Politics in the People’s Republic of Moreland: Council Election 2016 (North-East Ward)

I don’t normally do candidate posts for council elections, because that way lies madness, though hopefully not as much madness as last time.  But I’ve had a few requests, not least from my husband, who will need to put in a postal vote sometime this week, and we do seem to have a remarkable number of candidates for one rather small ward, so here goes…

Afshan MIAN is a GP in Coburg, and her tagline is ‘Promoting Cultural Diversity’.  While she is theoretically an independent candidate, this is only because the ALP isn’t endorsing any candidates, and is thus running 6 ‘independent’ candidates.  We shall not hold this against her, as it’s the result of some particularly stupid politics two or three council elections ago, which she was not involved in.

Her flyer is quite good – she talks about her experience coming to Australia as an immigrant and going through the process of recertification and cultural adjustment, her involvement with organisations like the Red Cross, Asylum Seeker Centres, Mental Health Services and Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation, and charities like the Good Friday Appeal.  Her vision is ‘to bring people to gether to promote diversity, work against racism and develop harmony in the community. In addition to her commitment to diversity she pledges to advocate for young people and the aging population, improve public transport (probably not something the Council has a lot of control over?), improve lighting and safety on footpaths, and avoid increasing rates.  She also wants to raise awareness about substance abuse and domestic violence.  Sounds like my kind of candidate.

Her preferences are Labor, then a bit of a mix – the Greens show up at 7, 13 and 14, our local Socialist is at 11, our probably Liberal candidate is last, and the independents are scattered in what looks like a fairly random pattern in between.  She’s probably going to go high on my ballot.

Ali IRFANLI is an independent who is actually an independent, though he has apparently handed out How to Vote cards for the Liberal Party in the past.  He certainly sounds conservative – his website talks about fiscal responsibility and being tough on crime, which in this context translates to scrutinising council spending and keeping rates low, and putting CCTV cameras on Sydney Rd and better lighting on the Upfield Bike Path.  He also cares for the elderly and doesn’t like high-density development.  His family has been in Moreland for over 60 years, and he is endorsed by the local footy club.

He seems to be preferencing the other independents, leaning a bit towards the more conservative ones, with the probable Liberal at 8, and he has put the Greens and the Socialist last, so I think we know where his political alignment lies. Overall, not a terrible candidate, but not my cup of tea, either.

Paul FAILLA is a name I’ve definitely seen on council ballots before (and indeed, his slogan appears to be ‘lifetime in Moreland’), but apparently I never chose to write about him. He is a real estate agent, and his flyer has four pictures, all intended to illustrate the incompetence of the current council – damaged kerbs, deceptive and inconsistent parking signs, trees on the road, and polluted creeks.  He really has a thing about parking signs.  He is worried about waste, about crime, about expensive council rates and planning.  He doesn’t like Moreland’s sustainable energy policy, and wants to review pet registration. I’d love to know what that’s about.

Failla wants to create jobs repairing infrastructure.  He is also very keen to have better funding and facilities for local arts and music groups, which is not surprising, as he is one of the founders of the Brunswick music festival.  He is also the founder of CIAO Australia. I can’t work out quite what this is, but it seems to be about multiculturalism and cultural heritage and music and Lebanon and Aboriginal culture.  It sounds like a good thing, I’m just not 100% sure what it is (note: communication skills may not be Failla’s best asset).

Paul Failla is preferencing Francesco Timpano first, which is not a recommendation, and follows him with a couple more independents, and then the Labor collection.  The Greens and Socialists are dead last.  I don’t think he’s going to be high on my ballot, despite the music.

George GEORGIOU is another independent!  What fun we are having this election!  His background is in economics, and his favourite thing seems to be public transport, and he is also fond of sustainability and a cleaner Moreland.  He wants to keep the money Moreland earns in Moreland, improve our planning process, and have more community events.  I like this platform a lot!  He doesn’t want 19-storey Buildings in Pentridge, and he likes trees. He also likes cricket, if this article is anything to go by.  Alas, I don’t have a how to vote card for him, but the Greens have put him seventh, just after their Socialist ally and their two favourite independents, so that’s not a bad sign.  Interestingly, his only other ally so far is Ali Irfanli.  The ALP people aren’t too keen on him, and he is evidently too green for Paul Failla.

Darcey KELLEHER is an independent whose slogan appears to be ‘It’s not rocket science’.  Hmm.  The three key points on his flyer are about less government waste, better rubbish disposal and cleaner parks and streets, so points for picking policies that are actually controlled by the local government.  He cares about the Pentridge redevelopment and the Champ Street tree, which I have not mentioned previously, but which appears to be shaping up as a campaign issue, to my intense amusement.  I have a feeling that this is the guilty tree in Paul Failla’s flyer, but I could be wrong.  I suspect a walk up to Champ Street is in order.  When he is not running for council, he appears to be directing the Kelleher Institute, which is about reimagining learning culture.  I work in the education sector and I don’t understand what that means.  It looks like it’s to do with business management.

No how to vote card for our friend Kelleher, but he seems to lean somewhat to the right.  The socialists don’t like him at all, the Greens don’t like him very much, and Labor is neutral about him.  He seems quite popular with what I am beginning to think of as the mildly loony independent right – Ali Irfanli, Paul Failla and Francesco Timpano all have him in their top three.  This is not really a recommendation.

Anthony HELOU has been a part of Moreland’s political landscape for years.  He is Labor aligned, and a former Mayor of Moreland.  For someone who has been on the political scene for such a long time, he has remarkably little online profile – no website, and his Facebook page is pretty empty.  He has local knowledge, experience, and commitments.  Commitments?  Personally, I’d have gone with Commitment, singular, rather than implying that I might have multiple commitments.  The little bits and pieces of references that I can find to him suggests that he plays with factions a bit (this article was fairly amusing, and might explain why he has been all over the shop when it comes to collecting preferences from even other Labor types for the last couple of elections).

There’s not a lot else to go on.  I don’t have a how to vote card for him, and he seems to be receiving mixed reviews even from his fellow Labor people, one of whom put him at 7th. The Greens have him at 16th, and Timpano has him at 6th, and Irfani has him at 11th.  There is also an allegation of somewhat dodgy dealings when he was Mayor, including the sale of a public park for a remarkably low price to an organisation of which he is the President. So that’s less than ideal.  I’m sure he knows how to do the job of Councillor – he has done it before – but he isn’t inspiring me.

Edited to add: I now have his flyer in hand, and am feeling even less inspired.  He warns against trusting independents, and the only other candidates he appears to approve of are Timpano, Failla, and possibly Bonifazio.  He’s put the Greens and the Socialist Alliance well down the list (ranging between 14 and 19), and Imogen Jubb last. Not indicative of good taste, and surprisingly right-wing for a Labor lifer. 

Natalie ABBOUD is the lead candidate for the Greens.  At last, a party that is organised enough to nominate multiple candidates *and* decide who gets top billing.  She stood as the Greens candidate for Calwell (think Broadmeadows, Keilor, Craigieburn, Campbellfield, etc) in the Federal election, and scored 8.5% of the vote, which isn’t bad for a safe Labor seat.  Oh, hello, I’ve just discovered that she is the chef who runs Rumi, and is interested in wild food and foraging, and she just got my vote, because I am a single issue Catherine and that issue is feeding people, so a Greens candidate who feeds people for a living is DEFINITELY my kind of candidate.

(Though if she gets elected, will she still have time to cook?  Hmm…)

(Never mind, I’m sure that anyone who loves food will make good policies.)

OK, I’ll be sensible now, and point out that proper, sensible reasons why Abboud is likely to get my vote.

Oh, and that’s where I’ve seen her, because it turns out she is one of the people who helped found the Coburg Farmers’ market.  Seriously, there is no way I can not vote for this woman.  She is (of course) interested in all things environmental, including renewable energy and investment in public transport, and ‘passionately supports the Greens policies, especially those related to education, health and clean energy’.

The Greens have a single how-to-vote card between them (how novel!).  After their three candidates, they preference the Sue the Socialist (I need to find more ways to refer to candidates) and Imogen Jubb, who is another environmentalist candidate, and several more progressive / environmental independents before getting to the Labor bloc.  They’ve saved the bottom of the ticket for Paul Failla, with Kevin Hong (probably Liberal), and Francesco Timpano just above him.

Look, this is an easy one for me.  I like the Greens’ policies in general, I like the fact that they are the only political party on this ballot that appears to have its act together, and did I mention that Abboud is a chef and helped found my local Farmers’s Market.  Yeah, unless one of the independents further down the list is absolutely spectacular, I’m voting Green in this election.

Annalivia CARLI HANNAN is another of our crypto-ALP folk (yes, they have six people on this ballot, which is for four seats.  Hence the not actually endorsing anyone thing.).  Judging by her surname (and the fact that he is authorising her posters), I’m guessing she is related to former State MP for Brunswick, Carlo Carli.  Actually, I think she must be his daughter.  She is a member of Young Labor, can be found in the Left faction, and is studying to be a social worker, so we will probably get along quite well.  And she makes my life easier by having a blog as well as her Facebook page. Actually, the blog is mostly empty, so it doesn’t make my life *that* much easier.  But she is all about listening to people and restoring trust, which is nice.

I don’t have a flyer for Carli Hannan, and have not found her how to vote card online, but she seems to be getting preferences from the rest of the Labor types.  Sue Bolton puts her 6th, and the Greens put her tenth; Timpano puts her 8th, and Irfanli puts her 13th.  It looks to me as though she hasn’t made any enemies yet, but also hasn’t managed to get a lot of allies.  She seems to have been pretty active in University politics, again as a Young Labor type, and did at least one thing I don’t really agree with, and I’m a bit torn, because I don’t want to hold someone’s undergraduate mistakes against them, but it’s actually only been two or three years since then, so it’s hard to know how to approach it.  I suspect my feeling that she is a little young for the job comes from the fact that her university politics does seem to be a significant portion of her online profile, and she hasn’t had enough time to develop a more extensive profile in her adult political life.  I wish her well, but suspect I’m going to agree with all the people who are putting her solidly in the middle of their tickets!

Edited to add: A friend of mine tells me that she knows Carli Hannan and thinks ‘she has her head screwed on the right way’ and is a useful committee member of the committee they are both on.  So that pushes her a little bit up the ticket for me.

Kevin HONG ran as the Liberal candidate for Wills in the recent Federal Election, and received 22% of the vote.  Looking for him online is an interesting exercise – mostly I’m finding pages of people telling me that Hong did not respond – to questions from the Moreland Leader, to the Climate Action Moreland survey, the VEC survey, the Bicycle Users Group.  One senses a certain lack of commitment.  I’d also note that he is one of the ten candidates who hasn’t letterboxed me so far, though I suppose there is still time.  Alas for Kevin, the very first thing that comes up when I google him is this article about him putting some fairly sexist (bordering on misogynistic) jokes on his blog, and also about him not disclosing his connection to the Liberal Party when running as a candidate in a previous election. One gets the impression that while he is a member of the Liberal Party, he is not precisely endorsed by them.  And let’s face it, if they were proud of him, they wouldn’t be running him in Moreland…

No how to vote card, but he’s looking like a solid candidate for the bottom of my ticket.

Danny MICHELL is another of our Labor-aligned candidates, and his slogan is ‘Trust and Experience for Moreland City Council.  His website tells me that he has ‘the depth of knowledge and experience that can be trusted to deliver what our community needs’.  He claims to have over 15 years of high-level experience in government work and advocacy, though had doesn’t actually say what this experience is and what he has been advocating for.  This is information I would like to have. His vision for Moreland includes listening to residents about development (of course!), maintaining local parks, cleaning and repairing streets and footpaths, and being responsive.

No how to vote card, and doesn’t seem to be scoring too well on any of the cards I’ve seen – nobody has put him last, but nobody has put him in their top three, either, not even the other Labor types.  Seems like a decent bloke, but I don’t like his odds.

Adam PULFORD is the third candidate on the Greens ticket, and he looks so young!  Or maybe I am old?  He is passionate about a fair and inclusive society, and will stand up for equality, education, meaningful employment and real action on global warming.  He really wants to improve public transport and support the community.  He has a BA with a major in sustainability, and has been the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations, which is pretty cool.  He has worked with Project Rockit, which is an anti-bullying He was also involved with the Oaktree Foundation, which is an organisation that is mostly about ending poverty but also about giving young people experience in organising social justice things.  They organise the Live Below the Line challenge, which is an excellent challenge, but I have to say, when I did it, they were kind of hopelessly disorganised.  So that might be a little negative tick in the organisational box.

I’ve already addressed the Greens’ how to vote card, so I won’t revisit that.  Pulford certainly has potential, and while I’m sure that he knows as well as I do that his odds of being elected to council as the third Green candidate and placed 11th on the ballot are fairly low, I think he’d do a reasonable job if the unexpected did happen.  He’s clearly a smart cookie with some interesting experience and knowledge.  We could do a lot worse.

Helen PAVLIDIS is, according to her flyer ‘a true local representing you’.  That’s nice.  She is yet another ALP type (I’ve just counted and we have seven in total, so two more to come). She is a local mum who has lived in Moreland for more than 45 years, and has a background in accounting, hospitality and local government.  Her approach seems to be that she and her family has used many of Moreland’s services and facilities, and so now she wants to serve in turn, as someone who understands how these services work and what people need.

Pavlidis cares about lower rates, supporting people from childhood to old age, safety, appropriate development, supporting business, improving infrastructure, trees and parks, and public transport and bicycle networks.  Her Facebook page shows her being involved in fundraisers for Very Special Kids and for Motor Neuron Disease, and hanging out with Bill Shorten and our past and present Federal MPs.

She is supporting the other Labor candidates (Helou is last on her list, Nunns and Carli Hannan are first), and then our local friendly Socialist, but her ticket then devolves a bit, with Timpano and Failla next, and the Greens well down.  Bottom of her ticket is Ali Irfanli, with Kevin Hong just above.  It’s a slightly odd list – she’s breaking up the band (Irfanli, Timpano and Failla).  I’m inclined to like her – she will probably wind up near the top of my Labor candidate list.

Francesco TIMPANO has stood for basically every election I can remember since I moved here.  He is an independent AND HE LIKES TO TALK IN BLOCK CAPITALS.  I’ve written about him before, and he doesn’t appear to have changed much since then.  Also, conflict of interest disclosure here – he wrote some pretty rude and patronising emails to friends of mine, so I am inclined to dislike him personally. And it looks like my friend isn’t the only person he has sent nasty emails to.  What a charmer.

Timpano is an architect, master planner and builder, and his slogan is ‘Before it’s too late!’.  His flyer is mostly ALL CAPS and he comes across as very shouty.  He doesn’t like over-development and thinks that current council is useless.  His policies include lower rates, better services and safe streets, no cuts to aged and disability services, no 19-storey towers, and better parks and public facilities, which are all pretty standard.  But he also wants drug tests for all councillors (?!), zero crime tolerance, and real jobs for the young.

Here is a taste of his Facebook style: WE DESERVE MUCH BETTER THAN THIS COUNCIL MONSTER TOWERS & CUT TO SERVICES & HUGE WASTE OF MONEY! BEFORE YOU VOTE ASK HOW DID WE EVER GET INTO THIS MESS? WERE ALL COUNCILLORS ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL? IT LOOKS LIKE IT! WHAT HAVE THESE CANDIDATES DONE? DON’T VOTE IN A DUD. I AM THE ONLY PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED & EXPERIENCED PERSON THAT CAN DO THE JOB.  He also has videos asking important questions like ‘are Greens the new war criminals’, which I think is a question we all ask ourselves daily, and is clearly the sign of a well-balanced mind.

Timpano is preferencing Failla, Kelleher, Gartside and Georgiou. He is scattering the Labor candidates all over his ticket – Helou is at 6, but Mian is at 20.  The Greens are at 12, 14, 16, which are actually pretty good preferences to give war criminals, so he must think they are super competent.  Bonifazio and Jubb are at 18 and 19 on his ticket.  It’s a chaotic ticket, but it doesn’t really matter, because he lost my vote long ago.  The only question is whether he or Hong will get 20 on my ballot paper.

Gordon GARTSIDE has absolutely no online profile that I can find.  He could be anyone.  He could even be you!  All I know about him is that he seems unpopular with Labor, the Socialists and the Greens, and popular with the likes of Timpano and Irfanli.  So he’s probably not going to get my vote unless he does something truly spectacular in the next six days.

Sue BOLTON is our local friendly Socialist, and another hardy perennial, but one who has not had a lot of success over the fifteen years or so she has been running at various levels in my local electorates.  Except – last time, when we had total chaos, a gigantic ticket, people behaving in all sorts of dodgy ways, and half the electorate going ‘bugger this’ and just donkey voting their way down the ticket, Bolton managed to get high billing on the ballot paper, and was swept into council on the strength of it.  From what I can gather, she’s done a a good job, and I tend to quite like the Socialist Alliance’s policies, so that’s two ticks for her.

Bolton has a pretty extensive online profile, especially compared to most of our other candidates.  She has a Facebook page, writes regularly for the Green Left Weekly, and is featured on the Socialist Alliance’s news page, which talks about her record as a councillor and previously.  Bolton is a classic lefty activist, who has been involved in campaigns to improve our treatment of refugees, fight racism and Islamophobia, create affordable housing, and divest from fossil fuels.  She wants to create relief centres during heat waves (which strikes me as an excellent idea, in fact), support development of more community houses, and is against over-development and the East-West link.  She is campaigning largely to do more of the same, and also to keep rates low (because everyone wants to keep rates low.  I’m not sure that this is compatible with everything else everyone wants to do, but since absolutely every candidate is promising this, I don’t think we can count it as a pro or a con for anyone!).

This is all good stuff.  On a more cautious note, she was a co-organiser of the Moreland Says No to Racism rally earlier this year, which, while a good thing in itself, did lead to violence when the United Patriots bussed people in for a counter-protest.  The police in fact asked the council to cancel the rally when it became clear that this was what was happening, but the council refused, not wanting to set a precedent of letting the far-right determine what was protested about.  Which… well, I see their point, but I do wonder if there was a better way to go about it.  There is a certain implicit acceptance of violence that I’m not comfortable with.  But this might be my failing rather than hers.  You can read Bolton’s statement on the subject here.

Edit: I’ve been informed Bolton was responsible only for the rally near Coburg Library, which did stay peaceful from start to finish, and that it was the Antifa (Anti-fascist) protesters who were providing the left-wing violence on this occasion, with a little help from the Socialist Alternative.  Apologies for the mistake.  Please see the comments for more information (I haven’t edited my post above, because I want it to be clear what is being responded to).  And please do read Bolton’s statement, because her own words about what she is doing are always going to be the most useful reflection of her views.

Bolton’s flyer preferences the Greens, as is traditional, though the most pro-union of the crypto-Labor types sneaks in at third, with the Greens at 2, 4, and 5, and then the rest of Labor and the climate-activist independent.  She saves the bottom of the ticket for Ali Irfanli and Kevin Hong, the two most Liberal-aligned candidates.  There are no surprises here.  Sue Bolton is a left-wing candidate, who has council experience and wants to keep things green, multicultural, and not multistoried.  While she is probably just a tad to the left of me (I’m not entirely comfortable with her response to the violence at the protests), she’s a good candidate who will do well on my ticket.

Katerina ANGELOPOULOS is another Labor-type candidate who doesn’t seem to have embraced the online age.  According to this article, she has been a Moreland Councillor before, and she is clearly on Labor’s left.  She is on the Board of Merri Health, which is relevant experience (and where she seems to be hanging out with lots of other ALP names!), and we learn there that she has a background in corporate management, health issues planning, human resources and community engagement. Her community service includes YMCA and Ethnic Communities Council, and she is committed to improving the overall health and well being of the residents of Moreland and people who use the  service.  She is getting second preference from Dr Mian, but other than that, doesn’t seem to be doing too well on anyone’s tickets.

Alex McGILVRAY is running second on the Greens ticket, and she’s another candidate who looks super young to my agèd eyes! She has a passion for humanitarian work, social justice and human rights, and she wants Moreland to be sustainable and inclusive and  reliant on renewables.  She wants to engage young people in the community to become involved in policy and local government decisions, and has been involved in social justice and fundraising for homeless youth, refugees and victims of domestic violence.  She is a passionate advocate for marriage equality, and wants to be a voice of integrity.

I don’t have much to add to that.  She sounds like she shares a lot of my values, which isn’t surprising, given that she is on the Greens ticket.  So far, I’m seeing no good reason not to put the Greens in my top three spots.

David NUNNS is the last of our Labor candidates, and he is the most uninionish of the lot.  He is an organiser for the Australian Sevices Union, and was part of the campaign to save the Ballerrt Mooroop College in Glenroy, which is the last Aboriginal school in Melbourne.  He was part of the (successful!) High School for Coburg movement.  That’s definitely a big plus in mhy book.

His slogan is ‘because we can do better’.  His policies are scattered all over his Facebook page, which is a nuisance, but he wants to increase non-profit childcare in Moreland, stands for no cuts to council-run services, wants a new Coburg Leisure Centre, and is annoyed about the removal of subsidised waste removal services in Moreland and about a lack of public toilets in Fawkner.

Nunns’ how to vote card runs Labor, Socialist, Greens, with Hong at 19th and Irfanli at 20th.  (I’m beginning to wonder about Irfanli.  He seemed conservative but harmless, but he seems to be attracting a lot of hate from otherwise reasonable people.)

Antonio BONIFAZIO is another candidate who eschews Facebook and websites generally.  He apparently says yes to bluestone, however, and was interviewed at Freshly Worded in 2012. He is a retired mechanic, originally from Sicily, who apparently is against ‘out of control’ builders, and has represented his neighbours at VCAT hearings.  He apparently suffers from asbestosis, and was successful in convincing Jemena to reduce radiation from his SmartMeter by 90% due to his health concerns.  (Note that this article comes from a site that looks a little crank-tastic, and is related to this mob.  While I think it is absolutely reasonable for a cancer sufferer or someone at high risk of cancer to want to avoid anything that has the slightest smidgeon of a health risk, and appropriate of Jemena to have responded as they did, the American Cancer Society says that the amount of radiation produced by Smart Meters is so small, particularly compared to other household appliances, that it is very unlikely to measurably increase one’s risk of cancer.)

He sounds a bit old-school, and like someone who knows how to campaign and bother people until they deal with him, which is a useful set of skills in a councillor, but it’s hard to see what he actually stands for, other than excessive development.  Interestingly, the Greens have put him 6th on their how to vote card, but all the other progressive types have rated him much lower.  And most of the right wing nuts have also put him low on their ballot.  Possibly because nobody quite knows what he stands for?  Or do they just find all that activism irritating?  And what do the Greens know that the others don’t?

Imogen JUBB is our final candidate!  Hooray!  She is ‘a communications specialist, climate change advisor and Climate Reality leader. She has worked with Australian Conservation Foundation, Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, including co-authoring reports with some of Australia’s leading climate change scientists. She is a parent of young children and passionate about strategies that will work our way to a sustainable world’.  So far, very good indeed. Her Facebook page looks like it belongs on my friends feed – she posts things about fun festivals and music in Moreland, gender neutral parenting, renewable energy, women in politics and feminism.  (Actually, her face looks rather familiar – she probably is friends with someone on my Facebook feed…)

Jubb is on the board of governors of Climate for Change, which is an organisation that aims to ‘create the social climate in Australia for effective action on climate change’. It’s very grass-roots and is about starting conversations and helping people find the small, everyday things they can do to help.  Their four key values are hope, empowerment, people power, and solidarity.  It sounds like a good organisation.  Jubb wrote a good article this year about the cuts to the CSIRO (which she is against), has also blogged about clean energy at Huffington Post, and about sustainability and childcare at The Spoke, and has several articles up at EcoCityStories.

I can’t find her how to vote card, unfortunately, but she got good preferences from the Greens and the Socialists, as well as Irfanli, and even Failla doesn’t seem to hate her.  Timpano does, but that is frankly a recommendation.  Labor has more mixed feelings about her, and she sits middle-to-low on most of their ballots.  Yeah, I like her.  She might even beat Natalie Abboud to the top of my ticket…

I think my personal ticket will have Jubb (Climate for Change) or Abboud (Greens) at the top (not sure which yet), then Bolton (Socialist Alliance), then McGilvray and Pulford (Greens), Carli Hannan and Nunns (my preferred ALP candidates), Georgiou (Independent who likes PT),  Mian, Angelopoulos, Pavlidis, and Michell  (the middle-ranked ALP collective), Bonifazio (mostly harmless), Irfanli (seems ok, but keeps bad company), Helou (ALP, but more annoying) Kelleher (because maybe it IS rocket science, have you considered that?), Gartside (the unknown soldier), Failla (right wing, but likes music), Hong (Liberal with bonus misogyny) and Timpano (unpleasant and more than a bit nutty).

Edited to note: every time I come in here to edit this article, I wind up messing with my preference ticket just a little.  The fundamentals aren’t changing, but if you read this article earlier in the week and could have sworn things were in a slightly different order, they probably were.

We actually do seem to have a fair number of competent people on the ticket this time (though I wonder why Sue Bolton is the only current councillor running for re-election?), so I think the odds are high that I’ll like the outcome.  I suspect we will get Abboud for sure, and suspect that Mian will do well, and we will probably get another Labor type, with Bolton and a third Labor candidate fighting it out for the last spot alongside McGilvray.  Maybe.  I can hope… I’d love to see Jubb get up, but as an independent, she’s going to have a hard fight.

Edited to add: if you are looking for more detailed information on the candidates, including a complete set of how to vote cards, Sustainable Fawkner has written an exhaustive blog post discussing preferences, council attendance and involvement, and answers to survey questions.  It’s extremely useful, and well worth a read.  And if you are interested in music, Music Victoria also polled all council candidates, and you can find the Moreland ones here (you may have to scroll down on the left and click on Moreland City Council – the link is a little strange).

Comments on this post are now closed. 

28 thoughts on “Politics in the People’s Republic of Moreland: Council Election 2016 (North-East Ward)

  1. Just to give you even more material to peruse, here’s how Moreland’s candidates responded to Music Victoria’s candidate survey:

    I’m actually quite jealous of you – so many of the Moreland candidates had thoughtful responses to this. Even some of the dodgy right-wingers

    In contrast, no one running for my council (Baw Baw) responded at all; while most of the candidates for the council area where I used to live and still do much of my work (Casey) are completely clueless in their responses.

    • I grew up in Carlton in the 70’s and 80’s. My mum invented being a nimby. We had a live music pub across the road and a decibel meter in the front yard. I sang in a band in my 20’s and I see live bands every month. Cash Savage and Clairey Brown most recently and tickets to CW Stoneking and The Peep Tempel on the fridge ATM. Music is the easiest way(after food) for all of us to connect and release our energies without hurting anyone. Music will always matter to me. Nat Abboud, Moreland NE Candidate. Ü.

      • My mother is paying almost four thousand in rates this year. You sound like a clown, with no idea of the problems we ordinary people face.

          • That’s right use any excuse to silence your critics. We are talking here of people that are going to govern us and spend almost one billion dollars of our money over the next four years. I find your inability to identify why previous councils have been failures very disturbing and brings into question your ability to reason. Most other councils that have much lower rates and better services and better streets have experienced and professionally qualified people as councillors like lawyers, engineers, architects, and what do we have,…. and they are encouraged by people like you. Yes counillors spend millions on their nonsense pet projects while the aquatic center hoist for disabled for want of a few thousand remains unusable, and has been for years. You are irrelevant.

            • Hi Franco, that’s disturbing news about the aquatic centre hoist. Who have you tried to contact about getting it repaired? Usually Sue Bolton is the most active councillor in getting community concerns addressed. I am not sure which aquatic centre it is, and whether it is in the north-east ward (where Sue is a councillor).

            • Hi Franco,

              If you want to write a blog about the failings of local council, I encourage you to do so. It’s very easy to start a blog – WordPress is free, in fact – and you obviously have plenty of ideas you want to share.

              And then you, too, can have the joy of deleting comments that annoy you. So far today, I have not had this joy, but I’m getting a little tired of being insulted, so the time may soon come.

              I suggest you either make your arguments without being gratuitously insulting to me and/or my commenters, or resign yourself to having your free speech curtailed, at least on this blog.


            • Franco, you clearly have a lot of ideas about these issues. Have you considered running for Council yourself?

            • Given that Cate has published every one of your comments so far, she can hardly be accused of silencing you.

              I don’t know why you’re picking fights now. The election is over. You may not like the result, but are you suggesting that one blog post is responsible?

  2. Thanks for doing this Cate. However, I was astounded at your comments on Sue Bolton’s involvement in the Moreland Says No to Racism rally (which I attended) earlier this year, which the far right wanted to attack. Your comments suggest that by not giving in to threats of violence from the far right, that “there is a certain implicit acceptance of violence that I’m not comfortable with” and that ” I do wonder if there was a better way to go about it”.

    Surely you must be joking! Firstly, the anti-racism rally was entirely peaceful. Secondly, are you expecting that people should just kowtow to these far right thugs and allow them to continue threatening members of our community? And thirdly what exactly is this “better way” that you are proposing? Not to even organise peaceful community gatherings in the first place? As to the police response to this, as the acting Mayor made clear, Moreland was just a pawn in a bigger game (which was to get more powers).

    Sue Bolton has written an article in The Age, which is worth reading: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/why-we-went-ahead-with-the-coburg-rally-organiser-sue-bolton-20160531-gp87ou.html

    I hope that people who say criticise Sue Bolton and others for proceeding with the rally actually spell out what they would have done in the same circumstances. I know that a lot of people (especially in the Muslim community) were very pleased that someone took a stand against racism and wasn’t intimidated by threats from the far right. I know that a lot of people are furious at the Greens (and many Greens are highly embarrassed) at the stance taken by their representative in not only withdrawing from speaking at the rally but also going public with her comments. We know this was done solely for electoral reasons. Unfortunately the Greens kept running with the slogan “standing up for what matters” when their candidate clearly didn’t.

    • Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Honestly, this is something I struggle with. When I said that there was an acceptance of violence, what I was trying to express was that if you go to a protest knowing in advance that there will be violent counter-protesters, you are accepting that violence is going to occur, and either you are preparing to fight back, or to use radical non-violence in response – effectively, you are accepting that you will either commit violence or have violence inflicted on you. Either of these options is pretty scary, to my mind. I don’t think I expressed this so well in my article, but that’s what I was trying to get at.

      I was out of the country when this happened, but I had friends who were at one of the rallies, and what I had heard was that there was a peaceful rally near the library, but that the protests and counter protests near the primary school were both violent – that the fascists absolutely started it, but the socialists were pretty keen to finish it. I gather that this is not the case?

      I agree that it’s important to show that we are against racism. But it’s also sadly the case that violence and chaos gets much more coverage in the media than a peaceful protest does, and as soon as ‘our side’ starts getting involved, it becomes far too easy for people to decide that each side is as bad as the other. So setting aside all matters of ethics, I’m not convinced it’s a great plan in terms of political expedience. And I honestly don’t know what the best solution is, or what I would have done in the circumstances. Apart from attend the peaceful rally. (I don’t know why the rally near the library was OK and the other one wasn’t – did the other rally provide a distraction and decoy from the library one?)

      Anyway. I don’t know where I’m going with this, and my lunchbreak is over, so I might sign off for now.


      • Catherine – I’m not sure where you got your info from but unfortunately there was a lot of misinformation about this event. I was at the entirely peaceful rally near the Coburg Library. I had some children with me, and I can assure you that no one at the rally engaged in any violence, or even saw any violence. (We saw lots of police though.) Some anti-fascists organised a third rally called something like “Fascists out of Coburg”. Sue Bolton and the other organisers of the Moreland says no to Racism rally had asked the anti-fascists not to confront the far right, but instead to come to the peaceful rally and let the police deal with the far right. It was to no avail. Some anti-fascists were in Bell Street and had a confrontation. We did not see this, and we certainly weren’t aware that it was going on. A small group from Socialist Alternative marched through the Moreland Says No to Racism (during the Welcome to Country, no less!) with the intention of disrupting it. They were entirely unsuccessful and were roundly condemned by people at the Moreland Says No to Racism rally. Most other socialists were at the peaceful rally.

        As to this idea of “decoy”: some of the anti-fascists were boasting that they had “defended” the Moreland Says No to Racism rally, but IMHO they were deluding themselves. I suspect they were carrying on like this because they felt guilty that Sue Bolton was being blamed for what they had done. Since this rally they have changed their tactics, I understand, and realise that confronting the far right every time they mobilise is not particularly helpful.

        I don’t think you should be laying the blame for any of this on Sue Bolton. She did everything she could do to ensure that the rally was peaceful, including meeting with the police several times. I hope that no one blames her for other groups did. There were a lot of other groups running other agendas (including the police).

        I would appreciate it if you could change your post about Sue Bolton. Your comments about her implicit acceptance of violence are misrepresenting what actually occurred.

        • Hi again, Andrea.

          I got most of my information from my husband, who was manning the home fires while I was overseas. From the flyers he got, and the people he spoke to, he was very much under the impression that the Socialists weren’t looking to start a fight, but were quite keen to finish one (if the Socialist Alternative were present, all becomes clear…), and accordingly decided to stay well away from the whole thing. Interestingly, he also said that he didn’t even find out about the library rally (which he might have been more likely to attend) until after it happened, but he got lots of leaflets about the other one, which might be indicative of the amount of publicity the various rallies were getting. Very unfortunate.

          I’ve added a paragraph above with a correction, and directing people to the comments for further information. I haven’t changed the original text, because it feels like gaslighting people, or at the very least misleading them, to change a blog post without making it very clear that Edits Have Been Made. (And it’s awful when you like to someone’s post, and then they change it to something you actually don’t endorse, so I try to be really consistent about noting my edits) So they can see what I wrote, see what I’ve edited, and come down and see what you’ve added too.


          • Thanks Cate, I think your correction/edit to the original text is a fair amendment. I was a marshal for the peaceful anti-racist rally. My observation on the day was that due to the police presence, the fascist/racist protesters came nowhere near our march. I think it was the police who chose to shut down the whole shopping strip, and that didn’t appear completely necessary to me. It’s sad that some traders appear to blame Sue personally for this. It was also sad to see the Greens councillors, of all people, fail to understand what was happening. They should all blame the racists and/or overreaction by the police, not the peaceful protest. We marched away from the fascist rally, because we didn’t want to let confrontation with them derail what our protest was actually about. Actually, I think it turned out about as well as it could have when you have such a rise in racist views in the community especially these organised gangs of racists. I don’t know how much impact we had overall, but if someone has a better way to publicly organise and educate against the xenophobia and racism that is growing in Australia, I’d certainly like to hear it. I don’t think we can just hope for it to all get better of it’s own accord or let the government and media fix it for us — they have been just as much a cause of the problem.

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  4. Stumbled over your blog while searching for a comprehensive list of candidates in our ward. Thank you for pulling this all together.

    • Hi André,

      I’m so sorry – WordPress put your comment into my spam queue and I only just saw it! I wish I’d had your resource to link to before the actual election.


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  6. You are obviously a Green stooge incapable of even stating the simple facts. Cate who? Show yourself scaredy cat.

    • I’ve never made a secret of my bleeding-heart lefty feminist tendencies on this blog. I endeavour to back my opinions up with references. If you have better facts, by all means, share them.

  7. And we’re done here. The election is over and done, and I am spending far too much of my time moderating comments. Let’s all move on with our lives.

    Comments on this post are now closed.

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