Letter to The Editor - A Calcutta Election; why not?
The Show is over and the next big event on the social calendar is the Melbourne Cup—‘the race that stops a nation’. Enthusiasts study the ‘form guide’ and place their bets on the horse most likely to guarantee a return in relation to the odds offered by the bookmaker or betting agency; it can be great fun!
Others enjoy the occasion by ‘investing’ what they can afford to lose in ‘Calcutta Sweeps which is also great fun and even better if you draw the winning horse! Much depends on ‘Lady Luck’ or perhaps in these politically correct times, ‘Person Luck’!
Generally, before the race the ‘starters’ must qualify and the ‘field’ is reduced to the number of available barriers on the course. There are ‘race rules’ and other efforts to see the event is conducted as a fair and open race, otherwise, it has great acceptance by governments as they skim off taxes and charges to legitimise the ‘sin’ of gambling.
I find it interesting – why can’t the ‘Calcutta System’ be used to select candidates for local government? It would go something like this: the candidates would nominate as they do at present. They would pay their nomination fee, declare they are an Australian Citizen, have lived in the Council area for at least five years and taken an oath to serve the people with clear conscience and to the best of their ability before nomination is accepted. This is the ‘form guide’.
After nominations close it then passes to the overseeing electoral office to check the qualifications as required, e.g. not an undischarged bankrupt, felon, etc. and the other foregoing requirements. For this part of the process, responsibility would pass from the candidate to the electoral office.
When candidates are approved the Calcutta begins and if you wish to gamble, place your bets and 'proceeds for the winner' go into a pot for the eventual winner’s favourite charity.
The electoral office then conducts a ballot for the number of candidates required to govern the council and they are sworn into office with great celebration!
The successful candidates get their deposit back and all the others lose theirs, they lost!
Just think about it; no electioneering, no broken promises, no career politicians or party involvement … they would not be needed to coerce the chosen incumbents. After thirty days the elected councillors would choose a mayor and deputy to lead them for the remainder of the term of office.
The bureaucrats would have their work cut-out managing the new councillors instead of harassing businesses trying to make a living in a deteriorating economy … e.g. road signs trying to promote a business!
Louis Cook, Numurkah Vic