The results of the 2017 City of Greater Geelong Council elections have been declared, with Greens candidate Sarah Mansfield being elected in Brownbill Ward.
Mansfield won more than 17% of the primary vote. Her election was aided by a strong preference flow from residents who voted for Socialist Alliance (SA) candidates Sue Bull and Sarah Hathway.
“We’re very happy with the campaign we ran and it’s good to see a Greens candidate elected to Geelong’s council for the first time,” Bull said.
“Throughout this campaign we have had the opportunity to speak with community members and local activists around issues of local libraries, development, housing and homelessness services, and shifting the date of Australia Day from January 26.
“It’s been made clear that campaigns around local issues are just as important as campaigns around state and federal issues.”
SA ran a grassroots community-oriented campaign, focused on putting community need before developer greed. SA candidates were among the few who outright opposed the outsourcing and privatisation of council services and assets.
This resonated very well within the Brownbill Ward. Bull and Hathway achieved just under 6% of the first preference vote, beating the combined total of the two Labor-aligned candidates, in what was a crowded field of eighteen contenders.
Conservatives will dominate the new Geelong council: seven of the eleven councillors elected are aligned to big business and the Liberals.
Four of the councillors who were on the council that was sacked by the Victorian state government last year following widespread claims of council staff being bulling were re-elected.
The incoming council faces numerous challenges, including resolving the culture of bullying and addressing the big need in Geelong for jobs and services.
Hathway said: “The fact that Sue and I received a higher first preference vote than the Labor-aligned candidates and the election of Geelong’s first Greens Councillor shows that many voters in the central Geelong area are tired of status quo politics of pro-development, outsourcing and privatisation.
“Socialist Alliance will continue to encourage this sentiment and work with the community to demand more from our local representatives.”