Left right, left right, candidates on the march

THIS week is a very important week for Bass Coast residents.

Not just because we’ve taken Step 3 out of the COVID mess.

Until 12 noon Tuesday, September 22, any eligible person can nominate for the local shire elections.

Fifteen have already indicated they will stand for the nine positions on offer. There are likely to be more by Tuesday.

“Who cares?” some might say.

And you wouldn’t be on your own there, going by online engagement statistics. Just two people commented on a Facebook post on the subject over the weekend.

But it is important.

How much you pay in rates, whether your kids have a place to play sport or learn to swim, what happens to your rubbish bin and road, whether there’s enough parking in the street or flowers in the town gardens.

There are a lot of ways for your local council to impact your life, the level of service you receive, protection of the environment, health, safety, early education… and how much it costs.

So, what sort of council will we get after postal voting closes on Friday, October 23?

The candidates all want to be known as “independents” because there’s a convention locally about leaving your party-political affiliations at the door.

But you don’t leave your beliefs at the door.

So, search out the candidates’ Facebook pages and websites if you want to know more, visit www.sgst.com.au for a collection of articles on the election and check out next week’s edition of the Sentinel-Times for all the details on the candidates and the election which starts on October 6.

We asked the candidates to characterise their politics:

Bunurong Ward:

* Brett Tessari: I have never been a member of a political party. I’m an independent and assess all issues on their merits.

* Leticia Laing: (Leticia acknowledges she is a member of the local Wonthaggi Bass Labor party branch however says she is an unendorsed, independent candidate). As an unendorsed candidate I am an independent person who is not bound by my political party allegiance. My goal first and foremost is to best represent the needs of my local community and leave the party stuff at the council door. I have not received any funding from the ALP and it is no secret I’m a member as that is where mostly, my values align.

* Michael Nugent: The proper description for me would be Greens/independent.

* Les Larke: Kindly note, I have never been connected to or associated with any political party, ideology or voting bloc. I am running for Council independently and will deal with candidate ranking and council issues on their merits.

Julian Brown: Although I am a member of the Liberal Party, I am not an endorsed candidate nor have I sought endorsement. I am not running as a political party candidate and would therefore be independent just as I have been during the current term of council”.

Island Ward

* Michael Whelan: I have no allegiance to a political party and am absolutely independent. I support or oppose each of their policies or positions on how I assess the merit or otherwise . I stand as an independent with no other tag attached and do not take support from any organisation.

* Ron Bauer: Independent

* Mikhaela Barlow: I am a progressive, green (Climate Crisis, not Greens) independent candidate. I reject the Left/Right, Labor/Liberal, Socialist/Conservative paradigm and the parties which espouse them. I’m interested in new answers to old problems. I believe in the escalating capacity of technology to solve problems and provide opportunities we are as yet unaware of, and I believe that emerging technologies have made and will make an immediate, profound improvement across the Shire. I am not and have never been a member of a Political Party nor am I running in conjunction with any other candidate. I am indebted to no one and answerable only to the community I am elected by. I am unaware of Party Politics ever infecting the Council Chamber at Bass Coast, unlike in many other Municipalities, and I firmly believe this must continue to be the case.

* Jeni Jobe: I am a self-funded, progressive independent candidate. I am not running as a political party candidate. I have no political affiliation. If elected to council, my only allegiance will be to those that I represent.

* David Rooks: Response not received.

* Trish Cerini: Response not received.

Westernport Ward

* Clare Le Serve: I don’t have any political affiliations. I have not received any political donations and I have no membership with any political party. As always, I will be acting as an independent for the community.

* Geoff Ellis: I have an ALP background, but I am no longer a member. I’m not running as a party candidate and have no party affiliation. I am running as an independent and would be sitting, if successful, as an independent.

* Bruce Kent: Would never bring a political party into council and not being supported or sponsored by any party. Due to my other career, I am not even allowed to accept donations of any type.

Rochelle Halstead: I had an association with the Liberal Party 10+ years ago, but I am not a supporter of party politics at local government level. I classify myself as a conservative with an environmental and social conscience. I will be running and, if successful, sitting as independent.

Sentinel-Times’ assessment

Bunurong Ward:

* Brett Tessari: Independent

* Leticia Laing: Left independent

* Michael Nugent: Left independent

* Les Larke: Right independent

* Julian Brown: Independent

Island Ward:

* Michael Whelan: Left independent

* Ron Bauer: Independent

* Mikhaela Barlow: Left independent

* Jeni Jobe: Left independent

* David Rooks: Left independent

* Trish Cerini: (no assessment)

Westernport Ward

* Clare Le Serve: Independent

* Geoff Ellis: Left independent

* Bruce Kent: Independent

* Rochelle Halstead: Independent.