My fellow Victorians and I will participate in a postal election next month to elect representatives across a majority of local government areas. While local government elections tend to get very little public and media attention compared to its state and federal counterparts, this year’s elections may prove to be the most important yet.
The uncertain times we live in means voters are looking for solutions, not slogans, and representation over rhetoric. They want candidates with new ideas, a positive track record in achieving deliverables, and representatives that can speak, connect and relate to the community.
While COVID-19 restrictions have greatly reduced the ability of candidates to campaign effectively, it has done little to deter the quality and diversity of candidates stepping up to seek support and confidence to represent their communities within council chambers.
I have witnessed an increase of candidates from Asian-Australian, Middle Eastern-Australian and African-Australian backgrounds in this year’s council elections. This does not come at a surprise given the toll of the coronavirus has had on these communities, starting with Chinese-Australians and Asian-Australians becoming targets of coronavirus-related racism while African-Australian and Middle Eastern-Australians have experienced the challenges of the first major full lockdown across public housing estates in inner Melbourne.