Tag Archives: Monash community

How To Vote – Preference Deals and Whisperers

There’s a Federal election coming soon and there’s a good deal of debate and confusion about preference distributions and the new Senate vote counting process.  This post, hopefully, will clear that up for some people and answer a few questions.  There’s more information in the FAQ section on the Australian Electoral Commission‘s website.

How Many Votes Are Needed To Be Elected?

In both the House of Representatives and the Senate the number required is calculated by the following formula:

q = 1 + f/(v+1)

Where “q” is the number of votes required (the quota), “f” is the number of formal votes cast and “v” is the number of vacancies to be filled.

In the Reps, there is only one vacancy to be filled (v=1) in a given seat so a candidate needs one vote more than half those cast – a simple majority.

In the Senate, we’ll be voting for 12 Senators from Victoria (v=12) so a candidate must get 1/13th of the formal votes plus one.  Once 12 candidates have that quota there will be 1/13th minus 12 votes available which means nobody else can beat those already elected.

How Are Votes Counted?

In order to achieve a quota all formal ballot papers are distributed to the candidate allocated the number 1 on the paper (the first preference) and then counted.  If no candidate has achieved the quota above, the candidate with fewest votes is eliminated and those papers are distributed to the remaining candidate with the next lowest preference.

In the Reps, the process continues thus until a single candidate has an absolute majority and there it stops.

In the Senate, it’s a little more complicated because we need to elect more than one Senator.  So, once a candidate attains a quota s/he is declared elected but any excess votes beyond the quota are redistributed at reduced value.  If this didn’t happen, there would not be enough votes in the pool to create 12 quotas.  (You can find the full explanation on the AEC website here: http://aec.gov.au/Voting/counting/senate_count.htm.)

So, let’s say the quota is 10 000 votes and Ms Bloggs achieves her quota but has 12 000 votes at that stage.  The 2000 “surplus” votes are redistributed to other, as yet unelected candidates.  But which 2000?  In fact, all 12 000 papers are now redistributed to the next preferred candidate but at a reduced value of s/q where “s” is the surplus; in this case, the transfer value would be 2000/10 000 or 0.2 – every one of Ms Bloggs’ papers would be redistributed at one fifth of its value to other candidates.

Counting continues eliminating unsuccessful candidates and redistributing their votes and the fractional surpluses of elected Senators until all 12 vacancies have been filled.

You Can’t Waste Your Vote!

It’s the redistribution process which ensures YOUR vote is not wasted if you choose an unsuccessful candidate.

Let’s say you have strong views on a specific issue and there’s an independent candidate standing on that particular issue.  “Single issue” candidates are rarely successful but if one represents your view you can indicate that to whoever is ultimately elected by giving your champion your first preference.  On the assumption that your champion is eliminated, your vote then goes to your next preference so you still influence which of the more likely contenders is elected but they receive the hint that there’s an important issue to which they should attend in the electorate.

It should be noted that in the Senate, if you select only the minimum number of preferences required (see below) and all those candidates are eliminated, your vote will be “exhausted” and won’t contribute to electing a senator.  You should consider the chances of your preferred candidates being successful when deciding how many votes to cast above or below the line since only YOU ultimately determine where your preferences go.

Party Preference Deals and Your Preference

Much has been made in recent days of preference deals being done between Labor and Liberal Parties to put each other ahead of The Greens.  Both of the major parties are worried they may not win government in their own right and may have to rely on preferences but neither likes the idea of a third party spoiling their duopoly.  You will see these deals reflected in their respective “How to Vote” cards.

“How to Vote” cards are parties’ suggestions to voters.  Apparently about 75% of voters follow HTV cards, there’s absolutely no obligation to do so – YOU number the boxes on YOUR ballot paper and YOU should do so according to YOUR preference for the various candidates and/or their parties.

In the Reps, you number ALL candidates according to your preference.

In the Senate you must number either AT LEAST six boxes above the line (there are 38 boxes plus a column of independents this year!) or AT LEAST 12 candidates below the line.  If you number only six boxes above the line and you don’t include one of the three major parties (ALP, LNP coalition or Greens) you’ll only nominate about 12 candidates and your vote will probably be exhausted before all senators are elected.  Similarly, if you choose only 12 candidates from the smaller parties below the line.  If you don’t want votes going to the major parties and you want to maximise your influence, mark more boxes.

Why, and How, Has Senate Voting Changed – The Preference Whisperer?

At the last Senate election a number of minor candidates and parties got together with a “preference whisperer”.  They agreed on a series of “group voting tickets” which were so constructed that a single “1” vote above the line (the old way of voting) channelled all their preferences to the same place.  As each of these less likely candidates were eliminated their votes flowed together to elect, most famously, Senator Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party.

Some people have argued that this meant he was elected on fewer first preferences than others who were eliminated and that’s true.  However, it’s also true that a full “quota” of voters indicated, whether they knew it (having researched their nominated party’s group voting ticket) or not, they would rather have him than anyone else.

Under the new Senate voting rules parties are no longer permitted to create group voting tickets and votes at the top of a column distribute preferences down the column then stop – a party or group on the ballot paper cannot cause preferences to flow to any other party or group.  This makes it somewhat harder for minor candidates to get elected but it also makes it clear to voters exactly where your vote is going.  Some candidates have formed voting blocs already to be listed in the same column – that’s legal and it’s transparent to voters.

It’s worth noting too that if you want to vote for the “ungrouped” independent candidates in the Senate, firstly they are at the far right of the ballot paper and, secondly, you must vote below the line as they don’t have a box above the line.

Who Are the Monash Candidates?

The City of Monash is in Victoria for the Senate.  You can find the list of all 38 groups and 16 independent Senate candidates on the AEC site here.

Four House of Representatives seats overlap the City of Monash boundaries: Bruce, Chisholm, Higgins and Hotham.


The declared candidates for each of the electorates are shown below in the order in which they will appear on the ballot paper.


Researching the Candidates

Later this week I hope to write an open letter to all candidates listed above and invite them to comment on issues of importance to readers of this blog.  Their answers will be published verbatim and without commentary.

Issues for their feedback will come from any comments received on this post and questions about Aged Care, Refugees and Immigration, and Environment policy.


Glen Waverley traffic congestion: flaws in Council plan

I hear many community members saying there is no point spending time responding to Monash Council’s call for feedback on plans for the Glen Waverley Activity Centre.  “Council have already decided”, “They will do what they want” and “I don’t have time.”  These are understandable views on the current situation.  I have been asking why I should give so much time to writing submissions and reports when the community view is rarely acted upon.

One Monash resident, Lynnette Saloumi, is commended by Empowering Monash & YOU for the endless hours she has put in for the purpose of making Glen Waverley a liveable city.  There is no doubt Glen Waverley is currently at risk of becoming traffic jammed, over-crowded and disconnected.

Lynette has given EM&U permission to print her response to Monash Council’s traffic model plan.  She points out many discrepancies and inconsistencies, highlighting the issues that will arise if the Council plan goes ahead. She concludes with the view constructing the Ring Road, according to the Council’s plans, would not satisfy Local Government (Best Value Principles) Act 1999.

STOP PRESS: Murray Nicholas’s response to the same Council document has been added below.  Murray is an active EM&U supporter and we also commend him for the work he does for the Glen Waverley community.

Lynette & Murray’s reports and the Monash Council document they responded to have been attached below.  Click on the title to open a document.

Traffic Modelling C120 Monash Submitter 24 Response (PDF 1789KB)
Community member’s response to Monash Council (published with permission)

Planning Panel Submissions 13 and 43
Community  member’s response to Monash Council (published with permission)

Copy of (DOC-16-51593) — Monash C120 Traffic modelling information requested by Panel (PDF 766KB)
Monash Council’s Traffic modelling for Glen Waverley.

Click on the Comment button at the top of the page to leave your response.

Residential Zoning Winners or Losers

Monash City Council has proposed changes to the city’s planning scheme.  The changes are formally known as Amendment C125.

Don’t assume your silence will be considered as support for the proposals!  Have your say and make sure your views are known – you can be sure others will and you might not like what they say!

Another One Bites the Dust!

During the October meeting, a motion to adopt the proposed changes to the planning scheme was deferred for further consultation.  You can read more about it on Council’s planning information page.

Prior to the October council meeting there were a number of community information sessions which were fairly well attended by opponents of the amendments.  Council also received a considerable number of submissions opposing the amendments.

When we attended some of the information sessions it was mentioned to us that either those who supported the amendments were very few and far between or they were not commenting because they assumed their silence would be taken as assent to the changes.  Officers at the information sessions and councillors at tonight’s meeting made the point very clearly that if you support the changes you must take advantage of this consultation period to say soyour silence will NOT be considered as a vote in favour of the amendment.  It goes without saying that people opposed to the amendment are not silent – there was a very vocal section of the public gallery present to object in October.

Changes proposed in C125 restrict the density of development within what are called “Neighbourhood Residential Zones”.  They also restrict the percentage of an allotment which can be built on, impose larger than before rear setbacks (you won’t be allowed to build right up to the back fence) and set minimum percentages of a site which must be water permeable (grassed, gardens etc.) rather than sealed to cause rainwater runoff.  See more, in great detail, at Council’s dedicated web site.

Consider whether the restrictions on development might be good or bad for you:

  • will they reduce your property value by preventing you subdividing to build multiple dwellings or will they boost your property value by ensuring your neighbour’s property doesn’t become an apartment block overlooking and overshadowing your back yard?
  • what will be the effect on parking in your street if the amendment goes through or is wound back?  Will you still be able to get in and out of your driveway?
  • will the canopy tree requirements provide you and your neighbourhood with a green, shady environment or will they just be a nuisance dropping leaves in your gutters?
  • will the permeability requirements stop you developing your outdoor living space as you choose or will they protect you from stormwater runoff from your uphill neighbours’ properties?  Can your street’s gutters and drains cope if everybody paves their whole block and directs rainwater to the street?
Hooray and Up She Rises!

I know that between my home in Glen Waverley and my office in Syndal, a 2.5km walk, I pass three sites on which one developer wishes to build a total of fifteen dwellings.  And those are only sites where planning permits are required to be advertised.  On the same route in the past three weeks at least six sites are being developed into McMansions and another three sites have been bulldozed from fence to fence.  I can repeat those statistics on each of a number of alternative routes to work.



No Jargon, Plain English! – An inexpensive solution for Monash Council

Council information jargon
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you seen this article?

Monash Council needs gun communications expert to decipher planning jargon into ‘plain English’. Monash Leader Mayor Paul Klisaris says Monash Council might have “lost some people’s interest” with jargon in the first mail-out.  – Source: Monash Council needs gun communications expert to decipher planning jargon into ‘plain English’ 

Perhaps Monash council should have joined the ‘Drop the Jargon’ day and pledged to use plain language! This day was for professionals, health services and local governments to challenge themselves to use plain language.  www.dropthejargon.org.au  

Monash council needs to understand what community consultation and engagement is, as if they did they would have asked the community if a communications expert is needed or the best option to help the community understand information or plans provided to them.

This is what I propose!

Why waste funds on hiring a communications expert when there is a simple way to communicate information to the community?

The best way to provide information to the community is to implement or commence a Community Information Reference Group. Community members can join to review information, including budget and proposed planning documents to ensure that fact sheets are written in plain English and cater to all consumers or community members. This way the community will understand the information provided to them and can have a say. The council can follow examples from health/community services which already provide information, that is accessible and easy to understand and reviewed by community members as part of the Standard 2: Partnering with Consumers. 

A great example is what Link Health and Community has introduced. Their publications or information are reviewed and approved by consumer members. They also have a vital role in producing their quarterly magazine to ensure that it is in a format that is suitable for community members.  

Other Councils such as Mitchell Shire Council have prepared plans in consultation with the community and developed in a format to communicate to community in a clear way. Link: Wallan Structure Plan, Mitchell Shire Council

Review Council Information
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This option would be more cost effective as well as Council consulting and engaging with the community. Hiring a communications expert would only assist short time and will not cater to the changing diversity and demographics of the community. Community members are the experts! They are the ones that will read the information provided to them!

Council could commence a long term transparent Information Reference or Working Group and consider these points:

  • Diverse community members should have input in reviewing information or plans to ensure all are catered for
  • Run informal meetings monthly or what members prefer to review items and ensure there are no barriers for members of the group to attend and participate
  • Members to have input on the planning and delivery of information to the public
  • A community engagement officer to facilitate the meetings and take notes or record of discussions, but members should have authority over the decision making
  • Councillors should be invited to the group to listen and seek advice, not as members of the group, as this will ensure community members will have unbiased feedback and authority over discussions and decisions
  • Members to decide on guidelines that are suitable for the committee and reviewing information

Info standing man EM&U Stuart MilesLinks to more info:

Example of a plain English guide

Victorian Government Accessible Communication Guidelines

Communicating data with Colour: a guide to producing accessible maps and visual data

Communicate Clearly – A Guide to Plain English

The challenges of communicating the law to the public

Accessible Communication Guides – Whitehorse Council

Darebin’s Inclusive Communications Charter

Wyndham Cruiser – Wyndham Council

Central Car Park development could pave the way for cultural inclusivity

Recently I met Joseph at a Monash Council session on developing an Age Friendly city. It was remarkable to discover we were each working with other people to develop plans with the same overall intent: to improve the quality of life in Glen Waverley and surrounds by developing an open space on the current Central Car Park.

The plans differ in minor respects but they have strong common themes:

  1. The Central Car Park area should not be built on but left open and used by the people of Monash
  2. An open space has huge potential for bridging gaps between diverse cultural groups across all age groups in Monash
  3. Concentrated high rise development in Glen Waverley could have adverse effects on the community and the environment
  4. The community needs to be active in developing plans for such an area.

Click on the link below to access Joseph’s plan

PROPOSAL Of Building MONASH MULTICULTURAL SQUARE For An All Ages Friendly City (including community feedback) on 26th March 2015 by Joseph Qiangfu Jin with community input

Green Waverley:  the healthy alternative plan

The Green Waverley: the healthy alternative is still being developed. Email your ideas for this plan to  EMonashU@gmail.com.

Green Waverley promotes a green public space on the existing Central Car Park
Green Waverley promotes a green public space on the existing Central Car Park

Related Links: Please Monash, may we have some green space?

Important community sessions for the aged – be there!

Are YOU going to one of the forums listed below?  Consider who are the aged for whom the Council is creating a friendly community.  The aged include many who cannot speak for themselves: elderly people who are isolated, disabled or  in residential aged care.

Do YOU know someone who needs YOU to speak out on their behalf?

Monash Council complaint re Today Tonight not upheld by ACMA

Save Monash Gardens & Save Elizabeth Gardens

Monash City Council’s complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority about Today Tonight’s coverage of the proposed sale of Monash Gardens and Elizabeth Gardens was not successful.

In 2013 Today Tonight ran three segments on the community’s protest against the Monash Council’s proposal to sell aged care residents.  The segments were very successful in informing the community of the protest.  They included interviews with residents directly affected by the sale.

Issues raised were:

Issue 1: Provoke or perpetuate intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against a person on the ground of age and/or gender

Issue 2: Portray in a negative light by placing gratuitous emphasis on age and/or gender

Issue 3: Accuracy

A. Statements that are not factual e.g. 

Councillors are ‘cowardly’, ‘sneaky’, ‘have reached a new low that is disgusting’, conduct themselves with ‘democracy, Monash style’, ‘ignore’ and ‘fob’ ratepayers, and are motivated by ‘money’, ‘greed’…

View original post 572 more words

MONASH COUNCIL – Listening posts or Sticky posts?

‘Sign in the Garden’ post image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net ‘Very busy man’ sticky notes image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey 2014 revealed that Monash Council needed to improve in community Consultation & Engagement and Communication. Due to this, the council has decided to hold ‘listening posts’ in different areas for the community to have an opportunity to raise issues or provide feedback. For those of you who do not know what ‘listening posts’ are, it means Council staff members will attend different areas where the community will be able to approach them and raise any concerns they have.

There will be a ‘listening post’ on Sunday 20 July 8am – 1pm at Mulgrave Farmers Market. This is your chance to inform the Councillors or council staff members of any concerns you have. Don’t forget to bring your ‘sticky notes’!

Other Listening Posts will be held:

Thursday 31 July, 3.30 – 6.30 pm
The Glen level 2

Saturday 2 August, 10.30 – 12.30 am
Holmesglen Reserve Ashwood

Saturday 23 August, 10.30am  – 12.30pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

Wear your EM&U name badge to the Listening Posts to help spread the news about our group.  If you do not have one email EMonashU@gmail.com.

If you really want them to listen you can try this!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigtialPhotos.net
               Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigtialPhotos.net

Do you think it will be ‘listening posts’ or ‘sticky posts’?  Come along and see for yourself!


STOP Monash Council’s CASH GRAB – today last day for budget submission

If you have made a submission to Monash Council re the Draft Budget:

We invite you to add it to this post using ‘leave a comment’ above or to email it to EMonashU@gmail.com for us to publish on this site.

If you have not yet made a submission to Monash Council re the Draft Budget you need to do so TODAY (30 May).

You may use the submissions below as examples.

Be at Council on 10 June 7.30 pm to support people presenting their submissions.

Example 1: My submission

To: Monash Council Attention: Dr Andi Diamond
Re: Submission re Draft Budget 2014 – 2015

Firstly I would like Council to note I support:

  • the case put forward by Cr Robert Davies that a rate rise at a time the Council is ‘cashed up’ is not necessary. He has stated a 3% rise in rates will allow services and investments to continue but the Council’s profit will decrease to $m5


I have seen no evidence that the Council has considered the welfare of its constituents.

In preparing this budget the Council needs to consider such factors as:

  • the effect on Monash constituents of the spate of redundancies over the last two years e.g. University of Melbourne, Channel 10 and more.
  • the difficulties faced by Monash’s ageing population trying to re-enter the workforce
  • young adults, including university graduates, who cannot find a career position, or even work of any kind
  • The severe impact of the federal budget, should it proceed, on this community e.g. doctors’ fees, reduced benefits, cuts in services and more
  • other economic impacts on the welfare of the community

In short the Council should look more closely at the community’s ability to pay. That a 6% rise was planned a few years back is far less relevant. In fact good management is to evaluate and review plans not stick them in place like bricks and mortar.

Monash has suffered in hard economic cycles before. At times the media has featured reports of increased requirements for food parcels and other supplies to help families in the mortgage belt. Is this how you want Monash families to live? Is this how you want to welcome migrants to Monash?

Yes, it is great to have modern buildings and facilities for the community to use but may I caution you on the following:
Buildings and facilities are not the fabric of a healthy and well functioning community
The community does not want Council sitting on bags of money – their money. They expect a more break- even scenario
Great facilities are only worthwhile when they are affordable and if you need to raise rates above the CPI they are not affordable.
I sincerely hope future rate capping by the State Government will stop Councils living beyond the Community’s means, as Monash is currently planning to do.

I urge Council to involve Community members much earlier in the budget planning process. Handing out a practically finished product and then ticking the boxes on community feedback is not genuine consultation. Stop sitting back and waiting for the community to come to you – get out there and find the community to communicate on their ground in their frames of reference. Use the IAP2 spectrum at the highest levels and you will discover a whole new world of community engagement.

I would like to reserve my right under the Local Government Act to speak to this submission on 10 June.

Example 2: Murray’s submission

I note that Council has expressed concern about the impact of reductions in the FAGs this year. It was stated at the May Ordinary Council Meeting that this will cost Monash approximately $120k.
I note that Council’s Draft Sustainable Transport Plan (Part 2, Appendix 1) show the Euneva Ave car park has, at peak occupancy, approximately 250 vacant parking spaces.
I note that Council has been repeatedly lobbied to allow commuters access to the Euneva Ave car park and those lobbying have indicated a willingness to pay for the privilege.

At a rate of $5/day, Council could earn $1300pa on each parking permit issued for commuter parking in Euneva Ave car park. At this rate, even keeping a reserve of 60% of the currently unutilised parking spaces, council has the capacity to cover the FAG losses and generate a positive return on the investment made.

This proposal has been rejected on the grounds that the car park utilisation will rise. There’s no reason to expect a 150% increase in utilisation this financial year. At the end of the 2014/15 financial year the FAGs position may have changed and the situation can be reviewed. If there is no utilisation pressure, the revenue stream can continue and can assist in providing downward pressures on rates to keep the average rate even lower than all other councils in Victoria. By the time utilisation patterns change the state government has promised to build multi-deck parking at Syndal and the commuters can be redirected there.

This is a win for all concerned: commuters get temporary parking pending construction at Syndal, ratepayers get a return on their investment and a possible reduction in rate increases and council offsets losses in FAGs while still advocating for their restoration.

Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing & REGRET IT!

It’s Budget Planning Time in Monash

Is this YOU?

image courtesy of artur84 freedigitalphotos
images courtesy of artur84 freedigitalphotos

Then risk paying more in Council rates and fees!

risk paying more in rates and Council fees

It’s happened before!
In April 2014 we were hit with rises in pet registration fees.  This increase should have been picked up and acted upon when the budget was passed by Council in June 2013.  Are there other times you have found out with hindsight that there was something you should have acted on?

It’s time for the community to LOOK closely at the budget plan, ASK questions and have their SAY.  YOU need to let the Council know what the community they serve expects in the budget.

Timeline for Action:


LOOK at the draft budget, ASK questions and HEAR others’ comments, SAY what you need to in a submission to Council, letters to the local paper etc

Wednesday 21 May 6.30 pm Glen Waverley, or
Thursday 22 May 2 pm Oakleigh

Attend one of the budget information sessions being run by Council.
Further Information: http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/publications/budget.htm#sessions

Friday 23 May pm

Check Monash Council web site to see what is on agenda for next meeting:  http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/reports/index.htm

Monday 26 May

Submit questions for Tuesday, 27 MayCouncil Meeting Public Question Time by 12 noon Monday 26 May: http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/council/public.htm

Tuesday 27 May 7.30 pm

Be in the Public Gallery for the Monash Council monthly meeting:
Monash Civic Centre
293 Springvale Road, Glen Waverley Victoria, 3150

Wednesday 28 May 7.30 pm St Leonards Glen Waverley

Attend the EM&U meeting and ask questions about the budget and other Council matters to Cr Robert Davies
Further Information: https://monashandyou.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/emu-inaugural-meeting-28-may-rsvp-required/

Friday 30 May

This is the closing date for submissions about the budget to Council.
Further Information:  http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/publications/budget.htm#submission

Tuesday 10 June 7.30 pm

Be at Council to present your submission or to support other community members who have made submissions.