Ballot papers out…


IMG_1802Well, the ballot papers are out with the voters.  What have I learned?  Well firstly, if you want advice from returning officers you need to ask for it, as there is no extra help given unrequested.  So:

  1. The contact information you provide is sent out to the entire electorate of your ward.  That means they have my mobile phone number, my email address and my home address.  Most other candidates only supplied an email address.  Makes sense.
  2. Bullet points in the “profile builder” disappear, such that your succinct points turn into somewhat unreadable prose.
  3. Web addresses, or social media addresses are perfectly acceptable in your 150 word statement.  You really can’t make anything more than an initial impression in 150 words, so for anything to be meaningful, you really need an option to be able to provide more.  It is ridiculously simple to set up a Facebook page for your campaign, and with nearly 50% of Australians logging in daily, this does seem the easiest mechanism to communicate.  However, I personally prefer to have the website which sends alerts to my Facebook page, because Facebook is unfortunately a law unto itself, and how it decides what information to alert to whom seems to change on a weekly basis!

Anyway, some guidance on this would have been welcome prior to writing my application, and some feedback from the returning officer might have helped me tidy it up before final submission. But you live and learn, and that is the most significant aspect of this exercise.

The other thing I learned is that people do contact you for more information!  How good is that!  I’ve had requests about my priorities, as well as specific issues regarding dog walking and about the safety of specific traffic junctions.  What is very clear is that many people seem concerned about the lack of transparency on the decisions that are being made, or indeed the issues that the council are talking about. And that, I think, is a major concern, because it again fosters the expectation that the council isn’t there to work for us, but the other way around.  Without transparency there is no accountability.  Without accountability there is no way that we can tell whether our elected politicians are looking after us, or simply themselves.


About Steve Laing

Political observer, free thinker and problem solver, Steve contends that the current democratic processes have neither kept up to date with globalisation nor modern business practices, resulting in increasing dissatisfaction with modern politics. However, new technology could be used to not only reconfigure our system, but give the electorate even greater representation than was previously the case. For more background information on Steve, please check his LinkedIn profile.

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