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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Monday, March 13, 2017

Wipeout: Role of Forced Local Government Amalgamation Debacle

The count of the WA state election is not yet finalised, but it is clear that the Liberals have taken a hammering - so much so that, as Jessica Strutt has observed, hardly any (actually 3) of their lower house MPs have any experience of being in opposition. And of those, one has experience in Victoria not WA and another (Colin Barnett) is unlikely to stay very long.
There is already a lot of soul-searching among Liberals and comment (not really analysis) in the media, with common targets for blame being:
- the 'it's time' factor, coupled with Barnett's personal unpopularity
- the One-Nation preference deal
- the state's financial situation
- Roe 8/Perth Freight Link
- end of the mining boom
- Australia's highest unemployment
- failure of Barnett/Turnbull to address WA's GST return

All of these are important, but one thing has barely rated a mention and yet the decline in Liberal/Barnett fortunes can be traced back to it - that is the debacle of Barnett's local government so-called reform.

The duplicity of Barnett, having stated in the lead-up to the 2013 WA election that there would be no forced local government amalgamations and, moreover, forcing Tony Simpson into an embarrassing backdown after he stated that forced amalgamations were Liberal policy, kick-started a grass-roots protest that
- spread like wildfire across much of the metropolitan region, comparable to but more widespread than the Roe 8 protests;
- forced the Local Government Advisory Board to abandon all but one of the Minster for Local Government's proposals;
- resulted in three proposals being subject to binding polls that all resoundingly rejected forced amalgamations; and
- saw Barnett forced to backdown on all the amalgamations and, to use his words, "fly the white flag".

I attended many community meetings during that time and one common reaction was people's saying they had voted Liberal all their lives but would never vote Liberal at state level again.

And that is exactly what happened. As Antony Green has pointed out, a very large part of the precipitate fall in the Liberal primary vote went, not to protest parties such as One Nation, but directly to the ALP.

Look at the areas where the grass-roots protest movement really took hold (Kalamunda; Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Mundaring) and you will see a litany of seats previously held by the Liberals falling to Labor. From holding all of the hills seats, the Liberals now hold none.

Other areas (eg Cockburn; Kwinana) were already Labor but now look to be impregnable.

The seat of Perth (which includes most of the City of Vincent) has fallen back to Labor with a bang, no doubt mobilised by the highly-effective 'one-in, all-in' campaign initiated by then Mayor Alannah MacTiernan and strongly followed up by her successor (now member for Perth) John Carey. Barnett's intention to split the City of Vincent between Perth and Stirling and the strong community reaction against it no doubt put the seat of Perth from marginal Liberal to safe Labor.

Friday, March 3, 2017

More on coat of arms

I noticed, in passing today, that Eleni Evangel's billboard on Beaufort Street has had the state coat of arms covered over by a piece of blue plastic (which is nevertheless in danger of blowing off).

I don't know when the WA Today photograph (see my previous post was taken (although it is presumably recent for the story to benewsworthy), but covering up the coat of arms on the Beaufort Street billboard is tacit acknowledgment that its use was, at best, inappropriate.

I questioned the legality with the Electoral Commission, which replied (very quickly - perhaps indicating that I was not the first to raise the issue):

Use of ‘common badging’ and the State Coat of Arms during the caretaker period is a matter for the Department of Premier and Cabinet under Caretaker Conventions.The Electoral Act 1907 does not address the use of such images during campaign periods. 

The Caretaker Conventions do not specifically mention election advertising, but do state:
This would appear to exclude use of the State coat of arms for any other purpose, including election advertising.

Illegal(?) Political Advertising - misuse of WA coat of arms

First, a disclaimer. Although a long-term resident of the City of Vincent (since 1985), the recent changes to electoral boundaries has shifted me from Perth into Mt Lawley. Clearly, the electoral commission has the same lack of appreciation of 'community of interest' as the Local Government Advisory Board - Mt Lawley south of Walcott Street is very different from Mt Lawley north of it.

Nevertheless, I retain a close interest in the state seat of Perth - and the main candidates clearly support me in this, as I keep getting literature from both Eleni Evangel and John Carey - as well as, correctly, from Simon Millman and Michael Sutherland, candidates for Mt Lawley.

It has previously been reported that Eleni Evangel, member/candidate for Perth, has chosen not to use the Liberal brand in her billboard advertising - although her fliers do have the Liberal brand prominent.

What I do not recall seeing mentioned, however, is that she IS using the WA Government brand/cost of arms (see pic). Is this legal?
And while on the subject of political advertising, can we reduce visual pollution by restricting candidate-specific advertising to the candidate's own electorate. The billboards above are in the Perth electorate and Michael Sutherland should not inflict himself on all and sundry.