Ballarat mayor remains silent on rumours of upper house run

Premier Denis Napthine, left, and mayor Joshua Morris during a tour of the Ballarat Railway Station earlier this year. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Premier Denis Napthine, left, and mayor Joshua Morris during a tour of the Ballarat Railway Station earlier this year. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

CITY of Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris won’t buy into rumours he could leave his role for a shot at the Victorian upper house at this year’s state election. 

Speaking to The Courier on Tuesday, Cr Morris said it “would be inappropriate to comment” at this time and directed all queries to the Liberal Party headquarters in Melbourne.

The upper house position on the Liberal Party ballot for Western Victoria was left vacant by Aaron Lane after he stood down last week following a series of inappropriate tweets.

The position on the ballot is seen as being almost a certainty to be elected and is second only to another Ballarat representative in Simon Ramsay.

Another Ballarat councillor Samantha Macintosh is also a contender for the vacant position.

The Liberal Administrative Committee will meet on Thursday night to discuss the issue and decide on whether another person will replace Mr Lane’s nomination. 

Cr Morris is openly a member of the Liberal Party and also sits on this committee. 

The City of Ballarat chief executive Anthony Schinck refused to comment on the issue and the impact it may have on council. 

Western Victoria is an upper house electorate which covers Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Geelong, Colac, Ballarat and Horsham.

Mr Lane’s shock downfall from the position came as a surprise to many. 

Mr Lane, who is a former Young Liberal president and fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, had been exposed using Twitter to attack homosexuals, and referring to former Labor leader Simon Crean as a “big C” and former speaker Peter Slipper as “a giant C”.

In tweets made between 2011 and 2012, Mr Lane liberally used derogatory terms.

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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