Ballarat councillors back mayor's move to state politics

Councillors John Philips, Samantha McIntosh, Glen Crompton, Peter Innes, Joshua Morris, Des Hudson, Amy Johnson and Belinda Coates. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Councillors John Philips, Samantha McIntosh, Glen Crompton, Peter Innes, Joshua Morris, Des Hudson, Amy Johnson and Belinda Coates. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

BALLARAT councillors have supported mayor Joshua Morris following an announcement he would make the move into state politics, and say the decision on whether to stand down from his role is up to him.

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Cr Morris was announced on Monday night as a Liberal Party candidate for an upper house seat in Western Victoria. 

Cr Peter Innes told The Courier he respected Cr Morris' decision. 

"He has been a productive mayor and handled himself professionally at all times," Cr Innes said.

"Ballarat needs solid representation and Josh representing the city at a state level would be a good thing for Ballarat."

Cr Innes said he remained undecided on whether Cr Morris should step down from his position as mayor.

"I haven't made a decision on that," Cr Innes said.

"I think that decision needs to be made by Josh."

He said if Cr Morris stood down as mayor, he would consider applying to be the next mayor if he had the support of his colleagues.

Cr John Phillips said if Cr Morris was successful in his quest to move into state politics, the council would go through the process of replacing him and electing a new mayor.

He said he supported Cr Morris's decision, but would not comment on whether he believed he should stand down as mayor.

"Josh knows what working on the council and being mayor involves," Cr Phillips.

"I'll leave that decision for him."

Cr Vicki Coltman said she did not foresee Cr Morris' decision to move from the council into state politics as having a "big impact".

"This isn't unique. Councillors often resign or make different career of professional decisions for a number of reasons," Cr Coltman said.

She said she was yet to discuss the announcement with her fellow councillors. 

"We will have a discussion about the issue and, if it comes to it, we will work through the same process like we did with the resignation of John Burt," she said.

Deputy mayor Des Hudson said he understood some people may see it as a negative, but he believed Cr Morris was well positioned to represent the city on a state level.

"He is across our priorities as a city and future projects," Cr Hudson said.

"He would have the ability to advocate through the government for Ballarat, which is positive."

Cr Hudson said all councillors remained "committed and motivated" to deliver the best outcomes for the community.

"Nobody takes on the role (of a councillor) looking to make an adverse impact," Cr Hudson said.

"We remained committed to achieving the outcomes of our council plan for the life of this council."

Cr Samantha McIntosh declined to comment on the issue. 

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