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ELECTION SURVIVAL GUIDE: NEWSPAPERS and NEWSLETTERS

ELECTION SURVIVAL GUIDE: NEWSPAPERS and NEWSLETTERS

JAMES POYNER
ROUNDABOUT EDITOR

The 2020 Local Council Election will proceed, as planned, on October 24, 2020.
For the first time in Victorian electoral history, the 2020 local election will be entirely conducted as a postal vote.
In 2016, 72 of the 78 participating councils conducted a postal vote.
Geelong did not participate in 2016, as it was in administration, and in 2020, the Councils of Casey, Whittlesea and South Gippsland are excepted for the same reason.
As well as restrictions put in place by the Coronavirus Pandemic, the 2020 elections also take place under new legislation; the Local Government Act 2020 (The Act).
Between Coronavirus and The Act, there are new rules that newspapers and newsletters need to be aware of, to ensure the content they print is in line with The Act and to be aware of the ways in which candidates will be allowed to campaign, and the statutory rights around election advertising.
With limits around gatherings in place, print media may have increased pressure to produce electoral content, so it is in everyone interest to understand the statutory requirements, as the penalties for breaches are severe.

Know your Council/Ward/Candidate

A combination of the VEC Representation Review, which concluded in 2019 and the changes to ward structure imposed by the Minister for Local Government, following the ascension of The Act, the ward your readers reside in, and how that ward/municipality is represented at council, may have changed since the 2016 election.
The VEC Website has a dedicated Know Your Council section (see link at bottom of article), providing maps of the bureaucratic structure of a given municipality, as well as information about who has nominated to run as a candidate in 2020.
The VEC is stressing the importance of making sure voters are aware of which ward they reside in and who the candidates are.
Maps illustrating Ward Structure for all municipalities are available on the VEC website, and when used in conjunction with editorial material relating to the 2020 Local Elections may be downloaded and printed in your publication — at the VEC Media Briefing in late August, CNAV specifically put this question to the VEC and they confirmed we had to right to reproduce these maps, in our publications, when used to support election articles.
From September 17, the VEC will also begin to publish details about nominated candidates, which will include contact details.
The nomination period runs from September 17 to 12pm, September 23.
At the end of each day, between these dates, a list of candidates will be available from the municipality’s Election Office and the VEC website, at midday on September 23, the nomination period will have closed, and the list will no longer be amended.
Each candidate will be given the opportunity to provide a 300-word statement as part of the ballot packs.

Election period

The Election Period runs from 12pm on September 23 to 6pm on October 24.
All ballot papers are mailed out to voters in early October must be returned to the VEC by 6pm on October 23, these can be delivered to the Election Office or posted via Australia Post.
Note: all posted ballot papers must be postmarked before 6pm, October 23.
The VEC have allowed until 12pm on October 30 for the return of “late returns”, this allows Australia Post time to deliver all ballots posted prior to the close of voting.
The final date to declare elections is Friday, November 13.

Statements and articles

The Act has rules around “electoral matter” which editorial teams need to ensure are met, failure to meet these requirements can result in a fine.
Statements from Candidates and articles that may influence how someone votes must carry an authorisation statement, this statement must contain the name and address of the person who authorised the statement along with the words “authorised by” or a phrase to that effect.
Note if the same material is when used on a website or on social media must also carry an authorisation statement — this can also be a link to a place where the statement is displayed.
Articles about the mechanics of an election, or to report on a meeting or another event which is related to the election but is not intended to influence the outcome of the election do not require authorisation statements.

Advertising

All candidate advertisements relating to the election must carry the word “Advertisement” in at least 10pt, in the headline.
Local Councils have a statutory requirement to advertise in print media about the forthcoming election.
If there is no “local paper”, the VEC will display their advert on its website (on the Know Your Council page) as a method of meeting this requirement.
CNAV publications are encouraged to contact their local councils to inform them that running their local council election advertisement in their publication, meets council’s statutory requirements.
This requirement was highlighted to media by the VEC, in the wake of the shrinking of commercial local newspapers.

For more information about elections in your local municipality, visit www.vec.vic.gov.au/voting/2020-local-council-election/elections
 

CNAV papers continue to support local communities

It is with sadness we witness the closure of so many local newspapers across the country today, however it is not the end of local news.

The Community Newspaper Association of Victoria (CNAV) is the peak body for community-based print journalism in Victoria.

President of CNAV, Mary Farrow said, “it is sad that so many good journalists are set to lose their jobs.

“There is a place for local news in Australia, and these stories must continue to be told.

“From Moonambel to Mallacoota, our members have been reporting on local issues that are important to our communities across Victoria, some for over 100 years.  

“We are still here, and we will continue to tell the stories of our towns into the future”.

“Our not-for-profit newsrooms have been at the forefront of hyper-local news, producing quality journalism that comes from the community, for the community”.

The community newspaper sector is a training ground for young journalists, and an outlet for writers, photographers, cartoonists and columnists.

The community sector, while fuelled by volunteers, also creates hundreds of jobs across the state, employing editors, graphic designers, journalists, photographers, administrators and printers.

Community newspapers also provide a way for local businesses to connect with their communities through advertising.

“The COVID19 pandemic has affected us all, but community newspapers have shown resilience and a ‘can-do’ attitude that will see them continue to be an important part of their communities for years to come,” Ms Farrow said.

If you would like to connect with your local CNAV member newspaper, visit www.cnav.org.au

For more information or interview requests contact:

Sandra Miller

0429 121 969

NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

12 October 2019, 4.15 pm
The York on Lilydale

BUSINESS OF MEETING:
ATTENDANCE/APOLOGIES
ORDINARY BUSINESS
  1. To receive the President’s report
  2. To consider and receive the financial statements
  3. Election of ordinary members of the committee of management

Nominations of financial members are invited for election to the Committee (click here for nominiation form).

In accordance with the Constitution, members with voting rights who are unable to attend the meeting may appoint a proxy (click here for form).

Anne Brackley  (Secretary)
coordinator@springdale.org.au

NOTES:

  1. Minutes of the annual general meeting held on 13 October 2018 were approved as true and correct by the committee of management at its meeting on 15 December 2018 in accordance with CNAV’s constitution.  A copy of the minutes is available upon written request to the secretary
  2. As the CNAV member is the community newspaper, only one proxy is permitted for each community newspaper.  Representatives of community newspapers may nominate more than one person to be a committee of management member

2019 Conference

Saturday 12 October 2019

CNAV’s 2019 conference venue will be The York on Lilydale.

The date is 12th October 2019, which is the 2nd Saturday of October.

See the Conferences page for more info.

2018 Conference

13 October 2018

CNAV’s 2018 conference venue has been decided – RACV Goldfields Resort near Creswick.

The date is 13th October 2018, which is the 2nd Saturday of October.

See the Conferences page for more info.

2017 Conference

14 October 2017

CNAV’s 2017 conference was held at Traralgon on Saturday, 14 October

See the Conferences page for more info, including photos of the day.

2016 Conference

CNAV’s 2016 conference was held at Bendigo on Saturday, 8 October

See the Conferences page for more details.