Students have a say

Young students were given a rare taste of politics when Latrobe Valley 1st visited Federation University last week.

The political advocacy group is pushing to have an independent elected to the seat of Morwell at November’s state election.

While students numbers were down due to the nearing mid-semester break, a handful of Gippsland Education Precinct pupils were on hand to learn about the ballot process and the campaign.

“We had a survey version of ‘rate your government’ and we did about 170 of those with students out here,” Latrobe Valley 1st spokeswoman Ann Pulbrook said.

“It continues on with that philosophy we’ve had throughout Latrobe Valley 1st, hearing form the community and groups that often aren’t represented, really hearing.

“We’re all interested in what’s going to happen with the future of the Valley, we’re all involved and the uni is open to our approach as well so it’s a good foster ground for hearing what’s going on.”

The group has invited the public to take part in the preselection of an independent candidate for the seat of Morwell, the same way members of a political party would preselect their candidate.

Latrobe Valley residents last week received a ballot paper in the post with potential independent candidates.

However the group received criticism on social media about its choice to use a Melbourne-based printer for the mail-out.

Ms Pulbrook told The Express time restraints and envelope requirements hindered the possibility of using local printers.

“We’ve always been wanting to use local people. With this situation with the ballots it came up really quickly as well because timeframes change and we’ve been doing this in a matter of months,” Ms Pulbrook said.

“We’ve got other things done with local printers, it’s just that this was such a rush job and such a mass scale as well we just had to get done what we could.”

While voting in the Latrobe Valley 1st preselection is not compulsory, Ms Pulbrook said it was an opportunity for all community members to get involved.

“It is an opportunity for people who aren’t Australian citizens and kids from the age of 16 upwards to vote for a candidate,” she said.

“This is something that they normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to do.”

Voting for candidates Tracie Lund or Hilde Rombout can be completed by filling out the ballot papers delivered to homes and returning them to the reply paid address on the envelope.

David Wakefield is also listed on the paper, but has since bowed out of the race.

The preselection is not an official Australian Electoral Commission process.