Saturday 18 August 2007

Nebo and Bauhinia this weekend. Douglas next.

Nebo, west of Mackay (pop. 2,190), and Bauhinia Councils (pop. 2,644) have held what could only be called as symbolic polls this weekend. However, these will be damaging to Beattie, and may have some effect on Rudd's recent strong polling.

Rudd has been noticeably weak in defending the right of Councils to stand up for local wishes and at least have the right for local constituents to have their say on the issue.

On Saturday afternoon, Beattie withdrew his threat to fine or sack councils that undertook local votes on the council mergers.

However, the Local Government Association is still challenging that power in the Supreme Court on the grounds the laws are unconstitutional. Howard has also threatened to override the QLD legislation that gives the power to sack councils. He will cover the cost of ballots held by councils.
State Minister Fraser has confirmed that no action would be taken against councils. "The votes that are being conducted will not change any boundaries," Fraser said. "Howard's intervention did nothing but offer people false hope. He is not interested in the votes that occur in parts of Queensland. He is interested only in his own vote."

Last week Howard intervened and amended the Australian Electoral Commission Act to override any penalties the State may charge councils holding local votes, and giving the AEC responsibility for conducting the same.

Mick Borzi of Mareeba Shire says he will ask his council on Tuesday whether to hold a referendum. Mareeba, Eacham, Atherton and Herberton councils will be merged under Beattie's plan.

"To deny people the right to express their view in a referendum cuts across what our forefathers fought for to preserve our democracy," he said. "To ride roughshod over the people like this is totally unacceptable and if there was a referendum now to abolish the State [Government], I'd be one of the first to vote in favour of it."

The Local Government Association of Queensland has sought advice from a QC that the legislation passed last week was "unconstitutional". The association will continue its legal action appealing against the law. The LGAQ regards any threat of sacking council members for carrying out their lawful duty in representing their community, is unconstitutional.

It is expected that Douglas Shire will ask it's 8,000+ voters next weekend, on what they think about the planned merger with Cairns.

Meanwhile, Mayor Byrne has said he will run a poll on how he should dress up for the annual Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Early suggestions are Micky Mouse, Homer Simpson, George Dubbya Bush, and Amanda Vanstone.

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