Matt Hrkac's Blog
Greater Geelong Council Elections nominations close
26 September 2017
Nominations for the City of Greater Geelong Council Elections have now formally closed, and a field of 53 candidates will be contesting the four wards.
Brownbill Ward will be the most heavily contested ward in this election, with a field of 18 candidates contending for three seats. However, no particular candidate or set of candidates have emerged as frontrunners at this stage. George Ballas, though, has drawn some favourable local media coverage, while Michael King also drew a lot of local media coverage around the time of his announcement back in July, but that has seemed to have subsided. Interestingly, neither of these two candidates are investing heavily in social media, with George Ballas even shunning it completely. Freya Fidge and former Liberal-aligned Councillor Eddy Kontelj are working together to direct preferences to each other, while Greens candidate Sarah Mansfield, as well as Socialist Alliance candidates Sue Bull and Sarah Hathway, have been mobilising grassroots campaigns and are very well in the race for one of the seats.
South of the river in Kardinia Ward, it is a similar story but with 11 contenders for three seats; with no clear front-runner emerging as yet. Pat Murnane is running a very strong social media campaign. Doug Mann, who stood for Mayor at the 2013 Mayoral by-election, is also a strong contender on the basis of his now higher profile; though he did leave it fairly late to formally announce his candidacy in this particular election. Labor-aligned Brent Lyons-Lee and former Councillor Bruce Harwood should also factor strongly.
On the Bellarine, where 13 candidates will be vying for three seats, Stephanie Asher, who has stood in numerous elections at all levels over the years and also has a column in the Geelong Advertiser, will be a strong contender for one of the three seats on offer there. Liberal-aligned Trent Sullivan, Labor-aligned Jim Mason, and Anne Brackley are also very well still in the race.
Windermere Ward, covering the northern suburbs has been the most intense contest of this election campaign so far despite there being only 11 candidates running for the two seats on offer. Ken Dickens, Moshtagh Heidari, Kylie Grzybek and Anthony Aitken are clear front-runners at this stage, with the latter three, in particular, running very grassroots campaigns, while Ken Dickens is drawing all sorts of media coverage, both good and bad. All four of the aforementioned candidates, along with David Withington, are running very strong social media campaigns and are spending big on advertisements and promotions.
There is now a two-week window between today and October 10, when ballots packs start going out in the mail. Ballots must be returned by October 27, however, based on the trends of previous Council elections, most residents will have voted and posted back their ballots well before this deadline.
I have posted my guide for the upcoming Geelong Council elections, which outlines information on each of the candidates including their biographies, political affiliations, their perceived political alignment (based off both their public statements and their political affiliations) and their key issues.
If you are a candidate, and want to send me an updated biograophy, please email me. I'll be updating candidate details periodically as they make more public statements, and will also add social media and website links as well. Candidate profiles on the ward pages are ordered in alphabetical order according to their surname.
Please note: I will not be changing political affiliation details, even if a candidate is a former member of a particular party. This information is important for the sake of transparency and for the sake of people knowing who they are voting for.
Updated: Just who is supporting the Coalition's agenda?
05 April 2017
By popular demand, here is an updated graph of how often our Senators vote with the Government:
Once again, One Nation, the Nick Xenophon Team, David Leyonhjelm, and Derryn Hinch continue to be reliable votes for the Government on the floor of the Senate, with the latter three firming up as more reliable for the Government over the first half of 2017.
Those most likely to vote opposite of the Government are the Greens, Jacqui Lambie, and Labor; with Labor remaining unchanged, while both the Greens and Jacqui Lambie voted less often with the Government.
In the first sitting half of 2017, Jacqui Lambie was absent from votes a total of 30 times (out of a total of 136 divisions that took place during that period). David Leyonhjelm was absent 23 times.
One Nation has missed 10 divisions and the Nick Xenophon Team has missed 9 divisions, while Derryn Hinch maintains a good attendance record, missing only 2 divisions.
The Greens, and Labor, both have perfect attendance records.
Stats compiled from Hansard.
Mark Kenny misses the mark on marriage equality plebiscite
27 August 2016
There are a few things to go over here, so let's do that. First, the 'analysis' flatly and bluntly assumes that the LGBTI community wants a plebiscite to achieve marriage equality. The fact is, the vast majority of the LGBTI community and marriage equality advocacy groups don't want to go anywhere near a plebiscite; which they describe as dangerous, divisive, and opens up the floodgates of hate and bigotry to be espoused by the likes of the Australian Christian Lobby and other extreme-right groups.
Considering it is the LGBTI community who would bear the brunt of a hate campaign against them in the event of a plebiscite, I really think that it is they who we should be listening to.
Secondly, the article also assumes that the LGBTI community would rather a plebiscite, then to wait for a parliamentary vote. That is also wrong, as many such advocacy groups are coming out and saying that they would rather wait a few years, and a possible change of government, for a parliamentary vote, then to be subjected to a plebiscite.
Thirdly, Mark Kenny's analysis also assumes that the Turnbull Government is obliged to act on the results of a plebiscite, assuming it winds up being a yes result. Fact is, they aren't, because the plebiscite is not binding in any way. It is merely a glorified opinion poll that the Government can just turn a blind eye to regardless of the result.
If we want an opinion poll on what Australians think of marriage equality, we only need to look at opinion polls published over the last half a decade. A vast majority of Australians support marriage equality.
And fourth, despite Mark Kenny's persistent claim that the Greens aren't willing to compromise (which one is it, by the way, are they unwilling to compromise or are they sellouts?) - they've taken a principled stance in opposing what is bad legislation that a vast majority of the LGBTI community and marriage equality advocacy groups also oppose.
Absolutely poor journalism, and it is telling that The Age, of all media outlets, allowed it to be published.