Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Time to reform local electoral laws

The government has indicated that he thinks its time to reform the Local Electoral Act. Good. We've known about the flaws in the Local Electoral Act for years, with regular stories about candidates circumventing transparency by using trusts, allowing deceitful (and in my local case, outright corrupt) behaviour. Learning that the law effectively allows candidates to lodge false declarations with impunity, as Banks did, is the icing on the cake.

This whole rotten edifice needs a thorough cleanout. We did that cleanout on a national level, with the Electoral Finance Act (whose enhanced transparency provisions and trust-busting were subsequently endorsed by National). We need to do it at a local level as well. And with local body elections coming up next year, this needs to be the government's top priority. The integrity of our local body elections is at stake; they cannot be allowed to dither.