Good News… of Biblical Proportion

22 February 2023

The events that have unfolded over the past 10 days not only raised serious concerns for those council members that lost office, but also for their councils.

The good news is, that relief now appears to in sight, the State Government has today introduced the Local Government (Casual Vacancies) Amendment Bill 2023 into the lower House of Parliament.

If the Bill passes both Houses, the members who, as we write this Alert, have lost office, will be taken to have been reinstated effective from the date they lost office.

Those members will again lose office if the second campaign donations return (CDR) is not lodged within 10 days of commencement of the Act.

In this regard we understand that most, if not all of those Members, have already lodged that second CDR.

The Bill proposes to retain the status quo by providing that:
(1) the casual vacancies never occurred;
(2) the Members never lost office; and
(3) all allowances and benefits will continue without interruption.

This positive public policy outcome has been achieved by a number of means.

Firstly, through the efforts of councils, speaking on behalf of their communities.

Secondly, by those members who had lost office, recognising the inequities and procedural defects in the processes. This was sufficient to spur them to initiate legal challenges in the SACAT, where their concerns could be publicly scrutinised.

This approach by the State Government, is one of those proverbial ‘commonsense’ approaches that is becoming increasingly scarce. It also avoids unnecessary legal fees being personally incurred by the impacted members, and the potentially significant costs for the communities.

In the circumstances we expect the SACAT will agree to adjourn the proceedings while we await the outcome of the Parliamentary processes.

Any questions or for further information, please contact: