Wednesday, April 14, 2010

State Government: Avoidance is best policy?

The Victorian State Government avoids review of conduct of Municipal Elections

In a letter received by Mr Dan O'Brien, Victorian State Premier John Brumby's Chief of Staff, dated Wednesday April 14, 2010 Mr O'Brien indicated that the Government does not intend on holding a review into the 2008 Municipal elections thus avoiding any potential embarrassment that an inquiry would expose. There are a number of issues and complaints related to the conduct of the 2008 Municipal elections and the lack of transparency in the election process.

It's been just under 18 months since Victoria went to the polls to elect it's local government representatives. 18 months and the parliament still has not initiated a review and it is unlikely to do so willingly.

The State Government is facing an election year and wishes to avoid any controversial issues. If a parliamentary review into the 2008 Municipal elections was held a number of issues that the government failed to address would be brought to the surface.

Closing their eyes, ears and mouth is not the sign of a strong confident or responsible government. The much needed parliamentary inquiry into the 2008 Municipal elections should be held without delay.

-- Extract of letter of avoidance ---

Dear Mr van der Craats

Thank you for writing to the Premier on this matter. The Premier has asked
that I respond on his behalf.

I note firstly your issues regarding the running of the 2006 state election
and the 2008 municipal election. The Parliament of Victoria’s Electoral
Matters Committee has been established to inquire into, consider and report
to the Parliament on any issues concerned with the conduct of parliamentary
elections and referendums in Victoria; the conduct of elections of
Councillors under the Local Government Act 1989; and the administration of,
or practices associated with, the Electoral Act 2002 and any other law
relating to electoral matters.

The Electoral Matters Committee tabled its Report to Parliament on its
Inquiry into the 2006 Victorian state election and matters related thereto
in June 2008. The Committee made a number of recommendations, including
recommendations pertaining to the counting of votes. The Government has
responded to the Inquiry – both this response and Report can be viewed on
the Committee’s website,

The Committee is not currently conducting an inquiry into the 2008
municipal elections. A matter can, however, be referred to the Committee
for inquiry by a resolution of either House of Parliament if it is
considered that an inquiry is necessary. Alternatively, the Committee may
self-reference an inquiry if it believes a matter is of substantial

Yours sincerely

Dan O'Brien
Chief of Staff

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