Proposed Changes to Council Elections & Meetings – Deputation of 18 July 2023

Mayoral candidate Onkaparinga 2022

Proposed Changes to Council Elections & Meetings – Deputation of 18 July 2023

My request to delivering this Deputation in the Council Chambers at the City of Onkaparinga was rejected by the Mayor but I have posted here a summary of what I was going to say in answer to what I see as moves that threaten all residents.

My Deputation

I’m here today to protest against a letter that was sent by the Mayor and the Acting CEO to the Attorney General date 15 March 2023 which was pushing for some big changes to the way Council meetings and Council elections take place.




Email Rejectiing Deputation Request 18 July 2023


The 5 major changes that were proposed are as follows;

1. Changing the timing for council elections
2. Limiting the number of people who can attend public council meetings with provisions to make meetings only online
3. Bringing in compulsory voting
4. Introduce provisions for immediate suspension of Councillors who misbehave.
5. Introduce minimum qualifications for candidates for future council elections.


I will go through these one by one.

1. Changing the timing for council elections. That one’s probably ok.

2. Limiting the number of people who can attend public council meetings with provisions to make
meetings only online. This is all about the fear over the January 17 meeting when the audio
in the over flow room was turned down and people got angry. This whole thing has been blown
way out of proportion and I believe it has been manipulated to give an excuse to Councils to
lock Rate Payers out.
This same excuse has been used by many Councils across Australia.
I am positive that no one here has anything to fear.

3. Compulsory voting.
If there had been compulsory voting for this past election how would that have increased the
number of people nominating as candidates? And obviously there could still only have been
12 Councillors elected, so what’s the benefit?
If you want more people to get involved why do you restrict seating in the public gallery to
35 and shut down the overflow room?
If you are afraid of these people why do you want more of them involved?
The Electoral Commission has already complained about the high cost of elections and excessive
time for counting.
Compulsory voting could easily triple the number of votes.
How will that help anything?
How can forcing people to vote make it better?
The excuse used is that it will create greater participation from the community.
How can it be helpful to force people who would not normally vote to start voting under threat
of being fined?
If these people do respond to these threats and vote will the quality of their input to Council
affairs be all that good?
Slaves don’t do productive work.


There is obviously something else at play here.

Right now, Candidates have to declare which political party they support but at the last election they could only select from the 4 main parties.
First time conscripted voters will look among the Candidate Profiles and unless they are only looking for big smiles and white teeth the probability is they will settle for the Candidate that declares they belong to either the Labor or Liberal parties.
Compulsory voting means more people will begrudgingly vote and they will vote for the only thing they know,  and that’s who they voted for in last State or Federal elections.
The big parties will get their preferred candidates, one way or another, as the money follows and the party machine mobilises.
Who will voters chose?
Will they vote for big smiles or big parties or maybe the big parties with the big smiles.
Are you happy to see our community subverted like this?

The last 2 proposals are aimed squarely at you Councillors.

4. They say the wheels of justice turn too slowly against Councillors who step out of line so now they want to be able to immediately suspend any Councillor who misbehaves.
     Who will decide which Councillors will be punished and for what?
     This will spell the end of any sort of independence for Councillors.
     Councillors will be too scared to poke their heads up.

5. They want to introduce minimum qualifications for candidates to keep the riff raff out.
    If these standards don’t apply to State and Federal candidates then why should they apply to you?
    MPs have parliamentary privilege to speak, but Council wants to suspend you immediately if you speak out of turn.
    You say it’s ok to require Candidates to pay to have Police Clearance checks for working with children.
     I don’t know where Councillors are getting so much interaction with children such that they require vetting by the constabulary.
    So why don’t Council staff have to get Police Checks? They might bump into a child in the car park or in the Council foyer or at a work site.


Don’t overlook who is doing this.

It’s the Council Administration, the Bureaucrats, those faceless unelected agents of change who sit behind the scenes and pull all the strings. They do their back room deals, shielded from criticism with no accountability to rate payers.


‘THEY’ want a new standard, THEIR STANDARD.


But let me make this clear I’m not saying this is all of Admin or Bureaucrats, just a hard core.

There already exists a regime of control over all Councillors that is instigated from within this Administration that few understand.

The single biggest hammer used to knock Councillors into line is a CABAL WITHIN the 4 teams of Lawyers employed here that use the Code of Conduct to stifle anything that Councillors want to do if it contradicts what the Bureaucracy wants.

They use charges of bullying to censure those they don’t like – EVEN when there are no formal accusations of bullying from those who were supposed to have been bullied.

They use accusations of failing to declare Conflicts of Interest and of distributing confidential documents or of distributing documents that Councillors should reasonably have known were confidential.

They treat you as a nuisance but now, THEY NEED YOUR VOTES to get these proposals through.

It’s interesting to note that all the chatter, the phone calls, emails and letters were begun months ago by the Mayor and a core of bureaucrats – but from what I can tell, not the Councillors.


Consider this.

At the council meeting on April 18th during the first discussion on these proposals Cr Greaves asked;



at 2.05.50
Can I get an understanding about who contributed to this report and who actually drafted these recommendations to go to the Local Government Association and then to vote on. Can I get some clarity on who exactly was involved in the discussions?


So the Acting CEO answered as follows,

Drafting was largely done with Governance staff based on correspondence to;
Minister of Local Government
Local Government Association, CEO and President
The Ombudsman
Attorney General
Police Commissioner
Electoral Commissioner
And a lot of conversations with other councils & council CEOs and in particular the City of Salisbury.


So to this Cr Greaves responds,

I would have certainly appreciated the opportunity to maybe have a discussion and given it thought before effectively going for all these changes.


So I hear you saying (my comments),
Yeah thanks for letting us in on all this but,   by the way,   we really need more time to consider your private revolution against we Councillors.


This letter of 18 March 2023 was sent by the Mayor and the Acting CEO but it seems it was sent without the Councillor’s knowledge.

These bureaucrats have been very busy little beavers pushing their private agendas and formulating their plans and only now they have to come to the Councillors for their vote, BUT ONLY BECAUSE LEGISLATION DEMANDS IT.


Well this is not on!


The Local Government Act says it’s the Councillors that set policy not the bureaucrats and the CEO is only to be involved in the day to day running of the Council.

I was overseas for a few weeks and returned recently to find a number of rate payers had got very incensed about this same letter to the Attorney General so they started a petition.

These people went door to door and have got over 900 signatures so far.

They will be continuing their efforts.

There is no way you can allow these changes.

If you open the door to allow any one of these things in then soon the door will be kicked in wider and wider with progressively more and more restrictions and censures.

You allow this now and soon you will only be trained seals that perform on command.

My call today is to the Elected Members.



If you really want to PRESERVE OUR DEMOCRACY then consider the following;

1. End the Preferential voting system
2. End Postal voting
3. Bring in voting only by paper and pen in a voting booth
4. Counting of votes by hand only with the use of computers and computer algorithms terminated
5. All counting to be done by an independent body of Rate Payers– not the Electoral Commission.
6. Increase the size of the profiles that Candidates can submit from the current 1000 character up to 3000 to allow you to be heard by everyone voting.
7. Remove the ability of a Candidate to declare their political allegiance.
8. Allow the Candidate profile to include negative comments about the Council but not anything that might be personally defamatory to individuals.
9. Increase the annual allowance for Councillors to $80,000 p.a.


Mark Nielsen
0414 969 490


Note: that what is written here is about 1563 words but in a Deputation you are only allowed 8 minutes which is about 1100 words so you are getting more bang for your buck here.