Late Green surge means its all over - plus an attempt to reconcile nursing home disputes

December 8, 2010

Hi everyone,

Defeat was strongly hinted at when this appeared in a Crikey story earlier today:

My task of staying in front of the second Green in Northern Metropolitan and harvesting preferences from across the political divide is looking challenging with the Greens 2600 votes ahead at lunchtime today with 88.6% of the vote counted.

Alas, it's now game, set and match with the Greens lead extending to 3600 votes with 90.47% of the vote counted.

Rather than finishing at 18.1% as we needed, the Green primary vote in Northern Metropolitan has rocketed from as low as 17.6% on Monday to this afternoon's peak of 19.16%, courtesy of very strong results from the absentee voters, especially in the inner city seats of Richmond and Brunswick where the Greens managed 35% of more than 14,000 votes.

Indeed, such is the late Greens surge that Labor and the Sex Party are now probably equal 15% prospects of knocking off the second Liberal and denying Ted Baillieu control of both houses, as you can see from Antony Green's calculator.

Still, all this speculation was a lot of fun whilst it lasted and, truth be known, it is far better to lose convincingly rather than spend the years ahead lamenting falling short by a few hundred votes.

We did manage about 4000 primary votes or 1% but actually needed about 7200 votes or 1.8% to win.

Such a result would only have been achieved with a combination of more media coverage, another 50 volunteers on polling day and coverage at the pre-poll, plus a $20,000 budget rather than our $10,000 campaign.

One or two other tactics would have needed to come off as well.

For instance, I tried to negotiate a presence on Phil Cleary's how-to-vote card in Brunswick, which ended up being a very spartan affair compared with our double-sided full colour A4 effort.

If Cleary had said yes, perhaps 1000 of his 4000 votes would have come our way and it would have freed up volunteers for other booths.

The other tactic which didn't come off was an attempt to get a prominent former northern suburbs mayor to run as an independent and then swap preferences.

A strange clippings file

The influence of Antony Green's calculator can't be under-estimated in terms of the media coverage it generated. In future, Antony would be well advised to strip out the below the line votes before allocating the preference flows.

As a result, we'll have a rather strange clippings file to show the kids as they get older.

For instance, this is what the Murdoch-owned Preston Leader reported in today's print edition on a story about councillor expenses disclosure at Darebin Council:

Newly elected Northern Metropolitan Independent MP Stephen Mayne was also critical, calling for online disclosure of councillor expenses.

"Darebin Council has taken a small step forward but I'm disappointed it hasn't embraced the model Melbourne and Hume councils have of quarterly online disclosure," he said.

Keeping up the transparency push in local government

One of the best things about the Northern Metro tilt has been the opportunity to observe and ask questions at council meetings in Darebin, Yarra, Whittlesea, Hume, Banyule and Moreland.

It has been lots of fun and we're going to persist with it, along with the usual fare of public company AGMs.

Indeed, confirmation of defeat in Northern Metro will clear the decks for a busy period ahead, starting with the Channel Ten AGM in Sydney tomorrow.

It will be truly bizarre to have Gina Rinehart, James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch all join the Ten board at the end of the AGM which will be chaired by dead man walking Nick Falloon who then departs after closing the meeting.

How on earth Falloon can speak with any authority about the future will only become apparent tomorrow.

The other issues to resolve will be closer to home in Manningham. I've just sent the following email to the lawyers acting for deputy mayor Fred Chuah, who is President of a community group which has threatened to sue us for defamation:

Letter responding to CCSSCI legal threat

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hi Jasper,

Sorry I've not formally got back to you within the 14 days stipulated in your letter of November 19, 2010.

I was waiting to see the final report of the Councillor Conduct Panel and now, additionally, will be interested to see if and how Manningham's deputy mayor and CCSSCI chairman Fred Chuah responds at the December 14 Manningham council meeting.

In the interests of everyone being able to move on, I hope the panel findings will be accepted.

In light of these findings, obviously I won't be apologising and contributing to CCSSCI's legal costs as requested in your letter.

However, my position is very much that all parties need to reconcile and put this matter behind us. I have made no public comments critical of CCSSCI or Fred Chuah since the panel findings were released. Indeed, I was an apology at the council meeting where it was tabled and encouraged my fellow councillors to make no public comments about it.

I do acknowledge that the reputations of CCSSCI and Fred Chuah have been damaged throughout this process. However, I strongly believe my public positions have been consistent with the role of an elected councillor to protect good governance and planning policies at Manningham.

In the future, I would be happy to work constructively with CCSSCI to try and rebuild community support for its activities. However, this would not be achieved through unnecessary litigation.

I accept the need for On Luck to expand. The Chinese Community needs more beds for its frail aged and planning approval from the Minister will be forthcoming.

In different circumstances, I would very much have been a supporter of the On Luck expansion from the outset. However, unfortunately we all ended up mired in disagreement over process.

Please confirm in writing that CCSSCI will not be initiating legal proceedings against me, after which I look forward to working co-operatively with CCSSCI as an important service provider in the Manningham community.

Yours Sincerely
Cr Stephen Mayne

Reconciling past differences in Manningham

The Manningham Leader has done a huge splash on the panel findings today and Fred has chosen not to respond given his poor health. It is certainly an unfortunate situation which can hopefully be resolved in the coming weeks.

We've also got a delayed mayoral election happening on December 21 and there's a nursing home board meeting to attend at 6pm tonight, so better be off.

Thanks again to everyone who helped on the campaign and apologies that we didn't manage to pull it off for you.

And don't feel too sorry for us. Having lost 50 elections in total, I'm used to getting over it. You don't become "Australia's most unsuccessful candidate" if losing gets you down.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is a multi-media governance website published by shareholder activist, local government councillor, Crikey founder and political candidate Stephen Mayne with regular email editions. To unsubscribe from the free emails click here.