Despite recommendations to the contrary from both Manningham Council and the Victorian Electoral Commission, the Victorian Government has decided on a single Councillor ward structure for the local government elections in October. It is assumed that the decision made on the eve of the last election, by the same government department, to preclude candidates from directing preferences, will apply again.

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Unless candidates are allowed to nominate preferences in their manifestos the chances of being elected would depend on the number of candidates and especially their own position on the ballot paper. If they draw number one it becomes a one horse race. In past elections a candidate could fill in a ballot paper with their order of preferences. candidate-promises-and-preferences-2012 The previous action in banning indicated preferences on how to vote cards, has put paid to the use of dummy candidates but have ignored the main cause of the problem being the “Donkey Vote” which had actually encouraged the use of dummies, (a candidate who has no interest in winning who gives away a second preference without reciprocation), for candidates badly drawn at the bottom of the ballot paper.

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Francis Day wrote to the review committee suggesting that the Robson Rotation of ballot positions be introduced in future local government elections.. “I thought it was really a “no brainer” to introduce the system because it allows each candidate an equal share of every position on the ballot paper. They acknowledged my letter but made no comment on my suggestion which has caused me to question the motives and the intent of the review panel. The only conclusion one can draw with this decision is that they wanted to make the election a lottery rather than making it possible for the best candidates to be elected and it reaffirms my belief that both major parties together with the planning bureaucrats regard councils as obstructive to the future planning of Melbourne and want to replace their aldermen with commissioners as they did back in the late nineties”.

The Robson Rotation system is so obvious a solution that is hard to believe why it could not be adopted in Victoria as it has worked so well in Tasmania and the ACT”. “Up until now , unless you were drawn at the top of ballot paper, you would need a lot of luck and a lot of hard work plus two or more dummies to have a chance of being elected”.

What is Robson rotation?
The Hon. Neil Robson MHA developed and promoted a process for rotating the order of candidate names on ballot papers for Tasmanian parliamentary elections. The Tasmanian Electoral Act was amended in 1979 to require multiple versions of the ballot paper so that each candidate name appeared an equal number of times at the top, the bottom and in other ‘favoured positions’ on the ballot paper. This new process became known as ‘Robson Rotation’.
By rotating the order of candidate names, ballot papers showing preferences marked
sequentially down a column (linear votes) are shared equally by all candidates rather than only favouring the top candidate listed on the single version ballot paper.
Under Robson rotation, the number of versions is equal to the number of candidates in the column. Robson rotation for 5 candidates is shown below:
1st rotation (drawn by lot) 5th rotation 2nd rotation 4th rotation 3rd rotation
Candidate A Candidate B Candidate C Candidate D Candidate E
Candidate B Candidate D Candidate A Candidate E Candidate C
Candidate C Candidate A Candidate E Candidate B Candidate D
Candidate D Candidate E Candidate B Candidate C Candidate A
Candidate E Candidate C Candidate D Candidate A Candidate B

Ballot papers are printed and collated so that consecutive ballot papers do not show
candidate names in the same order.
Electorates that use Robson rotation:
Robson rotation is used for Tasmanian House of Assembly, Legislative Council and local government elections and ACT Legislative Assembly elections.
Legislative Council and local government election ballot papers list all candidates in one column. The number of candidates at Legislative Council elections since 1991 has varied from 2 to 11. More than 20 candidates have stood in some local government elections.
House of Assembly and ACT Legislative Assembly election ballot papers include a separate column for each party or group of candidates. Each column has its own set of rotations – a three-candidate column will have three rotations and a four-candidate column will have four rotations.
Where columns on the House of Assembly ballot paper contain different numbers of
candidates, it is necessary to print enough ballot papers versions for a fair distribution within each column. For example, 12 versions are required for a ballot paper containing three and four candidate columns.


  1. Irene says:

    The candidates will no longer be given a ballot paper to fill in with their preferred order that was usually attached to their election manifesto but they can exchange preferences with a colleague should they wish.

  2. Ardarth says:

    Lets hope this new voting system results in a clean out. There are a couple of councillors who take a delight in voting for dodgy developments outside of their ward in spite of resident concerns, which, I suspect, is a way to curry favor with senior officers for a reciprocal benefit.

  3. Francis Day says:

    They keep moving the goal posts prior to each election and it always seems to be to the detriment of ratepayer.

  4. Duncan says:

    Why do they make it so complicated where preferences can elect a candidate over another despite having less votes. Why not have a first past the post election where the candidate with the most votes gets elected. We are in Koonung where most of development is occurring and yet we have only 33% representation which means a lot of bad development is getting the nod from ward councillors miles away who seem set on approving anything in our ward. We will probably finish up worse still with this new arrangement.

  5. Talford says:

    New Local Government Minister means we have another different method of voting in the last three elections and Manningham will be one of eight Councils trialing yet another system in October. The ward boundaries are based on populations and not on where more Councillor representation should be provided. All the major council planning decisions in Manningham will be made around the area of Doncaster Hill which will now be covered by just two single ward Councillors which means its residents will be even less represented than they are at present and more at the mercy of ignorant Councillors from outer wards who are more likely to vote for unpopular programs on Doncaster Hill as long as it did not involve open space and street repairs in their areas.

  6. Name Withheld says:

    With Councillor allowances for Manningham likely to increase upwards towards a maximum of about $31,000-00 by June of next year. It is a great opportunity for retirees and aged pensioners. You will pay tax of course but there are a wide range additional payments such as for travel expenses etc..
    You can find out more about becoming a councillor by going to the website

    My partner became unemployed after her firm went bust so she stood for election in an inner suburban electorate, was successful, and went on to serve three terms, 10 years as a Councillor then deputy Mayor in her last years.

    1. x Councillor says:

      thats right .. just do it for the money

  7. isobel bayne says:

    We will know the outcome of each ward as soon as the ballot order has been published and no need to count votes. Who ever is on top of the ballot can start celebrating well before the postal votes are in. The VEC should have explained to these idiots how unfair the election will be, unless they intend to rotate positions on the ballot paper, a complete waste of money.

    1. Trevor says:

      The candidates at the top of the ballot paper in each of the three wards were successful at the last election. Kleinert, Haynes and Conlan were on top of the ballot and were duly elected and did a very good job so there was no waste of money there. Because there were three Councillors in each ward it meant another two Councillors near the top would also be elected. This election will be different because there will be only one Councillor in each of the nine wards.

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