Bendigo council candidates' party allegiances revealed

SIX people running in Bendigo council elections are members of political parties, five are former members, and two refuse to comment on past membership. 

The Bendigo Advertiser asked each of the 21 candidates if they belonged to any party, with eight saying they had never been affiliated with a party. 

Two candidates – Wendy Radford and her son Tim Bardsley – are members of The Greens and have been financially supported by the party with their election campaigns. 

Helen Leach, Alec Sandner, Barry Lyons and Lisa Ruffell are members of the Liberal Party, but all said they haven’t received party support.

Stuart Fraser, Julian Poloniato and Elaine Harrington are former ALP members, Karel Zegers is a former One Nation member and James Williams a former National Party member. Mr Poloniato  was also a Greens member. 

George Flack said he wasn’t a party member but refused to say if he had been in the past. 

“That’s not relevant, something that was 25 years ago,” he said. 

Peter Cox also said he wasn’t a party member but refused to say which party he had been affiliated with.

“Back in the 1970s I was, but it’s not relevant today,” he said. 

“I’m not prepared to disclose that because it has no reflection of where I’ve stood over the last 30 or so years.”

The eight remaining candidates – Karen Corr, Mark Weragoda, Rod Campbell, Wayne McKay, Rod Fyffe, Bruce Phillips, Jenifer Mitchell-Sharp and Elise Chapman – say they have never been party members. 

“I certainly am not. We’re here to help ratepayers, not express or give political opinions,” Councillor Campbell said. 

Former mayor and Greens member David Jones said there was a “phony war” going on with current councillors. 

“The Liberals have had a massive impact on the local council and I don’t think that represents the major electorate,” he said. 

“The vast majority are conservatives and want to hide behind this cloak of independence.

“Maybe it should be something that is more open in future elections.”

Council election comment

The Victorian Electoral Commission states a person must not print, publish or distribute or cause, permit or authorize to be printed, published or distributed, an electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice unless  the name and address of the person who authorized the electoral advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice appears at its end. The address must be a physical address not a PO box. The exception to this is a letter to the editor where an author’s name and suburb/locality is acceptable. This rule also covers website comments. Any comment must have author's name and suburb/locality at the end. Any comment not following these rules can not be published.

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