The Victorian Greens will be supporting the Government’s decision to dismiss Casey Council, but have said that people living in Casey shouldn’t have to wait until 2024 to elect new representatives.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said it was important that local communities in Casey were given the opportunity to return to democratic elections as soon as possible.
The case being investigated by IBAC has exposed deep flaws in our system and the role of dirty money in politics. The Government must act urgently to restore integrity into the system by reforming donation laws for the next local council elections.
And the time to do this is now with the Local Government Bill 2019 being debated in parliament in the coming weeks.
Without adequate reform, this year’s local election will remain open slather for gambling giants and property developers who want to game the system. The current system allows uncapped donations to be sent to a candidate if the donations are provided to that candidate’s personal bank account. (Donations sent to a candidate’s party are capped at $4,000.)
In a further attack on democracy, the Bill in its current form will also see councils uniformly move to single-member ward structures, disadvantaging minority groups, independents and women come election time.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
"What’s been revealed by IBAC has been an extraordinary spectacle and a stain on local democracy.
"But unless the Government moves to introduce reforms in its current Local Government Bill, there’s nothing to stop this corruption from occurring again and again.
"And yet rather than use this opportunity to fix the system, the Government seems more preoccupied with gerrymandering the electoral system rather than actually improving the integrity of our local elections.
"Local communities deserve better than this."