As well as electing city council members to serve for the next 4 years, the 2012 local government election in Orange also included a referendum on the topic of the direct election of the mayor, which passed.
Currently the mayor is elected each year by the 12 council members, from among the council members.
Annual mayoral elections will continue as usual for the next four years, despite the passing of the referendum.
It’s expected the first direct mayoral vote would happen at the same time as the 2016 local government election.
The results of the referendum were:
- YES : 62.29%
- NO : 37.71 %
- Informal : 3.8%
~ The following information was prepared as part of the public awarness campaign, prior to the election. It remains here for research and reference purposes.
The 5 April 2012 meeting of Orange City Council set the wording of the question to be put to voters at the local government election.
The wording, which asks for either a 'Yes' or a 'No' answer, was:
‘The Mayor of Orange is currently elected each year by the 12 Councillors.
Do you approve of the election of the Mayor by voters in Orange for a four year term?'
Public Awareness Campaign
A public awareness campaign was assembled to encourage consideration of the questions. The Western Research Institute at Charles Sturt University prepared an indepedent ‘Yes’ & ‘No’ case to be presented sent to voters.
Details of the ‘Yes’ & ‘No’ cases can be seen here.
A summary of the 'Yes/No' arguments were printed in a simple Referendum Brochure and mailed to every house in Orange.
A light-hearted 'Great Debate' was also staged in the Orange Civic Theatre as part of the media and public awareness campaign for the referendum.
7 NSW councils included a referendum on the direct election of mayors at the 2008 local government elections. 5 approved the change (Burwood, Kempsey, Mosman, Port Stephens and Snowy River) and 2 rejected the change (Cobar and Ku-ring-gai).
One council which rejected the change (Ku-ring-gai) packaged the direct mayoral election question with a change that would increase the number of councillors.
Two councils which approved the change packaged the direct mayoral election question with a change that would reduce the number of councillors. (Port Stephens with a 2-part question and Snowy River with a separate 2nd question)
At the 2008 poll, 28 of the state’s 148 councils directly electied their mayor. (Ballina, Bellingen, Botany Bay (uncontested…) Byron, Canada Bay, Canterbury, Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Eurobodalla, Fairfield, Greater Taree, Griffith, Hornsby, Hunters Hill Lack Macquarie, Lismore, Liverpool, Maitland, Manly, Nambucca, Newcaslte, North Sydney, Queenbeyan, Richmond Valley, Sholhaven, Sydney, Warringah and Willoughby)
Including the 5 that approved a referendum question in 2008, 33 councils in NSW directly elected their mayor in September 2012.