If Victoria’s current coronavirus lockdown has taught voters anything it’s that elections have consequences. Even though civil liberties have been suspended in the state democracy has not. Local government elections are proceeding as scheduled in October. On the midweek edition of WilmsFront we explore how local government operates in Victoria and how you can make sure you cast an informed vote with City of Greater Dandenong Liberal Councillor Timothy Dark.
Timothy is the sole Liberal Councillor in Greater Dandenong which has 9 from Labor and 1 Green. The council moving to the single council ward electoral system which has made his re-election campaign difficult. Party affiliation is not required to be disclosed in Victorian local government elections and with the unpopularity of the Victorian Labor brand at present Labor aligned candidates have no red in their election material.
Local councils are elected in Victoria for fixed four-year terms, they operate under the council-manager system where the Councillors are part-time and appoint a CEO to run the day to day operations of the council, cities in the US use the strong-major council system with a full-time Mayor who also runs the day to day operation council/city. Timothy is a strong supporter of the role of local government plays in Victoria and to stop councils wasting time with things such as anti-Australia Day motions locals need to elect better Councillors.
With the stage 4 lockdown extended for Melbournian’s for another six weeks coupled with the dictatorial inflexible approach that Premier Dan Andrews has displayed during the coronavirus second wave and associated lockdown strategy community resentment is growing. There was a revolt in the local Muslim Dandenong community in late August which was aggressively suppressed by Victoria Police. Timothy as a local Councillor thought the police crackdown was over the top and unnecessary. He predicts this could see the Greater Dandenong area turn against Labor.
The incompetence and dishonesty of the Andrews Government exposed during the pandemic has awoken the Victorian Liberal Party from its slumber with leader Michael O’Brien and frontbencher Tim Smith getting the Opposition message out much more effectively. Timothy believes for the 2022 state election the Liberals need many young fresh feisty candidates.