By Michael Giles

TODAY is the day when the nominations have to be in for the local government elections in Bass Coast and South Gippsland.
Big deal. Who gives a toss, you might say.
And that would be a fair point given the toxic environment that has grown up on the South Gippsland Shire Council and the problems, perceived or otherwise, at Bass Coast.
Don’t talk to me about it. I’m not interested.
Those are not uncommon responses.
So, why should you be interested?
Well, your local council and its administration actually does a lot, and could do a lot more, to make your life, and that of your family, a lot more happy, enjoyable and comfortable.
So it’s absolutely crucial that we have the right people representing us on council to ensure that the scarce funds are well spent, and that the money isn’t wasted on consultants, executive salaries and projects or services that don’t have a high priority with the community.
And to ensure that we know what’s going on, we also need genuine transparency so that we can be sure nothing underhand or illegal is taking place. And you need a strong, cohesive group of councillors, who remember that they are representing us, not the shire administration, to make sure we get genuine transparency.
That’s why you should take an interest.
Already there are dozens of people who have put their names forward and more will come. It’s going to be the biggest field of candidates in history.
And in general terms, we’d say great. Good on them for being community-minded enough to stand forward to represent their community, to want to make it a better place.
But it would be naïve to think that was everyone’s motivation.
Several of the candidates will be standing as wood ducks, stooges or dummy candidates, trying to get their greenie mates elected, trying to get troublemakers elected or trying to affect the integrity of the voting system in some way.
There’s nothing wrong with Green candidates standing or pro-development candidates for that matter and they don’t have to be mutually exclusive either but what we don’t want is sneaky candidates trying to bastardise the preferential system to get a disproportionate result.
We need to be able to identify those stooges, people who don’t really want to get many votes, so that they can be collected at full value by their mates, to bump them up into a quota position.
We also want to identify the people who are doing it for the money, because they’ve got nothing better to do.
In short, we need to identify people who are doing it for the right reasons, who have the community connections and the ability to make a difference.
It’s time, ladies and gentlemen, to take an interest in your future.