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22 October 2020
By Matt Hrkac

Geelong Council 2020: The Current State of Play

I've been running polls on each ward page in my coverage of the Geelong Council Elections, with the question asking: "who do you think will (as opposed to who you want to) win?"

Although none of this is scientific, a similar question I asked during the 2018 Victorian State Election yielded results that were pretty accurate and which captured community sentiment. Below is a breakdown of the polls asked in relation to the 2020 Council Elections, broken down ward by ward.

Green bars represent candidates who are almost certain to be elected. Yellow bars represent candidates where a contest for the seat is likely. Orange bars represent an outside chance on current numbers and red bars represent candidates who are unlikely to be elected on current numbers.

The two incumbents, Jim Mason and Stephanie Asher, are the clear front runners in Bellarine Ward. Although Cory Wolverton (Greens) commands a significant lead for the third seat, I refuse to believe that his position is as secure as these results make him out to be. However, what it does show is that Trent Sullivan is at risk of losing his position and that the third seat is up for grabs. Tom O'Connor, Tom Harrison, Stephen Simmonds and Elise Wilkinson I've rated as an outside chance, especially if voters preference flow between ideologically like-minded candidates higher than those who are ideologically different.

Update 22 October 2020 - Cory Wolverton moves ahead of Stephanie Asher while the middle of the field firms up. If these numbers repeat in the actual vote count, Wolverton would almost certainly be elected while Asher would win re-election off the back of  Trent Sullivan's voters preferencing her ahead of the other candidates. However, I still refuse to believe that Wolverton is as certain as this to be elected, hence his status remains the same.

Brownbill Ward also has two clear front runners with Sarah Mansfield and Peter Murrihy, who are two of the three incumbent Councillors. I have no reason to bring this into question. Eddy Kontelj has a slender lead for the third seat, though this is by no means secure and on current numbers, it will come down between him, Melissa Cadwell and Stretch Kontelj. I predict that preference flows between the two Kontelj's will be tight, which means that Eddy will likely take the third spot. Jose Rodrigeuz is an outside chance but on current numbers will require strong preference flows from voters of other candidates to jump ahead.

In Kardinia Ward, Bruce Harwood and Pat Murnane - who are incumbents - are the two clear front runners. I've rated the third seat as a clear contest between Ron Nelson, Jack Williams and Atamjit Singh on current numbers. Once again, like in 2017, it looks as though that candidates will receive a remarkably even share of the vote - hence all of Belinda Moloney, Michael Strangel, Mark Brunger, Andrew Alexander, Andy Richards and Anthony Hamilton-Smith are all rated as an outside chance for election on current numbers.

There are only five candidates running in Windermere Ward, however there is no love lost between the two incumbents and the three candidates running against them. This means that Monique Connell, on current numbers, is extremely well placed to defeat one of the incumbents if preference flows to her from people voting for Emanul Haque and Sarah Hathway are strong. One of the incumbents is certain to be elected, however, without a clear front-runner, it's difficult to ascertain who is most likely to be successful.

Update 22 October 2020 - Anthony Aitken moves ahead. On these numbers, he is unlikely to lose his seat.

Who do you think will win seats in your ward? Comment below.

About the author:

Matt Hrkac is a writer and photographer based in Geelong. He has particular interests in politics, elections, social movements and the trade union movement. If you like what you see here, please consider giving a small donation to help cover the expenses.

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Total comments: 6

Jack Williams will likely benefit the most from preference flows in Kardinia Ward.



There’s no way Cory will be this well placed once the votes are actually counted. At the 2018 election, the Greens got 9% of the vote in the Bellarine electorate. I doubt, over the last two years, that things have changed that much politically in the area for a Greens candidate to dramatically increase their vote.

The thing Cory does have going for him is that there is a whole lot of candidates trailing him that share similar values (Tom Harrison, Elise Wilkinson and Naomi Adams, Tom O’Connor also seems to be community oriented). Voters giving their first preference to these candidates will be more likely to put Wolverton - and other similar candidates for that matter - higher than Trent Sullivan on their preferences. The pathway to re-election for Trent is not very smooth at all unless if there is significant preference leakage.


I’m not from the Bellarine so I’m not sure what sort of campaigning is going on there, but I’m sure the locals add more aware of local community sentiment. There must be something big blowing in the wind there for Cory Wolverton to be as well placed as he is.

Windermere Ward is looking interesting. Hathway, Haque and Connell are all recommending preferences to each other ahead of Aitken and Grzybek, which means one of the two current crs will be defeated if these numbers turn out to be accurate.

For Brownbill Ward, I think Stretch Kontelj should be orange rather than yellow. Not seeing very much similarities between him and those who trail him - Bernie Franke being the exception though he'll unlikely draw a significant share of the vote and his elimination, and preference distribution, won't be enough to push him ahead of those who are ahead of him.

Response: Thanks for that bit of feedback. You're probably right, however in 2017 preference flows between ideologically like-minded candidates on the progressive side weren't as tight as those going between the more conservative candidates. If this repeats, it will mean that Stretch could still pull ahead from preference leakage. I might do a separate post over the weekend showing where the successful candidates got their preferences from in 2017.

Last seat will come down between Melissa Cadwell and Eddy Kontelj I think. Preferences from Stretch will give Eddy a leg-up however anyone not voting for either of the Konteljs are unlikely to preference them higher than the other candidates in my view.

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