Picture of Stephen Digby
Further Submission to VEC Electoral Review of Boroondara. (BRAG)
by Stephen Digby - Friday, 25 April 2008, 11:13 PM

The Victorian Electoral Commission, Level 8, 505 little Collins St. MELBOURNE. 3000.

Further Submission to VEC Electoral Review of Boroondara.

In our original submission we pointed out that it was lodged on behalf of our members, who number over 500, and they have made it very clear that they support the retention of the current 10 ward, one councillor per ward rather than larger wards with multiple councillors.

We note with some concern that, in reporting the results, the BRAG submission was counted as only one. Surely a submission lodged on behalf of 500 residents must carry much more weight than a submission from an individual.

We also note that a submission from the Grace Park Residents Association representing 300 households is also not weighted appropriately.

Even with this incorrect count, nearly 80% of the submissions were clearly in favour of the current position but, if you give proper weight to the submissions the percentage would be much higher, well above 90%.

In spite of this, the Commission has opted for a four ward multi-councillor preferred option. How can this be?

It is obvious to all that VEC has ignored the overwhelming majority supporting the existing ward structure despite indicating it would carefully consider all views from the public and value local knowledge and perspectives presented.

Interestingly, we also note that some of the submissions were from groups and individuals who do not reside in the area. We do not believe they should have a say in what is essentially a local issue.

VEC must take note that the Boroondara community have responded to this issue in greater numbers than other communities in similar situations because they are concerned and involved in local matters; as evidenced by their overwhelming response to the Government’s unpopular decision to develop the air space above Camberwell station and other similar issues within Boroondara.

Our residents have extensive local knowledge and experience and their views must not be taken lightly. The Boroondara Council and the majority of residents have clearly indicated their preference for the current ten ward/single councillor arrangement.

We note that VEC has not provided any convincing evidence that a multi-councillor/four ward system would work any better than the existing arrangement so it is not appropriate for VEC to decide that they are misguided or ill informed.

It is not up to VEC to unilaterally decide to change the system. To do so would raise the spectre of there being other agendas at work.

BRAG wishes to address the meeting at the Hawthorn Town Hall on 7th May 2008.

Yours faithfully, Jack Roach BRAG President.