With elections for Victoria’s 79 local governments taking place on 28 October 2012, the Victorian Government has funded the Think women for local government 2012 project. It is a campaign aimed at attracting more women to become candidates for local government.
What does a council look like when it reflects the community? For a start, the ratio of women and men councillors would be around 50:50. While women make up more than half of Victoria’s population, less than a third of Victorian local councillors are female. A situation we see repeated in local councils around Australia.
The City of Boroondara’s only serving female councillor, Cr Coral Ross is passionate about achieving a fairer representation of women on Victoria’s Local Councils. First elected to the City of Boroondara Council in 2002, Cr Ross served as Mayor in 2007-2008 and has been Chair of Boroondara’s Planning Committee and Chair of Boroondara’s Services Committee.
“It is often said that a Council which does not reflect its community cannot serve its community,” said Cr Ross. “More than half the population is female, so there should be more women on Boroondara Council.”
“At the last election, women only stood in five of Boroondara’s ten wards. We need more women to put their hands up as candidates in order to see a rise in female councillors.”
The Victorian Local Government Association (VLGA), with the support of other groups, has organised Think Women for Local Government forums throughout the State. A forum for Melbourne’s eastern region will be held in Camberwell on March 28, starting at 7.30pm.
“Women often need to be encouraged to stand. So if you know someone who would make a good councillor, please tell them about the Forum and encourage them to attend,” said Cr Ross. “Equally important is offering support. So it would be great if people who are happy to support women candidates would also attend.”
The forum will include of panel of female Councillors who will speak about their experiences and answer questions.
“You don’t need to be seeking a political career. You don’t need to be a leading business person to stand. If you’ve run a household, served on the school committee or been a fundraiser for your local kinder, you should give Council representation serious consideration.”
For more information visit the website of Think Women for Local Government: http://thinkwomenlg.org.au/
For women in the north of the country, the Local Government elections in Queensland will be held on 28 April 2012. Nominations close on 27th March 2012. For more information visit the website: http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/2012LG.aspx?id=5177