IT was a case of “deal or no deal” for Ballarat City Council candidates yesterday.
All 22 candidates’ preferences for the October 27 local government elections were announced via the Victorian Electoral Commission website.
However, two candidates claimed the preferences had been heavily influenced by party politics.
Current councillor Des Hudson said the south ward vote was being “manipulated” after he was preferenced last by five of the other seven candidates.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Cr Hudson said.
“The ‘connected candidates’ have worked together to put me last but they are being manipulated by other people.
“You only have to look to see where the preferences are going to realise that.
“I hope voters see through the manipulation and vote for someone with a good, strong independent voice.”
However, fellow South Ward candidate Joshua Morris said he preferenced Cr Hudson last because he was disappointed with the current council’s performance.
“There’s not a bloc of candidates at all but rather people who have similar views in what needs to be done in city council,” Mr Morris said.
Greens candidate Belinda Coates, who lost the 2008 election on preferences, also said she was not surprised at the voting in Central Ward, where she was placed last three times.
“I’m aware the field is influenced heavily by Liberal Party influences,” Ms Coates said.
Ms Coates called for party affiliations for council candidates to be made public.
“It helps to inform the public when making their decisions,” she said.
An analysis of each candidate’s top three preferences after themselves showed current councillor Samantha McIntosh and newly announced candidate Jenny Overington leading the way in Central Ward.
In North Ward, health promotion worker Amy Johnson had five top three votes, narrowly ahead of Cr John Philips and former senior manager and journalist Daniel Moloney.
Road safety and traffic management worker Allan Carter was preferenced last three times.
It was a three way tie in South Ward with school teacher Joshua Morris, former councillor Peter Innes and businessman Stephen Pelchen all with five top three preferences.
But Mr Moloney said the preference system was flawed and allowed people to get elected on preferences rather than first round votes.
“Unfortunately, we have a system where you have to talk to the other candidates to get the best deal and it’s not the sort of process people would want to see happen,” Mr Moloney said.
“I hope the public will think for themselves and vote based on who they think is a good candidate.”
Commerce Ballarat is holding a candidate forum for businesses on October 8 at the Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre.
It will be held between 6 and 8pm and will be facilitated by local lawyer, former councillor and Commerce Ballarat board member Paul Stephens.
Members and non-members are welcome and the forum is free.
Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org until tomorrow and further questions will be taken from the floor if time allows.