Labor member slams backroom moves

By CASEY NEILL

THE Labor Party pulled the strings behind Greater Dandenong’s mayoral election, according to councillor John Kelly.
He labelled his colleagues “a bunch of weak individuals” after his nomination for the mayoral race did not attract a seconder.
But new mayor Sean O’Reilly said the result at the annual statutory council meeting last Thursday, 6 November, was based on merit.
Cr Kelly said he was disappointed that Opposition Leader and Mulgrave MP Daniel Andrews and Monash mayor Geoff Lake instructing councillors how to vote.
“I was hoping that someone might have had the gumption to at least have a debate,” he said.
“Obviously Geoff Lake’s got more power than any of us.
“I’m sure Sean will do a good job – it’s just the way that he got there.”
Cr O’Reilly said the three main contenders for the mayoral role – himself, Cr Youhorn Chea and Cr Peter Brown – were ALP members.
“For that reason, we were on a level playing field,” he said.
He said he was elected because he was open with other councillors.
“I like to think that if no one was in a political party that I would still have been elected on the basis of merit,” he said.
“I believe that the ideas that people present to council should be able to stand up by themselves.”
Cr O’Reilly nominated himself for the mayoral role and Cr Roz Blades seconded the motion.
“It could have gone either way leading up in the final few hours,” Cr O’Reilly said.
“A couple of councillors have said to me that it’s been the most contested mayoral election in their experience.”
Cr Brown was a frontrunner for the position but didn’t put his hand up on the night.
He said he’d met spent 90 minutes chatting with Cr O’Reilly at Springvale’s Waltzing Matilda Hotel on Sunday 2 November.
“Sean and I spoke for about our common goals representing our community and also our common aspirations – one of which is now an achievement for Cr O’Reilly,” he said.
“I got a far greater understanding of Cr O’Reilly the man than I had in two years.
“At the end of the day I thought ‘yeah, I could vote for that bloke’.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. So Cr O Reilly you are saying only a labor person can be mayor in Dandenong …that’s unbelievable !! How can any of you labor councillors look ratepayers straight in the face.So can someone help me with who is the next mayor 2015……surely the deal has been done..no wonder ratepayers have lost respect for most of you. Neville

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Dear Nev Wright, I have heard your concerns and will clarify.

      Council candidates that are members of political parties, such as I, should declare their party membership prior to election. This I did.

      It is no secret that members of political parties would generally be more likely to support a candidate for Mayor from their own party. However, Cr John Kelly was elected Mayor for the 2008 year with support from Labor councillors.

      I am most pleased and proud that in the City of Greater Dandenong, all decisions on policy and planning matters are not decided along party political lines. Nor in my time as councillor has it been suggested to me by anyone in my own political party that I should vote a particular way due to party allegiance. I think it most important that there should be open debate based on the merits of the particular idea or application under discussion.

      The headline of this article, “Labor member slams backroom moves” is erroneous as Cr John Kelly has never been a member of the Labor party to my knowledge, and is not a member of the Labor party currently.

      If you would like to discuss this, or if can clarify this further, feel free to contact me on 0422523258.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

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