By Luke Voogt
Former mayor Darryn Lyons has announced he will run in the 2018 Victorian Election, amid months of speculation he would contest the seat of Geelong.
“I have unfinished business,” he told the Indy yesterday.
“I will be giving voters, appalled by the childish behaviour, theatrics and vitriol of the major parties, a viable alternative.”
The Geelong businessman will stand as an independent in a bid to wrest the seat from Labor, which holds it by a six per cent margin.
The November election stands on a knife edge, with Labor leading the coalition 51 to 49 in the latest Newspoll and Galaxy results.
A narrow margin in parliament could mean a greater share of power for independents like Mr Lyons, if he were elected.
“It would be a wonderful thing for the Geelong people wouldn’t it?” he said.
Mr Lyons’ candidacy will shake up the previously safe seat, held by Labor MP Christine Couzens since 2014 and by Labor since 1999.
“Even if I don’t win, the Geelong people will benefit – it will be a tighter race,” Mr Lyons said.
“Incredible things will happen for the city in terms of more promises from both sides of parliament.
“Geelong should never be a safe seat, a safe seat doesn’t get anything for anyone.
“Geelong, along with the rest of regional Victoria, is entitled to its fair share of support from this metro-centric government.
“I will fight relentlessly to get the funding and recognition the city deserves.”
The Andrews Victorian Government’s sacking of council 2016 was not his motivation for running, he said.
“Certainly, that disgraceful act against democratically-elected councillors has left a bitter taste, but it’s time to move forward,” he said.
Mr Lyons listed law and order, health, transport, jobs and rescue packages for under-threat grass roots groups as priorities.
“I want Geelong to again become a vibrant, liveable city that offers jobs, lifestyle and a future for young people,” he said.
“For example, revitalisation of our waterfront has ground to a halt. Yet we have the virtually forgotten Western Beach, one of our greatest assets, begging to be transformed.
“We need more police, more Protective Services Officers and tougher laws that the community demands.”
Mr Lyons said he was not a “stooge” for the Liberals, despite once being a member of that party.
“I am not a puppet of any political party. In fact, I am one of thousands of Australians totally disillusioned with our present politicians.”
He declined to outline who he would preference but said he had not “spoken to any party or individual.”