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TWiSK council election fact file

An independent guide to the Port Phillip Council elections.
TWiSK is always free, proudly independent and totally self-funded.
If you have any concerns or suggestions,
please contact Greg Day gday@gdaystkilda.com.au

Quick facts everyone needs to know

# 1 Council elections in Victoria are held every four years. 
# 2 Saturday 24 October 2020 is the ‘election day’
# 3 For the first time, all Victorian council elections are being conducted by postal ballot only.
# 4 For the first time, the ALP will stand candidates, following the Greens who have stood candidates for sometime
# 5 This is the first local election without local newspaper to provide journalistic scrutiny
# 6 And of course, the first election conducted during COVID restrictions.
Link to government COVID campaign guidelines Aug 20

Key dates in the postal ballot process

Council elections will be held across Victoria on 24 October this year. For the first time, all council voting will be conducted by postal ballot. There will be no attendance voting for any municipality in Victoria – so no polling day booths or people handing out how to vote cards.

Nominations for election close at noon Tuesday 22 September. 

Ballots will be sent to all eligible voters from 6 October. In each ballot pack there will be a brochure with a short written statement from each candidate. Eligible ballots must be mailed no later than 6 pm Friday 23 October. 

For all residents, voting is compulsory and failure to vote may result in a fine.

The Port Phillip ward system – three wards each with three Councillors

Port Phillip City Council is divided into three wards each electing three councillors – resulting in a total of nine councillors. These councillors then elect a mayor and deputy mayor. Since 2015 the mayoral office has been held by Cr Bernadene Voss and Cr Dick Gross.

The ward system can be confusing. The ward boundaries don’t reflect accepted neighborhood or suburb boundaries. The wards have names that mean very little to anyone other than the electoral authority that created them. Effectively it’s a north, middle and south divide with boundaries set to make each ward a similar population.

The three wards are:
Canal Ward: representing Elwood, Balaclava, St Kilda East, Ripponlea and part of St Kilda.
Lake Ward: representing Albert Park, Middle Park, St Kilda West, most of St Kilda and parts of Port Melbourne and Windsor.
Gateway Ward:  representing South Melbourne, most of Port Melbourne and the part of Melbourne around St Kilda Road.

Anyone eligible to vote in Port Phillip can nominate for election in any ward – there is no requirement to live in the ward.

Click here for more detailed map

Who can vote?

Residents and resident rate payers required to vote. These people should be on the electoral maintained by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Council maintains a roll of non-resident property owners and rate payers who are also entitled to vote.
Importantly this includes:
• anyone who has purchased a rateable property since the last election or by-election and who is not automatically enrolled, or
• non-Australian citizens who live in, and pay rates for a property in the local council area, or
• anyone who pays rates on a property they occupy in the local council area, for example you are a shop tenant and pay rates to the council for the tenancy, and you have no other voting entitlement in the local council, or
• a person who is a director or company secretary of a corporation that pays rates to the local council and has no other voting entitlement within the local council area.
To claim your vote or check your eligibility, contact
Coordinator Rates and Valuations via Council’s ASSIST team on 9209 6777
or view Council’s website for further information.

For these Council elections, the roll closes at 4 pm on Friday 28 August.

Who can stand for council?

Any eligible voter can stand for election (and must be nominated by a number of other voters).There is a refundable $250 fee. There some exclusions, eg bankruptcy
Visit here for a full list of requirements / exclusions 

The nominations open on 17 September and close at noon Tuesday 22 September.

If there are more than three qualified candidates in any ward, a postal ballot will be held.

In 2016, 10 people stood for Canal, 10 for Gateway, and 10 for Lake = 30 in all for 9 vacancies.

How are the winners chosen?

Much like the Australian Senate or Victorian Upper House, the votes are counted until there are three successful candidates are elected. After a preliminary count, the preferences of both the eliminated and elected candidates are distributed until there are no vacancies left.

Simply put, winning candidates either get a ‘quota’ (generally about 25% of formal votes cast) or a solid vote plus the preferences of other candidates. For the last spot filled it can be a tense two-week count.

Preferences are crucial. Most if not all successful candidates rely on preference votes to reach their quota. Behind the scenes there can be complex negotiations or preference deals. 

Less than half the eligible people voted in the 2016 council elections, see the turnouts below:
Gateway: Turnout 49.45% = 12894 votes = 3224 votes needed to be elected
Lake: Turnout 47.57% = 13697 votes = 3425 votes needed to be elected
Canal: Turnout 48% = 13720 votes = 3431 votes needed to be elected

Check out the 2016 votes if you are curious

Expect a higher voter turnout in postal ballot

Neighbouring councils that had postal ballots in 2016 had much higher voter turnout than Port Phillip’s under 50%.
Bayside – about 70%
Glen Eira – about 70%
Stonnington – over 70%
This means the quota to get elected will probably be higher. 

Meet the candidates

Click here or above to meet all the candidates in their own words

Who is not running?
Greens Cr Ogy Simic is not recontesting in Gateway.
Cr Bernadene Voss is not recontesting Gateway
Cr David Brand is nor recontesting in Lake.

Who is working behind the scenes?

Candidates and parties are not the only people offering up information and opinion during local elections. This is one of the tricky aspects of local elections.
As various groups declare an interest, we will ask a common set of questions to maximise the transparency and accountability. We will publish all ‘reasonable’ answers on this page verbatim.

You can see by the tone of these questions that we want these groups to be up-front about who they are and how they are funded.
TWiSK believes this in keeping with the candidate’s legal requirements to “provide details of any gifts, goods or services worth $500 or more, received during the donation period for use in connection with their election campaign.”

The TWiSK transparency questionnaire

The TWiSK Transparency Test questions
What is your organisational name and legal structure?
How many members do you have?
Is a membership list available?
Please list the names of key office holders?
Who is your official spokesperson?
Who authorizes your election information?
What is your anticipated budget for the election activities?
How will the money be raised?
Who are your top ten donors?
Will you be running or endorsing candidates?

Responses received so far ….

Links to verbatim responses to TWiSK Transparency Questionnaire
Progressive Port Phillip Inc
Ratepayers of Port Phillip 

Organisations that have not yet responded (and date requested)
Watch this space

TWiSK’s response to the transparency questionnaire 

What is your organisational name and type of organisational structure?
TWiSK is published by Education Image Pty Ltd, trading as Edunity, a publishing and media agency established in 1984.
How many members do you have?
Private company
TWiSK has over 400 subscribers and a similar number of Facebook followers.
Who are the key office holders?
Gregory John Day, sole director
Who is your official spokesperson?
Greg Day 0418 345 829 gday@gdaystkilda.com.au
Who authorises your election information?
G Day, 12 Marine Parade, St Kilda 3182
What is your anticipated budget for the election activities?
How will the money be raised?
Self funded
Who are your top ten donors?
Greg Day was previously employed by the City of Port Phillip and was external contract editor of Divercity magazine until March 2020.
Neither Greg or Education Image has any on-going work with the City of Port Phillip.
Will you be running or endorsing candidates?