State Government stands firm on council election reforms
COMPULSORY Preferential Voting will be introduced as part of a suite of reforms ahead of council elections next year regardless of vigorous opposition from the Local Government Association of Queensland.
The latest LGAQ attack on the reform has come from its president, Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson who has claimed "cynical deal making and distraction" were features of compulsory preferential voting that had been writ large in the current federal election campaign.
Cr Jamieson said "unseemly negotiations and power plays between political parties over preference deals provide more than enough evidence that compulsory preferential voting should not be introduced into local government elections".
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, however, has rejected the claim. He said CPV ensured every vote counted and the election of the candidate preferred by a majority of voters, and was thus "inherently more democratic".
That position was supported by Griffith University political analyst Dr Paul Williams who said a return to CPV would be a return to consistency across all three levels of government.
Dr Williams said the closer elections got to first-past-the-post voting the greater the distortion of the real will of the people.
He said elections were delicate mechanisms with first-past-the-post the clumsiest followed closely by optional-preferential voting. Compulsory Preferential Voting was far less clumsy because it provided a more accurate reflection of what voters wanted.
Dr Williams said only those with vested interest had anything to fear from the system.
"In the 2017 state election conservatives did less well (from preference distribution) but that was the people's will," he said.
"There will come a time when the LNP will be the beneficiaries."
Cr Jamieson, however, has warned that the spectacle of preference deals - secret or otherwise - would "infect" council elections.
"Do communities really want politicians and parties from outside their local area doing deals and calling the shots on preferences in local council elections?" he asked.
"That is what awaits local communities across Queensland if the Palaszczuk Government succeeds in forcing compulsory preferential voting on Queensland councils.
"People should retain the right to vote or not to vote for which ever candidate they choose.
"CPV merely shifts political power from the voters to the parties. It provides a platform to manipulate electoral outcomes and has no place in local council elections."