Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wingecarribee Local Council Elections

Its that time again, folks - your chance to determine the local political team who will run the bit of the world closest to you.

Alternatively, yes, unless you turn up and get your name ticked off by the Electoral Commission representatives, you might incur a fine. Yes, voting is compulsory.

It prefer to think of it as a privilege, and an opportunity to shape the future.


Here is the Council Election website page - with appropriate onward links.
Here are the Candidates, as listed officially by the NSW Electoral Commission. 

Council Election - Candidates
and Polling Places
Go here to download the original document
which will be easier to read.

Council Election - Candidates
and Polling Places


Having got that formal stuff out of the way, let me now look at the list of dunces, dead-heads and self-serving people who make up most of the names of people who are standing for "FAME AND POWER" (sorry - standing for Election to Council). 

I do not propose to tell anyone who to vote for, but I will suggest a few people for whom I would definitely NOT VOTE.
Charlie Johns
Once, seemingly the Right Hand Man of Nick Campbell-Jones
until they fell out (under mysterious circumstances).
Anyone not good enough to be a "mate"
of Nick C-J is to be avoided, I reckon.
He also has mysterious "history" of debts to Council,
which were supposedly waived in mysterious circumstances.
The fact that he has been on the Edge of Politics in the Shire
for such a long time,
and is an incessant writer of Letters to the Editor,

and is still so keen to get elected is a warning light to me.

He certainly will not get my vote.

Do you remember the scandal of the stupid investment in the Lehman Brothers "Federation Notes" (better known as Collateralised Debt Obligations).
  • "It was a bitter lesson for Wingecarribee, a shire in the Southern Highlands. Not only had it invested ratepayers' funds in a complex and risky financial product, it had sold at a very bad time." (Sourced from that SMH Business Day link above)
    In other words, we bought badly and sold badly. Who is responsible for that?
    Seemingly no-one. Certainly no Councillors have ever owned up to getting kick-backs, or commissions, but given the way that the investment industry works, almost certainly mates of mates did. No names are available. Such a pity the original meeting was never minuted.
  • Read more:
So I would not vote for anyone associated with that famously "un-minuted" Finance Committee meeting (the one which got us into the mess in the first place) or the decision to bail out of the litigation process (which other Councils were successful in pursuing).

Here are some comments from a recent Meet the Candidates forum held in Bowral on August 28 put up by Travis Holland on a Highlands Votes website: Take these comments as you will.

David Stranger was previously elected on the Liberal Party ticket in the shadow of Juliet Arkright. He has since left the Liberal Party ticket, and has formed his own team Group B. Real Estate Agents always make dubious candidates for Council, in my opinion. The fact that he is apparently a turn-coat merely reinforces my suspicions.

Duncan Gair cannot seem to get the desire for power out of his blood. He as been on Council for many terms, some as Mayor. He is standing again, after previously indicating he would not stand again for Council.
  • Why, Duncan?
  • “You look back and think, at the end of the day, it may not have happened if you weren’t there.”
  • Looking back at the succession of bad decisions by the Wingecarribee Council, all I can say is that statement is a "double-edged sword", Duncan.
The Just Fix It team is headed by Ian Scandrett. He still wears as a badge of honour his time in the Balmain City Council. If you remember the TV program "Rats in the Ranks" you might not think that's such a good thing to boast about. But his team is proposing an "Energy Saving Scheme" which sounds just like a Ponzi Scheme, to me, from what I have heard about it. Council is being "sold the idea", but Council will not actually get any earnings - the proponents of the scheme, however, might get some benefits. The details are sketchy in my mind, but I know enough people with experience in financial markets - who are wary of this scheme - that I simply flag it as a "warning" to others.

Graham McLaughlin is heading up the Labor Team. I know Graham, and I admire his sense of humour and his musicality. But those factors do not outweigh, for me, his support for Boral and the expansion of the Berrima Colliery. It already poses a threat to the integrity of the local Aquifers over at Medway and High Range and Joadja. It is also leaking polluted water directly into the main feeder river of Lake Burrogorang (Sydney's primary Water Supply reservoir). Sorry Graham.

Edit: I have received this additional information: " ‘The Coalition Of Change’ group - Stranger, Turland and Andrews are running together with management from Nick Campbell-Jones. Back to the future for his Mega Leisure centre project if they get elected."
So I have been told, from a source I trust.


So, who can I safely vote for, in this coming local Government Election?

Well, as far as I know The Greens will not do anything as stupid as their Sydney colleagues did prior to the NSW State Election (where they tried to impose bans on companies with economic contact with Israel). That cost them votes in Sydney and I assume that Jim Clark and Maree Byrne will not make the same mistake their Sydney colleagues did. I know both these people - only vaguely, but over a few years, now. But I do sincerely trust their Environmental credentials.

Larry Whipper is a local Robertson resident, and has been the strongest supporter on Council of the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group in its opposition to Hume Coal and also Leichhardt Resources, (a related company which controls the Coal Seam Gas licence over most of the Shire). Shoo Cockatoo's latest bulletin sings Larry's praises.
Larry's Team Website is here

Jim Mauger is standing as an independent. He has always been "independent" anyway, which is why nobody else on Council likes him much, but that is why I do like him. In a strange way, local interests, self-interest almost, can be a great predictor of what someone is likely to do when it comes to voting on important decisions. Big Jim will back Big Jim always and Robertson a close second (if not first, on occasions) That will do me.

Juliet Arkwright is being harassed by the Liberal Party machine men, which straight away wins my sympathy vote. She must have done something worthwhile to get those Big End of Town characters off-side. Besides, she lives in Burrawang and does her shopping in Robertson, so that a definite plus in my view.