Victorian State Election 2018: Meet Pascoe Vale Independent John Kavanagh!

I don’t have time to read all of this!
The Basics

Facebook page:
Themes: Public transport, kindness to animals, funding for schools.  Generally left-leaning.

With friends like these…
How to Vote Card

Kavanagh has a multiple-choice how to vote card, telling you how to vote for John Kavanagh if you prefer Liberals ahead of ALP, and how to vote for him if you prefer ALP ahead of Liberals.    Nice ducking of the question there, Kavanagh!  At the bottom of the card he reminds us that ‘these preferences are recommended, but the choice of preferences is entirely yours!’.

So I don’t think preferences are something he cares much about, basically.

Oscar Yildiz is second on both cards, with the Greens in 3rd place.  You then have the option of Labor or Liberal in 4th place, followed by Animal Justice in 5th.  Liberal or Labor are back at 6th place, followed by the Socialists at 7th and Francesco Timpano at 8th.

The Body Politic
Policies, Snark, Terrible Theme Songs and Other Observations

John Kavanagh is the current Mayor of Moreland City Council, and apparently is doing quite well, since the entire front page of the Moreland Leader this week is a giant ad for his campaign, with his How to Vote card filling the first facing page.

(Is that actually allowed?  It looks dodgy enough that I’m now wondering if Timpano had a point about him.  And it takes a LOT of dodgy to make Timpano look like he has a point…)

Also, his how to vote card is very yellow.  As is his tie.  I’m not sure if that’s allowed, either.

Anyway, the newspaper tells us to


Fair dinkum, hardworking independent for Pascoe Vale

Completely self-funded campaing.

I’m answerable only to you – not to any political party, property developer or donor.

On the reverse side we are told:

After four years of inaction, this is your chance to elect an effective representative.

  • Invest in local schools, health services and sporting clubs
  • Expansion of tram network, Upfield rail duplication
  • Passionate environmentalist, animal enthusiast
  • Regulate gaming venues to reduce pokies harm

You know, these are all good policies, but I am seriously turned off by him using the local paper to advertise in this way.  I’m having a lot of difficulty giving him a fair hearing as a result of it, to be honest.

I’m also regretting the fact that I pay zero attention to local politics, because there is clearly a lot of subtext floating around with all these independent candidates, and I have no idea what it’s about.

Anyway, it’s too late for regrets!  Let’s have a look at Kavanagh’s website, where we learn that he is one of only two independent Mayors in Moreland’s history; that he has a strong family history of community involvement over many generations; that he was a dedicated primary school teacher for 35 years; and that he is ‘a passionate, community focused, honest representative who values integrity’.

He has a Plan for Pascoe Vale, and once more we are reminded that he is fair dinkum and hardworking.  Dude, please stop being fair dinkum.  Scott Morrison has poisoned that well, and I’m pretty sure the water there wasn’t any good before he got to it.

Anyway, he has six policy areas, which are all in handy bullet points.

He wants to reduce poker machine harm, by adoptiong the Alliance of Gambling Reform package.  He supports the Metro Tunnel and suburban rail loop, level crossing removals (especially at Glenroy) and wants to extend the 58 and 19 trams and duplicate the Upfield line from Gowrie to Upfield.  This is the same as Oscar Yildiz’s policy, incidentally.

Kavanagh wants better resources for public hospitals, more parks, and mandated renewable energy and water conservation measures for all goverment buildings.

He wants more money for schools, and a broader curriculum.

He wants to ban live exports, and wants to establish an Animal Ombudsman ‘to protect the interests of animals, focussed on endangered species’.

And he has this to say on housing:

The State Government has an essential role in providing public housing.

Yeees, and?

And that’s it.

Kavanagh seems like the most progressive of our three local independents, and he comes across as being sane and rational.  I like his policies more than those of Yildiz at least in principle – but they don’t get much beyond the principle.  Yildiz goes into enough detail that you can tell he put some thought into the matter, whereas Kavanagh seems to be handwaving.

And I really, really don’t like the mayor using the local newspaper’s front page to advertise his candidacy.  I just don’t.  I’m sorry.

I think I’ll be putting Yildiz first among the independents, and Kavanagh right behind him, but they are both going behind the Greens and possibly the Socialists, too.  Then I think it will be Labor, Animal Justice, the Liberals and Timpano.

And that’s Pascoe Vale, done!  Over the next few days I will write and post my Official and Unauthorised Cate Speaks How To Vote Card for the 2018 Election.  I’m sure you can’t wait…!

2 thoughts on “Victorian State Election 2018: Meet Pascoe Vale Independent John Kavanagh!

  1. G’day ‘Cate Speaks’ thanks for interest in Pascoe Vale.
    A couple of comments from me:
    1. I am not currently the mayor. That role ceased on October 29th. I have been careful not to mix up the two roles.
    2. I can’t understand why you object to me paying for an advertisement in the Moreland Leader – with my own money. Others have spent incredible amounts of money on billboards etc. I have spent a total of $33,000 on my campaign and have never accepted a donation from anyone. (I got the idea from Ged Kearney who had a four page spread in the Northcote and Preston Leader prior to the Batman by-election.)
    John Kavanagh
    Independent for Pascoe Vale

    • Hi John,

      Thanks very much for commenting, and for clarifying that you are no longer Mayor (I was wondering how that was going to work).

      I’ll admit, my discomfort with the front page ad is more instinctive than anything else, and I’m trying to unpack why that is. I mean, you are quite right that there is nothing intrinsically unethical about it, so why does it feel weird? I think, perhaps, that it’s because I’m accustomed to seeing announcements about council business on the front page of the Leader, and so even though this is clearly marked as an advertisement, it feels like a continuation of that, particularly since you are a high profile councillor.

      I’d be really interested to know what sort of reaction the ad is getting around the electorate, because going in without any particular opinions about you, my reaction was ‘wait, is that allowed? Are the newspapers allowed to help him like that?’ and even when I realised it was an ad and you must have paid for it, that feeling of not-rightness lingered. But maybe I’m the outlier here!

      Kind regards,


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