The launch of group ticket candidates, Our Yass Valley, was hypocritical and disappointing, according to some current councillors.
Geoff Frost, Kim Turner, Mike Inkster, Jasmin Jones and Nathan Reynolds-Furry announced last week they would run as independents on a group ticket in a bid to rejuvenate a “tired” and “outdated” current council.
Cr David Needham said he was extremely disappointed with the Our Yass Valley group and their tilt at council in the Tribune’s stories last week.
He believed it was essentially a grab for power by somebody who had higher aspirations and would be using the Yass Valley as a stepping stone.
“Very disappointed,” he said. “From somebody that I thought was a colleague, just absolutely devastated.”
Outgoing councillor Chris McKenzie-McHarg believes it is “hypocritical” of the Our Yass Valley group to run as independents when four of the five have National Party ties.
He said most of the criticism he attracted when running on a Greens ticket last election came from Cr Frost and his supporters.
“They say I copped a lot of bad publicity over it but that’s not true – a majority of it came from the Geoff Frost camp,” he said.
“I got a lot of positive feedback and actually got over nine per cent of the vote,” he said.
He had run as a Greens member to remain honest and transparent – believing it would be hypocritical to run as an independent when he held Greens philosophies and beliefs.
“That’s where I see this as a problem. There are four people who are Nationals [supporters] saying they are independents… I would think they are running a Nationals ticket; they are getting two bites out of the one cherry, one with votes from the Nationals supporters and the other getting all the independent votes as well.
“It’s hypocritical to say you’re independent when you’re really a National.”
Cr McHarg added, “The problem with councils overall is that they are usually made up of the older population, people who are semi-retired or financially well off and can afford the time it takes.”
Yass needed councillors who lived and worked here, not commuters. Local business owners and councillors Nic Carmody and Allan McGrath had proved highly approachable on the street every day, he said.
“We need to be wary of [commuters] who spend a huge amount of time in Canberra, and have their kids go to school in Canberra.”