Labor candidates clash before ballot

Labor party member Melissa Kelly has ruffled feathers by nominating for preselection in the Blacktown Council ward two by-election. Picture: Isabella Lettini“The by-election will be a bore, but preselection on our side will be a show for which they should sell tickets.”

The words of Leo Kelly,sharedby Blacktown Council community events manager Peter Filmer at the late councillor’s funeral, rang true as candidates clashedthis week ahead of Labor’s preselection vote on February 25.

Melissa Kelly has nominated to fill her father’s vacancy on ward two.

The Lalor Park resident would be a sentimental choice, but there are three other candidates vying for the opportunity –and not all of them are happy about Ms Kelly’s ambition.

Fellow Lalor Park branch member Nicole Scott, Quakers Hill branch president Kevin Gillies, and Glenwood branch secretary Prabh Jot are also contesting for the position.

Mr Gillies hasaccused Ms Kelly of being “in and out of the party”. Ms Scott said she had never seen her at a Lalor Park branch meeting, or supporting state or federal campaigns.

Labor preselection candidate Nicole Scott, pictured at a protest in Blacktown last year. Picture: Simon Bennett

Ms Kelly said she left the party while dealing with domestic violence issues, but remained involved by helping her father at a local government level.

She was granted continuityby NSW Labor, and her nomination was supported by ward two incumbent Julie Griffiths.

Ms Scott said Ms Kelly’s absence from the party was understandablebut that she now needed to demonstrate her commitment.

“Melissa is a friend of mine, I do like her, but now is not the right time,” Ms Scott said.

“Show your commitment to the ALP first and do the hard yards like the rest of us.”

Mr Gilliesalso claimeda February 13 media release from Ms Kelly andCouncillor Julie Griffiths was untrue when it claimed “no other candidates have publically [sic]declared their intention to run”.

Ms Kelly said the statement was accurate to her knowledge at the time of publication.

“I know it’s all politics and I won’t play his [Gillies] petty little game,” she said.

“A few people have got their nose out of joint about me running. They think they’re going to rattle me; they’re not.”

Only56 people will be eligible to vote at the ward two Labor party meeting in Jim Southee Community Centre on Saturday morning.

The by-electioncandidate is selected by a conventional ballot, with 20 per cent weighting for female candidates as part of NSW Labor’s affirmative action targets.

Ms Scott said she would support the successful candidate whoever they were, and encouraged others to do the same.