FOR the first time in history, Bass Coast Shire has an ALP representative in Parliament. To make the story more unbelievable, the ALP has a strong state majority and is likely to be in power for at least eight years.
There is now an opportunity for Bass Coast to ride on the back of the election promises and deliver a long-term sustainable plan. The objectives are clear: increase social inclusion, protect beaches and wildlife, reduce the domination of private cars, develop high quality environmental destinations – Inverloch and Phillip Island – and develop Wonthaggi as a booming regional town.
The National Party got a massive 4.7 per cent of the state vote and the Greens doubled this number (10 per cent). We must work to make sure that Spring Street respects the 250,000 Green voters and works to deliver values with empathy for all people.
What do the numbers say about different centres?
The Bass electorate is basically three separate demographics joined together.
There were two streams for voters.
What role did Independent Clare le Serve play?
The biggest contribution made in this election was Clare’s vote-catching performance in the 2014 election when she gathered 11 per cent and made the electorate a marginal seat. In 2014, Ms Le Serve issued a split ticket but 64 per cent of her preferences went to the ALP.
This time she gained 4.5 per cent of the primary vote. Although she preferenced Arnault (Greens) second and Crugnale (ALP) third, the distribution of preferences was relatively even among Arnault, Crugnale and Paynter (Liberal).
What role did the Greens play?
Although the Green vote dropped, they sent 79 per cent of preferences to ALP. The extra votes to ALP exactly matched the final winning margin of 2300 votes.
His introductory speech at the Meet the Candidates in Cowes was nothing short of amazing. He is truly the Minister of Shaking Hands. The number of community groups and people he got to know in the last five years and his ability to remember their names is unprecedented.
It is easy to argue that his failed re-election bid was due to the state swing. Being a backbencher in opposition makes it very difficult. His main achievement was his moral stance on the Assisted Dying Act. But what else?
What an unbelievable lack of judgement in burdening himself with Stand Alone. Not only are 70 per cent of Phillip Island people against it but 100 per cent of the rest of the shire.
His billboards claimed that he was “Authentic”. What does that mean? Surely it is an adjective and needs a noun to have any meaning. He placed so many signs so early that his chances had faded with the signs by the time of the election.
Thanks for the memories, Brian. A nice bloke but not a politician.
Performance of Jordan Crugnale
The two most significant moments of the election were in Cowes Golf Club at the Meet the Candidates event sponsored by Stand Alone.
The first chairperson said: “We all agree that we’re sick of paying rates on the island with the majority of expenditure going to Wonthaggi.”
An older man in the second row said, “I disagree. I like paying rates that increase the well-being of all residents. We want TAFES not jails.”
Shortly afterwards, the second chairperson tried to intimidate Ms Crugnale. In an aggressive tone that is unacceptable at any meeting, he asked: “Every other candidate wants Stand Alone. Why don’t you?” Silence filled the air.
Ms Crugnale stood up straight, looked him in the eye and said: “Because it is a stupid idea. Amalgamations are more likely in the current and future economic climate”. Stunned crowd.
Our former mayor is capable of a good battle. There were two memorable Inverloch battles where she was slammed by the local papers:
- Refusing to fund the path on the coastal road until the stability of the foundation was established to resist sea level rises. The road is now collapsing in places.
- Dogs on beaches. What a bad idea. She fought hard to minimise the impact.
The Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economic Strategy (VES) which began its life as the Tourism Strategy was managed during her time as mayor. That was when she coined the phrase “The environment is the economy”.
May she have a glorious eight years to implement the necessary actions to ensure that the natural environment thrives and remains – young and warm and wild and free.
Farewell Stand Alone – and take the car ferry with you
Stand Alone is dead. Always a poor concept but with the Libs suffering from relevance deprivation, it is now gone. How can a region be economical without population growth? Its basic idea was to develop and develop Phillip Island. The logic was "We have the local papers on side; who needs a business case?"
Bass Coast is beautifully poised with Wonthaggi capable of decades of growth and then some.
In January we will consider the promises, what can be achieved and what implications exist for the new federal seat of Monash.
Well voted, fellow Bass Coasters!
Phil Wright was a Bass Coast councillor from 2008-16 and is a former council colleague of new MP Jordan Crugnale. He says he has never been a member of a political party but is about to join the ALP.