By Michael Giles

HAD enough of politics for one year?
Unfortunately, it may be that the eight-week Federal election campaign, last Saturday’s cliff-hanger election, might simply be the entrée.
The main course looks like being the once-in-four-year local government elections, on Saturday, October 22.
Of course with both Bass Coast and South Gippsland opting for postal voting, much of the voting will be done in the month prior, so effectively there’s little more than two months to go.
And in both local shires, Bass Coast and South Gippsland, there’s already a lot going on behind the scenes, some of it not all that nice.
There are already a number of people working up their prospects in the poll, even to the extent of starting to door-knock the voters, stitching up alliances with other candidates, setting up dummy running mates and working on strategies to ‘dish the dirt’ on their opponents.
For some, it’s all about the $24,127 annual allowance, or the holy grail, the $74,655 mayoral allowance, that they’re interested in.
There’s even talk of the State Government dramatically increasing those allowances.
But there’s a lot more at stake than that including the level of waste, the lack of facilities and the threat to services.
The point is, in politics, “you get the representation you deserve”, and unless some decent, intelligent, community-connected people start putting their hands up; we run the great risk of having a council full of misfits being responsible for an annual budget of $70 million.
It’s time for the region’s major business, sporting and community organisations to stand up and be counted. They need to make it their business to find good, community-minded candidates who are prepared to stand for the right reasons.
Because, be warned, there are plenty who want to stand for all the wrong reasons; including single-interest candidates secretly pushing an agenda, others too closely connected with developers or candidates who feel they have been wronged by the system in some way and want to get even.
A conspiracy theory? Don’t you believe it! This stuff is really going on in the lead up to the crucial October elections.
The first thing you should do if you are interested in standing, or encouraging someone else to stand, is attend one of the candidate information sessions coming up:
• In South Gippsland on Monday, July 18 from 12pm to 2pm (Council Chambers, Michael Place, Leongatha).
• In Bass Coast on Monday, August 22 7pm to 9pm (Grantville), Tuesday, August 23 7pm to 9pm (Cowes), and Thursday, August 25 7pm to 9pm (Civic Centre, Wonthaggi).
This is it ladies and gentlemen. If you don’t want another four years like the last or something even worse than that, we need to find some genuine, community-minded candidates to stand in the upcoming local council elections.