Re: Your story about candidate eligibility [Liverpool Champion, December 19]. Based on this, and previous, articles it appears Liverpool now has three non-resident councillors. Councillor Tony Hadchiti said: "If you want to represent a local government area you should be a ratepayer or a resident." I agree. But current rules, as per the Electoral Commission [elections.nsw.gov.au/Political-participants/Candidates-and-groups/Who-can-be-a-candidate], state you must be:
- at least 18 and an Australian citizen; and
- enrolled to vote in the council area.
Perhaps it’s time the political parties advise Liverpool voters if the candidates they’re nominating are non-residents in an open and transparent manner before elections. And also if three councillors are now non-residents then perhaps it’s time for a by-election so Liverpool voters can decide if they want to be represented by current non-resident councillors or by new local candidates.
Can a person with no connection to the area represent it? I don't think so. If you’re out of the area, you’re out of the council, too! Full stop!
But, Councillor Tony Hadchiti, is living just 500 metres out of the local government area OK or not? Well, if the current guidelines really state that if you want to represent a local government area you should be a ratepayer or a resident of that area and if anyone is eligible to stand for election as a councillor, even those who don’t live in the area, then for the rest of his term Tony most likely still can be a councillor. But I think all councillors should live in the area to be insiders, instead of outsiders, day in and day out, because councils are the basic bodies in our government structure and function and appropriate legislative regulations should be changed as soon as possible.
Can you see similarities in these further examples, at least to some degree. There’s no grey area, it’s an unambiguous regulation here: Can we just slightly exceed the permitted driving speed on a road? Can a driver when on a road just slightly exceed the permitted alcohol drinking limits? Can we tolerate a grey area? No, it’d only create more problems and ambiguity.
There’s a clear line and it’s supposed to be.