No-code councillor replaced
The first Victorian councillor has been replaced after refusing to sign a compulsory code of conduct.
Former East Gippsland Shire councillor Linette Treasure gave up her seat after refusing to sign the controversial code, which many are concerned is too restrictive and raises privacy concerns.
Her grandson, 26-year-old Jackson Roberts, has been elected in his grandmother’s place after a countback of votes, making him the youngest person ever elected to the East Gippsland Shire Council.
“Since the October 2016 council elections this is the second countback of votes that we've had to conduct, but it's the first one that has arisen from an extraordinary vacancy because of the code of conduct,” a Victorian Electoral Commission spokesperson told the ABC.
The new councillor admits his path to Local Government is unusual, but says he will use the opportunity to bring a fresh approach to the role.
“One of the main reasons I ran was because I feel my demographic, the under 30s demographic, just wasn't represented by East Gippsland Shire,” he said.
“I see a lot of people my age who are trying to buy houses, who are valuable members of the community who just don't have a voice.
“Linette [his grandmother] went in with some very strong views on the code of conduct. She's got a lot more experienced views as well but I don't necessarily support those views.”
East Gippsland Shire Mayor Joe Rettino says he is looking for stability.
Another East Gippsland councillor, Ben Buckley, refused to sign the councillor code of conduct too, but instead signed a declaration to abide by it.