Meet the Independents: Clive JACKSON, Richard GRUMMET (Group F, Southern Metropolitan)

The end of this insane project is finally in sight, as I reach the last of the Independents on the Legislative Council ballot in Victoria!  (After that, all that remains is for me to address my local Lower House parties and independents in Pascoe Vale – oh, and also figure out who I’m voting for before Saturday.  It would be a little embarrassing if I forgot to do that bit…)

Clive Jackson and Richard Grummet are running as Grouped Independents in the Southern Metropolitan Region, but actually, they are representing the Australian Democrats.  And this makes me sad like a very sad person, because it is always difficult to observe the last days of an endangered species, and the Democrats seem to be about at that point.  From the balance of power in Federal Parliament, to not being able to get their party registered in the Victorian State Election is a long and painful fall indeed.

The Democrats would like us to know that they are A New Vision for Victoria.  On their front page, they have a rotating banner next to their How to Vote Card, which includes “Aboriginal equality – now”, “Getting ready for peak oil”, “Towards a Sustainable Population”, “Compassion for Asylum Seekers” and “Sustainable Energy”.  Other headlines inform us that “Victoria needs a manufacturing renaissance, or face failure” and “Link and network public transport first, say the Australian Democrats.

Mr Jackson and Mr Grummet have their own page, with brief bios for each candidate.  So we learn that Mr Jackson cares about heritage buildings and the environment, public transport, education and jobs, that he is a statutory planner, a pianist, and barracks for Geelong.  And likes steam trains.  Mr Grummet, on the other hand, is passionate about wind, water and solar energy, is a teacher and sports coach, has worked with the disabled, and helped Save the Fitzroy Pool.

That’s all very well, I hear you cry, but who are they preferencing?  A good question, which I will now answer.

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Meet the Independents: Luzio GROSSI, Crystal JAMES (Group R, Southern Metropolitan)

Lucio Grossi and Crystal James are running as grouped independents in the Southern Metropolitan Region, so my opinion of them doesn’t matter terribly much, if it ever did, which is a pity, because I’m inclined to like them.  Also, they want us to Get Real.

According to his Twitter page, Luzio Grossi is a “Photographer, Journalist, Actor, Artist, Independent Upper House candidate Victorian State Election Nov 29th 2014”.  He is running in the Southern Metropolitan Region,

As a professional photographer, Mr Grossi has done candidate shots for a number of politicians contesting election before deciding to join their ranks himself.  Personally, I’m just enjoying the Star Wars Storm Troopers playing the trumpet and the violin on his business website.  If a candidate isn’t going to serenade my ears with a song and a YouTube clip, the least he can do is provide me with storm troopers playing the violin, and I’m glad to see that Mr Grossi has passed this vitally important minimum bar…

Lucio Grossi’s main political site is his FaceBook page, which means one does have to dig a bit to find all the policies.  He was also interviewed on 774 FM a few days ago, so I will use this interview to further inform his policies.

The other half of Group R is Crystal James, also on Facebook, who is a Board Director of the Council of Single Mothers and their Children, a community organisation run by and for single mums, which provides telephone support, referrals, advice and emergency relief to single mothers and their children throughout Victoria, as well as acting to lobby government and media.  She is definitely going for the mum vote:

My message is simple – I want to be the voice for MUMS in the Victorian Parliament. I have no party affiliations or political agenda other than a passion and commitment to achieve socially progressive policies that support and empower MUMS.

I’ll look at each of these candidates separately, but since they are voting as a group, I’ll start by seeing just where their group votes are going…

This is another very left-to-right sort of Group Ticket, with a bit of an emphasis on personal freedoms.  Number one on their preference list is the Group F Independents, also known as the Stealth Democrats (which is to say, they are members of the Australian Democrats, running as Democrats, but the Australian Democrats didn’t manage to achieve party status in this election.  A sad day.), followed by the Animal Justice Party, the Cyclists, the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, People Power, the Sex Party, and – at least  – the ALP, Greens and the Liberals.  At the bottom of the ballot we have the four parties from the Christian right, with our friend the Ungrouped Independent, George Neophytou at the very end of the list.

It’s quite a good ballot paper, actually.  Though why, why, why is everyone giving such high preferences to People Power?

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Meet the Independents: Peter ALLAN, Nicola THOMSON, Nicole BATCH (Group N, Northern Metropolitan)

Peter Allan, the lead candidate of the Group N Independents in the Northern Metropolitan Region asks if I am “Tired of Melbourne’s North being ignored in State politics”.  Oh, I am, Peter, I am! Apparently, I should therefore vote above the line for Peter Allan.  Which is a losing argument, because as you all know by now, I never, ever, vote above the line for anyone…

Mr Allan calls himself a ‘Community Independent’, and a brief look at his online presence suggests that he is pretty media-savvy – and particularly strong on social media.  Not only does he have a Facebook page and Twitter account, you can even get Peter Allan Twibbons to show your support on Twitter (I find this mildly hilarious).  He took part in the recent Candidates’ Forum in Brunswick and has been interviewed on 774 FM. I’ll be using this interview and his main website to write this article.

According to his biography, Mr Allan has lived all his life in Melbourne’s North, and has ‘a strong record of community action across social justice, educational and environmental issues’.  Sounds like my kind of candidate.  He is apparently one of Australia’s foremost authorities on recycling and sustainable resource management (and we’ll be hearing more about that later), and was recently recognised as Moreland’s Citizen of the Year.  His track record is an impressive one if you live on the left-side of politics.  Projects he has been involved in have included getting cigarette advertising banned, phasing out leaded petrol, expanding solar installations (and payments), and introducing household recycling.  There’s a lot of good stuff here.

His motivation to become a state parliamentarian is based on his energetic commitment to social justice and environmental protection, his concern about the current state of corruption in Victorian politics, and a desire to be a strong voice for services in the often neglected North.

An excellent start, I think.

A brief note before we get on with the preferences.  While there are three un-grouped Independents on this ticket, it is very much the Peter Allan ticket.  I can’t find information about his running mates anywhere, so I’m guessing that they are largely here so that he can have an above-the-line presence on the ballot.  I’m not sure why he needs two people for this (the minimum for an above-the-line group is 2, and he has three), nor am I aware of the significance of them both being named Nicole/Nicola.  But I am positive there is some!

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