Brunswick MP Jane Garrett eyes Melbourne Lord Mayor job

Jane Garrett, state member for Brunswick, will this week decide if she'll contest the byelection for Melbourne lord mayor.

Jane Garrett, state member for Brunswick, will this week decide if she'll contest the byelection for Melbourne lord mayor. Photo: AAP

Jane Garrett plans to announce this week if she will trigger a byelection in her marginal seat of Brunswick to run for Melbourne Lord Mayor.

The former emergency services minister has already confirmed she will not recontest the inner-north Melbourne seat, which is under threat from the Greens, even if she does not put her hand up for the May 12 council vote.

Greens candidate Tim Read told The New Daily he was ready to jump on the campaign trail if a byelection was called.

“We would look forward to a byelection, no question,” Dr Read said on Sunday.

“I think there’s a strong mood for change in Brunswick and we’d be happy to offer the voters a choice.”

Ms Garrett has previously confirmed she would not recontest Brunswick after her failed bid to move to a safer upper house seat.

“It’s usually a bit of an opportunity for challengers when there’s a changing of the guard,” Dr Read said.

“I’m cautiously optimistic … I think it’s 50-50. We still have to win votes, Labor has to just not lose them. But I’m far more confident than previously.”

Dr Read said he’d be campaigning for renewable energy alternatives “to confront the climate emergency”, and to curb the privatisation of public assets.

He said he expected Labor to campaign hard with a strong candidate.

If Ms Garrett stood aside early to vie for Lord Mayor, the byelection would come just months before November’s state election.

“I’m hoping later this week I’ll be able to say,” Ms Garrett said on 3AW radio on Sunday.

“Clearly this has come out of the blue because of the very unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Town Hall so anybody who’s thinking of standing has to go through some pretty serious due diligence.

“It’s a very major thing to cause a by-election.”

tim read - brunswick Greens

Dr Read said he was ready for a byelection if Ms Garrett runs for Melbourne lord mayor. Photo: Facebook

The New Daily approached the state Labor government for comment.

Dr Read won 39.65 per cent of primary votes in the 2014 state poll, ahead of Ms Garrett at 37.96 per cent – who narrowly came out in front on preferences.

Liberal candidate Giuseppe Velotti collected 16.24 of first preference votes.

Ms Garrett’s impending choice comes in the middle of a byelection in the neighbouring federal seat of Batman, where Labor’s high-profile candidate Ged Kearney is fending off Alex Bhathal of the Greens.

It closely follows the state byelection in Northcote, which fell to Greens candidate Lidia Thorpe.

Melbourne byelection for Lord Mayor

Robert Doyle triggered the Melbourne byelection when he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, which he has strenuously denied.

Postal ballots for the Lord Mayor byelection will be sent to City of Melbourne residents during the week starting April 23, with a result scheduled for May 12.

Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood confirmed last week he would not run, but among other rumoured candidates are Moreland councillor Oscar Yildiz, Property Council of Victoria boss Sally Capp, and AFL Footy Show panellist Sam Newman.

Phil Cleary told The New Daily he has not yet decided whether to run.

The Greens will likely field a competitive contender, with both state and federal Melbourne seats held by the party.

Olivia Ball, who ran for Lord Mayor with the Greens in 2016, received 21.27 per cent of first preference votes behind Mr Doyle on 44.62 per cent.

Asked whether she intended to run earlier this month, Dr Ball told The New Daily the preselection process took time.

Nominations close on April 10, according to the Victorian Electoral Commissioner.

The enrolment deadline is Friday, March 16.

Former City of Melbourne councillor Tessa Sullivan sparked an investigation into Mr Doyle and his eventual resignation when she accused him of sexual misconduct in December.

Mr Doyle, 64, was also accused of sexually harassing councillor Cathy Oke.

He has denied all allegations.

-with AAP

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