State Election: Hawthorn Candidates
On 26 November 2022, Victoria will head to the polls to elect the state’s 60th Parliament. The state government makes decisions that affect the state’s hospitals, crime prevention action, education and training, transport and road safety. This year, Labor Premier The Hon Daniel Andrews MP will be looking to secure a third term against opposition leader The Hon Matthew Guy MP. In 2018, Labor amassed 55 seats, which was their third largest win in the state’s history. Currently, the Liberal/National Coalition hold 27 seats and the Greens sit on three.
Labor’s win spilled over into Hawthorn’s electoral district when Labor’s John Kennedy MP claimed a narrow victory of 0.84% over Liberal John Pesutto in the last election. Kennedy’s win gave Hawthorn its first Labor representative since 1955. It could once again prove to be a close contest, as Hawthorn remains one of 14 marginal seats in Victoria, despite the swing away from the Liberals in 2018. At the time of publication, running for the seat of Hawthorn in opposition to the two major parties this year are Green’s representative Nick Savage and independent, Melissa Lowe.
Ahead of this year’s election, minor changes to the electorate boundaries will come into effect on 1 November 2022. Known as a ‘re-division’ there will be nine new districts, nine districts are being removed and most other district boundaries will be adjusted. According to the Victorian Electoral Commission, the Hawthorn District lost 4,646 voters to Ashwood District (part of Glen Iris), and gained 2,253 voters from Box Hill District (formerly parts of Canterbury and Surrey Hills) as well as 6,934 voters from Burwood District (formerly parts of Camberwell and Surrey Hills).
The changes were adopted following the 2020-21 State review of district and region boundaries conducted by the Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC). Re-divisioning proposes to give Victorians more equal representation in Parliament. These changes mean that the electorate voters are currently enrolled in may change, requiring the need to vote in a new district or region, even if their home address has not changed.
Voting in the state election is compulsory if you are over the age of 18, an Australian citizen and have lived in Victoria for more than one month. To check if your electorate has been affected by the re-division, go the Victorian Electoral Commission website: www.vec.vic.gov.au
Election Dates to Remember
Tue 1 Nov: Electoral boundary changes come into effect.
Wed 2 Nov: Nominations for candidates open, postal vote applications open, voting centre locator becomes available.
Tue 8 Nov: Enrolment to vote closes at 8pm.
Thur 10 Nov: Nominations for registered political party endorsed, candidates
close at 12 noon.
Fri 11 Nov: Nominations for independent candidates close at 12 noon,
ballot paper positions are drawn from 1 pm.
Mon 14 Nov: Early voting opens.
Wed 23 Nov: Postal vote applications close at 6pm.
Fri 25 Nov: Early voting closes at 6pm.
Sat 26 Nov: Election Day - voting is open from 8am - 6pm.
Melissa Lowe is a ‘teal’ independent running for the seat of Hawthorn. Melissa has two decades experience in the education sector and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Governance. She has lived in the local area for 17 years. Melissa was motivated to run as a candidate following independent Monique Ryan’s historical win for Kooyong in this year’s federal election. Melissa is passionate about “accountability and political integrity” She states that, “politics should reflect the community’s voice, rather than the party’s voice. An independent voice is important for accountability and integrity”. Melissa is a strong supporter of innovation in science and industry. “We need to give people, through education, the skill set to innovate in future environmentally conscious industries.”
John Kennedy MP is the current Labor member for Hawthorn. The retired school principal has called Hawthorn home for 15 years and is a strong supporter of various community groups. He has secured funding for several projects including local park upgrades, grants for sporting clubs and schools. He is an avid supporter of public transport and, if re-elected, proposes upgrades to train station accessibility and funding for sporting centres, parks and schools projects. John is most passionate about “housing, education, employment, health, retirement provisions, gender equality and protection of the ABC.” In response to the changing political landscape, John said, “Voters should continue to be discerning about who represents them in parliament. I will continue to act in good conscience and maintain the high standard I set for myself as their representative.”
John Pesutto was elected to the seat of Hawthorn in 2014, until Labor’s win in 2018. Since that time, John pursued consulting and media interests, until re-entering politics ahead of this year’s state election to once again represent the Liberal party. A local resident for 25 years, John is campaigning on funding for government schools, a proposal for upgrades to Glenferrie Station and tram stop shelters, local heritage protection and limiting the scope of new developments. John maintains he is passionate about, “revitalising our local open park areas to encourage more people to engage with sporting activities.” He states that he values, “integrity in leadership, modern, progressive thinking and maintaining a focus on the issue rather than whoever happens to be in opposition.”
A local resident since 2020, UK-born Nick Savage is the newly announced Greens candidate for Hawthorn. Nick is a 24 year-old hospitality worker with a Master of Public Policy and experience working in the not-for-profit sector. Nick feels strongly that his personal experiences have helped guide his policies. “As with so many Melbournians, I am a renter and I believe there needs to be an affordable housing policy. Also, our health sector needs to be supported and funded properly. A lot of people’s mental health suffered during the pandemic and proper, accessible health-care should be everyone’s right.” Nick’s principles of leadership are, “a unified voice around climate action, political integrity and increased community consultation in order to create better policy.”