’I’m no dummy’

Beacon Hills Ward candidate Lyndon Samuel. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Mitchell Clarke

A Cardinia Shire Council candidate has denied allegations he has “no interest” in getting on council and that he would reject the spot if elected.

Beacon Hills Ward candidate Lyndon Samuel said he’s been subjected to rumours that he’s standing as a “dummy candidate”.

The Gazette has been made aware of rumours that Mr Samuel publicly stated he would “turn down” an opportunity on council, which would prompt a by-election.

The rumours and Mr Samuel’s response follow widespread allegations – especially on social media – about the apparent use of “running mates” across the 24 October elections.

But Mr Samuel said he “100 per cent rejected the claims”.

“I’m there to beat Andrew, Brett and the other guy,” he said. “I’m not a dummy candidate, I’m there to win and if I do, I’ll be taking it.”

Four men are in contention to represent Beacon Hills Ward, including long-standing councillor Brett Owen, Clean Up Cardinia creator Andrew McNabb, Mr McNabb’s Liberal Party colleague Mr Samuel and Jack Marshall.

All four stated they were independents and were campaigning without running mates.

“I’m not like Andrew, I don’t have a Minister to back me up,” Mr Samuel said. “I understand Brett is a good man, but that doesn’t mean he’s a great councillor.”

Of the Beacon Hills candidates, only Mr Owen lives within the ward. “I’m playing at a very positive campaign and I’m proud to say that I’m the only candidate to live and grow up in the area,” Mr Owen said.

Mr Samuel lives in Narre Warren South, Mr McNabb resides in Officer and Mr Marshall is based in Nar Nar Goon.

However, Mr Samuel, who owns 10 properties, has owned land in Beaconsfield for the past six years, but claims he intends to build a house on the vacant lot so he can retire in the shire.

“To be honest, I have no political interest in that area. I’m not yet ready (to retire), but that’s where I plan to live,” he said.

Mr Samuel isn’t new to the local government game. He previously ran at the last two Casey Council elections, and has vowed to run for Cardinia in 2024, if unsuccessful this year.

“I’ve received calls from people saying I’m a dummy candidate. I don’t know who is saying that, but I’m a big community man around this area,“ he said.

“If you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything. Someone says I’m a dummy, other people fall for it and it gets shared.

“I just want council to get back to basics.”

Links have been drawn between Mr Samuel, Mr McNabb and Rampal Muthyala, who hold Liberal Party branch positions in the Federal seats of Holt, La Trobe and Bruce respectively.

All three were listed as contacts for a Liberals’ Federal Electoral Conference information night to “discuss the upcoming local council elections”.

Mr Muthyala told the Gazette the intention of the meeting was to “strengthen our party from the grassroot level”.

“We want to encourage more people to run for council and we want to spread Liberal Party values,” he said.

But that online meeting, slated for 26 August, was postponed.

Former mayor Jeff Springfield said there were “obvious links” between candidates.

“I have grave concerns that people are working together – particularly in Beacon Hills – with no real interest of being elected to council themselves,” he said.

“It is concerning that these candidates seem to be linked together. It doesn’t pass the pub test.”

But any purported links with “political people” like Mr McNabb or Mr Muthyala were simply through local business ventures, Mr Samuel said, adding he had no affiliation with the controversial Clean Up Cardinia group.

“I was only approached (by Mr McNabb) who said ‘why don’t you give me your second preference?’,” he explained.

“For me it’s about strategy. Brett is a strong candidate and I know Andrew is a weaker link, so if I shared votes with him, it could work in my favour.

“But I don’t think he should be running in Beacon Hills because he doesn’t live here. He should run in Officer.”