbourne City Council has conducted elections by post.

Resident groups pledged to campaign against the Lord Mayor.

"If John So wants to continue the (current) system, the voters of the electorate will need to take their campaign for change out to the full electorate and any other areas of influence," said Melbourne Business Council chairman Peter Nicoll.

Cr So sat stone-faced while councillors poured scorn on him.

Liberal Party councillor Fiona Snedden accused him of not having the courage to tell the council chamber why he preferred postal voting.

"In three months of debate (on this) I have not heard you speak once about why you prefer postal voting. Tell us why!" she yelled.

Victoria's 79 councils will go to the polls on Saturday, November 29, 2008, the first time all councils will vote on the same day. Most will use postal voting.

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