Stirling residents want clarity in wording of proposed referundum change in mayoral election process

Stirling residents want clarity in wording of proposed referundum change in mayoral election process

RESIDENTS have “serious concerns” with the “confusing” wording of a proposed referendum to change the way the City of Stirling mayor is elected.

Karrinyup resident Leisha Jack spearheaded a 600-signature petition in support of the people electing the mayor, rather than the councillors, earlier this year.

Ms Jack said the proposed wording for the October referendum presented at a City committee meeting on May 2 was confusing.

“I believe this question is confusing, I have run it past a few people and they don’t understand it,” she said.

“Most people do not understand the term ‘filling the office of Mayor’; this is Local Government legal speak from the Local Government Act.

“The general public would better understand the question if they used simple common words such as ‘elected’ of ‘decided’ or ‘vote’.”

WA councils can choose to adopt one of two systems for mayoral elections: voters directly elect the mayor or ward councillors decide.

The Stirling community and resources committee voted to consider how the question would be worded and referred the item back to the next council meeting for further debate.

The proposed referendum question recommended by the City: ‘Are you in favour of changing the method of filling the office of Mayor from ‘amongst the elected members themselves’ to ‘by the electors’?’

How will October referendum work?

– The referendum will coincide with the October local elections
– Residents will receive a ballot paper with their local government voting pack
– Electors will be invited to complete both ballots and return them to the City by 6pm on election day
– The count commences from approximately 6pm on election night, with the Councillor ballots being counted first and the results declared
– The referendum will be counted and a statement of results provided once complete and will coincide with the 2017 Local Government Elections timeline
– A report containing the statement of results of ballot for changing the method of electing the Mayor will need to be submitted to Council for their consideration and decision