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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Puglisi

Your guide to the 2024 Yarra City Council election

Updated: May 20

We saw a Greens majority and a Labor wipeout in 2020 − could things get even more interesting in 2024?

Have we missed a candidate? Need to correct something? Email contact@6newsau.com

Yarra City Council is one of the most interesting races to watch at the 2024 Victorian local elections. The Greens are seeking to gain a number of seats they've lost over the past term, mainly due to defections, while Labor is set to run candidates having lost all their seats in 2020.


It's been called Australia's "most left-wing local government" and in the past had councillors from the now-defunct Socialist Party (known as Socialist Action in its later years). Labor had representation on council from the first election in 1996 until 2020, including a majority until 2002.


Yarra is made up of the federal electorates of Melbourne (held by Greens leader Adam Bandt) and Cooper (held by Labor's Ged Kearney in a two-candidate-preferred contest against the Greens).


The Libertarian Party and the Victorian Socialists could also very possibly contest, the former having done so in 2020.


2020 election

At the last election in 2020, the Greens won a majority with five out of nine councillors − two in Langridge Ward and Nicholls Ward each and one in Melba Ward.


Labor lost its only two seats, while two independents and two Independent Socialists were elected.


Elected councillors

Langridge
Melba
Nicholls

Stephen Jolly (IND-SOC)

Edward Crossland (GRN)

Amanda Stone (GRN)

Anab Mohamud (GRN)

Claudia Nguyen (IND)

Sophie Wade (GRN)

Gabrielle de Vietri (GRN)

Herschel Landes (IND)

Bridgid O'Brien (IND-SOC)

Greens lose majority

In November 2022, the Greens lost their majority (but retained a plurality) when councillor Gabrielle de Vietri was elected to the Victorian parliament.


The Langridge Ward countback in January 2023 was won by Michael Glynatsis, an independent who Jolly preferenced second on his 2020 how-to-vote card.


Defections

On 6 February 2023, Nicholls Ward councillor Amanda Stone quit the Greens to sit as an independent. This saw the number of Greens councillors drop to three, with four independents (and still two Independent Socialists).


A year later on 27 February 2024, Langridge Ward councillor Anab Mohamud also quit the Greens and announced her intention to contest the elections as an independent. This left the Greens with just two seats.


Around the same time, Yarra For All (YFA/Y4A) was formed by Langridge councillors Stephen Jolly (IND-SOC), Michael Glynatsis (IND) and Nicholls councillor Bridgid O'Brien (IND-SOC). YFA is endorsing candidates across Yarra.


Ward changes

Like many other councils, Yarra 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).


Yarra had 4 two-member wards and 1 single-member ward until 2002.

Unlike some other LGAs, the existing three wards (Langridge, Melba and Nicholls) will remain but with only one member instead of three. The former ward of MacKillop, which had two members when it existed, is re-established.


The following brand new wards have also been created:

  • Boulevard

  • Curtain

  • Hoddle

  • Lennox

  • Yarra Bend


Candidates

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


Boulevard Ward

  • Oscar North (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Sharon Harrison (Yarra For All)


Curtain Ward

  • Edward Crossland (Greens)*

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Alan Tse (Yarra For All)


Hoddle Ward

  • Sophie Wade (Greens)*

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Michael Glynatsis (Yarra For All)*


Langridge Ward

  • Harrison Watt (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • TBA (Yarra For All)

  • Evangeline Aston (Independent)


Lennox Ward

  • Sam Poustie (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Theresa Saldanha (Yarra For All)

  • Peter Razos (Independent)


MacKillop Ward

  • Charlotte George (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Stephen Jolly (Yarra For All)*

Melba Ward

  • Karen Hovenga (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Victoria Chipperfield (Yarra For All)


Nicholls Ward

  • Thibaut Clamart (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • TBA (Yarra For All)


Yarra Bend Ward

  • Jill Post (Greens)

  • TBA (Labor)

  • Brigid O'Brien (Yarra For All)*


Analysis

There's little doubt the Greens will win something at the elections, but the big question appears to be whether Labor can return to representation in Yarra.


Ben Raue from The Tally Room posted on Twitter a map showing the results of the 2022 federal election two-candidate-preferred results (Greens vs Labor) over the 9 Yarra wards, which shows the Greens winning every one.


The strongest is Curtain with a 63% Greens 2CP, and the lowest is Yarra Bend at 55% 2CP.


Of course, federal election results from two years ago will not match exactly with what we see in Yarra − but it is interesting to look at.


The possible newcomer here is Yarra For All, which appears to be led by incumbent Stephen Jolly. He was first elected in 2004 and led the Langridge Ward vote totals with 26.07% of the vote in 2020.


Jolly was elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012 for the Socialist Party, in 2016 for The Socialists and in 2020 as an Independent Socialist.


Yarra For All's other incumbents had less of the vote in 2020 and therefore may have less of a chance in single-member wards − Bridgid O'Brien had 15.97% of the vote in Nicholls Ward in 2020, the third-placed out of three elected councillors, and Michael Glynatsis (who was not elected in 2020) had 8.10% in Langridge.

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

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