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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Puglisi

Monash councillors who quit Greens almost lost preselection to empty chair

Updated: May 3

EXCLUSIVE: Anjalee de Silva and Josh Fergeus were set to run again for the Greens just weeks before quitting the party.

6 News can reveal two Victorian Greens councillors almost lost preselection to an empty chair just weeks before resigning from the party.


On 8 April, sources confirmed that Monash councillors Anjalee de Silva (Mount Waverley Ward) and Josh Fergeus (Oakleigh Ward) had resigned from the Greens. 6 News reached out to both via comment but they did not reply.


At a Monash City Council meeting on 30 April, both councillors addressed their resignations for the first time. In her speech, de Silva stated that “some members, particularly older women and their supporters, have endured months on end of invective, abuse, and harassment.”


In his speech, Fergeus said: “For many years I have been exceptionally proud to contribute to a political culture which was, truly, different from everything else on offer in the Australian political landscape. No longer.”


But only several weeks ago, both de Silva and Fergeus were contesting − and narrowly won − Greens preselection for the October local elections.


Neither councillors were contesting their current multi-member wards as they will be abolished in October, replaced by new single-member wards.


Figures obtained by 6 News show Fergeus winning preselection for Banksia Ward 23 to 17 against ‘Seek Further Candidate’ (SFC) − effectively an empty chair. He also contested University Ward, winning that preselection 22 to 17.


De Silva won preselection for Gardiners Creek Ward with a similar close margin, 22 to 18 against SFC.


In contrast, two other candidates won preselection in their respective wards almost unanimously.


Both de Silva and Fergeus now appear set to run as independent candidates instead, while it’s not yet clear whether the Greens will − or have − preselected new candidates for Banksia, University or Gardiners Creek.


Five Greens councillors have quit the party since the 2020 local elections for a variety of reasons.

On Yarra City Council, where the Greens won a majority, both Amanda Stone and Anab Mohamud have left the party. On Merri-bek City Council, James Conlan quit in February 2023 following the resignation of senator Lidia Thorpe. The Greens have also lost other seats through deaths and councillors being elected to state parliament.


Fergeus unsuccessfully contested the recent Victorian Greens Senate preselection following the retirement of Janet Rice, which was eventually won by Steph Hodgins-May. In a survey obtained by 6 News, he was the only candidate that did not confirm they agreed with the statement "trans women are women and trans men are men".


In an answer to "What would you do as a Senator to support LGBTIQA+ people and our rights?", he wrote that out of all candidates, he had "by far the strongest track record of implementing Greens policy in favour of LGBTIQA+ individuals and communities in elected office."


(You can read the full story on the Victorian Greens Senate preselection here.)


A Victorian Greens source has told 6 News that “both have realised they have absolutely no future in the party after repeated failed preselection attempts at higher offices, and are throwing the toys out of the pram”.

 

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