Preference deals threaten Doyle
By Shane Scanlan
Team Doyle says it is under threat from preference deals among other candidates which leave the Lord Mayor out in the cold.
Cr Doyle would need to poll 20 per cent better in this month’s council election than he did in 2012 if he is to win without relying on any preferences flowing from other candidates.
The four strongest non-Doyle teams are exchanging preferences ahead of Team Doyle. But without above the line voting, it remains to be seen how many voters will religiously number their seven lord-mayoral election squares in the order recommended by their preferred candidate.
Team Doyle councillor candidate Nicholas Reece says the race for the lord mayoralty has turned into a lottery. He admits that Cr Doyle received a healthy 40 per cent of the primary vote last time.
“But if the four other major candidates poll 60 per cent between them and then preference to each other they could easily over take Doyle,” Mr Reece said.
“This is a preference whisperer deal that would make even the most political hard head blush – there is no coherence to it in terms of policy and values – it is simply a plan to get Doyle, no matter who the alternative might be.”
“The Greens, Ong, Morgan and Cleary have sold out on everything they stand for and jumped into bed with each other in the hope that one of them – but who knows who – might emerge the winner over Doyle.”
After eight years in the job, the Cr Doyle is without doubt starting as the favourite and has left his opponents little to campaign on.
Above all, he’s been clearly seen as a champion for Melbourne –and that’s probably all that most people expect.
Being an effective salesman for Melbourne is probably his only achievement over the journey – but it’s probably enough.
There are sectional interests contesting the October 22 election such as those campaigning on perceived problems with the council’s plan to redevelop the Queen Victoria Market and others offering themselves as heritage advocates.
There are others who won’t stand because they complain that no one is interested. But, again, if Robert Doyle had messed things up over his last two terms, there would be plenty of interest in this election.
Team Doyle is far deeper and more rounded than ever. Practical conservationist Arron Wood has been promoted to the deputy lord mayoral position (potentially to be groomed for bigger and better things?). Campaign-donations-collector Kevin Louey is still heading the councillor ticket, one has to assume because of his Chinese connections and fund-raising capacity as he is the worst performer in the chamber.
The next position has been gifted to Labor Party prince Nicholas Reece who broadens the team considerably and brings the policy development potential to seriously challenge the unelected fat cats who wield the real power at the town hall.
Cr Doyle has brought a glittering but untested star into his third councillor spot. Tessa Sullivan’s CV shows she is one of those “could be anything” young people. Why would she bother being a councillor?
Deeper on the ticket are councillors Susan Riley and Beverley Pinder-Mortimer. Each with rusted-on personal followers, particularly in the business community, they could ensure Team Doyle wins a majority.
Other councillors will be doing all they can to prevent Team Doyle getting more than the five it currently enjoys. Although it is a long time ago, many can recall the John So days when the chamber was more a rubber stamp than a place for ideas and debate.
All sitting councillors have now declared the interest in the contest.
Cr Ken Ong’s last minute decision to challenge for the top job has turned the race into a contest. He has the experience and has been very visible in the community.
Cr Jackie Watts hopes to benefit from Gary Morgan’s lord mayoral aspirations. The Greens are a fully organised outfit with both lord mayoral and councillor candidates.
Cr Richard Foster is running without a lord mayoral candidate. Instead, he is running two teams of two, with Brooke Wandin heading up the other councillor ticket.
Cr Stephen Mayne is also running without a lord mayoral candidate and has teamed up with Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Johanna Maxwell.
When nominations closed on September 20, there were seven teams contesting the lord mayoralty: The Greens (Olivia Ball and Roxane Ingleton), Team Doyle (Robert Doyle and Arron Wood), Phil Cleary and Junxi Su, Team Morgan (Gary Morgan and Michael O’Brien), Strengthening Melbourne (Ron Hunt and Doone Clifton), The Light on the Hill Team (Anthony Van Der Craats and Yunli Han) and Together Melbourne (Ken Ong and Sue Morphet).
Nominations for the nine council positions have been received from 43 candidates.
They are: Michael Caiafa ; Wesa Chau; Fiona Creedy; Ben Curnow; Luke Downing; Marcus Fielding; Farida Fleming; Adam Munro Ford; Richard Foster; Nicolas Frances Gilley; Luke James; Michael Kennedy; Rohan Leppert; Jing Li; Philip Le; Kevin Louey; Robin Matthews; Johanna Maxwell; Stephen Mayne;
Cathy Oke; Tony Penna; Beverley Pinder-Mortimer; Jenny Pitts; Alice Poon; Bruce Poon; Neil Pringle; Nicholas Reece; Susan Riley; Apsara Sabaratnam; Sebastian Saggio; Joseph Sarraf; Sergey Sizenko; Roger Smith; Sue Stanley; Tessa Sullivan; Suzanne Vale; Bridie Walsh; Brooke Wandin; Jim Ward;
Jackie Watts; Hope Wei; Sallyann Wilson and Barbara Yerondais.