Welcome to what is probably the most comprehensive guide to the upcoming City of Greater Geelong Council Elections, which are to take place in October, 2017. Note: for mobile users, these pages are best viewed using the desktop version of the site.
In April of 2016, the then Geelong City Council, along with its Mayor, Darryn Lyons, was sacked by the Andrews Victorian State Government, with administrators appointed to run the functions of the Council for a period of time. A Citizen's Jury was set up for the purpose of putting forward recommendations as to how a future Council should be run - including whether the Mayor should be directly elected, and the ward structure. This Jury determined that four multi-member wards should replace the then-existing single-member ward system and that the Mayor should be chosen by the elected Councillors rather than elected directly. Legislation to this effect was introduced and passed the Victorian Parliament with some minor amendments, including bringing forward elections to October of 2017.
A major theme of the overall election campaign will, without a doubt, be focused around the allegations of bullying, which ultimately led to the sacking of the previous Council, and how a new Council will work to ensure that this doesn't happen again. As a result, there is a strong public mood for fresh faces on Council
Four multi-member wards replace the previous 12 single member wards and will elect a total of 11 Councillors:
- Windermere - Geelong's northern suburbs (2 Councillors).
- Brownbill - Central Geelong and the surrounding inner suburbs (3 Councillors).
- Kardinia - Geelong, south of the Barwon River (3 Councillors)
- Bellarine - The Bellarine peninsula (3 Councillors)
It is likely that a lot of eager people will put their hands up to contest this election, with a number of people already indicating that they will nominate. Most of these people, however, will not be officially endorsed by political parties, though many will have ties to and memberships of political parties.
The loudest commentators, which includes the local media, are in favour of fresh faces, and are staunchly opposed to any of the former sacked Councillors standing. However, one would have to expect that, if they don't get reeelected, that each of the former Councillors standing will have their own support base and profile, and will pull away enough votes to influence the final outcome via their preference recommendations.
The Greens have endorsed four candidates to contest the election so far, one in each ward, and are hopeful that the new ward structure will give them an advantage and allow them to break through into Council. Brownbill Ward will be their best prospect, with Kardinia being an outside chance.
The Socialist Alliance have also endorsed two candidates, both for the central Brownbill Ward, and will be competing with the Greens for one of the seats in that ward.
Generally, elected Councillors have historically been more on the conservative end of the political spectrum.