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Council promotes it's own political opinions using our money.

Please see the  Manningham Leader article below. 

Manningham City Council gave $36,547 of our rate money to a campaign fund to convince us to vote the way they want in a future referendum to change the Australian Constitution.

 

Should Manningham Council take our money, obtained under coercion and threat of penalty, and give it to a campaign fund to be used to convince us to go along with their own views and opinions?

 

First, make no mistake, your rate money is taken under coercion and compulsion. All you need to do to convince yourself of this is refuse to pay your council rates and see what happens.

Second, our rate money is meant to be used to maintain and develop the city of Manningham. Never have we been told that it will be used to advance the private political opinions of our elected Councillors or our unelected council employees.

 

It appears they think they can take our money and use it to advance their private political views because they think their private political views are good for us.

Well, I happen to think my own private political views will be good for the community. And no doubt you also think the same about your own views. But you and I are not able to forcibly take other people's money and spend it on media campaigns, campaign staff and so on, to convince others of the benefit of our opinions.

If we wanted to promote our views, we would need to use our own money and seek the assistance of others through voluntary donations.

But not the council. They have access to a large pool of rate payers money. They obtain this money through force, coercion and compulsion and, to them, there is always more money where the last lot came from. They think they can spend that money promoting whatever private political views they happen to think are 'good for us'.

 

And who says it is good for us?

Well, Joe Carbone does. He is the Chief Executive Office at Manningham Council. He makes executive decisions just like this one. And he is playing politics and it is a rather nasty sort of politics.

Joe knows how to get people's attention. He knows that Manningham residents want to pay less rates. And he also knows, from articles in the Manningham Leader, that many residents are finding it hard financially in Manningham and that this is due in part to the high council rates.

So he dangles a carrot in front of us. Note how he chooses his words carefully: 'direct [federal government] funding has the potential in the future to reduce ... rates'

"Has the potential" ... "in the future". There is a "potential" and a "future". Sounds like a sure thing to me.

 

This is the old political game of bait and switch. Bait the people with a hope then switch it for something much less after you get what you want. Then give them some excuse to keep them quiet.

 

You will never see a decrease in your council rates.

Joe holds out the hope that, if the council gets what they want, then our council rates might decrease. But it is not in the nature of government or local council to ever reduce the amount of money they obtain from us. That it is not how they work.

Do you know why funding to local councils would increase if the Federal government gave funds directly to the council? It is because presently the Federal government can only provide funds to local councils through the state government.

And the state government plunders, pillages and gorges itself on that money and the local councils get what is left over. This is known as the 'dribble down' effect.

This is the true nature of government. There is no end to their inefficiency and their games of self interest. If the revenue of our local council increases, then expenses will increase to match the additional income. You never will see a reduction in your rates.

Do you still think there is a chance you will see your rates decrease? Has our council EVER reduced our rates? Have they EVER reduced expenses to an extent that you have seen a reduction in your rate bills? I have never known a council to do that. That is simply not how they work. If the supply of money increases, they increase their expenses to match.

 

Why does our constitution 'need' changing?

Local Government is not mentioned in the Australian Constitution. Some argue - quite accurately it seems - that the federal government cannot constitutionally provide funding to Local councils. So they want to change the constitution to give local council a foundation in the constitution.

Once local government is recognized in the constitution, it will become a legitimate level of government. Being mentioned in the Constitution is all that is needed.

We have been asked this same question twice before. In referenda in 1974 and in 1988 the Australian people were asked to change the constitution to recognize local government.

Wisely, we voted no in both referenda.

 

For many states that mean people would live under five levels of government. At the federal level we have the House of Representatives and Senate. At the state level in Victoria we have the Upper and Lower houses. And we would have had another tier of government at the local level if we had said yes.

Anyone would think we are among the most difficult people on earth to govern.

Queensland has gone the other way and has had the good sense to have only one house of government at the state level.

 

Should Manningham Council use our money to advance their political opinions?

Even if they think their opinions are 'good for us'?

 

First, our rate money is meant to maintain and run our city of Manningham. It is not meant to be used to promote the political views of any group.

Secondly, private money should not be taken forcibly to support the private political views of any group, regardless of who they are.

Third, what if you or I want to promote an alternate point of view in this referendum. Could we compete with such a well funded campaign? 

With this slush fund, fed by ratepayers money from many councils, they put other people and other points of view at a disadvantage. With this large fund, they can drown out opposing views and campaign messages and fund replies in the media that others could not afford to do.

It would cost you and me a lot of our own money and a lot of hard work to compete with such a well funded campaign.

 

Forth, they also show a disregard and disrespect, even arrogance, toward the views of other people who may not agree with them. They do this by forcibly taking money from people who disagree with them and spend it on a campaign to promote views they would otherwise oppose.

Who else but government could trample on individual's in a public debate in this way?

 
 

Our council wants to bypass the smaller campaigns, and all the hard work they involve, and play with the big boys using other people's money. 

They want to make sure that their opinions have the best chance possible of being adopted so they can get what they want.

And this excuse they offer to justify their actions, saying it is for 'our own good', is based on nothing more than an opinion.

 

04 July 2013.

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