Politics, Poetry and Reviews

PRM Council Election 2020 (North-East Ward) Batch 4: Farah, Street, Dhedhy, Thiveos and Hogan

Gloria Farah – How to Vote Card

Ms Farah doesn’t have any online presence that I could see, and she hasn’t been involved in any of the community forums or online surveys. Fortunately, she did letterbox me, so I have a nice shiny flyer to look at. Her platform is a little vague – her values are fairness, action, integrity and respect, and she will ‘deliver concrete outcomes’. She wants to support jobs, protect local business and look after the environment.

So what are these concrete outcomes? Well, she has five priorities, which are recovery of Sydney Road and local businesses after the pandemic, reducing rates, and investing in childcare centres, in sporting facilities, in parks, and in health and aged care.

None of this is terrible, but I’m getting a little bit of a ‘look after small businesses’ vibe here. I suspect Farah is as close as we are likely to get to Liberal Party values in Moreland. Of more concern is her How to Vote card, which preferences Naim, Timpano and Failla, two of whom are big red flags for me and the third of whom is a yellow one. At the bottom of her list she has Joseph, for whom I have a decided soft spot, as well as O’Callaghan, Helou, and Bolton.

I don’t think I’ll put her high on my ballot – while she seems basically OK in and of herself, her How To Vote card gives me serious concerns regarding her judgment. And I’m a bit concerned that, given her lack of online presence, she is largely going to serve to funnel votes towards Naim.

Meghan Street (Sue Bolton Community Independents – WebsiteParty Facebook Page How to Vote Card

Street is part of Sue Bolton’s team, and second on her ticket. I’ve already discussed their policies and how to vote card in my commentary on Sue Bolton, so I won’t repeat myself here.

Street’s candidate statement on the Sue Bolton Community Independents website tells me that  she is a science educated clinic manager, and believes the council needs to play a greater role in community health services. She is currently working with the Muslim Women’s Council of Victoria with their program to feed vulnerable people in the community.

Street is an activist, who was involved in the movement to save the Gandolfo Gardens, and believes that it is important to fight for workers’ rights, as well as ‘increased public transport, foot and bike travel improvements, the defence and improvement of green spaces as well as our local natural ecosystems’.  She feels that it is important for the Council to listen to the community.

Meghan Street has a high engagement score, having participated in nearly all the forums and surveys being tracked by Sustainable Fawkner. She has signed the Rainbow Votes pledge, and her replies to the Walk On Moreland survey are detailed and considered. She is concerned about accessibility and poor footpath quality, making it difficult for people with mobility issues, and she wants better public transport, as do we all. Her responses to the Climate Action Survey are again heavy on better public transport and safer cycling and walking networks, and she favours an approach that encourages less car use, rather than punishing those who do need to use cars.

Overall, she’s a good candidate who has clearly put a lot of thought into the things that matter to me, and she will go high on my list.

Hamza Dhedhy (Independent) – Facebook PageHow to Vote Card

Dhedhy’s flyer tells me that he is a proud Fawkner local who has lived, studied and worked in the area since arriving in Australia 21 years ago. He has a Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management. And:

I have experienced first-hand the challenges of cultural adjustment and immigrant issues at a very young age and have always felt the need to bring people of diverse backgrounds and ages together.

I like him already, but then, you know I have a soft spot for immigrant stories.

Dhedhy has been involved in community work for 12 years, and has set up a number of programs including establishing the Oxygen Youth Centre in North Coburg, the Fawkner Soccer Program (which includes a women’s  team) and a Pool Life Guarding and First Aid Training Program. He was named a Moreland Young Citizen of the Year in 2014. Google tells me he is supported by Run For It, a program that ‘helps community leaders and people from historically marginalised communities enter the democracy and set a new agenda.’ He was also an AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador in 2014.

In other words, he’s pretty ferociously active in community engagement and representation. Good qualifications for a Councillor, I think.

Dhedhy’s flyer names seven priority areas:

  • No unjustifiable increase in rates, fees and charges
  • A COVID-19 response including a food bacnk, job creation and support for local businesses.
  • Supporting youth, again with job creation, and, interestingly, ‘advocating for at least 10% of young people to be involved in council infrastructure projects’ (I presume he means that 10% of people involved should be youth, rather than 10% of all youth being conscripted into infrastructure, which would be a less pleasing idea)
  • Putting a stop to overdevelopment and advocating for environmental sustainability
  • Improving council services, particularly disability access
  • Improving and increasing green spaces, roads, footpaths, bike paths, shopping strips, community houses, leisure centres… basically everything. This would give his 10% of youth lots to do, admittedly.
  • Increasing Council transparency and accountability

This is a fairly centrist plan by Moreland standards, but with a high emphasis on youth, and particularly youth unemployment.

Dhedhy’s Facebook Page contains a campaign video covering most of these points, but emphasising that the impact of COVID will be with us for a while, and we need to think about supporting businesses and families, including mental health support.

He also raises concerns that the current council has been ignoring the North East Ward, something I haven’t noticed, but then again, I live at the wealthier end of the Ward, and tend to be a bit oblivious to a lot of Council stuff. I do think this is interesting, though, because among all the grumblings about a young, excessively ideological council, this is the only one that has focused on geography, and geography, around here, is definitely class…

In terms of other engagement, Dhedhy gets a tick from Fair Parking Moreland, but doesn’t seem to have been involved in any of the other forums or surveys, including the rainbow voting pledge. I’m a little surprised at this lack of engagement, because I would have described him as almost hyperactively engaged from his Facebook page and list of activities. He also shows an unusually low level of interest in things environmental for a younger candidate.

Dhedhy’s How To Vote Card favours Joseph, Pavlidis and Clarke – the centrist alliance again! – but then, excitingly, goes to Bolton, for a more Socialist flavour. The bottom of his ballot paper is Naim, followed by Failla, Farah, and Timpano. So, a centrist, but definitely inclined to lean left rather than right.

Another pretty solid candidate.

Ismene Thiveos (Labor) – WebsiteParty Facebook PageCandidate Facebook PageHow To Vote Card

Thiveos is the second candidate on Labor’s ticket. I’ve already discussed Labor for Moreland’s policies and their how to vote card in my commentary on Annalivia Carli-Hannan, so I won’t repeat myself here.

Thiveos has a background in public health, and is passionate about strengthening community wellbeing.

“I am passionate about strengthening our community’s wellbeing. I want to make sure everyone feels connected through well-funded social and cultural programs, community facilities and accessible parks. Our elderly deserve quality aged care services, and families shouldn’t have any uncertainty about childcare places.”

She wants to ensure that the Council is responsive and innovative in finding ways to support the business, hospitality and arts sector as restrictions ease

Thiveos has a campaign video highlighting her background in family violence and public health, and her desire to create a respectful and connected Moreland community. (Also, I’m pretty sure I recognised one of the people in it, which was exciting for me, especially as it is close to midnight now and I am nearing the end of my rope.)

There was also a cute and funny little video about campaign signage. I have to say, between Thiveos and Hogan, Moreland Labor has a *strong* social media game this year when it comes to campaign videos.

A scan further down Thiveos’s Facebook page shows articles about the importance of social housing and an acknowledgment that single women over 50 are now the fastest growing group experiencing homelessness, and an interview in Greek about aged culturally appropriate care services (hmm… given how badly things went down at St Basil’s, that’s an important and rather difficult conversation to start having now.)

Thiveos has signed the rainbow pledge, and got the tick of approval from Fair Parking Moreland. She also attended the Climate forum, and spoke in favour of better bike paths. She feels that there are a lot of good schemes in place for things like solar and recycling that are being poorly publicised, and that better communication is the answer to this, and she wants more community gardens. This feels in keeping with the general Labor platform on climate, which is a little slow and cautious for my liking, but does at least want to move in the correct direction.

Google found me an interesting article about Thiveos’s work as an advisor to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Indigenous Affairs, Natalie Hutchins, where she worked to implement the recommendations of the royal commission. She talks about the importance of prevention and programs to achieve that, and about the very masculine political culture we have in Australia and the need to change fundamental gender norms both there and in the wider community.

An article in Neos Kosmos also talks about her desire to have well-funded social and cultural programs, community sports, and accessible parks and spaces

Overall, a strong candidate. We really do have a lot of good people to choose from this, year, it’s a very pleasant change!

Rebekah Hogan (Labor) – WebsiteParty Facebook PageCandidate Facebook PageHow To Vote Card

Hogan is the third candidate on Labor’s ticket, so again, I won’t repeat what I’ve already written, but here, just in case you aren’t interested in clicking the link to my other post, have the Moreland Labor Community Plan again. Some nice light reading to put you to sleep tonight! (God, I hope it will still be tonight when I finish writing this – yes, I’m doing this page out of order. Again.)

Her Facebook page tells me that she was the president of the OXYGEN Youth Advisory Committee, which advises the Council on issues affecting young people in Moreland, and that her mum is a carer for her father, who has a disability – so I’d imagine she has a pretty good understanding of how disability support services work (and, often, do not work), as well as how the council works (and, sometimes, does not work…?_)

She takes her advocacy for the youth of Moreland very seriously, and is concerned about unemployment among young workers. She was part of the Youth Advisory Committee for Wills, and helped create a kit for young workers on their rights at work.

Oh, and she has a TikTok campaign video, which could not be more different to the campaign videos I’ve seen from other candidates – rap music (er… I am bad at popular music, maybe also dubstep?), with a little bit of dancing and pop up notes saying:

I care about the same issues as you.

  • Gender equality
  • Environment
  • Mental health

Women and Young People deserve a voice in Government

Vote for someone who will represent real people and real issues

Honestly, it is the cutest thing I have seen in a political campaign this year, and you need to watch it.

I had noticed, incidentally, that our Labor team for North East Ward was very young and very female, and I do like that they are leaning into that.

Anyway, those are excellent priorities, and I am here for them. And I am trying not to sound too much like a middle-aged auntie cooing over how clever the younger generation is, but honestly, if this election is a sample, we really do have some fantastic young people coming up.

Hogan has passed the Fair Parking Test, and responded to the Walk On Moreland survey (responses rather bland, I suspect there is a bit of a party line here, sadly), but not the Climate Action Survey or the Bicycle Users Group. And she hasn’t signed the rainbow pledge, which is a bit disappointing – given that gender equality is one of her key platforms, that is a very unfortunate omission.

Edited to add: She’s signed it now!

My random Googling of Hogan turned up this rather poignant article she wrote for the student magazine, Rabelais, a couple of years ago, about growing up between two cultures, and feeling neither Australian enough or Chinese enough. And now I just want to vote for her because she writes so well about something that is, I think, a common experience for many Australians with a parent born overseas (though… especially not fun for people who look at all Asian right now, I would guess).

Overall? Hogan is probably my favourite Labor candidate so far, but that still puts her around the middle of my ticket, I think.


Ooh, this is a hard one, because I really do like most of this lot. I have a particular soft spot for Hogan, and Dhedhy seems like someone with a lot of energy that has been well applied, but the fact that they haven’t signed onto the Rainbow Votes pledge does give me pause. Thiveos gets points for community wellbeing and for that ridiculous Benny Hill video, which I played three times, to the dismay of my husband. But I think Street is the candidate who best represents my views this time round.

Edited to add: Hogan has now signed the Rainbow Votes pledge, putting her in equal first place for Best of the Batch!


  1. Jarrod Robins

    HI Cate, I’m loving your commentary! I had no idea Haissam Naim had such a concerning past… yikes. Also, just letting you know but you’ve got Ismene Thiveos and Rebekah Hogan’s ticket position switched around. Ismene’s actually second on Labor’s ticket, not third.

    • Catherine

      Thanks, Jarrod – fixed now! That will teach me to do these things late at night…

    • Boutrous Elliss

      Dear Jarrod,

      I know Haissam Naim and totally understand your reaction on the article. I would have the same the reaction too.

      But it is crucial to point out that he appealed the charge and was cleared by the Courts. Hence why he is currently a fully practising local GP.

      It is unfortunate, that the papers didn’t follow it up. He is fighting so hard, emotionally and financially, in removing the one time article and he is very close to the finish line.

      He is a good man and does a lot of good will gestures to various people in our community.

      Hope it sheds some light…

      • Moreland voter

        Hi Boutros, I was curious about whether Dr. Naim had appealed this ruling. I googled for info about this and found that he had indeed taken the case to the Supreme Court of Victoria Court of Appeal, with a decision delivered in 2013, but that decision was not very favourable to him. As best I can understand the decision (and I’m not a lawyer so it’s possible I’ve misinterpreted something) the court granted him leave to appeal but rejected that appeal. (By my understanding, the court has to decide whether it actually has jurisdiction to hear an appeal, but sometimes they’ll short-cut the process by making that decision at the same time as hearing the appeal, which I think is what has happened here.)

        The 2013 decision is available here (caution to readers: contains detailed description of the alleged invasive internal exam): http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2013/205.html

        Searching on austlii.edu.au for “haissam naim” finds only three hits: http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinosrch.cgi?mask_path=&method=auto&query=haissam+naim. One is the Court of Appeal decision linked above. The other two are from the original VCAT case, in March and June 2013.

        The June VCAT document reports a finding that “the Tribunal ordered that he be reprimanded, disqualified from practice and prohibited from applying for re-registration for a period of 12 months. These sanctions were set to take effect on 15 June this year [2013], today is the 12th of June”. It looks as if that was delayed by the Court of Appeal process, but in any case the prohibition on re-registration would have expired years ago, leaving him free to reapply even without a successful appeal.

        Searching the AHPRA register of practitioners, there is only one Haissam Naim recorded. His entry is here: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx?q=MED0001205157&t=hgDgaRzLo503c4nieLmA

        That entry records the 2013 Medical Board finding against him (again, content warning for description of the alleged conduct). It does not acknowledge any successful appeal.

        Re. “fully practising GP”, his registration lists some ongoing conditions on his practice, in particular:

        “The Practitioner must not have contact with any female patients without the presence of a chaperone approved by the Board who is a Registered Nurse and who directly observes the entire contact.”

        “The Practitioner may practise only in place(s) of practice approved by the Board…For the purposes of this condition, the following practice locations have been approved: Cedars Medical Clinic – 248 Bell Street, Coburg Victoria 3058.”

        These are not conditions that would normally be imposed on a doctor without an adverse finding. The AHPRA entry doesn’t indicate why these conditions were imposed but I would have assumed these were a condition of his re-registration after the prohibition expired.

        I was unable to find any court documents indicating a successful appeal. My understanding from a legal contact is that an appeal against the Court of Appeal decision would have had to go to the High Court.

        If you have information about a successful appeal I would be interested to see it – not least to figure out why it didn’t come up on my searches! But I’ve looked as hard as I can and I can’t find any evidence that the 2013 finding against Dr. Naim was overturned, only that he was able to re-register after the twelve-month ban expired.

        • Catherine

          Hi Boutrous and Moreland Voter,

          Thanks both for your comments.

          Boutrous, while I did look for an appeal, like Moreland Voter, I was only able to find the unsuccessful one.

          If there has been a successful appeal since, I would be very grateful if you could share a link to information about it, so that I can update my post accordingly. I would be very, very happy to be wrong about this.

          Best wishes,


          • Boutrous Ellis - Moreland Resident & Voter

            Dear Catherine & Jarrod,

            Firstly, Catherine your previous comment “so that I can update my post accordingly. I would be very, very happy to be wrong about this” is very nice of you and you have earnt a lot more respect from me as it shows you have no hidden agenda and only side with what is right.

            I had a look online but could not also find it on the County Court website. I am not well versed with Court websites and in navigating through them. I do, however, have Record of Court Orders information.

            They are:

            • County Court – Victoria
            • Case ID: CR 18-01219
            • Event: Criminal Trial
            • Date: 11 June 2019
            • Accused: Haissam Naim
            • Judge: His Honour Judge D Sexton at Melbourne this 1th day of June 2019
            • Sentence/Order: to all charges Not Guilty

            Hope the above provides some more clarity. He is currently closer towards the finishing line in removing the articles and the conditions. As you know the costs are enormous, but he is adamant to see it through. He strongly believes he has been treated unfairly but at this stage just want to put this behind him.

            Thank you for taking interest in giving him a fair go.

            Boutrous Elliss

  2. Dimitri

    Hey Cate! Rebekah is my favourite Labor candidate too, the TikTok is definitely very fun!!! I was concerned about the Rainbow Pledge as well but I’ve seen she has signed according to the site: https://rainbowvotes.com.au/moreland
    Love your work!

    • Catherine

      Oh, that’s good news! Looks like that was updated this morning, because I distinctly recall being disappointed that only two out of three Labor people had signed it when I checked on the weekend. I’ve updated my commentary above to reflect this.

  3. Beth

    Farah – I just don’t understand being internet-invisible for an election, but then I also don’t understand candidates who like conveying their views via half hour long YouTube videos either,so I guess. But yes, even if you have genera-flyers, if you’re keeping bad company it’s not going to go great for you.

    Street – yup, that sounded like your sort of bait. She seems lovely.

    Dhedhy – definitely sounds like someone heavily involved at a local level, so at least he knows what level of government he’s running for and what they can do. Actually, the list of his concerns sounds a LOT like someone who got mentored into local work quite young via local organisations, rather than your average ‘young angry and talking to my friends at uni/TAFE’ level of youth activist. Not that there’s a right way to go about things, but he sounds, hmm, more aware of the long term moving parts and concerns? Which might be the cause of the odd lack of climate policy/credentials for his age.

    Thiveos – I agree, strong Labor, with a strong community and care work bent. And extra public health credentials is something that is particularly useful at present.

    Hogan – I’m very impressed, honestly, that Labor’s running three different candidates with the ability to pitch to different audiences, and LETTING them each pitch to that different audience. It may work out quite well for them because honestly I think Young Labor needs some more time spent talking to the under-30 crowd who haven’t just gone with Labor as a safe default (or you know, the Young Labor types who have deliberately taken the first step to heading towards national politics/eternal wonkhood)

    • Catherine

      You really should write these sorts of commentaries, you know – I think you often have better insights than I do. That’s a really good point about Labor running candidates who can pitch to different audiences. I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right, it’s really smart. It’s also so nice, because my impression of Labor candidates around here is that for a long time they tended to be middle-aged, establishment Labor with good connections to their particular ethnic communities – nothing wrong with that, but not much for younger people to latch onto. It’s worth noting that most (all?) of our old guard / right wing folk seem to be disgruntled former Labor people.

      Dhedhy is very good and wound up pretty high on my ticket.

  4. Danny

    Hi Cate! Love the piece, helped me answer a lot of questions I had about the candidates but I believe Labor has submitted the climate survey response as a team via a south ward candidate!

    • Catherine

      Thank you! I’m a bit confused about what you are telling me re the climate survey? From what I can see, Carli Hannan and Thiveos did complete the survey, but Hogan didn’t, and yes, I can see that two Labor candidates in South Ward also did. Do you have a link to what you are talking about?

  5. Kat

    Thanks for your humour, insight and research in presenting the local candidates. Is there a ‘how to vote like Cate’ card? 😆
    Much appreciated the read.

    • Catherine

      Thanks, Kat!

  6. Melissa

    Hello Cate,
    Interesting commentary on Hamza considering he’s known for being sexist. Pretty certain there was an incident by him directed at Hogan too.. disappointing for a young person. I just hope he doesn’t get elected for the sake of women in Moreland.
    All the best

    • Catherine

      Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for your comment. That’s a pretty strong statement – do you have a link to anything about this?
      My commentary is based on his online presence, and on the preferences he has given and received (including the bottom of the ballot choices, which are often very illuminating), which are obviously never going to be a complete picture, and are a bit more centrist than is my taste, but which are otherwise promising.
      Kind regards,

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