Single member wards undermine grass roots democracy
DCAN has called on the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews to suspend the implementation of single member wards under the Local Government Act following recent revelations about the conduct of the former minister for Local Government, Mr Adem Somyurek. DCAN believes that the former Minister's reported behaviour has undermined the trust that Victorians can place in the changes made to the Victorian Government Electoral Act under his watch.
Controversy broke out when the former Minister first unveiled plans to move nearly all of the State’s councils to a single member ward system. This was against the advice of the independent Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC). In addition, the Municipal Association of Victoria, two thirds of Victorian Councils, local government women’s advocates and members of the minister’s own mayoral advisory panel were against the changes. There is ample evidence that single member wards discourage independents, women and minority candidates from running in "winner-takes-all contests".
In Darebin we have seen the consequences of one Party dominating the Council for many years, ending up in allegations of corruption and several years of administration. The VEC’s scathing commission of inquiry into the dysfunctional Geelong City Council found single councillor wards “had the effect of undermining good governance”. They compromised decision making by “trading off decisions for the common good in favour of ward interests” and distorted resource allocation and “rational priorities”.
DCAN fully supports Darebin's independent Mayor, Councillor Susan Rennie in calling for a reconsideration of the single-member ward system. We want to see a vibrant, independent Darebin Council with a diversity of representatives from the community. We call on the Premier to give us confidence in our democratic processes by suspending the changes until a full review has taken place.
Please join our campaign by emailing your concerns to the Premier: [email protected], the Minister for Local Government: [email protected] and local State Members of Parliament.
Climate Emergency Defined
Very soon it may be too late to avoid the risk of runaway climate change and its devastating consequences. This report from Breakthrough explains what a climate emergency is. It looks at the evidence about the scale, timing and urgency of the risk and concludes that we must act now.
Two new reports
Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach is a new report by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop. The foreword is by retired Australian navy admiral, Chris Barrie AC. The authors use a scenario analysis approach to vividly convey the catastrophic impacts we could face by 2050 if we are slow to act on the climate emergency. The report has had more than half a million views within the first week, indicating the level of concern about the risk we face of the collapse of human civilisation.
Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode: Introducing the Climate Emergency Movement is an update on the influential paper by Margaret Klein Salamon from Te Climate Mobilization in the United States. It was originally published in April 2016, and it introduced a new paradigm for climate action: emergency mode. Margaret argues that, in order to protect humanity and the living world, the climate movement must tell the truth about the climate emergency, and act as though that truth is real — employing emergency communications, militant tactics, and demanding an emergency mobilization from the government and all society, as the policy response. In the three years since publication, her recommendations have been largely adopted by several new climate groups — Extinction Rebellion, School Strikers, Sunrise Movement, and more — leading to tremendous breakthroughs. This 2019 update combines the theoretical discussion of emergency mode with an overview of the young but fierce Climate Emergency Movement.
Don't Mention the Emergency?
As climate catastrophe looms ever closer, some opinion leaders still hold fast to the view that we must not mention the seriousness of our plight for fear of demoralising people.
But how could we explain to our children, in some dystopian future of runaway global warming, that we held back from telling the truth at a time when human action could still have made a difference? It’s time to talk honestly about the climate emergency and what we need to do to save human civilisation and the precious eco-systems on which we depend.
Download ‘Don’t mention the emergency?’ and give a copy of the booklet to others in your local networks.
Contact the author, Jane Morton at [email protected] if you would like her to lead a group discussion on climate emergency messaging, or if you would like hard copies of the booklet for an event.
Put climate first in the Northcote by-election
Use your vote this state election to call for emergency climate action. Here are the Vote Climate scorecards for Northcote & Preston districts as well as the North Metro Region.
New report says act now or face the consequences
"Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences” says Hans Schellnhuber in the foreward to a new groundbreaking critique of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) written by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop. What Lies Beneath - The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk is essential reading for everyone concerned about the lack of action on climate change and what we are up against.
Help us letterbox Batman
Here's our Vote Climate scorecard for the Batman by-election which is being held on the 17th March 2018. This election will be very close and every vote will count. Please help us get the message out - we need strong political representatives and parties who will take action on the climate emergency. Send us an email to find out where you can pick up the scorecards and maps for letterboxing.
Northcote Vote Climate scorecard
The Northcote by-election Vote Climate scorecard shows how all twelve candidates compare on action on the climate emergency. Local groups, including Darebin Climate Action Now, are delivering the scorecard to all 30,000 households in the electorate.
Supporting declaration of a climate emergency
Eight of the twelve candidates in the Northcote by-election are supporting the call to declare a climate emergency: Bryony Edwards (independent – Save the Planet), Lidia Thorpe (Greens), Clare Burns (Labor), Joseph Toscano (independent), Russell Hayward (independent), Nevena Spirovska (independent), Nina Lenk (Animal Justice Party) and Laura Chipp (Reason).
The campaign is supported by eminent people from across the political spectrum including John Hewson (past Liberal opposition leader), Carmel Lawrence (past Labor premier of Western Australia), Rob Oakshott (past federal independent) and Christine Milne (past leader of the Greens). Read more here.
Join the campaign by signing on here.