INDIGO councillor Jenny O’Connor will attempt to become the first Greens candidate from regional Victoria to secure a seat in the state’s upper house after winning preselection for this year’s election.
The Beechworth resident defeated Bendigo rival Jen Alden to become the Greens contender for Northern Victoria, which extends across more than 100,000 square kilometres from Mildura to Corryong and south to the outskirts of Melbourne.
It will be the second successive Victorian election Cr O’Çonnor has contested after having been the Greens candidate in the lower house seat of Benambra in the 2010 poll.
Since then, she has been elected to Indigo Council and stood for the Greens in Indi in last year’s federal election.
Cr O’Connor believes her record helped give her an edge over Ms Alden in the preselection, which had involved a postal ballot last year where two votes separated the hopefuls and prompted a second vote.
“I think the fact I’ve campaigned pretty strongly over a number of elections, building up a profile, makes you a more effective candidate,” Cr O’Connor said.
“I’ve also got good media coverage and being in local government means I’ve got experience working at a government level.
“I think all those things combined helped.”
Cr O’Connor said she would not be neglecting her council duties and would continue to attend meetings, despite having to travel widely to campaign.
She said once writs were issued she would not vote at the following council meeting as it falls during the election lead-up.
Despite the Greens having never won a seat in regional Victoria, Cr O’Connor believes she can succeed and outdo her Greens predecessor in the 2010 election, David Jones, who fell well short of the quota required to win Northern Victoria.
The Greens attracted 7.74 per cent of first preferences four years ago and 16 per cent is needed for a quota.
“I want to win this, I won’t be happy if I don’t win,” Cr O’Connor said of the November 29 election.
“Given the current political climate a lot of people are concerned about the conservatives having so much power.
“It’s an opportunity for rural people to have a progressive voice in the Parliament.”