Local Government elections are conducted under the Local Government Act and are managed by the Tasmanian Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commissioner appoints Returning Officers and supervises all Local Government elections.
Tasmanian Local Government elections are held every second year, during October of each odd numbered year. At each election half the councillor positions are elected together with any by-elections for casual vacancies. The term of election for councillors is four years and for mayors and deputy mayors, the term is two years. Mayors and deputy mayors are elected by popular election.
Elections are conducted by postal ballot and anyone who is listed on the electoral roll of their council is eligible to vote. Residents are automatically placed on the electoral roll for their council area via their House of Assembly enrolment. Voting is not compulsory.
All elections for councillor positions use a system directly modelled on the Hare-Clark method of proportional representation used in the Tasmanian House of Assembly elections.
Eligibility to Nominate for Local Government Elections
In order to nominate as a candidate in Local Government elections, a person must meet the requirements of Section 270 of the Local Government Act 1993:
(1) A person is eligible to nominate as a candidate for the office of councillor if the person:
(a) is an elector in the municipal area
(b) is not a councillor of another council whose term of office is to end after the certificate of election is issued in respect of that other council's elections
(c) has not been barred by a court under section 48(6), 338A, 339 or 339A from nominating as a candidate at any election
(d) is not an employee of the council in that municipal area
(e) has not been removed from the office of councillor because of inadequacy or incompetency
(f) is not a bankrupt
(g) is not subject to an initial order or a continuing care order under the Mental Health Act 1996 or an order under the Guardianship andAdministration Act 1995
(h) is not undergoing a term of imprisonment.
(2) A person is not eligible to nominate as a candidate for the office of councillor if the person has been sentenced for a crime but the sentence has not been executed.
(3) If a municipal area is divided into electoral districts, a candidate is not required to be an elector in the particular electoral district for which the candidate is nominated.
(4) A person may not be a candidate for the office of councillor in more than one electoral district in a municipal area or in more than one municipal area.
Sections 278 to 282 of the Local Government Act 1993 and regulations 21 and 22 of the Local Government (General Regulations) 2005 deal with a number of important matters in relation to electoral advertising, including limits on spending. It is important for candidates to familiarise themselves with these provisions.
'Information for Candidates' Booklet
More information about Local Government elections, including an 'Information for Candidates' booklet is available online at the Tasmanian Electoral Commission website.
Being a Councillor
For some helpful tips on the role of Local Government councillor, click here.