I have a lot of time for Randwick Mayor Murray Matson. Over the years he has aggravated a number of people with the views he has advocated, particularly my labor colleagues on Randwick Council. However, like all views that come from the philosophical far left, they may seem aggravating and "way out there", but they are a break on decisions of policy makers, they force consideration of their views, and even if those views are rejected by the majority, it does makes for good public policy.
I do, however, take issue with Murray’s views about council voting systems. I am a firm believer that to be elected to a council you must be supported by the majority of electors. If the words of Abraham Lincoln at the “Gettysburg Address” are to mean anything then "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" cannot mean that someone like Murray Matson who was elected with 4.8% of Randwick City Council voters, can lead a city of more than 100,000 people.
In the City of Botany Bay, to have the honour to be elected Mayor or a Councillor on the voting system that applies in this city you need to be elected by a majority of voters. Murray calls it a “gerrymander”, I call it democracy.
To be Mayor of a City the size of Randwick City with less than 5% of the popular vote is not just a “gerrymander”, it is a voting system roughly equivalent to the voting system that elected Colonel Gaddafi, Fidel Castro or Robert Mugabe.
Murray should confine his remarks to his own constituency, or better still propose a referendum and see whether his own community supports his view. I will make him an offer. If Randwick Council has a referendum and asks their community whether they are happy having a Mayor that is elected with only 5% of the vote, I will ask mine whether they are happy to have councillors elected that do not have the support of the majority of the people. I wonder what those results would be?