Victoria and Albert (Park): form guide

The last thing a dedicated election-watcher needs right now is state by-elections, but that is what fate has delivered us following the retirement in late July of Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and his deputy John Thwaites. Voters in their respective electorates of Williamstown and Albert Park will go to the polls on Saturday in contests that lost much of their sting when the Liberal Party decided not to field candidates. This decision was made by the party’s administrative committee to save resources for the federal election, much to the displeasure of state Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu. There was no controversy in regards to Williamstown, which Bracks won last year by a margin of 24.3 per cent, but the 9.7 per cent margin facing the Liberals in Albert Park should not have been off the dial for a by-election involving a third-term government. However, there remains the prospect of a Greens boilover, with the party’s candidate (who is running again this time) having recorded 19.1 per cent last year. The wild card here is the behaviour of the 34.6 per cent who voted Liberal. The Greens vote in Williamstown was 12.4 per cent, which is unlikely to be enough of a springboard to trouble the Labor candidate. This site will follow the count as it occurs on Saturday evening.

Albert Park candidates in ballot paper order:

John Middleton (Greens). A consulting engineer, Middleton also contested Albert Park at the 2006 election, when the Greens vote rose 1.8 per cent to 19.1 per cent.

Prodos Marinakis. A former communist and dogmatic convert to the right, the highly unconventional Marinakis is involved in both community radio and the Celebrate CapitalismTM campaign. He was initially preselected as the Liberal candidate for Richmond at the 2006 election after being the only person to nominate, but the party hierarchy feared he might prove a loose cannon and replaced him with someone guaranteed to stay out of the papers.

John Dobinson. A resident of Balwyn North, Dobinson ran at state and federal elections in the early 1990s, at which time he identified himself as a conservative (UPDATE: See comments for a more up-to-date assessment of Dobinson’s political philosophy from the man himself).

Nigel Strauss. Strauss ran as a Liberals for Forests candidate in the federal seat of Corangamite in 2001. The Age reports he is running on the issue of logging in the Thomson Dam catchment.

Paul Kavanagh (Democrats). An occasional Poll Bludger comments contributor, Kavanagh was the Democrats’ upper house candidate for Southern Metropolitan in 2006. The Democrats site describes him as an “economic and social policy adviser specialising in job creation, older persons’ policy, migrant skills and regional development”.

Shane McCarthy (DLP). McCarthy is a primary school teacher.

Adrian Jackson. Also a candidate in 2006, Jackson was once active in the Liberal Party, which suspended him in 2003 after he banned Americans and Israelis from his Middle Park bed-and-breakfast. He was also a columnist for Jack Pacholli’s quirky Toorak Metropolitan News.

Cameron Eastman (Family First). As Family First’s upper house candidate for Eastern Victoria, Eastman was described in The Age as the “public face” of the party’s state campaign. He is a retired naval officer who “works in a civilian capacity for the Victoria Police”.

Martin Foley (Labor). Foley is chief-of-staff to Police Minister Bob Cameron and a former official with the Left faction Australian Services Union. Andrew Landeryou reports Foley comfortably won the local party vote ahead of 2006 Brighton candidate Jane Shelton and former Port Phillip mayor Liana Thompson (who although factionally non-aligned was said to have backing from Thwaites’ Independents faction), prompting the latter two to withdraw ahead of a second round of voting by the party’s Public Office Selection Committee. Brendan Donohue reported in the Herald Sun that Labor had “spread the rumour” that basketball star Andrew Gaze might be its candidate, without indicating a motive.

The candidates in Williamstown:

Catherine Cumming. The local Star News paper tells us the 34-year-old Maribyrnong councillor is “a doctor of Chinese medicine and a midwife-in-training”.

Janis Rossiter. Another Maribyrnong councillor, the Star News paper says Rossiter (who “refuses to reveal her age”) is “part of the Municipal Association of Victoria’s reference group for Melbourne 2030”.

Janet Rice (Greens). Yet another Maribyrnong councillor. Rice served as mayor last year, and is also chair of the Metropolitan Transport Forum and vice president of the Victorian Local Governance Association.

Wade Noonan (Labor). An official with the Right faction Transport Workers Union, Noonan won preselection ahead of Rhonda Reitveldt, former campaign adviser to Julia Gillard, and Maribyrnong mayor Michael Clarke. This followed a botched attempt to recruit ABC television sports presenter Angela Pippos, which provided an early embarrassment for the new Premier. Pippos was initially receptive, but pulled the pin when the story was leaked shortly before she was due to reach her final decision. Andrew Landeryou reports that Pippos had been approached by Right faction powerbroker Theo Theophanous, reacting to concerns that both nominations would go to male union officials. Brumby got into further trouble by wrongly stating it was Pippos who had approached the party. Late withdrawals from the race included the Premier’s economic adviser Nick Reece, whose initially promising bid reportedly expired after failing to win support from branch members, and Darebin councillor Diana Asmar, who withdrew to give factional colleague Noonan a clear run.

Vern Hughes (DLP). A newcomer to the resurgent DLP, Hughes co-founded the People Power party with Crikey’s Stephen Mayne, which contested last year’s state election. He withdrew from the party six days out from polling day, accusing Mayne of “trivialising” the campaign. Hughes is director of the Centre for Civil Society, and is described on Wikipedia as “an Anglican writer and social commentator”.

Wajde Assaf. Assaf was also a candidate at last year’s election. The Star News reports he is a former Australian Defence Force member who has been on a disability pension since being assaulted five years ago, and was inspired to run by his experience with health system waiting lists.

Veronica Hayes (Family First). A 24-year-old nurse from Camberwell.

Nathan Tavendale. A 29-year-old “information technology specialist” from Altona North.

Vivienne Millington. No substantial information on Millington could be located.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

56 comments on “Victoria and Albert (Park): form guide”

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  1. Greetings.

    William Bowe wrote …

    Prodos Marinakis. A former communist and dogmatic convert to the right, the highly unconventional Marinakis is involved in both community radio and the Celebrate CapitalismTM campaign ….

    My online radio shows can be viewed @ and @

    The Celebrate Capitalism ™ campaign website is @ http://CelebrateCapitalism.ORG

    What’s with this “dogmatic convert to the right” crap?

    Explain what you mean. Provide some evidence of this “dogmatism” – other than the fact that you might disagree with my views.

  2. William Bowe wrote …

    I didn’t mean it as a term of abuse, Prodos. You just seem a bit ideological is all. Since you object I won’t do it again.

    Thanks for being gracious about it. No problem. 🙂

    Yes I am “ideological”. I’m a hardcore Objectivist, a follower of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivim. However, I focus on learning from others, not on preaching at them.

    I don’t have a problem with what others believe. I don’t mind. To each, his own journey. I don’t expect others to share my views.

    During the Albert Park by-election campaign, as Democrats candidate, Paul Kavanagh, I’m sure will confirm, I got along and had the friendliest of discussions with everyone from all the Parties, including those from the Greens (which I preferenced in the lowest position, #9).

    My wife and I even handed out Democrats flyers on several occasions, when Paul had to dash off to do some other things. Not because we have much in common ideologically with the Democrats (although they have been excellent in opposing the Access Card, which I am also strongly opposed to) but simply because we respected Paul’s hard work and good character.

    Hardly an act of dogmatic arrogane.

    And when during the campaign I came across a Labor Party helper who was rude and arrogant to those from the other Parties – including to Paul – I reported him to the ALP electoral office in the strongest terms.

    Anyway, it’s pretty hard to act too dogmatic or arrogant when you go around in tights, top hat, and hands packed with bling-bling. Not to mention carrying about a big 5′ X 3′ Aussie flag. Or when you write songs like “Billionaire Cha-Cha”

    It’s not a person’s ideology or beliefs that necessarily make him dogmatic. It’s whether or not he respects and cares about – and ENJOYS – the way others think and approach the world.

    I had a couple of enjoyable and instructive chats with Labour candidate, Martin Foley, and although we disagree on many fundamentals, I have a high regard and respect for his work, dedication, and ability.

    I enjoy people and I enjoy their differing ideas. I certainly do put my own views across IF invited to do so and on my own forums – such as my radio show or blog or any forums I run. But I put them across as MY views, with explanations included. Not as “what you SHOULD believe”.

    And I certainly consider myself an activist – which means sometimes expressing ideas in almost jingoistic/cartoon-like language, and at other times with greater, painstaking argument.

    During the campaign whenever a voter or a community group asked my views on a particular issue I did my best to answer directly and without trying to appease them or make it look like I actually agreed with them, when in fact I didn’t.

    For instance, one lady phoned me and asked what I thought of George Bush. She felt that was relevant to whether or not she would vote for me. I told her I thought he was fabulous and that I supported the War Against Terror, including the Iraq War. As it happened, she liked that answer.

    I had a lifelong Liberal Party voter also phone me to ask what I thought about the Port Phillip Bay channel deepening. I told him I was opposed to it on free market grounds (because, as a heavily subsidised project, it rips off the taxpayer, etc.) He was disappointed with that answer and told me why he wouldn’t vote for me. I learnt a bit by listening to his reasoning and I respect his position.

    I was asked to participate, along with other candidates at an environment forum. I told the audience, straight up that I thought the notion that anthropogenic global warming was a scientifically established to be total “bollocks”. That was a jaw-dropper for them.

    When some of my campaign team suggested it would be advantageous to give the Greens a higher preference and go a bit easy on them, I argued with them for a week, telling them I’d rather burn in hell than do that.

    So, is that dogmatism? Is it arrogance?

    Perhaps there’s a little bit of it in there somewhere at times. But I prefer to think it’s about being moral, honest, principled, straightforward.

    Although I think I did well in this by-election, I’m sure I could have gotten a bigger vote had I bent a little here and there. But I’m not in the business of selling my soul – even if it is a flawed soul. I’m not in this to win an election “no matter what”.

    Maybe I’m wrong in some of what I believe or don’t believe. If so, I welcome debate and the opportunity to look at the evidence and to do my best to think through the issues.

    In any case, I’ll live by the Truth as I see it, and will rejoice and delight in YOUR Truth, as you see it.

    Talk to you later.

    Best Wishes,

    Ph: 9428 1234, 042 221 679

  3. I have just submitted a comment (No 179) on the election night blog on pollbludger which explains my position in relation to the 2006 election and 2007 by election in Albert Park and a few “controversial” issues. Comment 44 and 47 take a look at it, in particularly.

    A few days ago whilst Googling my name I came across a blog which discusses some of words of Prodos music. The words (score, is it) about Julian Sheezel and Costello are a giggle. I do not like them either.

    The Liberals neo-con fundamentalist right lead by Sheezel and the Kroger faction, after the next federal election, will have succeeded in getting every Liberal government in the country voted out of office. Some achievement. No wonder Julian is considered leaving the State Directors job – perhaps he may get a job in a US mortgage equity company.

    In the mean time everyone put pressure on the government (s) over our looming water crisis as we may run out of it in 18 months at current usage rates. The government has to make some tough decisions NOW. This is why I stood as a candidate – nothing more.

    Regards, Adrian Jackson

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