Consideration is being given to making voting compulsory for businesses in Central Business Districts (CBDs). Theoretically, this could apply to the Chatswood and St Leonards CBDs. At the moment it is optional for business owners to register to vote. If the proposals are adopted, there would be a flood of businesses registering to vote at Local Government elections.
In Victoria where business voting is mandatory, a business owner is entitled to two votes and the landlord of their building gets two votes (so much for the one person one vote ‘rule’).
It is difficult to predict the outcome of such a proposal. If there were a lot of businesses in the area it is feasible that a ‘business voting block’ could elect their own member to Council. However, if this occurred that Councillor would only be one voice in thirteen.
Willoughby’s The Concourse was partially funded by an increase in business rates. It would be interesting to see if a single ‘business Councillor’ could have had impact on such a decision.