Timeline of party politics in Ballarat City Council

John Burt has resigned as a City of Ballarat councillor.
John Burt has resigned as a City of Ballarat councillor.

The full timeline of events related to party politics in the Ballarat City Council.

July 22, 2012

Ballarat businessman Noel Coxall sets up a meeting at the Red Lion Hotel to discuss candidates for the upcoming City of Ballarat council elections.

Mr Coxall says a list of possible candidates was collated, with John Burt, Joshua Morris, Peter Innes and Vicki Coltman included.

Noel Coxall pictured at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 2011. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Noel Coxall pictured at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 2011. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

October 27, 2012

Local government elections held. 

John Burt, Vicki Coltman, Samantha McIntosh, Des Hudson, Belinda Coates, Peter Innes, Amy Johnson, John Phillips and Josh Morris are elected.

November 1, 2012

An "unnamed Labor source" is quoted on local radio as suggesting Mr Coxall's meeting at the Red Lion Hotel was about creating a Liberal Party 'voting bloc', which would vote together on issues such as the new mayor and the CEO's contract extension.

November 2, 2012

Mr Coxall describes the radio story as "just Labor Party rattling and scratching".

November 8, 2012

John Burt is elected mayor of the City of Ballarat.

June 25, 2013

John Burt says there is "unanimous" support to extend Anthony Schinck's contract as CEO of the City of Ballarat. He later amends this to a "consensus" among councillors to extend the contract.

July 10, 2013

Councillors vote behind closed doors to extend Anthony Schinck's contract for a further two years.

October 9, 2013

Cr Des Hudson reported to be favourite to take over as mayor from Cr John Burt. 

October 22, 2013

Cr Josh Morris emerges as a contender to become Ballarat's next mayor.

Says “it’s important to get all the ducks in a row,” before he nominates.

November 7, 2013

Premier Denis Napthine, in town to open the Ballarat Show, meets with the City of Ballarat's outgoing mayor John Burt and chief executive Anthony Schinck.

Mr Schinck said the Ballarat Regional Capital Plan was the only discussion item at the meeting.

A spokesperson for Dr Napthine said the premier did not ask Cr Burt to approach other councillors about the mayoral vote, nor did he suggest funding would be provided only for a liberal-aligned mayor.

November 13, 2013

According to Des Hudson, a Labor Party member, he attends a briefing with then mayor John Burt and councillor Joshua Morris to talk about the position of mayor for 2014.

In Cr Hudson's account, Cr Burt tells them the Premier has requested a Liberal-aligned mayor which would be advantageous to the council in terms of funding, and the government would be happy with a Labor mayor the following year.

Cr Burt requests a second meeting with two additional councillors present: Peter Innes and John Philips.

John Philips confirms he attends a meeting with four other councillors where Cr Burt tells them "the Premier had asked for a Liberal mayor to be put in to ensure council would continue to get funding from the government".

Cr Innes also says a meeting took place and he attended. But he is not prepared to comment on the discussion due to it being a confidential meeting.

November 14, 2013

In a surprise move, Cr Samantha McIntosh nominates for mayor, making it a three way contest with Cr Des Hudson and Cr Josh Morris.

November 19, 2013 

Young Ballarat father and PE teacher Joshua Morris is elected mayor at the City of Ballarat's statutory meeting, defeating Cr Des Hudson five votes to four in the final vote.

Cr Samantha McIntosh, who also stood for the position, was excluded after the first round of voting.

November 21, 2013

Cr John Burt reveals his year as mayor took a personal toll.

"If I knew when I started what the job entailed, I wouldn't have done it," he said. He also reveals the council had struggled to work together during his tenure.

“I thought we would be capable of developing a real team atmosphere ... but we haven’t,” he said.

March 28, 2014

FORMER mayors describe a perceived Liberal Party bloc voting in the council chamber as bad for Ballarat.

Ex-mayors David Vendy, Stephen Jones and James Coghlan all said any voting along political party lines was not in the town’s best interests.

The comments come after councillors Morris, Johnson, Coltman, McIntosh and Burt all voted for a last-minute change to a proposed indoor pool's depth. 

The five are all Liberal Party members.

May 6, 2014

Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight asks Dr Napthine in Parliament if he had sought to directly influence the ballot to ensure a Liberal Party member was elected as mayor of Ballarat.

Dr Napthine denies any such involvement.

Cr Josh Morris says he is not aware of any move from the Premier to install him as mayor.

May 7, 2014

Liberal MP for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay says Cr Hudson is a “Labor hack having a dummy spit about not being the mayor”.

Mr Ramsay makes no mention of Cr Phillips, who has no ties to a political party.

May 10, 2014

Premier Denis Napthine says he and Cr Burt are owed an apology from Sharon Knight, Des Hudson and John Phillips over the mayoral-fixing allegations.

Ms Knight says she made the allegations after speaking to "a number of sources".

She does not apologise.

May 15, 2014

May 19, 2014

John Burt quits as a Ballarat City councillor.


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