At the moment Fitzroy was formally defined as a municipality in September 1858, residents were already complaining about the Council. This letter to the editor of The Argus, Wednesday 29 September, 1858, p5, complains that most of the prospective councillors are ‘totally unfit to undertake duties’. Some of us are saying the same thing now, particularly the way party political hacks use a term in local government as a stepping stone to greater power in state parliament.
As the Hume Leader reported in May 2009:
In a scathing report into misconduct at Brimbank Council, Victorian Ombudsman George Brouwer recommended that councillors be banned from working as electorate officers, ministerial advisers or parliamentary advisers for state and federal MPs.
Allowing for greater party political connections between local and state government is a recipe for cronyism and corruption. I’d like to do the opposite and go even further than what the Ombudsman is proposing: to make party political identification illegal in local government campaigning and participation. If you want to be local, you should act as an individual who can make your own pragmatic decisions about local issues, not follow a tired and inappropriate party platform to further your own ego at the expense of ratepayers.