Matt Hrkac's Blog

Never Tweet, Cr Trent McCarthy
By By Matt Hrkac, 06 April 2018

This was a tweet in response to mine that outed City of Darebin Greens Councillor Trent McCarthy as being one who was responsible for the undermining of Alex Bhathal's by-election for the seat of Batman:

Yet, this, courtesy of The Age, drops today:

"Four Greens councillors in Melbourne’s inner-north, including the Mayor of Darebin, have been confirmed as among the 18 party members who tried to take out their own candidate for the recent Batman byelection before the race had even started. Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf and councillors Trent McCarthy, Steph Amir and Susanne Newton face calls for their expulsion from the Greens over their alleged roles in the sabotage of the failed campaign of candidate Alex Bhathal."

When I tweeted calling out McCarthy as one of the possible perpetrators of the leaks against Alex Bhathal - I knew I was right about my assumptions. This merely confirms it.

Never tweet, McCarthy. Never tweet.




#LibSpill is on: Peter Dutton, Prime Minister?
By By Matt Hrkac, 05 April 2018

If you thought that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was bad, it could be about to get a whole lot worse.

(A reminder too that Malcolm Turnbull hasn't even lost his 30th Newspoll in a row yet; but that will come next week)

Abbott was a bumbling idiot. Peter Dutton is actually a smart and conniving political operator who knows what he is doing. I think we can all determine just who is more dangerous.

God help us if Peter Dutton becomes Prime Minister. God, help us.




More Australians than ever identify as Left
By By Matt Hrkac, 05 April 2018

According to the latest Australian Election Study, which has been conducted following every Federal Election since 1987, more Australians than ever are describing themselves as on the political left. Since 1996:

Granted, more still identify as being centrist, but that figure is in decline - give it a couple more election cycles and those identifying as left will outnumber those who identify as being in the centre. Those who identify as 'right' has not changed at all over the years.

Granted, also, those identifying as "left" could very well range from your more liberal Liberals right though to Marxists - however, it is now becoming very apparent that people want more progressive politics.

This is arguably reflected in Labor's left-ish lurch in recent years from their slump to the right pre 2013; but it boggles the mind that there are still some who insist on pandering to centrist positions.




Di Natale 'not Bob Brown', Batman voters say
By By Matt Hrkac, 01 April 2018

Granted, it was a Labor commissioned survey, but it is none the less quite telling:

... responders in the Melbourne [Batman] ­electorate describing the Greens leader in negative terms such as “aggressive”, “disappointing”, ­“arrogant”, “smarmy”, “confused” and “not Bob Brown”.

... with some responders associating the Greens leader with “disunity”, ­“infighting”, “complaint”, “bullying” and “secrets”.

I said in the aftermath of the Batman by-election that Di Natale's pitch to right-wing voters over dividend imputation is what cost the Greens the election. This merely confirms my analysis.

The response from Di Natale's spokesperson is also very telling:

“This so-called ‘polling’ says far more about the Labor Party’s growing anxieties about the Greens in the inner city than anything else.”

Dismiss it as they will as some sort of 'Labor conspiracy', but they should know this: there are numerous people on the left; not just within the Labor Party but many non party aligned, members of smaller left wing parties and even people within the Greens who feel exactly the same way about Di Natale's leadership as this polling indicates.




Photos: #BigStepsNow childcare educators walkout
By By Matt Hrkac, 27 March 2018

More than 6,500 early childhood educators in more than 5,000 early childcare centres walked off the job today over poor pay. 1,000 of those workers rallied in Melbourne. Childcare workers remain among the lowest paid professionals in Australia, mainly because the sector is women-dominated and its historic association with 'women's work'.

The nationwide day of action was staged by United Voice. View the full photo album.




The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) coordinated a series of actions to coincide with the Victorian Transport Association's 2018 Annual Conference in Lorne over the 19th and 20th of March.

The unions were protesting against the Victorian Transport Association's support for the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) during the MUA dispute. VICT is owned by Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI), which operates in countries known to be “the worst countries in the world to work in” and where workers have “no guarantee of rights”.

Here are a few photos from the actions:

Protesters stage a silent stand-in at the Victorian Transport Association's 2018 Annual Conferece in Lorne, March 19

At least 50 union activists made the trip to Lorne on March 20 to protest against corporate links to dictatorships

The CFMEU and the MUA were prominently represented at the rally

Shannon O'Keeffe, ITF Campaigns Director for the Asia Pacific

Dave Noonan, National Secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) (Construction and General Division)

View full photo album.




Photos from the Palm Sunday 2018 Melbourne Walk for Justice for Refugees. View the full photo album.

Walk for Justice for Refugees - Palm Sunday Melbourne 2018

Walk for Justice for Refugees - Palm Sunday Melbourne 2018

Walk for Justice for Refugees - Palm Sunday Melbourne 2018

Walk for Justice for Refugees - Palm Sunday Melbourne 2018

View the full photo album.




Geelong Council Elections 2017: counting time
By By Matt Hrkac, 02 November 2017

Counting for the 2017 City of Greater Geelong Council Elections is finally underway.

As far as possible outcomes are concerned, as reported in the local media, there is a clear front-runner in each ward who are almost certain to be elected to Council; those being Eddy Kontelj in Brownbill Ward, Stephanie Asher in Bellarine Ward, Bruce Harwood in Kardinia Ward and Anthony Aitken in Windermere Ward. All are above or nearing a quota in their own right in their respective wards.

The unpredictability of this election will come down to the lack of any pattern or consistency with regards to preferences. There is a slight tendency for voters giving their first preference to right-leaning candidates to preference other centre-right candidates over left-leaning candidates; however, voters voting for left-leaning candidates tend to be preferencing more conservatively - that is, voting '1' for one of the left-leaning candidates, then ranking one or more of the right-leaning candidates higher over the other left-leaning candidates.

This even rings true to those who ran on tickets - for example, in Brownbill Ward, people voting '1' for Sue Bull, who ran with Sarah Hathway for Socialist Alliance, are not putting the latter at number 2, and the same is true for those voting for Sarah Hathway not putting Sue Bull at number 2. On the contrary, people voting for Eddy Kontelj tend to be putting Freya Fidge at number 2, and vice versa, which formed a basis for their respective campaigns.

The lack of tight preferencing discipline on the progressive side, and the more disciplined preferencing on the conservative side comes down to the fact that most of the more conservative candidates had more money at their disposal for advertisements and promotions than most of the progressive candidates did. This allowed them to get their preference recommendations out to voters more effectively.

It will also pose the biggest problem for progressive candidates getting elected. In Brownbill Ward, for instance, Greens endorsed candidate Sarah Mansfield will likely take out 15%+ of the first preference vote - placing second on primaries but well below a quota (25%), however, without a strong direct flow of preferences, which on early indications she is unlikely to receive for the reasons mentioned above, she will likely be pipped for the final seat by another candidate - likely Michael King - who is getting strong preference flows. Both Freya Fidge and Peter Murrihy are also benefiting heavily from strong reference flows.

In any case, below are my predictions as to who will get elected in each ward. As you can see, it will be a rather conservative council with one or two progressive voices.

Bellarine Ward:

  • Stephanie Asher
  • Jim Mason
  • Anne Brackley X

 Brownbill Ward:

  • Eddy Kontelj
  • Peter Murrihy
  • Michael King X

Kardinia Ward:

  • Bruce Harwood
  • Ron Nelson
  • Pat Murnane

Windermere Ward:

  • Anthony Aitken
  • Kylie Grzybek

But, we will know for sure by this Saturday.

Update: Successfully calling 9 out of 11 isn't bad.




Greater Geelong Council Elections nominations close
By By Matt Hrkac, 26 September 2017

Nominations for the City of Greater Geelong Council Elections have now formally closed, and a field of 53 candidates will be contesting the four wards.

Brownbill Ward will be the most heavily contested ward in this election, with a field of 18 candidates contending for three seats. However, no particular candidate or set of candidates have emerged as frontrunners at this stage. George Ballas, though, has drawn some favourable local media coverage, while Michael King also drew a lot of local media coverage around the time of his announcement back in July, but that has seemed to have subsided. Interestingly, neither of these two candidates are investing heavily in social media, with George Ballas even shunning it completely. Freya Fidge and former Liberal-aligned Councillor Eddy Kontelj are working together to direct preferences to each other, while Greens candidate Sarah Mansfield, as well as Socialist Alliance candidates Sue Bull and Sarah Hathway, have been mobilising grassroots campaigns and are very well in the race for one of the seats.

South of the river in Kardinia Ward, it is a similar story but with 11 contenders for three seats; with no clear front-runner emerging as yet. Pat Murnane is running a very strong social media campaign. Doug Mann, who stood for Mayor at the 2013 Mayoral by-election, is also a strong contender on the basis of his now higher profile; though he did leave it fairly late to formally announce his candidacy in this particular election. Labor-aligned Brent Lyons-Lee and former Councillor Bruce Harwood should also factor strongly.

On the Bellarine, where 13 candidates will be vying for three seats, Stephanie Asher, who has stood in numerous elections at all levels over the years and also has a column in the Geelong Advertiser, will be a strong contender for one of the three seats on offer there. Liberal-aligned Trent Sullivan, Labor-aligned Jim Mason, and Anne Brackley are also very well still in the race.

Windermere Ward, covering the northern suburbs has been the most intense contest of this election campaign so far despite there being only 11 candidates running for the two seats on offer. Ken Dickens, Moshtagh Heidari, Kylie Grzybek and Anthony Aitken are clear front-runners at this stage, with the latter three, in particular, running very grassroots campaigns, while Ken Dickens is drawing all sorts of media coverage, both good and bad. All four of the aforementioned candidates, along with David Withington, are running very strong social media campaigns and are spending big on advertisements and promotions.

There is now a two-week window between today and October 10, when ballots packs start going out in the mail. Ballots must be returned by October 27, however, based on the trends of previous Council elections, most residents will have voted and posted back their ballots well before this deadline.




I have posted my guide for the upcoming Geelong Council elections, which outlines information on each of the candidates including their biographies, political affiliations, their perceived political alignment (based off both their public statements and their political affiliations) and their key issues.

View Guide

If you are a candidate, and want to send me an updated biograophy, please email me. I'll be updating candidate details periodically as they make more public statements, and will also add social media and website links as well. Candidate profiles on the ward pages are ordered in alphabetical order according to their surname.

Please note: I will not be changing political affiliation details, even if a candidate is a former member of a particular party. This information is important for the sake of transparency and for the sake of people knowing who they are voting for.




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