Welcome to the first edition of the MAV’s 2016 federal election newsletter. Through this newsletter we aim to inform councils of relevant matters for local government in the lead up to the 2 July election.
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), our national peak body, released its Local Government Plan for an Innovative and Prosperous Australia (PDF) on 22 April. The MAV provided input to this national advocacy document, which outlines six priority commitments sought from political parties in the lead up to the election.
In addition, the MAV believes there is an advocacy role for Victorian local government to secure commitments from political parties in relation to kindergarten operational funding and home and community care arrangements. We are currently developing some resource materials to assist councils to undertake advocacy alongside the MAV on these two important issues facing our sector.
We hope you find this update useful, which we will issue regularly between now and the election. I encourage you to forward it to other council colleagues, who can then subscribe to it online.
Cr Bill McArthur, MAV President
Key election dates
- 8 May: postal vote applications opened
- 9 May: both houses of Parliament dissolved
- 16 May: election writs issued
- 23 May: electoral rolls close
- Midday, 7 June: close of candidate bulk nominations by registered political parties
- Midday, 9 June: close of nominations
- 14 June: early voting commences
- 6pm, 29 June: close of postal voting applications
- 2 July: election day
For further details on key election dates, visit the AEC website.
Local Government priorities
Six priorities for local government, as identified in the ALGA plan, are being sought as commitments from political parties ahead of the election on 2 July. These are:
- Restoration of indexation for financial assistance grants
- Increasing the quantum of financial assistance grants to at least 1% of Commonwealth taxation revenue - a rise from $2.3 billion to at least $3.8 billion a year
- A national freight strategy, including a local government higher productivity investment plan providing $200 million a year for five years, to boost productivity
- Permanent doubling of Roads to Recovery funding, to at least $700 million a year from 2017
- A community infrastructure fund providing $300 million a year for four years
- $100 million over four years to help councils implement local climate change plans.
All party leaders have received a copy of the ALGA plan, together with a request for them to outline their pre-election commitments in relation to local government’s identified priorities.
The MAV is also developing resources to assist Victorian councils to campaign for an enduring Commonwealth funding commitment for 15 hours kindergarten universal access; and continuation of the agreed tripartite arrangement between Commonwealth, State and local government for aged care reform in Victoria.
These resources will be provided to councils by the end of May.
Guidelines for councillors contesting the federal election
In 2014 the MAV Board reviewed and updated our policy on candidature of councillors in elections. At a minimum, we recommended that councils adopt them as part of their Code of Conduct, or to supplement their code.
Our policy distinguishes between prospective candidates and nominated candidates, and recommends different best practice approaches are adopted accordingly.
Candidates, including those pre-selected by a registered political party, only become a nominated candidate once their nomination form has been submitted to the Australian Electoral Commission.
Councillors who are a prospective candidate prior to nominating are encouraged to notify their CEO of their intention to stand, and declare their intended candidacy at a council meeting.
Once a councillor nominates as a candidate for the federal election (a Nominated Candidate), our policy recommends the councillor should apply for a leave of absence from the council no later than the date of nomination.
The AEC has confirmed that nominations for the 2016 federal election close at midday on 9 June. For further information or advice contact Alison Lyon.
Latest from the AEC: check your electoral roll details
The deadline to enrol or update your enrolment details is 8pm on 23 May. This can be done on the AEC website and requires evidence of your identity, such as your driver's licence, Australian passport number, or having someone who is enrolled to confirm your identity.
You can also download a PDF enrolment form or pick up an enrolment form at any Australia Post outlet and return it to the AEC.
If unsure of your current electoral enrolment details, you can verify your enrolment using the online form on the AEC website.
First leaders’ debate
The first leaders’ debate occurred last Friday 13 May at 6pm. Sky News and the Daily Telegraph held a People’s Forum where the leaders took questions from audience members. A replay of the People's Forum is available here.
- When a double-dissolution election is declared, all 76 Senate positions are made vacant
- Re-establishing long and short Senate terms after a double dissolution election – as explained by the Parliamentary library and Anthony Green’s blog
- In the 150-seat House of Representatives, a party will need 76 seats to govern in its own right (75 seats plus the unused vote of the Speaker)
- A national seat status fact sheet by the AEC details each of the 150 House of Representative seats.
ABC Federal Election Guide: contains detailed electorate profiles, list of retiring MPs, electoral pendulum, House of Representatives calculator, a seat-by-seat candidate guide and elections analysis.
Vote Compass – election 2016: A collaborative project between ABC, University of Melbourne and Vox Pop Labs, this social and data science tool calculates how a user’s personal views compare to the positions of political parties
Sky News Election 2016: has the latest election news and analysis, and an #auspol social hub with all the latest tweets sorted by political party
Curious Campaign: a new initiative where the public can submit story questions, and vote for their favourites with ABC News journalists investigating the winning questions
The Conversation: Who do you trust to run the country? Research on trust in politics and satisfaction with democracy.