Ballarat councillor blasted: 'A hack having a dummy spit'

Ballarat Councillor Des Hudson.

Ballarat Councillor Des Hudson.

MEMBER for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay has lambasted Ballarat’s deputy mayor Des Hudson in a parliamentary speech.

Mr Ramsay said Cr Hudson was a “Labor hack having a dummy spit about not being the mayor”.

The Liberal Party MP’s comments, made in state parliament on Wednesday, follow claims at least two Ballarat councillors were told Premier Denis Napthine wanted them to elect a Liberal-aligned mayor and that council funding depended on it.

Crs Hudson and John Philips said they were given the instructions by former mayor John Burt during two briefings on November 13.

In parliament, Mr Ramsay said Cr Hudson had, with the help of the media, “spread aspersions and innuendos in the true Labor way”.

He also said Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight had sunk into “gutter politics” to become the talking head of Cr Hudson.

Cr Burt has not responded to questions by The Courier for the past two days.

He strongly denied the allegations on Tuesday.

Mayor Joshua Morris said he was not aware of any pressure to elect a Liberal-aligned mayor.

“My perspective is that I became mayor with four other councillors showing support for me,” he said on Tuesday.

“There were no discussions surrounding it.”

Ballarat councillor Peter Innes said he attended a meeting on November 13, but was not prepared to comment further due to it being a confidential forum.

“I’m not aware of the premier making any direct comment about it ... I’m not prepared to comment on what happens in confidential meetings, whether it did happen or it didn’t,” he said.

The allegations of mayoral tampering came to light the same day the state government released its

budget, when Ms Knight asked Dr Napthine in Parliament if he had sought to directly influence the mayoral ballot.

The premier described the allegations as “outrageous”.

A spokesperson for Dr Napthine also said the premier did not ask Cr Burt to approach other councillors about the mayoral vote.

The Courier made several attempts to contact Cr Hudson yesterday but he could not be reached for comment.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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