A TRARALGON community group has rejected allegations it is leading a “hateful” campaign in the 2012 Latrobe City election.
In the past two months the Traralgon Community Development Association has published three advertisements in The Express, with secretary Bruce Bremner authorising a further two, which criticises current councillors.
“We don’t say anything particularly vitriolic in the ads,” Mr Bremner said.
“It is not a campaign, we are just responding to different issues that have happened.”
The advertisements target decisions surrounding the relocation of the Performing Arts Centre to Morwell and appear to blame the “5/4 bloc” of councillors for “disregarding” Traralgon residents’ interests.
The ads also criticised East Ward candidates Dan Jordan for not living in Traralgon and Anne Murphy for allegedly opposing the Victorian Electoral Commission ward restructure.
However, not all ads were negative, with one TCDA encouraging voters to re-elect current councillors Dale Harriman and Sandy Kam.
Despite clear publicity advocating the TCDA support for the two current Traralgon and district councillors, Mr Bremner denied the group was “endorsing” the candidates.
“It is meant to make people aware because people aren’t aware of local government unless you make them,” he said.
“The TCDA aren’t endorsing or supporting anybody.
“We have concerns with a couple of people but we have never (advertised) how to vote, we are just saying make up your own mind but drawing their attention to things they should consider.”
However, Ms Murphy said the advertisements were “shocking”.
“I understand this is politics but there is some serious blurring of the lines; you don’t have to be hurtful” Ms Murphy said.
“If it is an awareness campaign as Bruce Bremner claims, why it is only now and why is it only against me?”
Ms Murphy said by supporting councillors Harriman and Kam, the TCDA had endorsed those candidates.
“If he claims they are not endorsing the others, by his attack on me and Dan he is endorsing the others by numbers,” she said.
In response to criticism about not living in East Ward, where he is a candidate, Mr Jordan said based on his history of involvement in Latrobe City, where he currently lived was irrelevant.
“I currently live in Churchill, but I have lived and worked throughout Latrobe City over the last 40 years, including Traralgon and Morwell,” Mr Jordan said.
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