What's in a name?
Dear ratepayers and residents, on Wednesday 26 May at the Council Meeting the name change for King’s Square went through with a vote of 10 for and 1 against. My reasons for a “no” vote are:
Given that the name change was significant, a gold standard community engagement was warranted. In my view this did not occur. In a city of approximately 31,000 residents, we had less than 1% response. Most ratepayers and residents did not even know that there was a name change being contemplated.
To minimise bias, the science behind the survey design ought to have aimed for results that can be replicated. Therefore, meeting the criteria of reliability and validity. In my view, the community engagement process fell short of the gold standard required for such an important issue.
Having one indigenous person speak for all indigenous, having one Italian speak for all Italians, having one white person speak for all white people seems to re-enforce bias and a narrow interpretation of inclusion and diversity.
There was a view expressed that the absence of the community at the council meeting was feedback that they did not care about the name change. The indigenous were also absent.
Perhaps the feedback from both groups is that the name change was not pivotal compared to the other problems that the city faces.
To the individual Councillors the name change was monumental. An echo chamber dedicated to ideology, which had little to do with the ordinary ratepayers and residents who are more concerned with diminishing local services and increased rates.