Table of Contents:
Democracy is a situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights, in which the people hold the ruling power either directly or through elected representatives. Webster’s dictionary defines what all modern day voluntary organizations already know: that the rights of individuals must be respected, and that each member has an opportunity to express his or her opinion, to attend meetings and to vote. A good election is based on principles that ensure it is free and fair. If every Tenant is treated fairly, equally and with respect during the entire election process, then the methods used are likely appropriate. One vote, one value – everyone only votes once in each election. The elections are based on a simple first-past-the-post system.
Tenants elect representatives to speak on their behalf, trusting that the Tenant Reps will say what Tenants would say, and do what Tenants would do. The proper conduct of elections of these representatives is vital to the democratic process.
This factsheet looks at the whole of the election process, from the days leading up to the election, procedures for running elections and roles and responsibilities of the individuals who will be involved in making the elections a success.
The TPRS ensures that notices about the election is are both letterboxed and posted around each Precinct (or Estate).
Other members of the NAB have an important recruiting role to play. Throughout the year, all NAB members should be encouraged to submit the names of Tenants who might be approached by the TPRS/NAB, as well as attending as observers to the NAB. Precinct Reps can also submit interested Tenants names they have in mind, when the NAB is looking for candidates. This policy encourages new people and fresh ideas for the NAB/Precinct.
The identification of interested and interesting Tenants is often one of the main hurdles the NAB/TPRS will overcome for the elections. If during the year a list of interested Tenants are collected, then the TPRS will have a much easier task prior to election time. Relying solely on nominations from the floor during elections is not the most ideal practice to filling all vacancies.
The names of all Tenants who wish to stand for each vacant position are considered by the TPRS during elections. The TPRS can solicit nominations from interested Tenants to:
- notify each nominee of the nomination
- answer any questions about the role
- verify that he or she will stand for election
There are three (or possibly more) options for recruiting Tenants to the NAB.
- Firstly, to have an open day at various central (hub) points around the Estate to inform Tenants in the precincts about what the NAB does. In both Waterloo and Redfern, this is held twice a year.
- Secondly to have a stall at other events that showcase the achievements of the NAB and
- Thirdly, to letterbox a flyer/newsletter to the Estate about what the achievements of the NAB/Tenant Group have been and to garner interest from Tenants to stand for the NAB.
The NAB Terms of Reference and Guidelines for Precinct Reps are the functional framework of the board. It briefly outlines objectives, membership, methods and procedures, complaints procedure and election procedures. In the Terms of Reference, the Precinct Representative tenure is stated.
The election process will be overseen by the Central Sydney North Tenant Participation Resource Service (CSNTPRS), who is also responsible for chairing the elections with FaCS Housing staff, or their delegate in attendance.
In the months before the elections, …
Before the date of elections, the TPRS and/or HCP would have made plans for the coming year including NAB meetings, Community events meetings, information meetings… for each of the 6 neighbourhood areas. As part of these plans, the tentative dates for the elections would have been identified.
The elections for the NABs are ideally announced publicly two months before the occasion, usually at the NAB. FaCS Housing is notified, especially if the election takes place in a venue managed by FaCS Housing.
5-7 days before the election, the Precinct is letterboxed by either the TPRS Worker and/or the HCP worker. A successful election depends on voter participation therefore a fantastic flyer announcing the upcoming elections is fundamental to connecting with the Tenants in the Precinct. The flyer should also inform voters so that they understand what the election is for. Letterboxing for an election outside of Waterloo/Redfern is done by the TPRS Worker. The election flyer will also have both a start time as well as a finish time. While a discussion will take place on related issues, such as maintenance, there has to be time management so that the meeting can close on time.
Successful and healthy NABs try to ensure that every volunteer position is filled and that there is a good ratio of new NAB members to those who are re-standing.
On the day of the Elections:
- Setup (which may include supplying biscuits and tea/coffee) at the venue that the election is taking place.
- At the start of the meeting, an explanation and overview of the NAB is given by the Returning Officer, as well as the reasons why there are elections and the process used to achieve the elections.
- Call for nominations from the floor – include names of interested Tenants submitted from existing Precinct Reps. (Nominations need not be seconded if nominating from the floor.)
- Tenants may stand for the position of Precinct Rep without attending the elections if they have submitted a Nomination form that is seconded and a paragraph or so about why they are interested in standing and what they feel they can bring to the NAB/Precinct. To be elected, though the Tenant submitting a nomination form must be voted in by attending Tenants at the elections.
- List all names of the nominated Tenants for all to see (or hear).
- Close nominations by a declaration from the returning officer.
- Ask each person nominated, whether he or she will stand for the position.
- If only one or two people agree to stand, then they are elected by approval to that position. (The elections officer announces that result.)
- If more than two people agree to stand, then each is asked to briefly address the group explaining his or her views on what they can bring to the NAB/Precinct, etc.
- Voting will be held by a secret ballot unless a show of hands is called for, each Tenant receiving a ballot paper, entering the names of the two candidates (or less) of their choice.
- Scrutineers distribute and collect ballots, count the votes cast for each candidate and report results to the elections officer. Results are announced, the winners being the two candidates that receive the largest majority of votes cast.
- Should three candidates end up with equal number of votes (a) the election is declared invalid and moved to a new time or (b) all three candidates are declared elected to represent the precinct.
- If there are no nominees, then there will be no candidates for election. In this case, nominations are reopened and solicited from the floor. Again, if only one or two people stand, they are acclaimed. If there are more than two nominees, an election is held. But if again no nominees agree to be candidates for the position, then the Precinct Rep role for that Precinct is declared vacant. An Election will be called for the Precinct in the future and the successful candidate(s) will serve for the remainder of the two-year term. The term of office will begin from the date the precinct rep is elected to when the elections for the precinct are scheduled.
- The Returning Officer then makes sure everyone is informed about the outcome and congratulate all participants for their efforts.
- Proxy Votes are not permitted
- Only the authorised Tenants residing in the precinct may vote.
- If a precinct representative retires mid-term, a letter of resignation should be given to the chairperson of the NAB. As soon as practical after a precinct is declared vacant, an election will be called and the successful elected tenant will serve for the remainder of the two-year term.
- Notification of the election will be the responsibility of the Tenant Participation Resource Worker.
- An outgoing precinct rep may re stand for the position
- Campaigning is allowed.
The Returning Officer takes the contact details of the elected Precinct Reps and gives the elected Precinct Reps the contact details of the Secretariat, the TPRS and/or HCP (for Waterloo/Redfern).
The TPRS and/or HCP (for Waterloo/Redfern) will then send the newly elected Rep the list of events for the rest of the year, together with all relevant contacts to best represent their precinct.
Other Agencies, such as FaCS Housing, will be informed about the election’s results and the contact details for the elected Precinct Rep
Within 4-8 weeks (but after at least one NAB Meeting), the TPRS will run a training session for all the newly elected Precinct Reps
The factsheet above outlines the election process used for the NAB elections. A good election encourages democratic decision making and a respected outcome, based on principles that ensure it is free and fair and the processes described above try to ensure that the election is based on principles that ensure it is free and fair
Neighbourhood Advisory Board Representative Training Training Manual
Session 1: NABs and Precincts – the role of a representative
9.45am History of the NAB
10.15am What were the NABs set up to do?
11.15pm The Neighbourhood Advisory Board Structure
11.40am The role of precincts and precinct representatives
12.00am Being an effective precinct representative
Session 2: Building relationships and partnerships
9.45am Making Meetings Work & Managing meetings well
10:15am Why work in partnership?
11.00am Knowing how agencies work – the role of Housing Services
11.45pm Building a strong voice for the community
Redfern Neighbourhood Advisory Board (NAB) Tenant Representative Elections
Would you like to get involved in your community and be a part of genuine effective outcomes?
No experience necessary – training provided
The Redfern Neighbourhood Advisory Board (NAB) allows tenants to work together with government and community agencies to:
- Develop a sense of community
- Address community safety issues
- Improve the overall health and wellbeing of tenants
- Share information between groups/agencies
- Encourage better service delivery
- Lobby for resources
- Have a say about what happens in your local area
- Redfern North Precinct – 09:00 – 09:30 am on “Date of Election”
- The Block enclosed by Elizabeth, Cooper, Walker and Redfern Streets
at ‘Our Place Community Room’, Poet’s Corner Shops
For further information, please contact David White Tenant Participation Resource Worker on 9698 6558 or Laura Kelly, Housing & Communities Program Worker on 9698 9569
List of Redfern Precincts
What is the Redfern NAB?
The Neighbourhood Advisory Board (NAB) brings together elected Precinct (Tenant) representatives and local agencies to work collaboratively on improving the quality of life on the estates. The NAB meets monthly and members include Tenant Precinct Representatives and representatives from Family and Community Services (FACS), City of Sydney Council, Redfern Police and community services providers. The NAB provides a forum that can facilitate, plan and co-ordinate government and community services on the estate.
What do precinct representatives do?
The most important role that a precinct representative has, is listening to tenants’ ideas, concerns and issues; getting to know their community. Precinct representatives share these ideas, concerns and issues to the NAB or Housing Standards meetings and report back to their precinct on developments, action or initiatives.
Why should you become involved?
As a tenant, being involved is a way for you to raise issues and develop ways to achieve action, change and resolution to problems in Redfern.
What has the NAB done in your local area?
Over the years the NAB has initiated and been involved in many positive projects in Redfern including:
- Redfern Safety Audit
- Community Drug Action Team
- Sharps bins & Alcohol Free Zones
- Improvements to public housing properties
- Waste Management
- Redfern Neighbourhood Day
Be part of your community; be a part of the NAB
Come along to the election
09:00 – 09:30 am on “Date”
‘Our Place Community Room’, Poet’s Corner Shops