Recently, the VEC facilitated a by-election to decide who would be the next Melbourne City Council Lord Mayor. It was a large election- everyone who lives, owns property or owns a business in the city of Melbourne had to cast their vote and have their say on who would be the next Lord Mayor of Melbourne. It was a big responsibility for both the VEC and the voters! After all, Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city, we want it to stay that way!
But what does the Lord Mayor (or in other councils, the mayor) actually do? I mean, we all know they might get to wear amazing robes and gold chains, and look a bit like they’re about to teach a class at Hogwarts, but that doesn’t actually tell us what a mayor does!
The Mayor acts as a chairperson for council meetings, making sure the meetings run smoothly and that each councillors’ voice is heard. They also have the responsibility of a “casting vote” (like a tiebreaker!) just in case there’s a tie. The mayor also prepares and presents budgets to council meetings, acts as a representative, and speaks to the media about the decisions they and the other councillors make during council meetings.
But what are these decisions about? Do the mayor and the councillors make decisions about the trains and busses? Do they make decisions about airports? Do they organise big events like the Olympics? Do they make sure the sports grounds you play footy, soccer, and netball on are kept well maintained?
It’s your job today to find out!
Using the VEC (www.vec.vic.gov.au) and the Passport to Democracy website (www.passport.vec.vic.gov.au), you will find out 3 different things the LOCAL government is in charge of.
Use the http://passport.vec.vic.gov.au/decide/who-decides/ map to research this information!
(TEACHER NOTE: You could even do this as a class activity, and have students “race” to categorise each part of the picture in a certain amount of time. Please find attached to this post a worksheet you could give to students to help facilitate this activity.)
After you choose three things the mayor and the local government are in control of, you’ll look up your local council and find out what they do in or about those 3 areas and write 3 dot points about each one.
Hopefully your council and mayor are doing a great job, but we’re curious: if you were mayor or a councillor, what would you do in these 3 areas you researched earlier? Would you do things differently? Or would you keep things the same? Write a sentence or a short paragraph about the way you would act and the policies you would put in place if you were mayor!
After writing this paragraph, create a campaign poster or a short video advertising what you’ll do if you’re elected. Remember, you’re representing your whole community so think about what is best for your whole community!
We’d love to see what you’ll do, so post a link in the comments below and let us know your plan for your community!
Good luck in your campaign, future mayors; see you at the voting booth!
Key Knowledge and Skills Met
Civics and Citizenship
Level 3 and 4 Content Descriptions
- Explain the roles of local government and some familiar services provided at the local level (VCCCG003)
Level 5 and 6 Content Descriptions
- Identify the roles and responsibilities of electors and representatives in Australia’s democracy (VCCCG011)