The informative lead article in The Courier earlier in the week on hidden political allegiances in candidates raises an important issue.
It prompted me to look up the preference flows of all candidates on the VEC web site,
I think the Liberal Party take Ballarat residents for mugs. They are quite clearly trying to stack the council. The Liberal party clearly wants to continue to dominate Ballarat City Council, but they're not saying openly who their candidates are.
I don't object to candidates having political affiliations.
However, it is important if they are affiliated to tell voters. This information tells us what shapes a councillor's decision making on council.
For instance if we want a council standing up for our city there is a stark contrast between Ballarat and Geelong councils. The Geelong council has taken a strong line on TAFE and state government cutbacks in regional centres. Ballarat, a Liberal dominated council, has been silent on the matter. Is this because many of our councillors might have further careers in the party in the future?
Four out of the nine current councillors are Liberal party members and have had high profile activity in the party - Sam McIntosh, Judy Verlin, Ben Taylor and Noel Perry. With just one more vote from supportive councillors like Mark Harris they've refused to stand up to the Baillieu government against cuts to TAFE, government services and jobs in Ballarat.
The current pretence of "independence" by candidates would be funny if it wasn't so insulting to voters.
Even those who are well known to be Liberal Party members and won't tell the voters of their political party affiliations, ie: in the South Ward, we have Joshua Morris (Liberal member) supported by a block of four (Peter Innes, Jim Rinaldi, Sundram Sivamalai and Stephen Pelchen).
In the Central Ward, we have Samantha McIntosh (Liberal Party state council member) supported by John Burt, Glen Crompton and Mark Harris.
In the North Ward, we have Vicki Coltman (Liberal member) and Amy Johnson (Liberal supporter) supported by Daniel Maloney.
The current Liberal-aligned council candidates are full of criticism for the current council, even though it's dominated by their friends in the Liberal Party.
This is the same group of councillors that proposed spending millions on the Civic Centre and mooted opening the Bridge Mall to traffic.
Liberal councillors and candidates, if you can�t make things better by voting for more of the same,
Given the woeful performance over the last few years we need new faces that will stand up to Ballar
uld like a council that is pro-Ballarat and not furthering their careers.
I hope voters in the City of Ballarat will show the Liberal Party we aren't mugs and vote for a council that will put the interests of Ballarat first and stand up for our city.