The all male Gympie council Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
The all male Gympie council Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald. Renee Albrecht

It was a mistake to elect an all-male Gympie council

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

I STRONGLY agree with the comments in last Saturday's Editorial, "Brace yourselves for a long, pointy campaign."

Candidates are already lining up for a contest that will not be decided for another nine months. And (Gympie Times editor Shelley) Strachan rightly urges that candidates conduct themselves with "honour, dignity and integrity." As a community we should punish anything less.

By the way, it will be interesting to see how many, if any, of Scott Kovacevic's 28 "pre- selected" candidates (The Gympie Times, January, 2019) throw their hats into the ring. Hopefully some will accept the challenge of serving.

I particularly endorse Ms Strachan's encouragement to women to put themselves forward for election. I strongly believe that we were mistaken in electing an exclusively male council in 2016.

Apart from their individual talents, women would almost certainly bring a different mindset to the forum of Council.

Further, they would probably be less amenable to executive pressures and clique conscription and, hopefully, less willing to endorse policies and decisions without their due, democratic involvement.

Nor should the Mayoralty be regarded as a male prerogative. That notion lost currency at least 40 years ago.

Council election candidate Leonora Cox is the first woman to throw her hat in the ring for the 2020 election.
Council election candidate Leonora Cox is the first woman to throw her hat in the ring for the 2020 election. Tom Daunt

I notice that one declared female candidate says she will stand on a platform of "openness and transparency." Why am I not surprised?

The Editorial ended on a very realistic note - recognising the imperfection of democracy, but declaring it to be "...better than the alternatives."

As we all know, the word "democracy is derived from the Greek "demos" meaning "the people".

But democracy can certainly take on the appearance of a "mirage" when the people feel distanced from the decision-making process. When decisions appear to be made executively, and merely ratified by elected representatives, a sense of alienation results.

Gympie Regional Council Mayor Mick Curran has presided over the all male council.
Gympie Regional Council Mayor Mick Curran has presided over the all male council. Philippe Coquerand

Lack of contact with those they elect is another debilitating factor. How many members of our current council have, since their election, made direct contact with their constituents (eg. by hiring a local hall for a couple of hours and inviting them to come and discuss the issues that concern them?)

May the remaining months of the current term be peacefully productive and the early interest in the next election be a sign of energy and enthusiasm to benefit the community.

Merv Welch,

The Palms

Gympie Times


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