MT Eliza university student Andrew Dixon has a new interest in his busy life – Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
The 25-year-old was perhaps a surprising winner at the council election on Saturday when he grabbed the last of three seats in Briars Ward, the new super ward that takes in the former Mt Eliza, Mornington and Balcombe (Mt Martha) wards.
Cr Dixon joins his Briars colleagues Bev Colomb of Mornington and Anne Shaw of Mt Eliza in representing more than 42,000 voters.
Many judges thought Leigh Eustace, who had represented Mt Eliza since 2008, would be elected, but the 11-candidate field revealed in late September and the preference deals done between candidates muddied the waters.
When the calculation button was pushed at Rosebud TAFE at about 10pm on Sunday night, more than two hours later than scheduled, the candidates with fewest votes were eliminated and their preferences distributed to higher-scoring people.
The same process occurred as first Anne Shaw reached the quota of 25 per cent and then Bev Colomb, with their “spare” votes allocated to candidates still in the hunt.
Andrew Dixon was the third and last elected, setting off scenes of congratulations and joy from supporters, other councillors, his dad Greg Dixon and his girlfriend Cait Whelan.
On Monday, he partly attributed his success to new media.
“I had a website and a Facebook page, and asked people to send me their ideas and suggestions as well as spread the word about my campaign,” he said.
Cr Dixon said he hoped to keep his website, but The News understands he may be asked to take it down under local government governance rules.
The youngest councillor since the shire was formed in 1994 is studying arts and business at Monash University’s Caulfield campus.
He hopes to graduate next August or September after completing a summer unit and a full semester of four subjects next year.
Cr Dixon ran a low-key campaign, printed just 3000 flyers where other candidates printed 20,000 plus, had two signs that were nicked soon after he put them up, and was kicked out of Bentons Square and Centro shopping centres before he had time to talk with shoppers.
He has been a member of the Mornington branch of the Liberal Party for about three years, but has no ambition for higher office.
“I’m just delighted to be elected to the council and give young people a voice,” he said.