Mayor Sterjova reacts to the dismissal of the Council of City of Whittlesea Council

Whittlesea Mayor Emilia Lisa Sterjova posted a reaction to the dismissal of the Whittlesea Council on her official Facebook page this Thursday..

It is with great disappointment and disbelief that I respond to the State Government's Municipal Monitor's recommendation to dismiss the duly elected City of Whittlesea Council. The Monitor was due to deliver an interim report on 27 March and final report to the Minister for Local Government on 30 June 2020.

Instead, the report was rushed without allowing the opportunity to act upon the advice of the Monitor. The conduct of the Monitor himself has resulted in a number of complaints and investigations about his threatening and intimidating behaviour

The Monitor has recommended that the residents of Whittlesea be stripped of their fundamental democratic rights of local government representation,

On 7 November 2019 I was elected as the youngest female Mayor in Australian history along with our dedicated Deputy Mayor. Alahna Desiato. This was an achievement to be celebrated on behalf of Australia's women and youth. It has been over 100 days of accomplishments for our community

I take immense pride in my achievements that includes a Youth Advisory Committee to involve young people in Council's decision making. In addition, the Council reinstatement of its recycling contract, approved a netball and basketball strategy, reviewed aged care services, approved developments that created thousands of new jobs, introduced live streaming of meetings to improve Council's transparency, introduced new technology to improve Council's service delivery, worked to preserve nature reserves from development and advocated for better road and transport infrastructure to ease our traffic congestion.

Despite all of this, I endured vindictive personal attacks that began with my dismissal from the Labor Party for simply accepting the election as Mayor. I had broken a cycle of power sharing based on back room factional deals with made men. Unfortunately, some male councillors could not accept that two capable women in their 20s were deserving of the role.

Iwas not attacked for what I stood for. I was attacked for who I am.

Politics at any level is not an undertaking for the fainthearted - but my motivation for becoming a councillor, was and continues to be giving a voice to the hard working,

selfies residents that constitute the people of Whittlesea.

Dismissing a duly elected council on the flawed recommendation of a rushed report will deny the residents of Whittlesea of their basic and fundamental right to elect their councillors and to be represented at a local government level.

A right that is only a matter of months away when Council elections are held later this year. Also, the new Local Government Act would have been in place in one week which would have allowed individual councillors to be dismissed as opposed to the Council as a whole. So, I ask why the rush?

It appears that the Minister wants to protect one of his own. Let it be clear, our whole Council is being dismissed for the sake of a few misogynistic men who put politics before our community. Instead of the multiple investigations taking their course, as they should our dismissal means that the bullying behavior is excused and condoned.

But rather than shouting for the Council's dismissal as called on by this faction, together with Deputy Mayor Alahna Desiato, we chose instead to defy bullying and put the community's interests first.

It is for these reasons that I call upon the Premier and Minister for Local Government to reject the Monitor's rushed flawed report and its recommendations. The only losers will be the hard-working people of Whittlesea and grassroots democracy,

Finally, I would like to thank the community who put faith in me at the ballot box in 2016 to be their elected representative. We have the most selfless residents who truly make Whittlesea the best place to live and it is an honour and a privilege to carry out such a fulfilling role to help our community

After what I endured as the youngest female Mayor in Australian history, God help any young woman who aspires to enter into politics

To our Whittlesea community. I will be back.

Yours sincerely

Mayor Emilia Lisa Sterjova

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