The confusing choice for Melbourne’s Chief Garbage Collector

By far the most useful and important thing the Melbourne City Council does is to take away garbage, but for some reason the position of Chief Garbage Collector, aka Lord Mayor of Melbourne, is being keenly contested.

There are eleven candidates, at least seven of whom are campaigning seriously if the contents of my letterbox and the Google ads when I typed in ‘Melbourne City Council’ are a guide.

I told Tim Wilson, who is running for Deputy Lord Mayor on the Peter McMullin ticket, that I would vote for him. But that was before I realised that McMullin was a member of the ALP, and I cannot vote for Tim without also voting for McMullin. Admittedly, McMullin is of the multi-millionaire former Deputy President of the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry kind of Labor, and his campaign literature has the crucial words ‘rate freeze’ in it, but I’m not sure that I can bring myself to put a ‘1’ next to the name of a member of the ALP.

Of the other campaign materials I have received, pollster Gary Morgan’s promise of 5% cut in rates certainly caught my eye. And I feel I owe Morgan something for providing survey results for free. On the other hand, Morgan has a famously abrasive personality. When he used his polling company to see who was the frontrunner for the Lord Mayor’s job, he published the results with this fine example of pollster neutrality in the comments:

failed former Liberal Party leader Robert Doyle, who led the Liberal Party to a crushing defeat in the 2002 Victorian State election — the heaviest defeat the Liberal Party had ever suffered in Victoria, winning only 17 out of 88 Lower House seats, is nonetheless favoured to win the upcoming Melbourne City Council Election for a new Lord Mayor.

I think the Lord Mayor needs to be a little more gracious and diplomatic than that.

So perhaps I should vote for Doyle, the only Lord Mayor candidate I know to be a Liberal? The trouble with that idea is that though Morgan lacks tact, he has a point. The Victorian Liberal Party hasn’t been worth voting for since Kennett left, and though I continue to do so because I support the idea of the Liberal Party even when (especially when) I am not keen on its actual representatives, that does not apply at council level, where there are no official party candidates.

Current Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer, like McMullin, offers a 0% rate increase. On the other hand he lists among his ‘achievements’ a $6.75 million, 150 place childcare centre. When even the gay candidate is boasting about redistributing my money to families my anti-familist cause seems very lost.

Perhaps Catherine Ng? But she is supporting even more childcare places, NIMBY opposition to road tunnels, and McMullin’s dirt campaign says she misses lots of meetings.

Apart from Tim, Will Fowles is the only candidate I have actually seen since the campaign started, but like McMullin he’s a Labor Party member. The would-be European tree killers, the Greens under Adam Bandt, are going last.

Who’s left? Bob King Crawford seems to be taking the campaign less seriously than the other candidates. This is the first point of his 37 point plan:

“Encourage shops to have living windows I .E. a shoe shop may have a working model of the” Old Lady who lives in a shoe.” bands in music shops,, Models in clothing store windows. Celebrities wash hair in hairdresser windows, Make a cake, etc.

Joseph Toscano is also a bit loopy, but much less attractively so:

We want to create a parallel economy based on the formation of worker controlled and worker owned co-operatives and community owned and community operated collectives.

Also on the list of sure-to-lose candidates is a single mother who wants lower rates for herself but not other people (Shelley Roberts).

I haven’t received any campaign materials from Nick Columb, running on a passion4melbourne ticket. I like Melbourne a lot too, but I am tired of hearing about people’s ‘passions’.

So my conclusion is that compulsory voting for council elections is a bad thing.

But civic disobedience in not voting would cost me $57, so I am going to cast a ballot. McMullin probably is the most plausible candidate overall, and I did tell Tim I would vote for him, so probably the best thing for me to do is to give my first preference to someone with no prospect of winning, and vote ‘2’ for the McMullin-Wilson ticket, which will allow me to cast a de facto vote for them while maintaining my record of never giving a Labor candidate my first preference.

Crawford is the closest to the Monster Raving Loony Party, so I think I will vote ‘1’ for him, and let my preferences do the real electoral work.

12 thoughts on “The confusing choice for Melbourne’s Chief Garbage Collector

  1. “But civic disobedience in not voting would cost me $57, so I am going to cast a ballot.”
    Erm, I don’t think you are actually required to fill out the ballot, just to mail it in. Maybe just scribble “Just pickup my goddamn garbage” on it?


  2. I have been teasing my good friend Tim about his ALP dalliance for a few weeks now.

    On a more serious note, while spoiling the ballot is the most desireable thing to do strictly speaking it is also a violation of the electoral act. At least at the Federal level, Australians are required to cast a valid vote. At the moment that is unenforceale, but in time with electronic voting that may well be enforced.


  3. You could still vote 1 for the McMullin ticket without having voted for a Labor candidate because he isn’t endorsed by Labor, he’s just a member! Wondering, is the literature emphasising that they are each a member of a different party – Wonder if that would work to increase or decrease vote, or if it even matters!


  4. Andrew, of course I would advocate voting ‘1’ McMullin-Wilson for Melbourne’s Future.

    While I can understand reservations voting for Peter as a member of the Liberal Party. I am also a member of the Liberal Party and am running with him. He is not an endorsed candidate, as I am also not an endorsed candidate.

    In reality the only candidate running in this election that allies closely to your values is me. So while you may be sacrificing a bit to vote McMullin, you would also be gaining a lot. And I will be an active and Deputy Lord Mayor.

    Of course, if you cannot vote for us ‘1’, we would strongly encourage you to vote for us with your second preference.

    Up to you, but I don’t buy the argument that just because he is a member of the ALP that you shouldn’t vote for Peter. A lot of ALP members are going through a similar exercise – having a hard time voting for me. Afterall, I am not just a Liberal Party member, but I also work for the IPA. And that is considered heresy.

    And Sinclair has been berating me a lot. But I actually think if you look at the candidates, we are by far the best team. Voting for Doyle also means voting for Susan Riley etc. So every team has their positives and negatives.


    Tim Wilson

    Authorised by: Tim Wilson, Level 2, 410 Collins Street, Melbourne


  5. “Authorised by: Tim Wilson, Level 2, 410 Collins Street, Melbourne”
    Ha, do you have to sign off a blog comment that way? I suppose you’ve probably been advised to do this on blogs or something like that, but it just looks SO pompous!
    I feel quite sorry for Catherine Ng, after having seen the coverage she got in the Fairfax rag delivered to my house the other day. Maybe it was just me, but I got the impression she wasn’t their favoured candidate. Joe Toscano is loopy but quite fun and a good doctor.
    I’m in Darebin, and we have a choice between Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor, one Green, and a ‘Conservative Independent’. Yay! Choice! it would be a nice thing to have.


  6. Im specially annoyed by having to vote in person – last time we did the postal ballot thing. I wonder if a claim for discrimination can be made, some people vote by mail while others have their whole Saturday stuffed up by numbnuts – using their powers of conscription.


  7. Tim T, I don’t know whether I have to sign off that way or not. But since it was requesting a vote, it is best not to take a chance.

    I have no sympathy for Catherine Ng. She is simply enjoying the scrutiny of being in Council and her conduct in that time. Should any other candidate get elected and seek re-election they would get the same.


  8. You underestimate the importance of the Lord Mayor and city council. The look and feel of a well functioning and attractive CBD is like pornography, hard to define but you know it when you see it. It’s important for attracting business, tourists and residents and it’s not just about efficient garbage collection, important as that is.

    Melbourne will never be Paris, but you don’t want it to become Birmingham.


  9. “In reality the only candidate running in this election that allies closely to your values is me.”

    OK Tim, you have convinced me. I just voted “1” for the McMullin-Wilson ticket.


  10. Andrew,

    You are a good man. And should I get elected you have my phone number and can berate me continously. As Sinclair points out – every vote is a conscience vote!

    Thanks and take care,



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