AN explosion in the number of candidates contesting last weekend’s council elections — including Monash — has led to calls from Victoria’s peak municipal body for closer scrutiny of the process.
The Municipal Association of Victoria’s chief executive Rob Spence has called for a review of council elections after getting numerous letters from voters concerned about the lack of transparency from candidates.
Mr Spence said that there was currently not enough information available for voters to make informed decisions.
‘‘We’re hoping we’ll end up with a review after this election just to make sure that if there are things that we can do better, then we’ll do it,’’ Mr Spence said.
In Monash, 58 candidates — 16 more than last time — fought a bitter campaign. Candidates have refused to confirm their political allegiances, accused each other of branch stacking and questioned the authenticity of their competitors.
Complaints have been made to the Victorian Electoral Commission over the conduct of two candidates. Mulgrave Ward candidate Robert Davies accused Tiffnee Mellech of subterfuge when it was revealed her immediate preferences flowed to Labor Party and Greens members despite saying she had ‘‘strong Liberal values’’.
Glen Waverley incumbent Geoff Lake lodged a complaint against Oakleigh candidate Benjamin Djung, who lives in Canberra.
Mr Spence said it was hard to determine why the number of candidates had risen in recent years. ‘‘Potentially it’s just a strong interest in getting on the council to influence things and get good things happening in the municipality,’’ he said.
‘‘Some people say to me there are a lot of stooges or running mates in there who are just there to sop up part of the vote and hand over the preferences.
‘‘The challenge, I think, for the voter is to know who these people are and what they represent and to make a reasonable assessment.
‘‘I want to work through the election and see what’s worked and what hasn’t worked to ensure that we have a situation where the voter can understand what a candidate stands for and whether they’re a member of the political party.’’
The returning officer for the Monash election, Jeff Gazzard, said residents would be able to find out official results today on the VEC’s website. With four councillors not recontesting, locals can expect a fresh face in every ward.
For the latest election results, visit vec.vic.gov.au.