Derham Groves

Derham’s Run for Moreland Council

The final election results for the three councillors from the City of Moreland’s South Ward are:

FORSTER, Martin 1512 9.83%
RATNAM, Samantha 3579 23.27%
HOPPER, Meghan 2580 16.78%
FARRELLY, Liam Shaun 985 6.41%
GROVES, Derham 1314 8.54%
CARMODY, Michael 1315 8.55%
GRAEFE, Narelle 261 1.70%
TAPINOS, Lambros 3832 24.92%

While I didn’t win the election, I was pretty happy with the result. 1300-odd votes in only a 2-month campaign from a zero base and no political party brand or backing was very respectable in my view.

When you come to think about it, there is the equivalent of a small country town out there supporting me. Now all I have to do is find out which country town! (A colleague of mine suggested that it might be Mirboo North, population 1300!)

My wife Ping did a fantastic job of campaigning on my behalf and I saw her in a new light after 34 years of marriage, which is truly something.

Despite having to endure some dirty tricks by one odd ball in particular, running for Moreland Council was a worthwhile experience. Indeed, I’d like to write a George Plimton-style journal article from the point of view of a truly independent candidate (which is a badge of honour in my opinion), albeit an unsuccessful truly independent candidate.

I say “truly independent” because the Labor Party disingenuously refused to endorse its candidates, which then enabled them to claim to be “independent,” something that wasn’t really true — a clear case of having your cake and eating it too.

Sincere thanks to those Moreland residents and ratepayers who voted for me. Your votes profoundly influenced the outcome of the election. Let me explain.

The preference voting system basically works like this: the candidate with the lowest number of votes is “eliminated” and his/her votes are then distributed to the candidate he/she has nominated second on his/her how to vote card. Then this process is repeated again and again until, in the case of the South Ward, three candidates have gained the required number of votes to be elected.

It was always extremely likely that Labor’s Lambros Tapinos and the Greens’ Samantha Ratnam would be elected, which is exactly what happened. However, the third spot on council was up for grabs. I was eliminated from the contest following the Greens’ candidates Narelle Graefe and Liam Farrelly. Where my 1300 votes went ultimately determined who would be the South Ward’s third councillor.

I first proposed swapping preferences with independent Martin Forster. An obvious strategy for the two genuine independents in the race; a real “no brainer.” But he declined and put me number eight. Wrong decision Martin. If you had accepted my offer you would have been the third councillor from the South Ward.

It is a pity that at least one independent candidate was not elected in the South Ward. Now you know why this did not happen. Unfortunately there is no accounting for people who foolishly won’t listen.

I next proposed putting Labor’s Michael Carmody number two in return for putting me number four. (Labor Party rules meant that number four was the best I could get from any of the three Labor candidates running.) He also refused and put me number eight as well. Bad decision Michael. (In fact, one of your closest Labor colleagues described it as “very stupid.”) If you had accepted my offer you would have been the third councillor from the South Ward.

Finally, I proposed putting Labor’s Meghan Hopper number two in return for putting me number four. She accepted my offer and became the third councillor from the South Ward. Congratulations Meghan! Good decision. Something for both Martin and Michael to think about over the next four years until the 2016 council elections.

My thanks to Francesco Timpano and Charles Car, my two independent “running mates” in the North East and North West wards respectively; and many thanks to everyone who helped me hand out how to vote cards on election day, I really appreciated it.

Following are some of the things that I’ll be donating to the Political Ephemera Collection at the State Library of Victoria:

Listen to Derham speaking to Glen Ridge on mymp.

WARNING. We are now known and formally registered as “The Moreland Ratepayers Action Group.” Sadly, our former name, “The Moreland Residents and Ratepayers Action Group,” has been “stolen” by a candidate for the North East Ward (and perhaps others) who is now sending out bizarre and mischievous emails under that banner. We have nothing whatsoever to do with these grubby emails.

Welcome to local government politics in Moreland! Surely, obviously, it is time for a change!