To everyone that supported us in the recent election - thank you for your support and vote of confidence.
For the first time in our Council's short history, the community has elected two Labor voices to Armidale Regional Council - achieving an increase in the Labor vote by 5.2 per cent. We are looking forward to working cooperatively with the other community representatives who were elected. Our community has elected all of us, and I'm reminded voters never get it wrong.
I write this letter to clear the air and present some facts on the recently held election for Armidale Regional Council, and in response to some articles/ letters recently published by the Express.
Firstly, local government elections provide two ways for candidates to run - by forming a group, or running as an individual. Both of which are traditional ways for candidates to put themselves up for election. This also means that voters in our community can decide whether they vote above the line, or below the line. Above the line voting is a perfectly legitimate way for electors to vote. Nobody is wasting their vote by supporting groups or voting above the line.
As proud members of the Labor Party we ran a group ticket, which provided above the line voting, should people decide to vote that way. This in no way means that a voter can't vote below the line. The results show that there are members of the community that have similar values as the Labor Party, and would like to see members of the Labor Party elected to Council.
Secondly, voting above the line not a wasted vote; those votes flow down the group list as preferences. We decided to be transparent about who we wanted to preference and support, rather than do preference deals behind closed doors with other groups or individual candidates. Debra O'Brien and I achieved a combined quota of 1.94 or 16.1 percent of the final formal vote - I received 0.94 of a quota.
Thirdly, with preferential voting, its the final vote that matters and that's how all the candidates in the council have been elected, as it is preferences (and the results of behind the scenes preference deals) that helped the vast majority of councillors get elected. The Local Government Act specifies how candidates get elected, it is a quota system, not a first past the post system.
Fourthly, the order of election of councillors means very little now that we have all been elected. After all, each of us has one vote when we make decisions. Our community will be looking at what we can achieve over the next term to better the Armidale Regional Council area. I am look forward to working with all the newly elected councillors.
Fifthly, party politics is already a part of local government. There were people running in groups, and as individual candidates who stated their political party affiliations as part of their candidate information statements, yet not everyone mentioned this in any of their election material.
Lastly, as Labor Party members, we believe that the Armidale and Guyra communities support the qualities, abilities and policies we bring to Council, otherwise they would not have voted for us.
We could not be more transparent about the values we hold, and the political party of which we are members.
We are privileged and honoured by the trust the voters have placed in us to represent them on Council, you have spoken, and now it's time to get on with the job and start delivering for everyone in our community. Thank you .
Susan McMichael, Councillor-elect Armidale Regional Council
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.