September 14th 2018 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tasmanians may not be aware that people who do not hold Australian Citizenship or even permanent residency have the right to vote in council elections.
This means that anyone who occupies a property within the Hobart municipality has the right to vote at our imminent Hobart City Council election including foreign students and people who may be here for a short period of time.
This is of serious concern to candidate for Deputy Mayor and Alderman Martin Waldhoff.
“My understanding is that prior to our last council election, the Greens pushed for legislative change to allow any resident living in Hobart to have the right to vote,” he said.
“I have been contacted by concerned citizens who understand there are as many as 6,500 international students enrolled at UTAS and other education institutions living in Tasmania who are allowed vote if they register on the General Manager’s roll.”
“The concern is that, with our Hare-Clarke voting system, the quota to be elected as an alderman can be as few as 1000 votes and be elected on preferences.”
“A candidate could be elected based on the votes of overseas based students alone. Hypothetically a foreign national could be the next Lord Mayor of Hobart.”
Council elections are not compulsory and importantly, informal. Historically voter turnout has been low.
The Greens are the only political party pre-selecting candidates to stand in the Hobart City Council election.
Statistically the Greens have a voter turnout of approximately 5,000 electors. This has delivered them four aldermen on our current council.
Mr Waldhoff says the risk goes far deeper than simply skewing the voting intentions of Hobart’s permanent residents.
“It has been proposed to me that a foreign nation could stack our city with students who may be here for as little as six months,” he said.
“The informal nature of our election means that all these students could be instructed how to fill out their voting cards. The result could potentially see the election of a Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor or a number of aldermen on our council who are not Australian citizens and have no concern for the history, livability or future of our city.”
“This election may not just be about the cable car and inner city building heights. It could in-fact be more duplicitous than that.”

Contact – Martin Waldhoff 0422 426 065

2 Comments

  • Mary

    Meanwhile while u push this agenda 660 corporate reps are enrolled to vote on the GMs role many of who will get more than one vote because they own a business. Put this against the 589 non residents from a variety of backgrounds and you look like your barking up the wrong tree buddy.. I’d worry about business’ loosing you you spot in the election not students…

    • admin_hobart

      Hi Mary

      Thanks for your comment – and sorry I’ve been slow replying.

      The General manager roll is really about ensuring anyone who could reasonably be effected by actions of the Council have a voice to speak to the council. For instance a small corner store business could be massively impacted by parking changes to the community as their customers might not have the access they need to the store. People who own land – they were impacted with changes to water rates a few years back for instance.
      So businesses got to have a voice – and its not enormous as you point out but enough to ensure their interests are considered. A massive business has the same number of votes as a tiny business as the ability to vote is awarded per entity, not size. I guess the thing that has somehow got out of whack is that anyone who is only a temporary resident probably won’t be living in the community for an entire term of council! Yet they presently have the right to impact how the community is run.
      Sincerely

      Louise Bloomfield Candidate for Deputy Mayor and Alderman for Hobart City Council
      Authorised by Pru Bonham 10 Congress Street South Hobart

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