News / Politics

Greens aim for control of council 

Pulford heads up candidates for Brunswick area

Merri-bek Council Greens candidates (from left): JR Hewitt, Liz Irvin, Jay Iwasaki, Kenna Morrison, Adam Pulford, Angelica Panopoulos, Metin Golbasi and Ella Svensson.

Brunswick Voice

MERRI-BEK Mayor Adam Pulford will shift to a Brunswick East ward as his Greens party sets its sights on winning a majority of seats at council elections later this year. 

Pulford is currently a councillor for North-East ward, which covers Coburg and Fawkner, but earlier this year he and his partner moved to Brunswick East to live. 

Consequently, he will stand for a second term for the Greens in the new Warrk-Warrk ward, one of four single councillor wards in the Brunswick area. 

The current Greens councillor, Mark Riley, who also lives in Brunswick East, announced last week that he would not be seeking a third term

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The Merri-bek Greens have announced candidates for eight of the 11 wards, following a first round of pre-selections. 

Liz Irvin, a transport planner, has been preselected for Randazzo Ward, which runs between Sydney Road and Lygon/Holmes Street in Brunswick.  

Ella Svensson, a psychologist, and family therapist working in the public service, will be contesting Brunswick West ward, while Dr Jay Iwasaki, an ecologist, educator, and bee scientist, is running in Bulleke-bek Ward, which covers Brunswick, between Pearson Street and Sydney Road. 

Angelica Panopoulos, who was Mayor in 2022-23, will also run again but like Pulford has shifted to a different ward, from North-West in the current council to the new Harmony Park ward in Coburg. 

The Greens are aiming to win a majority of the seats on the next council and have nominated as top priorities supporting more affordable housing, taking action on the climate crisis, making Merri-bek’s streets safer and greener, and progressing a Treaty with local Traditional Owners. 

Elected Mayor last year, Pulford said he was proud of what the Greens had helped to achieve over the past four years on the council, including creating more parks and open space and investing in community facilities, supporting more affordable housing and building protected bike lanes. 

Four Greens were elected in 2020 giving them a strong voting bloc, but South Ward councillor James Conlan quit the party last year to become an independent while Riley is retiring from council. Conlan is yet to announce his intentions for this year’s election. 

Panopoulos said the Greens wanted a majority on the council so they could advance their agenda. 

“Unfortunately we haven’t won every fight we’ve taken on – too often a majority of councillors this term have acknowledged the housing crisis while rejecting good quality homes being proposed to be built in our city, or voted to rip out existing protected bike lanes and not supporting building any more,” she said. 

“That’s why this election we’re campaigning to win a majority at Merri-bek, so we can take the action we need to truly transform our city into one that’s fairer and more sustainable.” 

The other Greens candidates pre-selected are JR Hewitt, an anti-poverty campaigner, housing advocate and trade unionist, for Pascoe Vale South ward; Kenna Morrison, a retired mental health social worker and former business owner, for Pentridge ward; and Metin Golbasi, a public education campaigner and commercial manager in the public service, for Box Forest ward. 

The Greens will open preselection for the remaining three council wards in the coming weeks. 

Labor has yet to reveal its candidates for the elections, which will be held in October, but Deputy Mayor Lambros Tapinos has confirmed he will seek a fifth term by running for the new Brunswick West ward. 

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