The structure of the Melbourne City Council is going to be put to the test early if a majority of the councillors fulfil their threat to vote against his plan to open up the already tram, 60 seat coach, delivery vehicle, taxi, limo, Police car, bicycle and skateboarder choked “Swanston Walk” to car traffic.
SWANSTON “WALK” TALK
The plan to open up Swanston Street is extremely contentious among Council staff who have presided over a multi-million dollar investment in converting it from a busy four lane thoroughfare into the current mess.
Local residents in inner-city Melbourne it seems will be strongly opposed to the change for the same reason they oppose an underground road tunnel that could take an enormous amount of car traffic out of the inner-city. Change is not popular with the Not In My Back Yard community.
That said, we doubt going back to the 1970s style of Swanston Street is wise. But those opposing Doyle’s plan would do well to consider that Swanston Walk is no such thing. It is neither fish nor fowl, it’s just foul. Those opposing Doyle need to do more than oppose his plan but to come up with a genuine solution. Far from the proud pedestrian boulevard it might be, it’s very ordinary indeed and can sometimes be busier than other CBD streets, often with menacing Greens Party voting bicycle riders at great speed who display callous disregard for the welfare of pedestrians.
Doyle recognises that it’s early days. He has time on his side to build a majority for proposals, all of which will need to be backed for the council bureaucracy for it to work.
PUTTING IT TO A VOTE
If Doyle can’t get a majority to agree, he’d do well to consider shaming them into it by putting it to a vote of the ratepayers.
While contemplating that he would do well to have a serious look at the integrity of the voting system currently in place. Some forty thousand people didn’t vote in this past election. That alone tells us that the process of auto-adding people to the voter roll, as the City currently does, without obtaining permission and the signature of the voter, is profoundly flawed.
So flawed that it undermines confidence in the whole process. How can we be sure that the votes of the auto-added are legitimate? It was a postal vote. Anyone could have cast the tens of thousands of votes issued to non-enrolled people.
There is no record of the signatures kept anywhere. Not with ASIC, they don’t. Not with the Office of Land Titles, they don’t. The council doesn’t either.
If Gary Morgan does what he has indicated he might, take the whole process to court, then it does seem quite likely that a judge could well order a comprehensive check of voter signatures, and if widespread voter fraud is detected, a new election.
If he doesn’t, Doyle can comfortably settle in for four years of what he describes as the “nirvana” of Town Hall administration, with a mostly left-leaning bureaucracy that doesn’t like to do what it’s told, predominantly Greens/Labor residents who will be watching their Liberal LM with great suspicion, councillors who seem to intensely dislike each other and the constant intrusion of Liberal factional politics on a lot of what they do, it sounds more the occasionally displeasing sounds of grunge band Nirvana than the Buddhist state of being free from suffering.