For immediate release
Statement from the Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately
Application to VCAT regarding the Manningham City Council, Koonung Ward election
The Victorian Electoral Commission recently appeared before the Municipal Electoral Tribunal to respond to an application for an inquiry into the validity of the 2016 Manningham City Council, Koonung Ward election.
The application to the Municipal Electoral Tribunal was made by Stella Yee, a candidate in that election, and focused on the validity of the VEC’s notice of entitlement for that election.
The Municipal Electoral Tribunal handed down its decision on 30 June 2017, declaring the Koonung Ward election void and ordering a further election to be held for the ward. The Municipal Electoral Tribunal found that the notice of entitlement had “failed to properly inform, or may have actively misled, non-citizen resident ratepayers as to their eligibility to enrol to vote.” The VEC has appeared before the Tribunal throughout the inquiry, and has maintained the position that the notice of entitlement was fully compliant with the requirements of the Local Government Act 1989.
After reviewing the Tribunal’s reasons for voiding the election, there appears no reason for the VEC to change its position. I am completely satisfied that the notice complies with the legislative requirements and I remain strongly of the view that the notice does not “actively mislead” any person.
Accordingly, I will shortly apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of the decision to void the election. This avenue of review is available under the Local Government Act 1989 and provides the proper process for the matter to be examined further.
There is a seven day period before the decision to declare the election void comes into effect. Any review application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal within that period stays the requirement for a further election while the review is considered.
As the application is now before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the VEC is unable to make any further comment on the application.
Warwick Gately AM
Friday 30 June 2017
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Director, Communication and Engagement
Victorian Electoral Commission
Phone: (03) 8620 1239