IT WAS meant to be a friendly declaration of the poll, but it turned into a declaration of war as Warrnambool City Council’s new team gathered to hear their names officially declared election winners.
Cr Peter Hulin launched a salvo of warning shots in his acceptance speech, dredging up hurts and tensions of the past four years.
He referred to bullying, harassment, inappropriate behaviour and being branded a hypocrite.
Cr Hulin warned he would not tolerate it in the new council, nor would he tolerate mediocrity, which he described as failure.
Controversial pseudonym letter writer Wilma Wright (the son of city chief executive Bruce Anson) was also in his line of fire when he responded to “her” description of him as a drongo by saying many influential people in history did not have a university education.
He also referred to the election loss of his voting colleague Jennifer Lowe and said a reason she lost was the lack of live streaming of council meetings, which he said he would press for immediately.
Former mayor Jacinta Ermacora angrily responded later by telling The Standard “he’s declared war on us already”.
“It seems he’s decided he’s not going to work with us,” she said.
“It’s just not on to use a forum like this for those comments — it’s outrageous.
“He was just bringing up the past again.
“I call on him to show more respect for the office.”
In her brief address at the declaration ceremony, Cr Ermacora urged councillors to wipe the slate clean and show respect for the reasons each person had been elected.
Fellow third-term councillor Michael Neoh also used his speech to remind councillors they were part of a democratic system with one vote to make decisions.
And Cr Rob Askew, entering his second term, said he hoped all councillors could work together to continue the good achievements.
First timer Cr Brian Kelson also said he hoped for a cohesive team working for the betterment of Warrnambool.
Other new councillors Kylie Gaston and Peter Sycopoulis also said they were looking to a united council.
“I’ve been focused on this day for eight years,” Cr Sycopoulis said.
Outside the ceremony venue Cr Hulin reiterated his sentiments.
“I’m sick of being excluded — let’s move forward in harmony,” he declared.
“With past bullying and harassment, if that sort of behaviour continues it means we haven’t gained anything,” Cr Hulin said.