Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Wingecarribee Shire Council election - a business dream ticket

The NSW Electoral Commission has not yet declared the results of the recent Wingecarribee Shire Council Election. The following comments are my own interpretation of the likely results.

In the 65th round of counting (recounts) Geraldine Turner (leader of the "Save the Highlands" team) was excluded. She appears to have been the last Candidate to be excluded.

As I read it, there are 5 candidates elected already and 4 candidates not yet declared to be elected, but with 9 vacancies to be filled, it seems the following 9 persons will get elected in the end:
  • The quota is 2476 votes to get elected.
Candidates Elected so far are shown in bold blue:
  • Jim Clark (Greens),
  • Juliet Arkwright (Liberal) (her No 2 David Stranger is still in the hunt, with 2135 transferred preference votes)
  • Paul Tuddenham is still in the chase, with 2006 preference votes
  • Ken Halstead (Independent) is in.
  • Graham McLaughlin (Labor) is in.
  • Jim Mauger is still in the running with 2235 preference votes.
  • Duncan Gair is still hopeful, on 2205 preference votes.
As I read the process, with Geraldine Turner having been excluded, her accumulated preference votes (1826) will now be redistributed. That process will determine who out of the remaining 4 candidates is next to get over the line.

But they will all probably make it (don't ask me quite how it all works - in fine detail). I don't know what happens with any votes which didn't award preferences all the way down the list. I suppose the system relies on people mostly voting above the line and "tickets" distributing those preferences all the way down the line.

There are 1826 votes to be distributed from Geraldine's vote, and only 1323 votes required to be redistributed to all those 4 candidates - enough to get each one of them elected. Remember that "excess votes" (over the quota of 2476) also get distributed. So, if Geraldine's votes favour Jim Mauger (for example) he would get over the line, then his spare preference votes (he only needs 241 more votes) would then get redistributed.

But as the list of "live candidates" is now so reduced, the "spare votes" have to go to one of the remaining three, then 2, then last person standing. That's how I think it works from this point onwards.

So, as I read it, the big change from the last Council is the demise of the former Murray/Campbell-Jones Team, (Malcolm Murray and May King and Penny George). Nick C-J and Penny George did not stand for re-election. New Councillors (in this iteration) will be Ken Halstead (Independent) and the Liberals (Juliet Arkwright). David Stranger, the No. 2 on the Liberal Ticket will almost certainly be elected.

Jim Mauger, Paul Tuddenham and Duncan Gair will continue to function much as they have done in the past - except without the "leadership" of Malcolm Murray (and Nick C-J of course).

I imagine that Terry Oakes-Ash,
President of the Southern Highlands Business Chamber Inc. will be moderately content with this arrangement. (Photo from SHBC website).
Larry Whipper and Jim Clark could still be sidelined easily enough by the 2 Liberals, Paul Tuddenham, Duncan Gair and Jim Mauger (on occasions) acting together to freeze out the "so-called Greenies". Remember it is a Council of 9 now, so a group of 5 is a simple majority.

Who will be Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire?

Despite his optimistic reading of the early poll results, Larry Whipper is not likely to get support to stand as Mayor.

Paul Tuddenham as former Deputy Mayor might make a strong claim for the top job, despite his relatively poor polling. Here is Paul, photographed at the Robertson Chamber of Commerce AGM in 2008.
On the basis of the Liberal Party's strong polling, Juliet Arkwright ought be able to make a bid for the position, with a No 2 Liberal to back her, and any combination of the others.

Its time for the new Councillors to get serious about doing deals - if they have not already done so!

I am sure the business community will already have worked out their preferred nominee for Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire Council, from September 2008 onwards.

My money is in Paul Tuddenham - but that is just an outsider's guess.


POSTSCRIPT Wednesday morning, 24 September 2008.

This morning's ABC news carried the announcement of the new list of Councillors for the Wingecarribee Shire - just exactly as I predicted in yesterday's post.

Accordingly I will now publish a message I sent to all the elected candidates whose emails were published in the Candidates declarations to the NSW Electoral Commission.

I wish all the new Councillors and likely Councillors well.

As a citizen, I simply ask that they do their very best for the people of the Shire, and do not allow perceived business interests to drive the entire agenda for the next Council. I hope that you will give priority to services for the citizens.

The General Manager and those Councillors in the new Council who were members of the last Council ought hang their collective heads in shame, especially over the loss of vast cash reserves in speculative investments, and their push for the disastrously ill-advised "Leisure Centre" proposal (a white elephant which the people have fortunately rejected with scorn). Just imaging if the Poll result had come out Yes:Yes, on September 13. How on earth would the cowboys who were proposing it have looked us in the eyes, in the light of the collapse of the world economy since that date.

We need a change in attitude from day one of the new Council.

Let us have government for the people of the Wingecarribee, by the people of the Wingecarribee - for a change.

By the way, I think senior members of the Council staff ought live in the Shire - for starters - to show some confidence in their own Administration, and to show some solidarity with the people they are meant to serve.


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