City gets first Indigenous councillor Brooke Wandin as election results roll in

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Melbourne’s first Indigenous councillor Brooke Wandin. Photo: SuppliedMelbourne’s first Indigenous councillor won after enrolment forms for Town Hall were filled out incorrectly – she was meant to run for deputy lord mayor.
Nanjing Night Net

But having emerged as the accidental councillor, Brooke Wandin – whose great-great-uncle was famous Wurundjeri elder William Barak – wants to make the most of the next four years on Melbourne City Council.

“I landed on my feet. Sometimes a mistake can lead to a good thing,” said Cr Wandin, who intended to run for deputy to lord mayoral candidate Nic Frances Gilley.

But their forms were incorrectly filled out and handed to the Victorian Electoral Commission close to deadline. As a result, the team were only able to run as councillors.

Cr Wandin got just 1245 votes out of a total of 72,398 cast. But so strong were preferences for her An Indigenous Voice On Council ticket that she was the sixth of nine councillors elected.

Mr Barak was an elder whose life spanned the pre- and post-European settlement eras.

Born around 1824, he is considered one of the most important figures in Victoria’s Indigenous life because of his activism for the Wurundjeri people. By some accounts, he was present at the meeting in 1835 at which John Batman “purchased” the land he declared would make “the place for a village”.

Cr Wandin said she was very proud to be representing Indigenous people. “I want to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors, but also need to forge my own path,” she said.

Robert Doyle’s third term as lord mayor was also officially recognised on Sunday. He said he would focus on addressing homelessness, city safety and the redevelopment of Queen Victoria Market. Although he won another term, he did not win a majority on the council.

“I’ve never had [a majority], so we will work with the people who are here – that’s what I’ve done for the last eight years and it’s what I will do for the next four.”

Melbourne’s finance chair, Stephen Mayne, lost his spot on the city council but was philosophical about it, especially after his wife, Paula Piccinini, was elected to Manningham Council. Ms Piccinini – a lawyer, former RACV director and the sister of well-known artist Patricia Piccinini – was elected in a ward previously held by Mr Mayne.

Results for many of Victoria’s councils were finalised on Sunday. More notable results include: The return of former Port Phillip mayor Dick Gross and former deputy mayor David Brand. Unsuccessful was prominent St Kilda-based councillor Serge Thomann. Three Greens were elected to the council.No Labor-linked councillors being elected to Hobsons Bay Council – formerly a stronghold for the ALP. One Greens councillor, Jonathon Marsden, was elected.Former federal Labor politician Mike Symon was elected to Maroondah council, winning his place easily, in what is understood to be a first step in taking on the Liberal Party’s Michael Sukkar in the seat of Deakin.The long-time president of the Municipal Association of Victoria, Bill McArthur, lost his place on the Golden Plains Shire, meaning he will not be eligible to lead the association again.Former state Labor MP Craig Langdon was returned to Banyule Council with a thumping majority, and a Greens councillor, Peter Castaldo, was elected to represent the Ivanhoe, Eaglemont and Heidelberg areas.

​The results indicated a poor showing for Labor-backed councillors across the inner city, although their results were strong in councils such as Dandenong, Hume and Whittlesea.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.