THE Mornington Peninsula branch of the Greens says it will be fielding five candidates in the October Mornington Peninsula Shire elections.
Political parties usually run shy of endorsing specific candidates but the Greens last week issued a news release announcing a “team … [that] understand the priorities of their diverse wards, and are committed to genuinely listening to and delivering for their communities”.
The outspokenness of the Greens comes a week after seven of the shire’s 10 remaining councillors told The News they were yet to decide on whether to seek re-election.
Only Crs Hugh Fraser (Nepean ward), Antonella Celi (Seawinds) and David Garnock (Cerberus) were willing to admit they wanted to remain on council.
More direct political influence has come from the state parliament which has banned how-to-vote cards being included with the shire’s postal electoral packs. “The armies of dummy candidates lining up to run in this year’s council elections will have to think again,” opposition planning spokesman David Davis said.
“Removing how-to-vote cards from the postal pack will mean stooge and dummy candidates running to harvest votes and preference them to a lead candidate will face bigger obstacles.”
The five members of the Greens seeking election at the 22 October poll are Dr Elise Klein (Watson), Roslyn Browning (Red Hill), Greg Gilbert (Briars) and Gary Homewood and Kelvin Stingel (Seawinds).
In a joint statement the five said “the community” is “tired of the current councillors’ infighting, lack of consultation and inability to work together for a better Mornington Peninsula”.
“The team sees that the council election is about far more than just changing some councillors,” the statement said. “It’s about new councillors genuinely listening to their communities and delivering the communities’ priorities for services, facilities and support.”
On Friday former president of the Shire of Mornington David Gill announced he would seek election to Red Hill ward.
“I aim to bring back a grass roots representative role to the shire instead of the present board of directors corporate structure style of decision making,” Mr Gill said.
He said “the prolonged and embarrassing councillor debate” allowances for overseas travel, mileage reimbursement, private education expenses and childcare proved they were out of touch with community values.
“If elected I will not claim any expenses from the allowance that councillors seem to believe is an entitlement.”
Meanwhile, the current council was last week again unable to decide on a new expenditure policy due to an administrative bungle.
After missing out on being adopted by one vote at a meeting on 22 August the policy, which lifts a councillor’s allowable expenses to $30,000 each four-year term, looked set to be approved.
But then the special meeting scheduled for Monday 29 August failed to meet the required seven days’ public notice and had to be adjourned to this week, Monday 5 September.
“This is all shaping up as an abuse of council processes,” Cr Fraser told The News on Tuesday last week.
“This will be the fourth attempt by management to force through council this revisionist draft councillor expenses policy before the pre- election caretaker period cuts in late September.
“All this silly manoeuvring will be of interest to the Ombudsman currently investigating transparency of local government decision making in the shire.”
First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 6 September 2016