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We got the people we deserve and ask for

THERE will be parties and pity.
Nanjing Night Net

Burgeoning enthusiasm and bruised egos.

Those who made the cut and some who fell agonisingly short.

The Wagga City Council election result is finally in and the list is a good one.

The public has spoken, and almost no matter which way you cut it, the results are what the people wanted.

The councillors reflect the conservative character of their constituents, with enough flair to make even the fringe dwellers feel represented.

Five incumbents will hang around for another term and provide enough experience to steady the ship and allow the six newcomers to learn the ropes.

And for all the criticism of the truly awful voting system, it has actually delivered.

The remarkably high number of under-the-line voters made sure of that.

Those who called for a first-past-the post election would be interested to note how different the council would have been, given the first preference votes.

That is, barely at all.

Ten of the 11 elected councillors would remain, and only Julian McLaren would be ousted and replaced by Clint Uden.

If you accept that group votes above the line are de facto first-preference votes for the ticket leader, then little would have changed.

Kerry Pascoe was the clear leader on 6017 votes, all the way down to Mr McLaren on 641 votes.

Mr Uden received 927 first preference votes. In this scenario, he would have been elected in 11th spot.

As it happened he lucked out at 13th.

That’s not to say there aren’t pitfalls to this system, or that your position on a ticket doesn’t count.

There are some very good cases to suggest the structure of the ballot paper is crucial.

The Greens’ Kevin Poynter is one example.

In 2008 he was ranked in the lowly fifth position on the ticket and received just eight first preference votes.

Last weekend – perched as ticket leader – his first preference vote had grown to 1124.

Either Mr Poynter has made quite a few new friends in the past four years, or positioning helped.

Group G’s Jenni Campbell is another matter.

Placed third on Garry Hiscock’s popular ticket, Ms Campbell almost made it all the way and fell just short of a seat.

She even outlasted Jenny Rolfe – placed second on the ticket – which begs the question: what could have happened had Ms Campbell been number two?

You can be sure statistics fiends will be all over the report cards, but things move quickly and the mayoral vote is just a week away.

Phone calls will be made by the four hopefuls to garner support and new and old alliances will be tested.

Mayor Kerry Pascoe is being forced to defend his position against Rod Kendall, Garry Hiscock and Andrew Negline.

And come next Monday it won’t matter if his first-preference vote is 60, 6000 or six million – it matters what his 10 new friends think of him.

VOTE: Who should be the next mayor of Wagga?

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.