Ararat Rural City councillor Gwenda Allgood considering independent run for Ripon in 2018 Victorian election

ARARAT Rural City councillor Gwenda Allgood is considering a run for Ripon in the 2018 Victorian election as an independent candidate.

Cr Allgood told the council meeting on Tuesday night that she had been approached about standing as a candidate.

“I’m very proud to announce that I’ve actually had the offer of standing as an independent in the next state election,” Cr Allgood told the meeting.

“I have not made a decision on this yet.”

Due to Victoria’s fixed terms of government, the next state election will be held on November 24, 2018.

Prior run for state office

Cr Allgood later told the Ararat Advertiser that she might not announce her decision to run until required to nominate as a candidate, which can usually be done between four and two weeks before the election. 

“I’ve been approached by someone who can give me the support to do it,” she said.

“I’ve actually done this before, probably about 20 years ago and I was very fortunate to get seven per cent of the vote; that’s a lot in the current political spectrum.

“It is something I would like to do again.”

Cr Allgoods said she was not yet able to name the person who had offered to help with her campaign if she nominated.

“I haven’t got back to them yet so it wouldn’t be fair,” she said.

Cr Allgood has previously run for state parliament, standing as a candidate for Ripon at the 1992 election.

Liberal Party candidate Steve Elder won Ripon with 53.7 per cent of the primary vote in an election that saw Jeff Kennett defeat Joan Kirner’s Labor government.

Ripon on small margin

It’s possible that Cr Allgood could have a considerable impact on Ripon’s election result if she stood as an independent, as would any candidate outside the major parties.

Ripon’s 2014 election two-party-preferred margin was just 1.6 per cent with the winner, Liberal candidate Louise Staley, receiving 941 fewer primary votes than Labor’s Daniel McGlone.

In the end, just 601 preference votes decided the winner in Ripon.

Cr Allgood said the 2018 Ripon election “could be a very interesting competition”. 

As an incumbent Coalition MP, Louise Staley is unlikely to face an opponent from the Nationals due to an agreement between the two parties.

The last time the Nationals ran a candidate in Ripon against a sitting Coalition MP was in 1979; Liberal Tim Austin was able to see off the challenge and keep his seat.

Cr Allgood said if she did run, she would focus her campaign on education and youth services.

“If you look at the amount of money being spent in Melbourne, as far as jobs and that go, I’d like to see the tech school here up and running again,” she said.

“I’ve always got a passion for youth and to see all these young ones go away to school and not return, we have to have the tech school up and running.

“Aradale is a big building with nobody in it and not a lot of prospects at the moment.”

Cr Allgood said her hypothetical campaign would look at ways to keep families in the area. 

“My grandchildren have been lucky enough to get employment locally but not everyone I went to school with’s children and grandchildren have been able to do that,” she said.

“I think we need a lot more youth in the bush.”