Joan Kirner’s stamp on city council

Former premier Joan Kirner was remembered for her role in shaping the Melbourne City Council at the June 2 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle spoke of Mrs Kirner’s input into a document which, ultimately determined the current political structure of the council.

Cr Doyle said: “I just want to focus on her contribution to the Melbourne City Council.”

“In 2000 Joan Kirner, along with the Rev Tim Costello and the Honourable Alan Hunt, completed the document (and it is my personal bible), A Way Forward report.”

“It became known as the Kirner Report and, because Joan Kirner understood the role of the City of Melbourne as a capital city council and a leader in the local government sector, that this report was completed.”

“Her report established the platform for a shared vision between this council and the State Government of Victoria and it was Joan Kirner who advocated for the electoral reform that now forms the basis for election to this council.”

“Her report recommended the establishment of the municipal-wide representation that we have today, replacing the ward system, direct election of lord mayor and deputy lord mayor and the business franchise which we enjoy today.”

“It was this report, A Way Forward, which was the precursor to the City of Melbourne Act 2001 and, at the time, that piece of legislation was unique. It has been subsequently adopted, in some form, by State Governments across Australia for their capital city councils, most recently in NSW.”

“So, her influence from this document in 2001 has reached forward 15 years, which I think is a remarkable accomplishment.”

“She said in this report: ‘Victorians want Melbourne to be a world-class capital city in which we can all take pride’.   15 years on, I think, because of the work Joan Kirner did, Melbourne is just that, underpinned, I think, by a council which is a strong voice in what we like to think of as the Melbourne Conversation.
That’s in no small part to Joan Kirner.”

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