Your Say: Ward system "diminished" democracy

Who was the politician/bureaucrat who had the final say in implementing “the ward system”?

For 100 years or so, Dubbo has had an effective system of democratically electing its councillors whereby all voters had the opportunity to vote for any or all candidates of their choice to represent them at the local government level.

The “ward system” is a bastardisation/diminished and myopic form of democracy that was foisted upon we the people last Saturday [September 9].

Any time an open, simple and relatively easy system of democratically electing our city councillors is replaced by a complicated sham form of democracy whereby the people are restricted to voting for only two candidates instead of the full range of candidates, we are setting ourselves up for erosion of democratic rights.

Congratulations to the candidates who were brave, hardy and generous of their time and money to put themselves up for our scrutiny – they were denied our ability to vote for them as they lived in a different block or street than what we do. This is a grave injustice to those candidates.

In the words of the much-decorated WWII Aussie heroine, Nancy Wake (the White Mouse) shortly before she died: “If you don’t watch your politicians you will lose your freedoms.”

I feel that this ward system, because it restricts our choices of representation, has proved her statement to be correct.

There were other ways and forms of democracy that we were never given the opportunity to peruse, we did not need this demasculated form of democracy.

When simple processes are replaced with complicated and restrictive forms of procedure, vulnerability to mistakes are amplified, informal votes are increased and lower voter turnouts are evident.

Once again, congratulations to those candidates who are now councillors, their huge efforts have now been rewarded, despite the hurdles.

May this sham form of democracy be repealed and not happen again.

Michael Morandini, Dubbo

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