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Wards and Ridings

The Editor. A writer has asked why Eurobodalla Shire Council did away with wards in the early 1980? Council didn’t, the State Government did. In its dismissal of the council then the State Government, among other things, banned the council from using a ward system because of the way Council had been using it. The Council had A (Batemans Bay), B (Moruya) and C (Narooma) riding committees, each with three councillors elected in those areas and with their meetings having a quorum of two. There was agreement that the whole council would accept the recommendations of individual riding committees on matters relating to their areas, and that meant council’s decisions were often based on the backing of two, not nine, councillors.

There were other reasons for the dismissal but unfortunately the inspector’s report on which it was based was not tabled in Parliament and therefore did not have Parliamentary privilege so they could not be published.

There can be arguments as to the pros and cons of riding-based elections though such a system is not based on the abilities of candidates and simply on where they live. It is the way riding systems may be manipulated that is the main problem, as has been shown here. Eric Wiseman, Moruya.


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