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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Puglisi

Your guide to the 2024 Merri-bek City Council election

Updated: May 10

Since 2020 there's been a new name, electoral fraud allegations and a second socialist elected − what next for Merri-bek?

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Merri-bek is key LGA to watch at the 2024 Victorian local elections. Known as Moreland until September 2022, it is currently comprised of a mix of Greens, Labor, Socialist Alliance and independent councillors.


2020 election

At the 2020 Moreland City Council election, four independents were elected along with four Greens, two Labor and one member of the Sue Bolton Moreland Team (SBMT), the name that Socialist Alliance (SA) members ran under.


Elected councillors

North-East
North-West
South

Annalivia Hannan (ALP)

Oscar Yildiz (IND)

Lambros Tapinos (ALP)

Adam Pulford (GRN)

Helen Davidson (IND)

Mark Riley (GRN)

Sue Bolton (SBMT/SA)

Angelica Panopoulos (GRN)

James Conlan (GRN)

Helen Pavlidis-Mihalakos (IND)

Milad El-Halabi (ALP)


Electoral fraud allegations

In February 2022, Labor councillor Milad El-Halabi (North-West Ward) was charged by police with conspiracy to cheat and defraud for allegedly tampering with the election in his ward. He was suspended as a Labor member, making him Independent Labor, before resigning soon after.


The following month, Monica Harte (SBMT/SA) was elected via countback, giving Socialist Alliance a second Moreland representative.


In 2023, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) found that he was unduly elected. However, it is crucial to note that it was also found that the election of the three other councillors in North-West Ward was not affected by the inclusion of fraudulent ballots in the count.


Defections

A party change occurred in 2021 when independent councillor Oscar Yildiz formed the Victorians Party to contest the 2022 Victorian state election. He was joined in 2022 by Helen Pavlidis-Mihalakos, who was also set to run as a state candidate. However, the Victorians Party disbanded in August 2022 before the state election.


The most significant party change since 2020 was in February 2023, with James Conlan resigned from the Greens to sit as an independent. Conlan resigned in support of senator Lidia Thorpe, who had quit the party the day prior.


Ward changes

Like many other councils, Merri-bek is affected by the Local Government Act 2020, which has removed multi-member wards and replaced them with single-member wards across metropolitan Melbourne (excluding the City of Melbourne LGA).


Currently, there are two four-member wards and one three-member ward. All three of those have been abolished. Moreland had 10 single-member wards from 1996 until 2004.


Two former wards Box Forest and Westbreen − have been re-established, while the remaining nine are brand new:

  • Bababi Djinanang

  • Brunswick West

  • Bulleke-bek

  • Djirri-Djirri

  • Harmony

  • Pascoe Vale

  • Pentridge

  • Randazzo


Candidates

Asterisks (*) indicate an incumbent councillor, even if they are not contesting their current ward.

Bababi Djinanang Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)


Box Forest Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)


Brunswick West Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • Lambros Tapinos (Labor)*


Bulleke-bek Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

Djirri-Djirri Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

Harmony Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

Pascoe Vale Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

Pentridge Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Natalie Abboud (Independent)

Randazzo Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

Westbreen Ward

  • TBA (Greens)

  • Katerine Theodosis (Labor)


Analysis


 
For more coverage of the 2024 Victorian local elections, click here

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