viv-pepperPHONES have been running hot in South Gippsland Shire election circles after the anonymous publication of a form guide for the ‘South Gippsland Quadrennial Cup’ on Tuesday this week.

The burning question is ‘who dunnit’?

And with those slighted in the publication already threatening legal action, there’s bound to be increasing pressure on the person or persons responsible, and also on anyone who circulated the pamphlet.

The satirical form guide, which evokes comparisons with the Ern Malley Affair of the 1940s, has already been reported to the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) which has so far declined to do anything about it in the absence of any evidence about who is involved.

But there are reports that evidence, including CCTV footage from towns where the pamphlet was delivered or displayed, is being gathered… so watch this space.

Viv Pepper, a candidate in the Strzelecki ward election or ‘Race 1 the Strzelecki Blue Diamond Stakes’ as noted in the document, where he is listed as the jockey on a horse called ‘Conscripted’, says he thinks he knows who is responsible.

“It’s clever, it’s funny but it’s also wrong. I certainly wasn’t conscripted. You can ask a lot of people, ever since the issue with the Burra Foods buffer zone, I’ve said I’d be interested in running for council,” Mr Pepper said today.

“I’m now on a community advisory committee with Burra Foods and we’ve been able to achieve a lot but I feel the matter was badly handled by the council at the time, that they even botched the motion supporting the buffer zone.

“So I’m no one’s stooge or dummy candidate as this pamphlet is trying to make out.

“And I don’t think some of the other people will be too pleased with the way they’ve been characterised.

“You can see from the ‘Best 4 tips’ who they are supporting and it’s generally the majority block councillors,” he said, while also acknowledging there’s a mix of candidates in the ‘tips’.

“It’s pretty clearly in support of the status quo but I think there’s a need for change on council. What have they actually achieved in the past four years?

“Certainly there’s the Karmai Children’s Centre and everyone welcomes that but the pace of change is too slow. We’re failing to take our opportunities to grow.

“There’s an element of fun in this but there’s a sinister aspect to it as well and I think it should be inquired into by the VEC.

“There’s no name, no authorisation, it’s probably illegal and potentially libellous.”

Cr Lorraine Brunt, included in the pamphlet as riding ‘Classic Cougar’ in the same race as Viv Pepper’s ‘Conscripted’, said that while she rejected the idea that she was a cougar, she thought the publication was all in fun.

Other candidates weren’t so well treated in the pamphlet with their mounts named ‘Wood Duck’, ‘Redundancy’, ‘Impostor’ and ‘Laboring’; a clear reference to their status in the ‘race’ (campaign).

There’s even been an anonymous Facebook page set up and it’s already attracting comments.


Photo: Strzelecki ward candidate, Viv Pepper, has pointed the finger at the status quo candidates for the publication of a satire on the runners in the South Gippsland election. He says it should be probed by the VEC.