Labor must abandon assault on council democracy

The LNP is warning that council elections across Queensland will be hit with higher costs and more confusion if Labor doesn’t abandon its plan to introduce compulsory preferential voting in local government polls.

Shadow Local Government Minister Ann Leahy said councils were overwhelmingly opposed to the plan and time was rapidly running out for Labor to introduce its politically-motivated reforms.

“Compulsory preferential voting is a desperate tactic being forced on every Queensland council to shore up Labor’s vote in Brisbane,” Ms Leahy said.

“Labor’s vote-rigging reforms are not backed by the CCC or the Local Government Association of Queensland.

“Parliament was promised a debate back in August, but Labor keeps kicking the can down the road in the hope that the criticism will go away.

“There are now only six months to go until council elections and they could be a democratic disaster if Labor tries to rush through its compulsory preferential voting plan.”

The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s answer to an LNP question-on-notice earlier this year revealed that the cost of council elections would increase from $17.2m to $27.4m under compulsory preferential voting.

The re-introduction of compulsory preferential voting system in the 2017 state election – reversing a Fitzgerald Report-era reform – saw the rate of informal voting more than double from 2.11% to 4.34%.

“Labor’s reforms will cost rate-payers more, cause more confusion among voters and have been rejected by Queensland councils,” Ms Leahy said.

“My message to Annastacia Palaszczuk is clear. Stop fixing the voting system and start fixing our roads and water infrastructure.”

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