This is the personal blog of Ian Ker, who was Councillor for the South Ward of the Town of Vincent from 1995 to 2009. I have been a resident of this area since 1985. This blog was originally conceived as a way of letting residents of Vincent know what I have been doing and sharing thoughts on important issues. I can now use it to sound off about things that concern me.

If you want to contact me, my e-mail is still or post a comment on this blog.

To post a comment on this blog, select the individual post on which you wish to comment, by clicking on the title in the post or in the list to the left of the blog, and scroll down to the 'Post a Comment' box at the foot.

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

How To Insult Your Ratepayers - And Breach the Local Government Act?

City of Bayswater might have a point about amalgamations complicating council business, including resolutions passed at the Annual Meeting of Electors, but it verges on contempt for both the electors and the Local Government Act to defer consideration until the merger has taken place.

The Local Government Act states:

5.33. Decisions made at electors’ meetings
(1) All decisions made at an electors’ meeting are to be considered at the next ordinary council meeting or, if that is not practicable —
(a) at the first ordinary council meeting after that meeting; or
(b) at a special meeting

To defer consideration for an indefinite period doesn't fall within a reasonable person's definition of 'consider', especially when this is done via an en-bloc deferral (as I understand happened) rather than determining this for each individual resolution.
Perth Voice 31st January 2015. Click to enlarge

A Tale of Two Cities: Councillors' New Clothes

Important though it is for councillors to be well-presented, I doubt that many in Vincent would agree that it should cost an elected member up to $9,500 a year (that's in one year - so up to $38,000 over a 4-year elected term) for a councillor to do so. Indeed, most Vincent residents would struggle to spend that amount on clothes in a year - even if they had the money to do so.

Do the elected members making these claims not wear clothes except when on Council business - or are they also wearing these clothes, paid for by the City of Perth ratepayers, for personal use?

Interesting that not all City of Perth councillors felt the need to pay for their clothes out of the public purse.

The City of Vincent policy on allowances (file:///Users/ianker/Desktop/427_Council_Members_-_Allowances_etc.pdf), after a couple of contentious claims in the early days of Council, makes no provision for elected members to claim for clothing.

Yet another example of a fundamental cultural difference between the two cities.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Statistics? Or Lies and Damn Lies? You Choose

Now that we have 15 days of voting returns in the amalgamation polls, it is tempting to apply some statistical analysis to the patterns over time. The conventional wisdom is that postal voting returns taper off after the first week or so - and indeed, this pattern is evident from the returns so far - but not to the extent that might have been expected.

The picture is slightly complicated by the clear downward effect of weekends (the data points after the gaps show the cumulative effect of the two weekends so far, one of which had three days), so the picture will be clearer by, say, Tuesday of next week.

However, the 'line of best fit' seems to indicate that any tapering-off has either ended or, at least, greatly diminished. On the basis of these trend lines:

- Kwinana should exceed 50% on Monday 2nd February;
- East Fremantle should exceed 50% by Tuesday 3rd February; and
- South Perth should exceed 50% by Friday 6th February

Clearly Kwinana and East Fremantle can be quietly confident of getting the required votes for the poll to be binding - and I hope noisily celebrating when they do.

South Perth is going to be very tight - but I hope to be celebrating with them when the votes delivered to the South Perth Civic Centre tip them over the line.

Day 15: Just Over A Week To Go - Votes Still Needed.

City of Cockburn                      31.66%
Town of East Fremantle          42.93%
City of Kwinana                         47.13%
City of South Perth                   39.48%
Town of Victoria Park              31.08%

Votes still needed for 50% (but remember need to add a bit for informal/invalid votes):

City of Cockburn                       11,353
Town of East Fremantle              367
City of Kwinana                             524
City of South Perth                    2,819
Town of Victoria Park               3,810

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 14 (not 12): Kwinana Very Close; East Freo Over 40%;

Yes, I missed counting the two days of the first weekend, but the charts showed them so no damage done.

City of Cockburn                      30.38%
Town of East Fremantle          41.12%
City of Kwinana                        46.03%
City of South Perth                    37.57%
Town of Victoria Park              29.76%

Excitement must be building in Kwinana, now they're getting so close. Just a gentle reminder not to take the foot off the pedal until they have something like 53% - to make sure they aren't undone by informal/invalid votes.

Votes still needed for 50% (but remember need to add a bit for informal/invalid votes):

City of Cockburn                      12,145
Town of East Fremantle              461
City of Kwinana                             724
City of South Perth                   3,330
Town of Victoria Park              4,075

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Business People Have A View (and a Vote), Too

Let's not forget that businesses and their owners and managers are an important part of local communities, too.

South Perth Says "Get Your Votes In"

2.30pm on a hot midweek day when many people are away on holiday isn't the ideal time to get people to turn out in support of a cause. But needs must - Barnett and Simpson have set the poll closing date as 7th February, so campaigns must run through the holidays and into the first week of the school term, next week.

No doubt, Col and Homer chose this time to maximise distractions and minimise the likelihood of people voting, given the requirement for 50% turnout for a binding poll - but they may yet come unstuck (

Anyway, 60 or so South Perth stalwarts braved the sun and the heat to show their support. Credit to Cecilia Brooke, who is driving this campaign with a small committee, and to Hilda Turnbull of the Nationals who eloquently illustrated the importance of every vote by instancing her own experience of losing the seat of Collie by 17 votes and a local council election by 4 votes.

Day 11: Australia Day Boosts Poll Participation?

City of Cockburn29.15%
Town of East Fremantle38.86%
City of Kwinana44.41%
City of South Perth35.61%
Town of Victoria Park28.21%

Kwinana numbers for today might look a little disappointing but they are direct continuation of the Australia Day weekend returns - and Kwinana is still well on track to record a binding poll result.

Interesting that both South Perth and East Fremantle show a kick-up in returns today - perhaps people have been inspired by Australia Day to actively be part of and  support our democratic traditions. Keep that up and these communities will also achieve the magic 50% (plus a bit to allow for informal/invalid votes).

Votes still needed for 50% (but remember need to add a bit for informal/invalid votes):

City of Cockburn 12,906
Town of East Fremantle 578
City of Kwinana 1,018
City of South Perth 3,856
Town of Victoria Park 4,387

In South Perth, the most substantial turn-up was in the two least-well-performing wards, which suggests that the message is getting through across the City. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 10: After The Long Weekend - Kwinana Getting Close‏

Apologies for repost. Previous posting was doing strange things, so I have deleted it.

After a break for the long weekend, Australia Post has delivered the latest lot of voting returns in the amalgamation polls.

City of Cockburn
Town of East Fremantle
City of Kwinana
City of South Perth
Town of Victoria Park

Kwinana is getting very close, but East Fremantle and South Perth are also still on track to make history - but will need to overcome the slowing return rate. Bear in mind that if all three of these get the required 50% and the majority in each votes NO then none of the three amalgamations will go ahead.

Need to invigorate those who have just returned from summer holidays!

In South Perth, differences between the wards are starting to appear, with Mill Point Ward leading the pack.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Good News - Some Libs Have Principles

But whether it's principles or small electoral margins that guide the voting behaviour of Liberal MPs, Col's proposed City of Perth Act, as it stands (trampling on democracy, with no poll and with vote-weighting or gerrymander) should be consigned to the dustbin of history before it even gets to the Parliament.

Liberal MPs with a conscience should tell Barnett, fair and square, in the Party Room that this Bill will never pass - and if he wants to avoid the embarrassment of a defeat, not only in the legislative Council (which governments and premiers can survive) but in the Legislative Assembly (which a Premier, in particular, is less likely to survive) he should abandon it.

And all credit to those Liberals who have come out and said it publicly already - it's time for others who have been saying similar things in private to stand up and say them publicly, too, so that we know who they are and they won't suffer the opprobrium of electors at the next election.

And as for Lisa Scaffidi, she needs to understand that a capital city based on unfairness and anti-democratic electoral processes is not a 'stronger capital city' but is one that will destroy itself from within.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

City of Vincent Cares … City of Perth Doesn't

The City of Vincent cares enough about the future to sign the Local Government Climate Change Declaration being promoted by the WA Local Government Association.

The City of Perth, apparently, does not - it hasn't signed the declaration.

Why would the caring residents and ratepayers of Vincent want to be lumped in with the uncaring and/or climate-change-denying City of Perth?

Where's the community of interest here?

And thank you, on behalf of future generations, to all those local governments that have signed the declaration.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 6. Returns Slowing - Keep Up The Campaigning

As is often the case with postal voting, returns slow at the end of the first week. What happens after that depends upon maintaining the visibility of the poll.

Kwinana four-fifths of the way there at the end of the first full week - two weeks to go. The piece on ABC 7.00pm TV News yesterday should help, but the commercial media are conspicuous by their absence.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wards Might Yet Be Saved, But………

The Local Government Advisory Board consistently recommended that the new local governments not be divided into wards, something that most local Councils (and this blog) have expressed concern about. Arguably, wards are all the more important in larger local governments to retain some element of the local in local government.

Well, it seems that the Department of Local Government has been listening to these concerns and has establish a less onerous and time-consuming process for re-establishing a ward structure. Thanks to Cr Chris Cornish for drawing my attention to this ( In principle this is to be welcomed as a response to Council and community concerns, but I do have reservations.

It is more than passing strange that, although this was announced to elected members by email today, it does not appear on either the WALGA or Local Government Department websites. Almost as if they don't want the great unwashed to find out about it and put pressure on their new councils to undertake this process.

It is also of great concern that the same Local Government Advisory Board that recommended doing away with wards, often in opposition to the proposals it was otherwise recommending, is now to sit in judgment on any proposals to establish wards in the new amalgamated Councils. I know that's what the Local Government Act says should happen, but the Act envisaged such proposals coming from local governments or the community. In this case, the LGAB would be sitting in judgment on a proposals directly counter to its own recommendations, which sounds like a conflict of interest to me.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

What Col Really Means ………

It's good to see disagreement between Barnett and Scaffidi, especially when it's over the City of Perth's claims for greater powers.

What Col really means, though, is that it's fine for State Government to take rights and powers away from local government - threats over planning and development decisions and removal of the democratic right to a poll on amalgamations, to name just a couple - but don't think that we're going to give anything back, even to the capital city.

Ah, well. The spat is amusing but the City of Perth Act is a deadly serious matter, especially for those of us who live in Vincent and want to stay living in Vincent.

And if we can't convince sufficient members of the WA Parliament that Vincent is worth saving (although the Upper House looks likely to reject the Bill at the moment), I hope we can at least persuade them to remove the egregious gerrymander or vote weighting that Col has threatened.

If the Act is passed complete with gerrymander, the WA Parliament will have forfeited any claim to supporting democracy and will be tarred with the Barnett/Simpson brush that denied most in Perth a vote on the future of their local governments.

Day 5. South Perth Halfway There. Kate Emery Gets It Wrong

Kate Emery is being lazy or very slow. The 17.45% return she quotes was as of only the third day (see table below). Even yesterday, when she presumably wrote her piece, it was up to 21.28% and today it's a quite healthy 24.25% after only 5 days.

If she did a bit of analysis (or read this blog) she'd know that three of the polls (actually affecting all three of the amalgamations) are on-track to get the 50% needed for the poll to be binding - and Kwinana is three-quarters of the way there.

After Day 5 (returns received by the Electoral Commission Thursday 22nd January):
- Kwinana has nearly three-quarters of the votes it needs for the poll to be binding. This is an outstanding performance.
- East Fremantle has well over half the votes needed.
- South Perth has half the votes needed.
- Victoria Park and Cockburn have around two-fifths of the votes needed. [Note correction here at 8.10pm Thursday 22nd January - previously said one-fifth - my error.]

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 4 of 16: Kwinana Looking Good

Kwinana looks good, with two-thirds the number of votes needed already returned. Cockburn not so good, but might not be required if Kwinana succeeds.

South Perth and East Fremantle are on-track but will need continuing work to get remaining electors engaged.

Victoria Park is on the low side, but might not be required if South Perth succeeds.

South Perth is pretty even across all four wards.