News State Victoria Melbourne byelection for lord mayor announced after Doyle resignation

Melbourne byelection for lord mayor announced after Doyle resignation

The by-election for a Melbourne lord mayor has been announced.
The byelection for a Melbourne lord mayor has been announced. Photo: ABC
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Melbourne will elect a new lord mayor on May 12 in a byelection triggered by Robert Doyle’s resignation.

Mr Doyle, 64, quit last week but maintains he is innocent of sexual misconduct allegations.

Acting Local Government Minister Martin Pakula announced the date of the byelection on Wednesday afternoon.

The Victorian Electoral Commission said ballots for the postal vote would be mailed out from April 23, ahead of the May 11 deadline.

Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood, who ran on Team Doyle, has not yet confirmed if he will nominate for the role.

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

Olivia Ball, who ran for lord mayor with the Greens in 2016, received 21.27 per cent of first preference votes.

Asked whether she intended to run, Dr Ball merely said the Greens’ preselection process took time.

Mr Doyle collected 44.62 per cent of votes.

The New Daily is awaiting a response from Cr Wood.

Phil Cleary told The New Daily he would make a decision next week on whether to run for lord mayor.

The ‘Phil Cleary Means Business’ team received 10.89 per cent of votes in 2016, just ahead of Ken Ong for ‘Together Melbourne’ at 10.39 per cent.

Pollster Gary Morgan and Property Council boss Sally Capp have also been widely reported as possible candidates for lord mayor.

arron wood melbourne
Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood would be a natural frontrunner. Photo: AA{

Mr Morgan received 6.79 per cent in the 2016 poll.

State Labor MP for Brunswick Jane Garrett has also been touted as a possible contender.

Premier Daniel Andrews weighed in to reports that notorious AFL Footy Show host Sam Newman is considering vying for the role.

“Democracy’s a wonderful thing, who knows, there’ll be lots of different people put their hands up,” Mr Andrews told KIIS radio’s Jase & PJ on Wednesday morning.

“It’ll be up to the good judgement of ratepayers of Melbourne.”

Nominations close on April 10, VEC said.

Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately said the enrolment deadline was Friday March 16.

“Anyone aged 18 years or older who is not enrolled must do so by the close of enrolment at 4pm Friday 16 March – enrolling to vote means you can have your say on the future leadership of Melbourne City Council,” he said in a statement.

Robert Doyle allegations and investigation

Mr Doyle resigned following a protracted investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and indecent assault.

He has denied all allegations.

Mr Doyle initially stood down in December pending the results of an investigation into the allegations, first levelled against him by former councillor Tessa Sullivan.

robert doyle lord mayor
Robert Doyle resigned last week, triggering the byelection. Photo: Getty

Ms Sullivan resigned at the same time as she accused Mr Doyle of sexually harassing and groping her.

Greens Councillor Cathy Oke also accused him of misconduct.

Cr Oke broke down last week at a City of Melbourne committee meeting and expressed her frustration that the investigation still hadn’t been finalised.

Mr Doyle was also accused of sexually harassing a woman at a Melbourne Health event, sparking a separate investigation by the health department.

He resigned as Melbourne Health chairman and lord mayor last week, claiming he had been denied natural justice and the presumption of innocence.

City of Melbourne chief executive Ben Rimmer rejected the claim.

Mr Rimmer hopes a final report into the investigation, led by Ian Freckelton QC, will be made public.

Mr Doyle’s lawyer, Nick Ruskin of K&L Gates, said his client has been hospitalised as a result of the toll the investigation has taken on him.