Former police prosecutor Peter Murrihy is the new councillor for the Kildare ward after winning the recent by-election in the Greater Geelong Council. Murrihy defeated 10 other candidates to win the safe Liberal ward with 27.41% of the primary vote.
Although Murrihy said he was politically unaffiliated, he received preferences from Liberal Party member Trent Sullivan. Much was made in the local media of the fact that Murrihy put forward no political promises or commitments during his campaign.
By comparison, Socialist Alliance candidate Sue Bull received 5.25% of the primary vote: a good result considering the traditionally conservative nature of the electorate. Bull achieved this despite being the only candidate to declare her political affiliation and campaign on a pro-community and anti-big business platform.
Bull's campaign centred on a call for fairer council rates for pensioners and others low-income earners, regular local ward meetings and promoting Geelong as a potential centre for sustainable jobs through the manufacturing of public transport vehicles and wind and solar technology.
Bull said, “I was really pleased with the response. I've never run in council ward elections before and it was great to see that Socialist Alliance can attract over 5% of the vote.
“It was a good opportunity to put forward progressive politics and to think through, with the community, how this city could be redeveloped in an environmentally sustainable, pro-people sort of way, without compromising the services that councils should be providing.
“I look forward to expanding upon some of these ideas in the coming federal elections, where I'll be the Socialist Alliance candidate for Corio.”