Elachkar tells us that he grew up in Moreland and thus understands the community and our needs better than anyone. He then opens the field to any and all purveyors of lawyer jokes by explaining that ‘As a lawyer, I know exactly how to advocate for, defend and represent our interests.’ I am resisting temptation womanfully here, mostly because he has a point with his next line about knowing how to interpret legislation and develop policy. While I feel that lawyers are drastically over-represented at the federal level, they are pretty under-represented on our council, so I could see him being a valuable addition to the Council.
Elachkar then tells us that ‘those familiar with my career know that I have spent my entire life engaging with and furthering our community’, which is (a) adorable because he can’t be a day over 25, and from my middle-aged perspective, that is ridiculously young, and (b) less useful than he thinks it is, because I am sadly unfamiliar with his career. Scrolling down his page, he tells us that he is a ‘fresh, progressive, passionate voice’ and he also has a nice video explaining that it is vital to vote for someone who will represent your needs and your interests, and not just to make this a popularity contest. He comes across as sincere, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and very personable. Ooh, and an endorsement from – I think – a local footy player!
Elachkar also has a campaign video (in which he demonstrates that he doesn’t know how to wear a mask, argh!), talking about how his parents came to Australia from their home countries ‘just like yours’, and made the country a better place. He talks about his work with the Australian Multicultural Foundation, and Victorian Arabic Social Services and there are photos of him at anti-racism protests (including one against Israel, which, ouch), as well as of him talking about how he will fight for us, accompanied by footage of him doing martial arts and punching a punching bag, which I found fairly hilarious.
Overall he also comes across as someone who is speaking to his own community – the line about how his parents came to Australia from their home countries ‘just like yours’ is telling. Moreland’s immigrant community is large and diverse and deserves candidates who understand it. But I think Elachkar might run into difficulties capturing the votes of people who don’t already know him. He’s a bit low on concrete policy, for starters.
Elachkar gets a tick of approval from Rainbow Votes, but doesn’t seem to have participated in any of the other surveys or forums, which again suggests that he may not fare well outside his immediate community.
Googling Elachkar gets me a bit further. He has been active in the Muslim Professionals Association, and got a nice write-up from the Islamic Council of Victoria in 2017 in a piece on Muslim youth. I liked this bit:
But what really drives Rasheed, who identifies himself as an Australian-Muslim with Lebanese heritage, is unity.
“My passion stems from seeking world peace, working out that we can live together creatively rather than violently. All that I produce is driven by this,” he said. Listing identity, belonging and values as the three major challenges facing youth today – Rasheed said we all needed to act as a community to “listen, help and act.”
“Overseas we are known as Australians, in Australia we are known as foreigners – thus, for many youth members this begs the question, who are we?”
He really does sound like a lovely person.
On his How to Vote Card, Elachkar is preferencing the three ALP candidates, followed by Farah and Naim. After that, it looks like he just did a reverse donkey vote up the rest of the ballot, so his preferences are largely meaningless. Anyway, given the way our Municipality works, odds are if you follow his card, you will be funnelling your vote to the ALP.
He’s probably going to go in the upper third of my ticket, but I’m just not clear enough about what he stands for to put him higher. (Also, please, mate, put your nose INSIDE your mask!)
This candidate has requested that I do not write about him, and I am respecting that.
I will note simply that I do not see eye to eye with this candidate, and his presence high on someone’s how to vote card is not a recommendation for me.
(Also, yes, as far as I have been able to ascertain, he does have four separate Facebook Pages. However, on one of them, he mentions that he has been a victim of identity theft, so proceed with caution.)
Reason Victoria (the artists formerly known as the Sex Party and Fiona Patten’s Reason Party) has been on the scene for a few years now, and I’ve written about them before. As their website doesn’t have a specific policy platform for Council Elections, and their policies look pretty similar to what they were when I last wrote about them, I’m just going to direct you to my analyses from 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Reason Victoria’s candidate for North-East Ward is Margee Glover. She has a background in arts, education and publishing, and is big on community, inclusiveness, diversity, compassion, and evidence-based approaches. She is big on cycling, but doesn’t like the current approach to parking, which she views as punitive; similarly, she wants the council to be proactive about tackling environmental and climate issues – but she objects to their new fortnightly bin collection plans, which she again feels are punitive and ideologically-driven. This is someone who definitely prefers the carrot to the stick. Glover also has very strong feelings about the Hosken Reserve, which she does not want to see covered in artificial turf.
Glover clearly has an interest in aged care and better in-home care services. Other areas of interest include gender equity and safety, transparent government, revitalising small business, supporting the arts and entertainment communities, and a Northern Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary.
I have not been able to find any How To Vote card, but Glover is reasonably popular with Sue Bolton’s group, with Labor and with the Greens, as one might expect. She seems to be one of the more responsive candidates when it comes to attending forums and participating in surveys or online interviews, which is a good sign. She has signed the Rainbow Pledge and the Hosken Reserve Pledge, and responded to the surveys by the Bicycle Users Group, Walk On Moreland and Climate Action. I especially loved her replies to the Walk On Moreland survey, and I’m feeling like she has rather won me over at this point. Glover will be near the top of my ballot, for sure.
Pavlidis hasn’t given me a lot to work with here, but I will do my best. Her Facebook page reminds people of how to vote and the penalty for not voting, and she has a couple of posts objecting to the new parking restrictions, pledging to roll them back, and calling out all of those who voted for them. (Interestingly, none of those who did vote for them seem to be running in this election, at least not in North East Ward. Maybe they saw the writing on the wall?)
There are a similar set of ‘j’accuse!’ posts about increases to rates.
Ooh, here we go – a campaign video and a flyer! Excellent! Pavlidis has lived in Moreland all her life, and indeed has three generations of family living in Moreland. She has a background in accounting and local government, and has volunteered at Fronditha Care, Very Special Kids, and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. She stands for:
- Freezing the rates (during the pandemic, I think?)
- Better community services and facilities appropriate to all the ages and stages of life
- Opposing inappropriate development
- Clean and safe streets
- Better public transport
- Opposing minimum parking waivers for developments
- Expanding parks and open space
- Fixing roads and paths
- And rates again – she ‘will never vote for unfair increases in rates and fees and charges’.
Pavlidis believes we need ‘mature, professional, knowledgeable, committed and passionate councillors’. This is gently phrased, but is making me wonder, once again, about the generational aspect of this election. I feel like there is a lot of both text and subtext coming from a bunch of the candidates suggesting that young people took over the council, and made bad and ideological decisions, and so we need to get the grownups back. (I honestly couldn’t say whether I agree with this assessment or not, but it’s definitely a feeling I’m getting. He Who Shall Not Be Named even has a reference on one of his many Facebook pages to councillors with ‘acne, no qualifications and no relevant experience’.)
Pavlidis seems to be pretty responsive on Facebook, but less so in other forums. She has, not surprisingly, gotten a high score from Fair Parking Moreland, and she has signed the Rainbow pledge, but environmental concerns don’t seem to be on her radar, particularly.
Her preferences go to Clarke, Helou, Dhedhy, Joseph, and then, interestingly, the third and second candidates on the Labor ticket, before donkey voting the rest. This is a bit hard to read, especially since I haven’t gotten to Clarke or Dhedhy yet, but it looks like she is going for the more centrist independents on her ticket, suggesting a fairly centrist position herself. This would match the impression I’ve been getting from other candidates’ How To Vote Cards – nobody seems to hate her, and people from both ends of the political spectrum seem to quite like her. If she can make it past the first eliminations, she might do surprisingly well on preferences.
And, in fact, that mirrors how I feel about Pavlidis, too. She comes across as intelligent and involved in her community, and she brings some useful skills to the table. Her priorities are not mine, but I think she will be solidly in the middle of my ticket.
I came prepared to like Clarke, because Facebook evidence suggests that he is buddies with my favourite Elvis Impersonator, Lyndon Joseph. Clarke’s flyer tells me he has lived in the area for 20 years, and that he volunteers with community sports clubs. He is concerned that
In recent years, motivated by political ideology, Council has divisively strayed too far away from what should be its core focus and responsibilities.
Damn, I really should have been paying more attention to what the Council has been up to, I’ve missed some shenanigans for sure. (And I’m beginning to wonder if it’s my beloved Greens – they certainly seem to have been on the wrong side of a few decisions recently, and I know they can have a tendency to fundamentalism at times. Certainly, everyone else thinks it is the Greens, but in a demographic like Moreland, where the Greens are basically one of the two major parties, that isn’t necessarily indicative… I’m going to have to do a bit more research on this. Later.)
Clarke comes with endorsements from the president of the school council at Coburg Primary and from the president of Coburg Little Athletics.
Clarke’s priorities are creating local employment; upgrading green spaces, bike paths, sporting facilities, etc; increasing the tree canopy; and yes, here we are again:
Council to focus on delivering the core services of parks, footpaths, bike paths, roads and rubbish as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Clarke’s Facebook page is pretty strongly focused on the 2% rate increase, and on naming and shaming the councillors who voted for it. In fact, that post looks rather familiar… and yes, now I compare it, it’s identical to the post on Pavlidis’s page.
So perhaps it will come as no surprise that Pavlidis gets second place on Clarke’s How to Vote Card. His card also favour Joseph and Dhedhy – I am starting to think of this particular cluster as the centrist independents – followed, to my surprise, by Failla, Timpano and Farah – the slightly scary right wing independents – and then we have a little bit of Socialism and lefty goodness with Bolton, Ul Murtaza and Carli-Hannan, before donkeying our way down the rest of the ticket. Well, mostly. There is one notable exception: Naim is dead last. I’m thinking Clarke did the same Google search I did. Overall, though, I’d describe this ticket as centrist with a dash of WTF.
Clarke has signed up to the Rainbow Votes pledge, is Fair Parking approved, and has a pretty good engagement score, having attended the candidate forum and responded to the Walk On Moreland survey. His responses were pretty interesting, and showed a tendency to want data before making decisions. Quite a good, pragmatic approach there.
Like Pavlidis, Clarke seems like he would be a perfectly good councillor, but there are other people I will vote for first.
BEST OF THE BATCH
Pavlidis, Elachkar and Clarke all seem like good people, but Glover really won me over. She wins best of the batch for this group!