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Council Column – 12 August 2021 – Deputy Mayor Tony Wallace

Aug 11, 2021

Eighteenth century Irish political philosopher, politician and statesman, Edmund Burke stated:

“But when the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service.”

This would appear most poignant at the current time. Whilst federal governments in Australia have achieved little in terms of policy in the last 10 to 15 years, the current Federal government seems to make an artform of surfing the populist tide, to the detriment of society. To name a few examples:  capital gains tax, GST and gun control were all areas of great contention and yet the governments of the day were brave enough to forge ahead and legislate for the betterment of all. The current government is barely able to manage a vaccine stroll out.

Just as national leaders ought not bow to populism, so it is at the local level too. Local government elections are now slated to be held on 4 December after having been delayed for a second time by the state government without consulting the elected Councillors. (It really just enforces that local government is a small department of the state government to be treated with contempt.) We need local leaders who make decisions because they are right and not just popular. The acumen to make better decisions is most usually brought about by being properly appraised of the facts and seeking as much information as possible. If a Councillor fails to attend any briefings or workshops during their tenure, it is impossible for them to be properly informed. Decision making will be poorer and outcomes will be sub optimal. Therefore, carefully consider who you will vote for on 4 December, and show that democracy can work. Alternatively, maybe Council ought to be a properly remunerated skills based board.

Deputy Mayor Tony Wallace