.

By Luke Voogt

Geelong councillors should defy Andrews Government “gagging” and call for the removal of their state-appointed monitors, a former mayor has urged.
Stretch Kontelj was “appalled” to learn of the ratepayer-funded monitors when he returned to Geelong over Christmas.
“If I was on council there would be hell to pay,” he wrote to the Indy before flying back to work in the UK.
“This is intolerable and a sign of a Kremlin-style State Government intent on instilling fear and gagging the City of Greater Geelong.”
In September 2017 then Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins announced that monitors Jude Munro and Peter Dorling would “guide” Geelong’s new democratically elected council.
Dr Kontelj, a lawyer and former Liberal candidate, said the Labor government was trying to prevent councillors causing trouble ahead of November’s state election.
“In my opinion, the real political reason for appointing the monitors is to control the Geelong council.”
The monitors would “covertly report back” to the government on council activities, Dr Kontelj said.
He believed their purpose was to “keep the councillors in a state of fear for their positions lest they speak out against the State Government, particularly in an election year”.
Dr Kontelj questioned what the “so-called” monitors were monitoring given that none of the returned members of the council sacked in 2016 were “found to have committed any wrongdoing”.
“The mayor and the democratically elected councillors must, on behalf of the citizens of greater Geelong, stand up to the State Government,” he said.
“They need to fight back. I know they are concerned that the State Government will come in again and sack them.
“Council should send a message to dictatorial State Government … that the City of Greater Geelong won’t be intimidated or lectured to and most certainly won’t be gagged.”
Dr Kontelj said councillors were also frustrated with a new media policy initiated before their return.
“What is the point of elected councillors if they can’t speak to the media on issues of concern and importance of constitutes.”
Ms Hutchins’ successor, Marlene Kairouz, said the monitors would remain until 2020.
“Monitors will continue to help restore the services and good governance the people of Geelong deserve,” she said.
Coalition MPs and former mayor Daryn Lyons have also taken aim at the appointments.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.

More News

Lara MP John Eren has denied assaulting Labor factional boss Adem Somyurek amid allegations of a serious altercation on Wednesday ...

Geelong will lose its synthetic horse track after Racing Victoria yesterday announced plans to scrap the course in favour of ...

Optus has cost a young Highton family thousands of dollars by disconnecting a landline to their business for six weeks, ...

Campaigners have taken their fight against a planned Lara goat farm to City Hall, bombarding councillors with emails and submitting 2400 ...

Almost 100 Deakin University volunteers have built an outdoor amphitheatre for Lara retirees in a day-long backyard blitz. The Deakin volunteers ...

Political opposites are trying to work out a City Deal funding package for new infrastructure across the Geelong region. Federal ...

Latest Sport

Local Cricket, by Jim Timberlake Geelong Cricket Club has set itself up nicely to secure a long awaited finals berth ...

North Geelong Warriors will be buoyant about their chances coming into round two of NPL2 against Whittlesea Ranges after an ...

On the Bite, by Chris Pitman Anglers found good numbers of flathead while drifting over the spoil grounds out from ...

Entertainment

Hotter the Hell is reigniting the “primal energy” of the ’90s with crowds moshing, crowd-surfing and throwing knickers onstage, according ...

German spy cows, angry duck security guards and “legendary” film producers come to Geelong next month to bring The 78-Storey ...

Eccentric fashionista and nightclub promoter Leigh Bowery comes back to life at the Potato Shed on Saturday, when Victorian dancer ...