Today The Courier is running a form guide on the extensive list of candidates who hope to lead the Ballarat council for the next four years. While it was never intended to be exhaustive on the issues and platforms what it aims to do is give readers a digestible snapshot of the 28 candidates. Critically the idea was born of an intention to ensure voters had at their fingertips an accessible and easily comprehensible profile of each candidate that was as free from spin and obfuscation as possible.
The key intention is to enlighten voters and provide answers to that most elusive of questions; what qualifies one candidate for the role over another. Of the 1000 questions we could have asked we pared them back to eight key questions so.the limitations of both space and readers’ attention spans were hopefully better served.
These questions are aimed at investigating key qualities and skills of potential candidates that will help voters choose the best possible future councillors and in their own small way have a say in helping to shape the next four years in Ballarat.
Vision: How candidates envisage a future Ballarat and what role they as representatives can play in bringing this vision to a reality are high on most people’s assessment of how to vote.
Experience: As we have noted before good intentions are not enough. The reality of being a councilor is an onerous one and having the proven runs on the board, whether this is in business, government or a community organisation, speaks volumes. Community involvement also says a lot about commitment and passion and these are two things that are vital in the long and often demanding four year haul that is life as a councillor. While we have asked a question about the time people are willing to give up this is only the starting point.
Financial management: Candidate positions on this key area of management are also important to voters because while councilors are not the accountants, they must understand the budgets they approve. Financial management in an age of rate caps means balancing priorities is even more critical.
Finally in the interests of transparency voters need to know candidates political alignment, not that council should be directed by party politics but that residents get some insight into the ideals, position and priorities of candidates.
Read closely and choose carefully.
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