Vote cards cause a stir


Vote cards cause a stir

THEORIES suggesting five of the 13 candidates running for South Gippsland Shire Council’s Tarwin Valley Ward were stooges for benefit of current councillor Cr Don Hill have been refuted.

Initial suspicion flared within the community when the how to vote card began circulating with five candidates encouraging voters to put Cr Don Hill at number two, regardless of where they sat with the rest of the group.

Cr Hill said the candidates – Di Tod, Kim White, Rosemary Cousin, Philip Murphy and Ben Corcoran – were not dummy candidates and the group how to vote card was created in an effort for the candidates to save money on campaigning.

“The (Victorian Electoral Commission) changed its rules about preferential votes being included in the ballot pack. By this time, I had been campaign for 10 weeks and had door knocked asking people to vote for people with similar views. The new rules made it impossible for people to know and use my advice,” Cr Hill said.

“The only thing I could do was what the (Victorian Electoral Commission) had told us to, which is to send out how to vote cards.

“I contacted all the candidates – with the exception of three – and the five who responded joined the group to reduce the cost of mail outs. Instead of having six people spend more than $2000 on campaigning, the cost was reduced significantly.”

Leongatha’s Vic Rowlands said suggesting who people should vote for without any evidence was an insult to voters and would not result in the election of a better council.

“The (vote card) circulated so far on behalf of six Tarwin Valley candidates is receiving the public opprobrium it deserves,” he wrote in a letter to the editor to The Star.

“For the first time in 20 years I have heard people saying ‘I think it might be better to go back to appointed commissioners’. Tear up the how to vote tickets and just vote for who you think are the best candidates.”

Mr Rowlands was not alone in his views, with two other letters being sent in to The Star with concerns about false claims, the importance for voters to make their own informed decisions, and the excessive use of ratepayer funds to boost candidates.

Mr Rowlands said he had not spoken to or had been influenced by any of the other candidates on this issue.

Koorooman’s Di Tod – who appears on Cr Hill’s how to vote card – confirmed she was not a dummy candidate and was totally independent.

“Personally, I’m standing because I feel people are fed up with what goes on in this council – like the decision making behind closed doors and the top level expenditure, and the distribution of funds,” she said.

“I have had a not so good experience with this council and I feel that the culture needs to change. I barely know Don (Hill) and I am not standing upon anyone’s request. There’s no conspiracy.”

Cr Hill said he was more concerned the dummy candidates were those who were unwilling to spend money on campaigning.

“Why not put out a document or a preferential list? The suggestion that if you are one a how to vote card you are not independent is rubbish. These candidates have taken the time to discuss their views, talk to candidates with similar views and inform the ratepayers at their own expense,” he said.

“There are others who have not bothered to spend a cent and are leaving people uninformed.”

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Posted by on Oct 4 2016. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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