AS if the State Election wasn’t bad enough for Liberal voters in Ballarat, Tuesday’s confirmation of Joshua Morris’ defeat in the legislative council means the city will be without Liberal representation in Spring Street for the next four years
Mr Morris who was placed second on the Western Victorian Liberal ticket, has missed out on a seat in the upper house to minor parties represented by Stuart Grimley from Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and the Animal Justice Party’s Andy Meddick.
Labor’s Jaala Pulford, who is based in Ballarat, Labor’s Gayle Tierney and Liberal Beverley McArthur, who is a former Corangamite Shire Councillor, fill the other three positions allotted for Western Victoria.
The Liberal Party received a quota of 1.79 seats, but needed a full two seats for Mr Morris to retain his position.
Labor received a quota of 2.29, while preference deals between minor parties meant The Hinch Justice Party and the Animal Justice Party filled the remaining two positions.
Mr Morris was philosophical about his exit from state politics, ruling out a tilt at a federal election, but declaring he would always remain loyal to the Liberal cause.
“In the 58th parliament, I was privileged to work alongside a very dedicated and passionate fellow Liberal, Member for Western Victoria in Simon Ramsay. I am indebted to Simon for his support and friendship over the past four years,” Mr Morris said.
“Many talented and knowledgeable Liberals lost their seats in this election, I offer my heartfelt commiserations to them all, but I know that each of them has a bright future and a lot more to offer the Liberal cause.
“I am a passionate Liberal and, while I am no longer the Member for Western Victoria, I look forward to continuing to work to promote Liberal values and fight towards seeing a Liberal Government elected in Victoria in 2022.”
Mr Morris’ departure leaves the only Liberal representation in Ballarat with Ripon MP Louise Staley, who herself is still to find out whether she will face a court challenge to the ultra-marginal seat she won by just 15 votes.
Ripon takes in parts of Ballarat including Lucas and Miners Rest.
Other elected Liberal Party members in the city include Mayor Samantha McIntosh and councillors Ben Taylor and Amy Johnson who have all previously run for political office.
Mr Morris said it was a difficult time for all Liberals.
“It is vital that we pick up the pieces and work together to rebuild,” he said.
Of the minor parties to win and to represent Western Victoria, Mr Grimley is a father of two who lives Armstrong Creek, between Geelong and Torquay.
“When Derryn Hinch formed the Justice Party, I knew straight away that I wanted to be part of the team,” he said.
“Fortunately, I was selected as Derryn’s running mate in the 2016 Federal Election. The values and issues fundamental to the Justice Party are a reflection of my personal views on what is needed to make our communities feel safe and secure again.”
The Animal Justice Party’s successful candidate Andy Meddick lives on the Surf Coast.
He supports the banning of duck shooting season, banning of jumps racing and the establishment of an independent office of animal welfare.
He is also the AJP’s western regional group leader in Victoria, and has been a tireless campaigner for the rights of animals and for greater protection for native wildlife.
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