Counsel for would-be councillors: guiding hand to help women get elected

Councillor Monica Morse.

Councillor Monica Morse.

BATHURST’S only female councillor is offering a guiding hand to any women in Orange considering a tilt at a council seat.

Councillor Monica Morse will host an information session next week to encourage women to contest the local government elections in September.

Cr Morse said the seminar would provide information to help women decide if they would like to run for council or offer support to another female candidate.

“It is important that the whole community is represented on council,” Cr Morse said.

“We need women, men, young and old people, newcomers to the city and long-term residents.

“However, in recent years women have been reluctant to put their hands up and have found the male-dominated environment of local government very daunting.

“In Orange and Blayney there has been no woman on council for five years.”

Women in Orange have traditionally struggled to secure a prominent position on the all-important group tickets which largely determine who be elected.

At the 2012 election, only one of the tickets – The Greens – had a female in second position or higher and it failed to secure enough of the vote to have Sarah Buckingham elected.

Gail Copping ran as an independent candidate four times between 1999 and 2012.

Mrs Copping, who was was the most supported woman at the most recent election in Orange with 372 primary votes, said the group voting system did not give individual candidates with a platform a fair chance.

“Why should women fill up the gaps on a ticket? It’s still old fashioned,” she said.

Cabonne councillor Janelle Culverson, who is one of three female Cabonne representatives, agreed tickets should be discontinued.

“Individuals should be elected on their own merits rather than being dragged over the line,” Cr Culverson said.

Sharon Boog, who served on Orange council between 1995 and 1999 while she was a single mum, said women often chose to put their families first.

“Perhaps women don’t feel like they have anything to offer, but they certainly do because they balance the debate across the board,” she said.

Cr Morse’s session will be in the Bathurst Regional Council chamber from 5pm next Tuesday, March 28.

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