Sunday, 14 October 2012

Boroondara Council 2012 Election Candidate Survey

Press Release October 10

Council candidates use wonky “Winky Pop” to dodge questions

A wonky excuse is being used by council candidates to evade stating their policies, says local climate action group Lighter Footprints.

Many candidates have responded to a Lighter Footprints survey, asking candidates’ policies on climate change, environmental health and sustainability. Six candidates have claimed that a precedent set in the “Winky Pop” legal case prevents potential councillors from expressing views on specific issues prior to election.

This excuse is preventing voters from knowing those candidates’ policies on climate change and sustainability - one of the biggest issues facing Council. And this is not the only community group whose survey has been spurned.

“Voters are being denied their right to know where these candidates stand on important issues,” Lighter Footprints Convenor Carolyn Ingvarson said.

“It is clearly absurd and undemocratic to use the Winky Pop legal case to avoid being open with voters. Winky Pop related to a councillor making a formal independent objection to a planning committee and then sitting on that committee when it ruled on his objection.

Using such a ruling to avoid answering broad policy questions when standing as a candidate for election is not supported by the Victorian Local Governance Association.*

Their advice on this issue is to follow proper processes and to be open to arguments rather than closed. It does prevent candidates or councillors outlining their own views.

Candidates all round Victoria including in Boroondara have been answering community surveys, and behaving professionally in doing so. One might be forgiven for asking whether there may be other reasons for not answering these surveys.”

Fourteen of the 38 candidates (26%) have completed the Lighter Footprints survey. (The full results are available on www.lighterfootprints.org.)

Those who answered the survey were supportive of a range of strong actions to improve sustainability and environmental health in the city. There were significant differences between candidates in the ways they showed a commitment to these principles through what they had done to date.

Best responses on climate change action, environmental heath and sustainability from candidates in each ward were:

Bellevue – Jim Parke
Cotham - Theo Bila
Gardiner – Coral Ross
Glenferrie – James Searle
Junction – Meredith Butler
Lynden – Heinz Kreutz
Maling – Peter Campbell
Solway – Kevin Chow

No responses from Studley or Maranoa

Six candidates cited the Winky Pops case as the basis for not responding - Philip Healey(Studley), Jack Wegman(Junction), Simon Phipps(Bellevue), Judith Voce(Cotham), Erika Wilke(Solway) and Steve Wolf (Gardiner).

More information on the case, as presented by the Victorian Local Governance Association, can be found at:

*http://www.vlga.org.au/Resources/Library/Good_Governance_Grab_Pre-apprehension_Winky_Pop.aspxI.

Here are some summaries from our survey:

Where the respondents came from.








Strong support for climate change issues and Council playing its part.

We are all agreed! Efficient use of energy and renewable energy sources are important to us.























Transport has an important role in emissions reduction.












Question 8 in the survey was in seven parts and relates to aspects of renewable energy, denser living and sustainable community living:



In Questions 9 and 10 we asked candidates how they had demonstrated commitment to saving the environment and also any further comments they might wish to add.

A little bit of analysis helps us to see where priorities lie across all respondents.



A summary of how we rated candidates from their responses.
Candidate Name Strong Response Q's 3-7 Strong Response to Sustainable Boroondara Environmental Commtiment
Jim Parke 5 5 5
James Searle 5 5 4
Heinz Kreutz 5 5 5
Peter Campbell 5 5 5
Michael Nolan 5 5 4
Maree Williams 5 5 1
Theo Bila 5 4 4
Geoff Hayes 5 4 3
Coral Ross 5 4 4
Meredith Butler 5 4 4
Kevin Chow 5 4 4
Steve Hurd 4 4 5
Jane Addis 4 4 2
Jacob Rodrigo 4 3 3

We thank all of those candidates who chose to respond to our survey. They showed a strong commitment to environmental health and sustainability as drivers for addressing issues as they arise for Boroondara. Those who chose not to respond either didn't want their views recorded, or didn't value the opportunity to convey them to the public. The Winky Pop case cited by six candidates is a very different situation from answering a few broad policy questions in a survey, and we regret that this case was used as the reason for not responding.

If you would like more information, such as candidates specific responses, please contact Carolyn Ingvarson 0411 115 186.