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‘I think it’s wrong’: Tom Elliott and Melbourne City Councillor’s heated exchange over voting rights

Tom Elliott and Melbourne City Councillor Nic Frances Gilley have had a heated debate over council’s new plan to give traditional land owners a vote, even if they do not live within the council’s boundaries.

A City of Melbourne councillor is pushing for Aborigines who do not live in the City of Melbourne to be given voting and candidate rights as “traditional owners”.

Cr Nic Frances Gilley told Tom Elliott the decision regarding voting is about ownership.

“Under the act, we have different classes of voters, there are those who live within the City of Melbourne, but there are two other classes, people who own property and people who run businesses,” Cr Gilley said.

“There are a group of people, who are recognised as the traditional owners of this land but most of them don’t live in Melbourne.”

“Will the Indigenous people pay rates?” Tom asked.

“It’s not about what they do, it’s about what we want. We really want, as a city to be able to say, we own our whole heritage and celebrate that,” Cr Gilley replied.

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“If you offer people a vote with nothing in return of course they’re going to say yes, but what you’ve got to do is speak to the other people who vote and the people who fund the City of Melbourne and say what do you think?” Tom said.

“I think it’s wrong.

“I think if you own property, if you live here, if you work here, that’s how you get a vote and fund a city like Melbourne.

“Just because you had an ancestor here 150-200 years ago does not.”