Democracy

Background

As the tier of Government closest to the people, Local Government should be governed by democratic principles to the highest standards of transparency, accountability and accessibility while promoting and supporting human rights. Engagement with residents and ratepayers should involve open consultation designed to enable broad influence on individual decision-making and strategic direction.

 

Principles 

  1. The City should have strong democratic principles of proportional representation, based primarily on an electoral roll of residents.
  2. Melbourne City Council should be as accountable and transparent as practical.
  3. Residents and ratepayers can and should be more directly involved in the decisions of their Council, and it is incumbent upon Councillors to facilitate this.
  4. Election to council and the operations of council must be free from the influence of developer donations.
  5. Human rights including the right to peaceful protest should be protected by Council.

 

Aims

Electoral reform

  1. The default of attendance voting for Council elections, with the option for postal voting, to encourage civic participation and maximise options for voters.
  2. A comprehensive and consultative review of the City of Melbourne’s electoral structure, whilst advocating for:
    1. Retention of the popular election for the position of Lord Mayor, but not Deputy Lord Mayor, while permitting Lord Mayoral candidates to also stand as Councillor candidates;
    2. The retention of an unsubdivided district, in the interests of fair proportionality, but requesting that the review explore the feasibility of future multi-member wards;
    3. Removal of the double vote for businesses, and the abolition of the automatic and compulsory enrolment provisions for non-residential voters; and
    4. The enfranchisement of all residents, irrespective of citizenship status.
  3. The introduction of a new electoral representation structure before the 2020 election, after a full electoral representation review is conducted with maximum resident and ratepayer consultation.
  4. Amendments to the City of Melbourne Act to require Electoral Representation Reviews at least once every twelve years, in line with every other Victorian municipality.
  5. Recognition of Local Government in the Australian Constitution.

Civic engagement

  1. The universal use of decision making processes that incorporate ratepayer and resident input and are not subject to disproportionate influence by interest groups.
  2. Engagement with residents and ratepayers on decisions which impact them, in accordance with International Association for Public Participation principles, whilst being clear and genuine about the purpose of community forums.
  3. Expansion of Council’s program of deliberative democracy programs for long term strategies as well as important routine processes such as budget setting.
  4. Explore and implement methods to better engage with and increase participation of poorly engaged sections of community and business, including newly arrived residents, the elderly and disabled, tower dwellers and microbusinesses.
  5. The production and broad promulgation of simple information sheets on Council’s democratic processes and governance structures.
  6. Promotion by the Council of accessible and transparent processes of consultation with residents and ratepayers.
  7. Peaceful protests within the City not being prohibited by local laws.

Accountability, Transparency and Accessibility

  1. Improvement of online public access to Council documentation and data.
  2. Provision of access to individual councillor performance data including attendance and participation rates.
  3. Ensurance that Council information is translated and that interpreters are available during community consultations as required.
  4. Strengthening of the measures of sustainability by which Council’s performance is monitored and publicly reported on to residents.
  5. Live streaming Council and Committee meetings online.