Call for independent candidate

A grassroots political advocacy group is calling for an independent candidate in the lead up to the state election.

The Latrobe Valley 1st campaign came in response to community angst following the Hazelwood mine fire and is seeking applications for potential candidates in the Morwell seat.

The call follows the group launching a series of “kitchen table” conversations to put a spotlight on local issues.

The campaign is modelled on the Voices to Indi group, which helped independent Cathy McGowan beat long-term candidate Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella in the last federal election.

Latrobe Valley 1st president Gilio Barbara said after decades of failure by the major parties, the group believed there was a need to support a strong independent candidate.

“We are now seeking applications to become the people’s candidate to stand as an independent in the November state election and represent us on this and other important local issues,” Mr Barbara said.

He said he was appointed as the group’s president in the last fortnight, with former spokeswoman Tracie Lund attending to work and family commitments.

Mr Barbara said the group was pushing to reduce the Morwell seat from a safe seat to a marginal one, once a safe Labor, Liberal and now Nationals seat.

“The two major parties seem to be city centric and have allegiances to their political parties, rather than the electorate,” he said.

“We’re urging that we should support an independent candidate with no allegiance to a political party, but someone involved in the local community that has shown an interest in the welfare of this electorate.”

Mr Barbara said many people had voiced their opinions in public forums in the past six months since the mine fire and believed there were capable individuals to represent the Morwell seat.

“We want people putting their hands up to have a go, to be community minded, genuine and committed people in the area,” Mr Barbara said.

To apply for the position, phone Ann Pulbrook on 0488 729 175 or visit for more information. Applications close 5pm, Monday, 1 September.