Last Updated 10/12/05


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Click here for final results


As Predicted, ‘Old Timer’ and ‘New Chum’ Get Mayor and Deputy Mayor

(10/12/05 – C) But not without a split vote

Wednesday’s Special Council meeting didn’t really present any surprises for those with their ears open.  Rumour consistently had ‘old timer’ Geoff Neil getting the Mayor’s job and ‘new chum’ Helen Relph the Deputy’s role.  And that’s how it turned out, but not without a challenge.   While John Letchford nominated Geoff Neil, Tom Gyorffy put Rob Guthrie’s name in the race for mayor.  Similarly, while once again John Letchford nominated Helen Relph for Deputy, Rob Guthrie put forward Henry Bleeck’s name.  In the end, the winners (Neil and Relph) only received support from 5 Councillors (Connor, Letchford, Harvey, Relph and Neil) while the ‘losers’ were backed by Gyorffy, Guthrie and Bleeck, producing a 5 to 3 split on both occasions. 


New Councillor Sandra McGregor was absent from the meeting due to a sudden family health problem, but it is believed she would have supported the Guthrie and Bleeck camp, signalling a 5 to 4 split on Council.  PS  THEY DID IT BY SHOW OF HANDS, which is how we know who voted for what.  Brownie points for that… Note: ‘Old timer’ Cr. Neil has previously served many years as Councillor while ‘new chum’ Cr. Relph was first elected in a by-election in January 2005.



The Heat’s On As New Councillors Sort Out Numbers For Mayor’s Job

(2/12/05 – C) Hold the testosterone!  What we want to know is will it be decided by a public ‘show of hands’?

Electing a mayor is always a testy and testing time, but with 7 men and 2 women on Council this time around, we hear there’s plenty of testosterone as well as hats in the ring.  Perhaps the mayor should be elected by ratepayers – it’s a scenario that would relieve Councillors of the pressure of deciding who gets the extra vote and $50,000 for a year.   What MRRA is looking for is the novelty of a ‘public’ election.  Our Councils to date have been reluctant to let us residents see who’s voting which way when it comes to settling on a mayor and deputy mayor.  There are plenty of stories about deals being done, but it surely that doesn’t happen every time, does it?   In past years the ‘ballot’ has simply been a formal recording in Council chamber of a decision made well before the meeting.  Maybe this time will be different and we’ll at last have a public show of hands in the Chamber.  The Mayor and Deputy Mayor positions will be ‘announced’ at a Special Council Meeting at the Kyneton Town Hall, next Wednesday (7thDecember),  starting at 6.0pm.   You are welcome to attend.  May the best… er… ‘man’ win!


Sporting Shooters’ Association (SSAA) Backs Sandra McGregor and Henry Bleeck

(16/11/05 – C) Says these candidates will support Shooters Association interests in Council

A letter circulated by the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (Victoria) (SSAA) recommends East Ward candidates Sandra McGregor and Henry Bleeck to its members.  Ms. McGregor is named as a member of the SSAA, while Mr. Bleeck is named as believing “hunting has a legitimate place in the sustainable conservation of wildlife and the environment”.  Both are named as “standing for election because they want to represent your [SSAA members’] interests”, and “will obviously represent you in all matters that concern your interests and will work to protect Shooters Rights at the same time.”   Both candidates are named as having contacted the SSAA, and as having an “attitude which was a refreshing change”.  Click here to see the letter.


MRRA Says:

Ms McGregor, Mr. Bleeck and another candidate who has acknowledged his membership of the SSAA, Harold Dreger, are swapping preferences in this election.  Ms McGregor, who has said she opposes wind turbines, sent her preferences to Mr. Bleeck, who has publicly stated his support for wind turbines   in the north of the Shire.   Please direct all enquiries to the candidates:  Sandra McGregor 5423 5226; Henry Bleeck 5422 7032



Leader Doesn’t Deliver Its Promised Retraction

(16/11/05) So much for trust, honour and integrity – and self-regulation

Does truth matter?  It looks as if it doesn’t to the Leader Newspaper.  Not only did the paper get its facts wrong in last week’s edition (see below), this week it has reneged on the Editor’s commitment to print a retraction, correcting the mistake.   The Australian Press Council has Principles to provide guidance on how the press can operate responsibly.  The first principle is that newspapers should not publish what they know or could reasonably be expected to know is false… and the second is that a publication should make amends… by printing such retraction, correction, explanation or apology as will neutralize the damage so far as possible.  It seems the Leader Newspaper doesn’t have these Principles.  Perhaps MRRA could forward a copy…


MRRA Lodges Formal Complaint With VEC Against  Leader Newspaper

(11/11/05 – C) Facts not checked, statement not true

Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association this week lodged a formal written complaint with the Victorian Electoral Commission against the Leader newspaper, and journalist Greg Roberts.  The complaint relates to an article in this week’s Leader about MRRA Star Ratings, where the paper states that Councillors Deb Dunn and Rob Guthrie are members of the Association, when they are not.  The Association considers that the context in which the statement is made could be seen to compromise the Association’s reputation by seeming to imply collusion between the Association and the Councillors in producing the 5 star ratings assigned to them by MRRA’s candidate assessment.  MRRA can categorically state that no such collusion occurred, and that no candidates were present at, participated in or were otherwise involved in the assessment process, nor were any advised of results until results were published.  The journalist in question spoke to MRRA on Friday 4th November three times.  At no time was the membership or otherwise of the Councillors in question discussed.   Latest:  The Leader newspaper has agreed to print a retraction in next week’s edition.


Candidate Star Ratings:  MRRA Fact Sheet

(11/11/05 – C) The critics are howling but most don’t seem to have read what we said

Since MRRA published the results of its Star Rating assessment of Council candidates in Macedon Ranges, we’ve had some stinging remarks directed at us, and no doubt next week’s local papers will be full of them.  People are entitled to disagree with the view we have expressed, that’s what democracy is about.  But there also seems to be some unrealistic perceptions and expectations floating around of what the assessment was about (or should have been about), how it should have been conducted, and how results were achieved.   Mmmm… It is interesting that the strongest criticism we’ve had to date has related to those candidates who didn’t score as highly as perhaps they thought they should.   Click here to see MRRA’s “Fact Sheet” for the Association’s responses.


Is This Council Election Turning Into A ‘Dirty’ Fight?

(11/11/05 – C) Vandalism, unlawful signs and notices and ‘tit-for-tat’ dobbing seem to be becoming a feature of this election

Competitive, or cut-throat?   MRRA hears on-going reports of missing and damaged candidates’ signs; signs, notices and ads going up and out without required authorizations; and a whole lot of ‘dobbing’ on issues like signs too close to roads.   It’s happening to different degrees all over the Shire, and there seems to be a level of nastiness about this election that wasn’t there at the last election.  Could it be a sign that there is more at stake this time round, particularly with an important  State election coming up next year?


Two ‘Meet The Candidates’ meetings have already been held

(2/11/05 – C) Don’t miss these last opportunities to meet the people who want to represent your interests…


Here are the remaining meeting dates:


West Ward (e.g. Kyneton, Woodend): Woodend Community Centre, Thursday 3 November, 7.30 pm


South Ward (e.g. Gisborne, Macedon, Mt. Macedon)  Gisborne Mechanics’ Institute, Thursday 3 November, 8 pm


East Ward (e.g. Romsey, Lancefield, Riddells Creek)  Lancefield Youth Drop-In Centre, 4 The Crescent, Monday 7 November, 7.30 pm


Disappointment at Riddells Creek ‘Meet The Candidates’ Night

(2/11/05 – C) Is there an election on?  Only 4 of 7 candidates attend

MRRA reps report a disappointing turn-out by East Ward candidates at the ‘Meet The Candidates’ meeting in Riddell last Monday night.   Candidates Joe Morabito, Henry Bleeck and Sandra McGregor weren’t there.  Not many residents attended either, but those who did expected ALL of the people offering themselves as future Councillors to be there.  We can only hope there is a better candidate turn-out at the meeting scheduled for Lancefield on Monday 7th November.  Meanwhile, the meeting held in Kyneton on the same night for West Ward candidates saw 7 of 8 candidates in attendance (John Connor was absent).  The next West Ward meeting will be tomorrow night (Thursday 3rd November) at the Woodend Community Centre.


‘Meet The Candidates’ Evenings In Macedon Ranges

(26/10/05 – C) Your chance to meet, hear Council candidates

A rolling series of ‘Meet The Candidates’ evenings will be held in the next two weeks.  These will provide residents with an opportunity to meet, hear and possibly question candidates (the format is not finalised yet).  An independent moderator will conduct the evenings.  Residents are strongly encouraged to attend.  Click here for time, venue and date details.