Victorian council elections: November 29

UPDATE (29/11/08): For inside dope on progressive counting, Ben Raue of The Tally Room will feed through results provided by his contacts in the Greens. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews might be good for news from the other side of the fence. The Poll Bludger Investigations Unit is also at work in comments.

Local government is the proverbial bridge too far as far as my own commentary is concerned, but here by popular demand is a thread for reader discussion of the imminent Victorian council elections. I gather that most of these are held by post with a deadline of Friday, November 28 for receipt of ballots, but a few holdouts (Banyule, Brimbank, Greater Dandenong, Glen Eira, Hobsons Bay, Knox, Moreland, Port Phillip and my old home of Yarra) do it the old-fashioned way the following day (see the Victorian Electoral Commission for more detail).

Not sure how much success I’ll have with this, but it’s a worth a try. Readers who know or care about a particular local government contest are invited to write a brief, non-partisan overview in comments. If it meets my specifications I will give it a run up here, while keeping an ongoing invitation to other commenters to suggest additions or amendments. To get the ball rolling, I’ll start with everything I can tell you about the race for the lord mayoralty.

Melbourne City Council: After serving two four-year terms as lord mayor, John So is not seeking a third. The candidates to watch appear to be former state Liberal leader Robert Doyle; Adam Bandt, the Greens candidate who came within swinging distance of Lindsay Tanner in the seat of Melbourne at last year’s federal election; current councillor Catherine Ng; Will Fowles, who I’m told is from the Labor Left; Peter McMullin, former Geelong mayor and Labor election candidate linked to the party’s Right faction (although his running mate is the none too Labor-friendly Tim Wilson, director of the Institute of Public Affairs’ free trade unit); and Gary Morgan of Roy Morgan Research fame. The latter has helpfully furnished us with his very own opinion poll, which shows Doyle well ahead of Bandt on first preferences with Ng in third place. Second preferences are apparently set to produce a close race for second between Bandt, Ng and Morgan, with none posing a threat to Doyle. Bandt appears not to have done well out of preference recommendations, including those of candidates linked to Labor.

Darebin City Council: Three wards electing three councillors. Hat tip to Martin B and Caroline Church for the following.
Rucker ward: There are two Labor candidates, two Greens (Trent McCarthy and Helen Brown) and five others, only one of whom has much of an independent local profile – Darren Lewin-Hill. The ward is the stronghold of the Labor Unity sub-faction associated with state MPs Theo Theophanous and Nazih Elasmar, and is not being contested by the rival sub-faction of Michael Leighton and Robin Scott, the former and current members for Preston. At corresponding booths in the 2007 federal election, Labor polled 49 per cent of the primary vote, the Greens 31 per cent and Liberal 16 per cent. If those numbers are reflective of this vote, the result should be straightforward: one Labor and one Greens candidate will be comfortably elected, with the third seat going to the other Labor candidate or, less likely, Lewin-Hill if he can gather enough Labor preferences and votes from Liberals.
Cazaly ward: There are 17 candidates, nine of whom identify as Labor members (4 Unity, 4 Socialist Left, one unaligned), plus one Greens, one “conservative independent” (allegedly a former Labor member with a decidedly non-conservative activist history) and six other independents. The Labor candidates include incumbents Vince Fontana, a former mayor and member of the Leighton-Scott faction, and Alison Donohue, who is also receiving Leighton-Scott preferences but is apparently not directly linked. Haphazard preference arrangements suggests their proliferation might be down not to dummy candidates, as one might suspect, but to poor party organisation. Donohue and two other candidates, Ben Morgan and Joe Cutri, seem to have fared the best of the nine on preferences. The corresponding federal booth results were Labor 60 per cent, Liberal 20 per cent and Greens 16 per cent, suggesting Greens candidate Mohammed El-leissy will have to rely on Labor fragmentation to get a look-in.
La Trobe ward: Even more candidates than Cazaly ward, with better organisation lending greater credence to suspicions of dummy candidates. No fewer than 16 candidates recommend some permutation of preferences for Gaetano Greco and Tim Laurence of the Labor Socialist Left, while five candidates recommend preferences for the Unity ticket of Stanley Chiang (another associated of Leighton and Scott) and Tania Sharkas. Also on the receiving end of most Socialist Left preference arranagements is Melissa Salata of the Theophanous-Elasmar sub-faction of Labor Unity, who is hostile to the Leighton-Scott sub-faction. That leaves only the Greens candidate, Sara Scally, and another who recommends a preference to her. The campaign between the Socialist Left and Unity has been bitter: Laurence took internal party action against Chiang (which was dismissed), and there were counter-claims that Laurence broke party rules with his material. The federal election booth numbers here were Labor 62 per cent, Liberal 23 per cent and Greens 8 per cent, suggesting the issue is likely to be how the three seats divide between Socialist Left and Unity.

Banyule City Council: Consists of seven wards in Melbourne’s inner north-east. Olympia ward: Incumbent Anthony Carbines is chief-of-staff to Education Minister Bronwyn Pike (and the son of upper house MP Elaine Carbines), and thus unquestionably aligned to Labor. Beale ward: Incumbent Wayne Phillips was the Liberal member for Eltham from 1992 to 2002, when he became one of dozens of victims of the first Brackslide. Ibbot ward: Incumbent Tom Melican is said to be an independent. Hawdon ward: Vacant ward being contested by two Labor members, Sandra MacNeil and Martin Appleby, along with an independent and a Green. Grimshaw ward: Labor incumbent Dean Sherriff is being contested by two fellow party members, Frank Beard and Jess Paul. Sherriff’s career on council was saved in April 2007 when a conviction for criminal damage was overturned on appeal, but he retains a conviction for assault relating to the same incident. Griffin ward: Incumbent Jenny Mulholland challenged by Steve Walpole, a Labor member, and Dora Bergman, a one-time running mate of Mulholland. Bakewell ward: A rematch between Liberal incumbent Peter McKenna and Labor member Michael Paul, following a very close result in 2005. Andrew Landeryou’s VexNews reports that Greens candidate Ian Kirk has raised eyebrows by giving McKenna his second preference. A Greens supporter in comments claims this was in response to Paul’s attitude in preference negotiations, but the Labor camp insists discussions were entirely cordial until Kirk advised he would preference McKenna on the grounds that he was a “serious candidate”.

Glen Eira City Council: Glen Eira has gone against the prevailing trend by changing from postal to attendance voting. This has apparently discouraged dummy candidates, resulting in 26 nominations compared with 61 in 2005. The council consists of three wards which each elect three councillors, with seven sitting councillors seeking re-election. The assessments that follow come direct from Winston in comments. Camden ward: Michael Lipshutz and Helen Whiteside are standing for re-election and appear to be working together with the backing of the Liberal Party – although neither are members. Other candidates include local businessman Frank Penhalluriack (who actually lives in Kew) and a residents group ticket headed by Peter Blight. Lipshutz is a prominent member of the Jewish community and with over one third of the ward Jewish should have no problems getting re-elected. Penhalluriack has number one position on the voting card which will help him. Lipshutz, Whiteside and Penhalluriack are spending big and will probably be elected. Rosstown ward: Nine candidates. Three sitting councillors standing: Margaret Esakoff, Steven Tang and Rob Spaulding. This is the only ward with a Greens candidate – Neil Pilling – who could be the wild card as he is getting some flow of preferences. Tucker ward: Ten candidates, two sitting councillors standing: Nick Staikos (Labor) and Henry Buch (Liberal). Buch may struggle as he only recently joined council on a countback after the resignation of former Mayor David Feldman. Fellow Liberal and former councillor Jamie Hyams has scored number one position and should be elected. The other candidate with a chance is Jim Magee, who lead the fight to save the local swimming pool and polled well in the 2005 election.

Kingston City Council: The council has been reformed from seven single-member wards to three three-member wards. Hat-tip to Deano in comments for the following. North ward: Incumbent councillors Greg Alabaster and Arthur Athanasopolous are likely to be returned, but the third is up for grabs. Contestants are Paul Peulich, son of Liberal MP Inga Peulich, and Liz Larking, a past councillor and former ALP member. Mara Hayler is running for the Greens. Central ward: No fewer than 21 candidates have nominated, included 73-year-old mayor Bill Nixon and councillor Rosemary West. Other candidates include past councillor Ron Brownless, said to have done well out of preference recommendations, and John Natoli, an independent running a “well-organised campaign”. Three candidates have Labor links, including former state upper house MP Noel Pullen. Geoff Heard is said to be a “dark horse” and a “greenie”, although the actual Greens candidate is Dean Andrew. South Ward: John Ronke, incumbent for the Braeside Park ward, is said to be certain to win one of the three seats. Twelve candidates are competing for the other two. They include Donna Bauer, said to have run a “big spending campaign”; Trever Shewan, a former councillor; Carlos Lopez, the candidate of the Greens; Jeremy Nash, a member of the ALP; and Peter Wertheimer, an RSL captain.

Port Phillip City Council: JH writes in comments: “Another interesting council will be Port Phillip with the Unchain crew looking a reasonable chance in Catani Ward (Serge Thomann has been getting lots of press) and MAV boss Dick Gross could have a fight on his hands to be re-elected in Junction Ward. Having said that, I’ve not seen HTVs for anyone, so I don’t know who’s giving what. The Greens are running in every ward bar Albert Park, which is uncontested.”.

Bendigo Shire Council: The Greens have an incumbent mayor here in David Jones, seeking re-election in Kangaroo Flat ward. Another Greens incumbent is former mayor Julie Rivendell of Eppalock ward. The council consists of nine single-member wards: I gather councillors have an annual vote to determine who hte mayor will be for the coming year. The Greens between them have held the position for three of the past four years. North West Plains ward councillor Kevin Gibbins was a Liberal candidate at the 2004 federal and 2006 state elections.

Mount Alexander Shire Council: Commenter Follow the Preferences has high hopes for the Greens here. The council consists of the three-member Castlemaine ward in the centre, which is surrounded by the single-member rural wards of Tarrengower, Calder, Coliban and Loddon. The Greens have one incumbent in Philip Schier of Castlemaine ward, with Jan Garood and Doug Ralph respectively contesting Coliban and Calder.

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.

381 comments on “Victorian council elections: November 29”

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  1. I was not suggesting that Martin B had any opinion about Tim Laurence. I was merely posing a rhetorical question. Also Tim Laurence has been Mayor before and he was a very good one. It was a conservative councillor whom Tim defeated who raised questions about Tim’s background, and I think that is objectionable. I’m sorry if I appeared to suggest anything about other contributors. I wasn’t. Tim retired from the council owing to pressure of work but he’s back again and that’s great news.

    On postal or attendance voting the decision is made by each individual council. Most councils prefer postal voting because it’s cheaper. I know I’ll be unpopular with some contributors but I prefer postal voting rather than attendance voting because I think the major political parties (particularly the ALP) spend too much effort on parish pump politics and attendance voting means they devote more effort. The activities of the major parties in this round of local government elections has been minimal, and that’s to the good. I am opposed to political parties endorsing candidates in local government elections.

  2. Demoracy@work, your proposal for a massively expanded Melbourne City Council, does it include St Kilda and Malvern (including the old City of Malvern would include Chadstone Shopping Centre) or would other boundary changes be required in the South and South East?

    The 4 councils (Melbourne, Yarra, Port Phillip and Stonnington) covering the areas that you propose have 36 councillors (with out St Kilda and Malvern it would be around 27) which means that you are proposing some quite big wards.

    I think that combining Melbourne with any council other than Yarra won`t be at all popular with the absorbed population.

    I think that the existing Melbourne councils should be retained with some small boundary and a few other changes, with a Melbourne Metropolitan Council with plenty of power including over planning and transport and no state government.

  3. Right – there you go. An unelected adminstrator decided this, after the elected reps of Darebin were sacked.

    Not exactly born of a spirit of grass-roots democratic rejuvenation then?

  4. Tim Laurence has been Mayor before and he was a very good one

    Didn’t realise that so thanks.

    Still, internal ALP brawling with fellow councillor Chiang can’t exactly help his chances.

  5. Lefty should enjoy this paper:

    At most, the introduction of universal postal voting was an attempt to compensate for measures that continued to weaken local government’s capacity to act as the representative of a local democratic citizenry. At worst, it provides evidence that, without the support of a political culture and constitutional framework to buttress democracy, incremental change has the tendency to provide opportunities for further weakening rather than strengthening the democratic fabric of society and politics.

  6. Doyle versus the rest “head to head”

    Poll Stats:

    Candidate Vote Doyle Total
    McMullin 26987 30974 57961
    Singer 26711 31250 57961
    Ng 26613 31348 57961
    Fowles 26006 31955 57961
    Brandt 24911 33050 57961
    Morgan 24770 33191 57961
    Columb 21855 36106 57961
    Roberts 19434 38527 57961
    Crawford 19005 39856 58861
    Toscano 18145 39716 57861

  7. I propose combining the four State seats Melbourne, Prahran, Albert Park and Richmond (Along th lines of the Old Melbourne Province voundaries when Evan Wlaker was member for Melbourne or the Old Municipality of Richmond, Prahran, Albert Park and Melbourne boudaries.)

  8. Ticket Stats Melbourne Lord Mayor

    Group Name Ticket votes Percentage
    ACTIVATE MELBOURNE 6862 11.86%
    THE GREENS 3745 6.47%
    TEAM MELBOURNE 2548 4.40%
    FOWLES A FRESH VISION 2218 3.83%
    DONKEY 1034 1.79%
    REVERSE DONKEY 172 0.30%

  9. Basing local governments on electoral districts is silly because they move or if you mean the current boundaries then they are significantly arbitrary because of the need for an equal number of voters.

    By the old municipality of Albert Park do you mean the old municipalities of South Melbourne and Port Melbourne?

  10. Rosemary Kiss who wrote the paper on postal versus attendance voting which is viewable via a link from Martin B’s comment is interesting, but you need to know something about the author’s agenda before you accept it totally.

    Rosemary Kiss is a retired academic and lives in Greater Geelong. She is a former Labor councillor in Fitzroy. She co-authored an academic paper in the 1990s with Peter Johnstone, the former CEO of the Liberal dominated Boroondara council. Kiss submitted an erudite paper to the VEC representation review for Greater Geelong advocating single member wards. This is in the ALPs interests and the ALP was successful in Greater Geelong this time. Johnstone submitted an erudite paper to the VEC representation review for Boroondara making similar points and advocating single member wards. This is in the interests of Liberals in Boroondara (strangely Ken Coghill, the former Labor Speaker of the Legislative Assembly made a submission in Boroondara in favour of single member wards also). The Liberals won in Boroondara this time, as expected for its the Liberal heartland.

    I do not believe a paid CEO should be making his own submission, nor do I believe ratepayers money should be spent on councils making their own submissions, as happened in Boroondara when Johnstone was CEO, although the council authorised such expenditure and Johnstone cannot be criticised for this. Johnstone told a PR Society member that he had not spoken to Rosemary Kiss over his submission. It’s a case of great minds think alike. I think this is so as the submissions were not identical although their much of their content was similar. I do not believe there was collusion and accept what Peter Johnstone said.

    Rosemary Kiss is a Labor girl and her views are consistent with Labor factional bosses whatever the language used. Johnstone’s views are also consistent with those of Labor factional bosses. Liberal heavyweights in Boroondara agree with him on this.

  11. Kathryn Erikson, the wife of former Labor MHR Andrew Theophanous, was defeated in Brimbank. This is unfortunate as she was a very good councillor. Highly intelligent and not taken in by the local bully boys and girls.

    Heidi Seitz, a cousin of George Seitz, the Labor MLA, has been elected in another ward in Brimbank. She is of high calibre, and this might help alleviate the loss of Kathryn to some extent.

  12. Michael Freshwater, former One Nation candidate, has been elected to the Council of East Gippsland. What influence did publicity on Vexnews have to his election? Was there support from Gavin Jennings (the term Stasi Minister was used on Vexnews but I will not use that term myself as I don’t wish to get into further senseless arguments with certain contributors to this blog) and Jenny Mikakos. I suspect this is not true.

  13. Tsangpo they become concillors on the declaration of the poll. Greater Bendigo councillors are being sworn in tomorrow. It will be a different date for each council. Check locally.

  14. Tens of thousands of Victorian voters have been disenfranchised with hundred of voters turned away from Town Hall on Saturday expecting the right to vote. No effort was made by Town hall to register the names of disenfranchised voters.

    These voters are subject to a $57 fine.

    The VEC has refused to provide statistics on the number of late vote returns for each municipality.

    Whilst some municipalities held attendance voting last Saturday most Council’s opted for a Postal voting system where the voting closed earlier on a Friday.

    Many voters are angry that they will now face a fine for not voting. In the past they are use to voting taking place on a Saturday with many City shoppers and business people expecting they could cast an absentee vote.

  15. More stats:

    1036 votes out of 5004 primary votes (20.7%) for Will Fowles placed Doyle ahead of McMullin.

    2181 votes out of 8729 primary votes (24.9%) for Adam Brandt placed Doyle ahead of McMullin.

    1625 votes out of 8729 primary votes (18.6) for Adam Brandt placed Doyle ahead of McMullin.

    1927 votes out of 6056 primary votes (31.8%) for Gary Singer placed Doyle ahead of Ng.

    214 votes out of 6314 primary votes (3.4%) for Catherine Ng placed Doyle ahead of Singer.

  16. Sorry shoud read

    1036 votes out of 5004 primary votes (20.7%) for Will Fowles placed Doyle ahead of McMullin.

    2181 votes out of 8729 primary votes (24.9%) for Adam Brandt placed Doyle ahead of McMullin.

    1625 votes out of 8729 primary votes (18.6) for Adam Brandt placed Doyle ahead of Fowles.

    1927 votes out of 6056 primary votes (31.8%) for Gary Singer placed Doyle ahead of Ng.

    214 votes out of 6314 primary votes (3.4%) for Catherine Ng placed Doyle ahead of Singer.

  17. This data shows the percentage of each Candidates primary that placed Doyle ahead to other of the other Candidates (Full set) Sorry it is not in displable table format

    ID 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
    Candidate Doyle Ng Toscano Columb Bandt Crawford Roberts Singer Fowles McMullin Morgan
    Primary 15135 6314 815 2712 8729 684 719 6056 5004 7267 4526
    2 Ng 31.78% 77.03% 22.60% 35.38% 61.34% 31.82% 77.44% 50.72% 37.96%
    3 Toscano 80.98% 82.12% 24.57% 35.53% 63.42% 85.49% 32.61% 56.54% 78.77%
    4 Columb 74.83% 29.57% 20.72% 30.56% 59.25% 78.25% 75.06% 50.81% 30.18%
    5 Bandt 75.36% 23.19% 36.87% 31.58% 59.67% 78.22% 23.68% 52.47% 34.73%
    6 Crawford 80.35% 30.43% 79.46% 24.86% 38.39% 83.03% 28.56% 53.97% 76.89%
    7 Roberts 79.06% 31.04% 80.24% 22.72% 33.77% 83.34% 27.72% 53.71% 75.23%
    8 Singer 35.06% 29.57% 34.85% 19.82% 30.26% 33.80% 23.64% 46.88% 30.91%
    9 Fowles 77.68% 31.66% 76.25% 18.62% 30.85% 34.35% 75.23% 22.44% 28.94%
    10 McMullin 75.39% 66.01% 34.66% 24.99% 34.65% 37.69% 73.55% 20.70% 31.46%
    11 Morgan 39.83% 34.48% 33.74% 23.39% 39.33% 63.42% 77.15% 23.34% 78.84%

  18. Doyle’s Primary Voting Pattern 10 votes or more (Fixed record length preference vote)

    This shows the extent of the dokey vote (Inverse and Nominative)

    Vote Papers
    0103091108060502071004 6862
    0102030405060708091011 1034
    0102091108060503071004 68
    0111100908070605040302 55
    0111020304050607080910 48
    0103040506070802091011 32
    0103091108060504071002 28
    0103040506070809101102 24
    0111081007050402060903 23
    0103040502060708091011 22
    0104091108060502071003 21
    0103091108060507021004 20
    0103040205060708091011 19
    0103020405060708091011 19
    0111100908070605040203 17
    0103050709111008060402 17
    0103110908060502071004 16
    0102030411050607080910 16
    0104091108060503071002 15
    0107020803090410051106 15
    0110091108060502070304 14
    0111090308060502071004 13
    0102040305060708091011 13
    0111021003090408050706 13
    0103090208060511071004 12
    0102111009080706050403 11
    0103080509101102060407 10
    0103091008060502071104 10
    0103090811060502071004 10
    0103091108060510070204 10
    0102030405060711080910 10

  19. As you can see there was 1034 Donkey votes. By comarioson there was 172 reverse Donkey votes. But the inverse Donkey vote is far the greatest value. This is where a voter preferences their first second or third choice and then preference down the ticket filling in the blanks.

  20. Tom all boundaries are arbitrary to a large extent. My suggestion is to include the Current city of Port Phillip, City of Melbourne, City of Yarra and the old City of Prahran. Sure there may be merit in hying off say parts of Elwood or East St Kilda and maybe other sections. But I think it is fair to day that Prahran has more in common with Melbourne then Malvern and the same with Albert Park, Port Melbourne and Central St Kilda. A Greater Melbourne would deliver a better outcome. Its a shame that Dick Gross lost his seat and with it the presidency of the MAV. The St Kilda triangle bumped him off. I also like Tim Lawrence, think he is a good local member. Have known him for many years.

  21. Oz the staff rule the roost at the City Council. Doyle is in for a shock, It is not Melbourne health more like an accident zone of anrachy at the morgue. It is design-a-job back at Town Hall,. If they find something a bit tiresome senior managers rewrite their job breifs and appoint someone else to do the task they were hired to do. hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted in renaming the departments to reflect the new job desciptions they have created. They will not let him do anything they do not want. Doyle has already stated that he will not foresake the Limo and driver and there is no mention of the Limo that Susan Riley accomodered for herself. 100% oaid for by the ratepayer and her job is part time. You can expect she will be quick to take junkets and pretend she is embassadore at large travelling abroad at a cost of more then $2,000 a day. Not tofogett Doyle’s CarlJetter and his $1700 local travel bill per quater. Doyle says no Junkets but we all know that willfallby the wayside.

  22. Kevin Gibbins, former Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Bendigo against Steve Gibbons, will be the new Mayor of Greater Bendigo when they are all sworn in tonight. The elected councillors met privately and voted for Gibbins. There is a clear majority for the conservatives on the Greater Bendigo council. Local members who previously served as Local Government Ministers are responsible for this. This includes Candy Broad, who introduced representation reviews that resulted in single councillor wards, with the support of former local Liberal member Daryl McClure. McClure knew what he was doing. Rod Fyffe, who is Labor leaning, who backed McClure on this, did not.

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