LGEMA Annual General Meeting 2023

Featured

Date: 5 November 2023
Venue: Secret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club
Secret Harbour Blvd, Secret Harbour WA 6173

Questions: Ring secretary Sandra Boulter on 0427 508 582
RSVP: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1133389

11am: LGEMA Committee meeting, for LGEMA committee members only
Program
12 midday Registration and Lunch
1pm AGM, for current LGEMA members only
2pm LGEMA Local Government Law Reform Position and Q&A
For current LGEMA members only and invited guests.

To download  the full Agenda please click here

AMENDMENTS TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1995 (WA)

The WA state parliament has passed amendments to the Local Government Act 1995 (WA) on 19 May 2023.

However, some amendments have not yet been proclaimed which means they are not yet operative.

The former version of the LG Act annotated with the adopted amendments in blue (some of which are proclaimed), so you can find the changes easily, is  here (pdf 2Mb)

The amendments, which have been proclaimed have been operative since 19 May 2023 and some since 1 July 2023 and are in the LG Act current as at 1 July 2023 here (https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_551_homepage.html )

You can download a free copy of the newly amended Act  in pdf, or word (easier to copy bits from), versions from the website link above. If you download a word copy and search using catchword “2023”, you should find the changes which have been proclaimed.

We do not recommend buying hard copy until all the amendments have been proclaimed and are included in the Act (to purchase a copy you can click on the trolley icon beside the LG Act title, pay for it, and it will then be mailed to you).

Some of the regulations required to give substance to some of the provisions have been tabled. – some are operative and others are not.

Prudent Elected Members and Councils will familiarise themselves as a matter of urgency with changes to the practice and procedure for Local Government elections (not yet proclaimed but shown in the marked in blue copy here (pdf 2Mb)) , which will be held in October this year.

For some information about LG elections click here

Deciding whether to have in person or postal elections

Local Government (LG) elections law is found in the Local Government Act  and the Local Government (Elections) Regulations and not in the WA Electoral Act.

The LG Act changes to electoral laws include move to optional preferential voting,  limiting wards to LGs with large populations, limiting EM numbers in smaller LGs, changes to filling casual EM vacancies and mayoral elections https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_551_homepage.html )

The LG Elections Regulations have been amended to implement the new LG Act voting laws see https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_1751_homepage.html

LGs always hold elections, which can be conducted by in-person (where people have to apply for a postal vote if they wish to vote by post) or postal elections (where voters can vote by post or on on the day with their ballot paper received by post).

The Local Government Act 1995 added the postal option to in-person voting, noting both options include provision for the other in certain circumstances.

Furthermore, in-person voting is the default position where postal election requirements are unmet.

In-person voting better fosters free and fair elections in the absence of compulsory voting. Fraudulent voting is easier with postal votes, and is thus necessarily more likely to influence low voter number outcomes.

Postal voting lacks a secure chain of custody of ballot papers delivered to unsecured letterboxes through the many unmonitored movements of the ballot paper right up to counting.

Electoral manipulation was formally exposed by the 2020 City of Perth Inquiry (link here https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/webcms/webcms.nsf/content/city-of-perth-inquiry-report ) and in the Court of Disputed Returns ( https://www.sjshire.wa.gov.au/council-meetings/special-council-meeting/special-council-meeting-11-july-2022/536/documents/611-attachment-1-court-of-disputed-returns-2021-north-ward-election-sj-written-decision.pdf ). In the Serpentine Jarrahdale 2021 election , an unsuccessful candidate was later elected after the court overturned the first result because of stolen postal ballot papers.

Postal elections may cost more than in-person elections. Only the WAEC can conduct LG postal elections, which it does on a cost recovery basis paid from the LGs’ municipal funds. WAEC postal elections costs have risen significantly, almost double, since the 2021 ordinary elections. Furthermore, the WAEC and LG CEOs do not always prosecute electoral offences, which fosters the risk of unfair election tactics to preference candidates willing to commit offences, such as stealing and fraudulently voting using stolen papers. The WAEC can hold in-person elections.

LG CEOs are the default Returning Officer to conduct LG in person elections. Many commentators believe CEOs have a conflict of interest in the outcome of the LG elections, and should never be the Returning Officer (to run the LG in person election) nor should any LG employee be engaged as an electoral officer. Councils can tender for the conduct of their in- person election (noting WAEC will have to approve the winning tender) and/or they can ask the WAEC to quote for in-person elections and for postal elections. All prudent Councils will already have a report from the CEO about their current and proposed electoral arrangements, which can be changed up to but not after a specified date.

Please note that many LG election time lines have been moved to a week sooner by the recent changes to the LG Act. The DLGSC has an online date calculator but which does not appear to take account of the Interpretation Act when a date lands on a weekend or public holiday.

Australian state and federal compulsory in-person resident preferential/proportionate voting system is envied worldwide by democracy academics. Furthermore, buildings do NOT vote in state and federal elections, as quite shockingly they do in WA local government elections through enrolments on the owner/occupier rolls as decided by CEOs.

Until the LG  Minister requires compulsory local government voting (in compliance with Labor Party policy), as it is in all other Australian jurisdictions except South Australia, prudent Councils interested in free and fair election outcomes will consider not conducting their elections using postal voting or using  CEOs as Returning Officers.

See here for DLGSC notice about changes (https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/department/news/news-article/2022/09/20/local-government-election-transitions )

There is, as at 24 May 2023, no DLGSC Operational Guideline about the new framework for Local Government candidates, elections and voting.

The DLGSC “Conduct of local government elections” is out of date, as accessed at 24 May 2023.

This is a link to a WAEC webinar about the Local Government Election vote counting process here LGE 2023: Information Q&A Webinar – View the recording | Western Australian Electoral Commission (elections.wa.gov.au).

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS FORUM

Featured

Sunday 30th April 2023

When: 12 Noon 4pm Sunday 30 April 2023
Where: Peppermint Grove Library

Forum Cost: Free for members, donations welcome

Guests: Members can invite potential candidates as guests

Photo: Professional photographer for Candidate headshots

Lunch: Catering Costs $25 for each member, each guest


RSVP and Pay:
https://www.trybooking.com/CHETL

Agenda

12md Registration, lunch, networking
12md: Photos

12.45 pm Local Government Act and Elections: Sandy Boulter

1.30 pm Campaigning: Cr D. Kingston presented by Cr J. Raftis

2.00 pm Flyers & Preferential Voting: Cr John Raftis

2.15 pm Election Lessons: Cr Shaye Mack

2.45 pm Local Government Elections:

  • WA Electoral Commissioner: Robert Kennedy
  • Deputy WA Electoral Commissioner: Courtney Barron

3.30 3.50 pm Panel and Close

You can download the full agenda and location details here.

BUILDING BETTER BUDGETS LOCAL GOVERNMENT FORUM

Featured

  • LGEMA Committee Open Q&A
  • Keri Shannon on Zero Rate Increases
  • Lorna Buchan on Building Better Budgets

When: 9. 30am – 2pm Sunday 19 FEBRUARY 2023
Where: Quest Joondalup 83 Boas Avenue, Joondalup
Cost: Workshop free for members, donations welcome
RSVP: https://www.trybooking.com/CFMLH
Contact: Sandy Boulter 0427 508 582

Download the full programme here (pdf 375kb)

View on facebook

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CULTURE AND REORGANISATION FORUM

  • Effective CEO recruitment
  • Communicating
  • Psychologically Safe workplaces

Download the full programme here (pdf 375kb)

Participant Comments

“… An extremely valuable day, where elected members gained insight to recruitment, culture, values and a way to adjust approach in dealing with conflict …”

“…I can truly say it is an incredibly empowering thing to mix with people who have genuine interest in improving Local Government, without any agendas or conflicts, just a genuine desire to create a better all round workplace, culture and outcome for all stakeholders…”

“… Personally I can say I have come away from yesterday in a better mental space than I have for years, just chatting with people of similar values and experiences has been a major breakthrough for my state of mind…”

“…Fabulous and interesting day full of information and hope for the good people…”

“…A thoroughly enjoyable day with lots a great learnings. Beautiful people. …”

“… a real learning experience. Hopefully I can put everything back into my role on Council…”

 

See our facebook page for more https://www.facebook.com/LGEMALocalGovernmentElectedMembersAssociation/