At the extreme right-hand edge of the table cloth that we like to pretend is the Victorian Senate ballot paper, we find two un-grouped Independent candidates, Lyn Gunter and Darrell Scott Morrison. Since each of them has been polite enough to create an actual website for me to look at, they will get one post each, starting with Lyn Gunter, a JP from Flowerdale and the former Murrindindi Shire Mayor.
I used to work with someone who needed everyone to know that she was a JP, so I’m cringing a little in anticipation, but I shall endeavour to set unfortunate memories aside and give Lyn a fair go. Because that’s the Australian way! Oh dear Lord, I have read *far too many political websites*.
As an un-grouped independent, Ms Gunter doesn’t have a Group Voting ticket, and she doesn’t seem to be doing too well in the preferences department. Bob Nicholls and co preference her at 4, and the Drug Law Reform Party, WikiLeaks, the Sex Party and the Democrats all put her in the early thirties, but she is not getting high preferences from any major parties (though she is doing better than her fellow un-grouped independent on that score).
Ms Gunter’s website slogan is ‘Your voice, our future’, to which she adds ‘My history proves my commitment. I will be your voice.’ She really means that, too, because her email address and mobile phone are front and centre on her website. I’m fairly impressed by this – nobody else makes themselves quite this directly contactable.
The rest of the front page is taken up with calls for volunteers and donations:
Ms Gunter has no policy page. Instead she has an ‘About Me’ page and a ‘Statement’. We’ll have a look at them both.
On the About Me page, we learn that Ms Gunter has a number of diplomas and advanced diplomas in things like Community Development, Community Education and Project Management. She has held volunteer and formal positions in Local and State government for around thirty years, was mayor of Murrindindi Shire during the Black Saturday bushfires, and served on the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund Panel. She is interested in land use, natural resources and water management, as well as the economic and social environment. She was also a foster mum for six years. She sounds like a very nice person, in fact, and is probably quite good at organising things.
Her personal statement tells us a little bit more. Her most impressive achievement to my mind is her ten years as the Kinglake Victorian State Emergency Services Controller. She has four children and 13 grandchildren, and wants you to know that:
My vow to you is to work with you listening to your views and opinions so your words and the words of the majority will be heard loud and clear in Canberra when decisions are made in the processes of the Senate, the House of Review.
As a nation I know we face many challenges that we simply cannot improve as individuals. We must work together to improve the lives of every man, woman and child.
Elsewhere on the internet, I found a nice little article about Ms Gunter resigning from the council after voting against a 6% rate rise for Murrundindi Shire during the year after the Black Friday bushfires (Murrindindi had been particularly hard-hit, with more than 100 residents killed):
“I respect their opinion, I respect their views, but in principle this was not the year to do that, morally, after what the community had been through,” Cr Gunter said.
Ms Gunter sounds like a lovely person, whose commitment to her community is very clear. Can she extend that sense of community to an entire country? Perhaps. I’d really like to see some policies, though! I’m guessing she will be a strong voice for the rural community, but for the rest, it’s hard to say.