MONASH Mayor Paul Klisaris has defended his decision to nominate for next year’s federal election after being accused of “turning his back on the community”.

Last week, the Journal reported on Cr Klisaris’ nomination for ALP preselection for the seat of Aston in Melbourne’s east. It is believed four people have nominated.

The ALP will announce its endorsed candidate later this month.

If elected, Cr Klisaris will be forced to resign from his

position at Monash Council

following the passing of the Local Government Amendment (Conflicting Duties) Bill 2009, which seeks to prevent conflict of interest and undue influence of MPs over local government affairs.

Local Government Victoria also confirmed that a person could not continue to be a councillor if they were successful in next year’s state or federal elections.

Monash Ratepayers Association president Jack Davis

questioned why residents had voted for councillors who were aligned to political parties.

“[If elected] this will be the second time Cr Klisaris will cost ratepayers $50,000 for a byelection after he was struck off the electoral role in 2000 when he claimed to live at his child-care facility.” But Cr Klisaris said he intended to be at the council for as long as residents wanted him.

“When people put their hand up to be promoted in their company, are they turning their back on the role that they’re doing? Life is about self-improvement, going to the next level and improving on the base you have created for yourself.

“Local government is a fantastic journey that I’m going through and if I was successful in being preselected and elected, I think the big winners would be the people.”

He said that as far as he was concerned there would be no byelection because he intended to stay in Mulgrave Ward.