I was so focused working on the Queensland state election campaign, (relieved by the occasional brief break of feeling despondent about the Queensland state election campaign), that I didn’t get around to blogging about it. Now that that election is over – although counting is still being completed – it’s straight into the local government election campaign, with an extra serving of unexpected by-election happening in the seat of South Brisbane. But I’ll have a shot at blogging through this one and see how I go.
It was an extraordinary state election in more ways than one – a record annihilation of the Labor government, a person running for Premier (and winning) who wasn’t in the Parliament, Bob Katter’s party with a titular leader who wasn’t even running as a candidate at all; and then after polling day the sight of a party leader quitting the seat she had just won before all the votes had even been counted (and not long after saying she wouldn’t be quitting her seat), losing MPs trying to resign their seats before the count was completed in an (unsuccessful) attempt to run for local council, all while a person was officially sworn in as Premier before their election to Parliament had been officially decided.
And so on to the local government elections, the date for which had long been fixed for this coming Saturday 31 March – until the previous state government ‘unfixed’ the date and inserted the state election into their preferred date instead – while still cleverly setting the new date for local council elections so close to the state election that it not only severely stretched the resources and capacity of the Electoral Commission, which has to conduct both polls across the entire state, it also served to prevent a significant number of people from across the political spectrum from being able to put themselves forward as candidates at council level at all. It’s hardly surprising that local government often feels it is not treated seriously enough – one of many reasons why there is strong support for local government to be formally recognised in our national Constitution.
But local government is a big deal and has a big impact on many peoples’ lives and on our environment. And having lived my whole life in Brisbane, which has by far the largest population of an local government area in Australia, it is frustrating to see so little attention being paid to this electoral contest which only comes around once every four years.
So I’ve stepped into by putting myself forward as a candidate for Lord Mayor for the City of Brisbane with the Greens – not only the most people of any local government area in the country, but for the position which is voted on by the entire population of that city, making it the most populous single member electoral contest in the country. On this occasion, 673 827 people get to vote for the single position of Mayor (which is roughly the size of seven federal House of Representatives seats). I don’t have much chance of connecting with every single one of those people over the month left until polling day, but we’re certainly aiming to run a campaign which will raise valuable ideas and connect with the many people who are wanting to take a direct interest in what options are being put forward for the future of their city.
I usually try not to use this blog to spruik myself, but on this occasion I’m happy to encourage anyone who is interested in helping to send an email to Lord.Mayor@qld.greens.org.au indicating ways you might be able to help (including donating) or just start by popping over to my Facebook page and clicking on the Like button.