Ballot draw reveals interesting results

INDEPENDENT candidate for Morwell Tracie Lund and Labor candidate for Narracan Kate Marten will appear at the top of their respective ballot papers at this month’s state election.

Sitting Coalition members Russell Northe and Gary Blackwood drew sixth and second place respectively in Friday’s random ballot draw.

Ms Lund said she believed the community was more engaged this election and expected to see a lower rate of ‘donkey votes’ on 29 November.

The term ‘donkey vote’ refers to instances where candidates are ranked or numbered apathetically by voters in the order in which they appear on the ballot paper.

“I’m really encouraged by what I see in the community. I think people are more engaged this time,” Ms Lund said.

Ms Marten said she would like to think being listed at the top of the ballot paper would not make a difference, but it could.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said the ballot paper candidate order made a great deal of difference to the result.

“In 2010 I think I was last on the ballot paper and was able to be successful at the election and am hoping for the same this time,” Mr Northe said, who drew 56.11 per cent of the primary vote in 2010.

Morwell candidates will appear on the ballot paper in the following order: Tracie Lund (independent), Jadon Mintern (Labor), Stewart Birkett (Australian Country Alliance), Peter Dorian (Rise Up Australia), Dan Caffrey (The Greens), Russell Northe (Nationals sitting member) and Jacqueline Rose (independent).

Narracan candidates will appear in the following order: Kate Marten (Labor), Gary Blackwood (Liberal sitting member), Malcolm McKelvie (The Greens), Dave Snelling (Australian Country Alliance) and Norman Baker (Rise Up Australia).

Lund leaves choice to community

Independent candidate for Morwell Tracie Lund has indicated she will run on an open ticket, deciding not to direct preferences to her opponents.

“I strongly feel all I can actually do is ask the community to vote for me and where they direct their preferences should be up to them,” Ms Lund said on Friday.

“My platform has always been about empowering this community. I feel telling people how to vote is not empowering.

“How to vote cards are merely suggestions and my suggestion is they look carefully at all the parties and vote according to what they believe is best for the Latrobe Valley. I believe this community is capable of making those decisions.”

Ms Lund said she would have to accept the preferencing decisions of her opponents, just as they had to accept hers.

Wellbeing of seniors on agenda

THE Coalition Government has announced an $85 million package to support the health and wellbeing of senior Victorians, if re-elected.

It includes $12.1 million to support community participation and wellbeing, including funding for men’s sheds and University of the Third Age (U3A) organisations; $32.4 million to boost community-based mental healthcare for seniors and a new hotline and information service for children and carers of older people with a mental illness.

There will be $13.5 million for better research, early intervention and support for Victorians with dementia, their families and carers; and $27 million to increase access to specific elective surgeries for seniors.