In my candidate statement (above) I have used the word ‘independent‘ to say I am NOT a member of a political party; I have used the word ‘local‘ to say I live in the Ward I am standing in.

Perceiving other meanings in candidate literature I emailed the following Letter to the Editor.  It was not published by the Editor so I am publishing it here.

 Let the Voter Beware

Candidate statements (published on the VEC web site https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/MonashElection/Candidates) cannot always be taken at face value. The use of ‘independent’ is a good example.  I use the word to indicate no political party membership or affiliation and an intention to vote as a community representative.  My campaign is community run. Others use ‘independent’ with different meaning.  Perhaps it is used to indicate the candidate has not been endorsed by a political party.  To my knowledge only the Australian Greens endorse local government candidates so with this definition ‘independent’ could be used by members of political parties.  It could be an indication of intent: the candidate has political affiliations but is intending to vote in Council in an independent manner.

‘Local’ is another term that can be misleading.  Does it mean in the Ward where the candidate is standing or in the municipality of Monash or even in a neighbouring municipality? Is it referring to a current or past residence or even a business?

Voters are well advised to talk to candidates before voting.  Contact details should be on leaflets, web sites and will be in the Ballot Packs posted 4 to 6 October.

Well done to those candidates who have made clear statements in plain English. The right to vote has been hard fought for, please use it wisely.

Gayle Nicholas, candidate Glen Waverley Ward

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