The 2016 Council Election. Polling booth at Kallangur State School. Pic: Josh Woning.
The 2016 Council Election. Polling booth at Kallangur State School. Pic: Josh Woning.

Compulsory preferential voting plan scrapped

THE Palaszczuk Government has scrapped controversial plans to introduce compulsory preferential voting for local government elections.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced at the Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference this morning that the Government would abandon plans to make voters number every box on the ballot.

It follows a fierce campaign from the local government sector, which had urged the Government to ditch the plans amid concerns it was undemocratic.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Mr Hinchliffe said the Government had made the decision after listening to the concerns of the local government sector.

The 2016 Council Election. Polling booth at Kallangur State School. Pic: Josh Woning.
The 2016 Council Election. Polling booth at Kallangur State School. Pic: Josh Woning.

"The Premier in particular has been very strong to listen to what the feedback from the local government sector has been and from communities," he said.

"The key issues that were raised with us were things around formality and the management of voting systems.

"There was a lot of submissions and issues raised by discrete Indigenous communities about literacy levels and a change to the voting system would potentially be problematic in that space."

Mr Hinchliffe would not say what the Government's plans for CPV were beyond the 2020 council elections.

"The intention of the Government is to remove this from the legislation that is before the Parliament now," he said.

"We've been a long way down this track. I think that shows an intention of what lies in the future."

Today's announcement follows weeks of speculation that the Government would ditch the plan.

LGAQ president Mark Jamieson thanked the Government for the change of heart and said it showed they had been listening to their concerns.

The peak local government body recently held a conference to debate the issue, with 98 per cent of councils saying they were opposed to changing the voting system.

The Government had previously argued that the introduction of CPV was about bringing the local government voting system in line with the State and Commonwealth.

The move will be a blow to Labor's chances in the Brisbane City Council election, with the Council opposition previously calling for changes.

The LNP administration and Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner had vehemently opposed the proposed reforms.



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