Sutcliffe push for McMillan

Moe is in the McMillan electorate. file photograph

Moe is in the McMillan electorate. file photograph

The renaming of the federal division of McMillan remains a hot issue with almost half of comments in the latest round of consultation focusing on the seat.

The Australian Electoral Commission is conducting a redistribution and renaming of federal divisions across Victoria and received 100 "comments on objections" of which 43 per cent addressed the proposed renaming of McMillan to Monash.

Although the comments showed continued community support for the name of Bunjileene-Purrine, as proposed by the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Bunurong Land Council and Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group. There was also a late, seemingly orchestrated campaign for the name Sutcliffe.

The AEC received 27 identically-worded emails and a further five comments on objections supporting a first-round objection from Baw Baw Shire Councillor Keith Cook that the division of McMillan be renamed Sutcliffe.

One supporter was David Mitchell, a great-grandson of Drouin and Korumburra pioneer businessman, Buln Buln Shire councillor and mayor, John Sutcliffe.

The Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Bunurong Land Council and Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group argued there was strong support from voters who wanted to live in an electorate that honoured the lives of Aboriginal heroes.

"Expunging McMillan's name is the first part of justice being served," the groups' submission read.

They also said the representative Aboriginal naming committee was willing to reconvene to develop a more acceptable name if required.

Commenter Darren McSweeney argued the proposed Indigenous name did not conform to guidelines for naming divisions and therefore should not be adopted.

"While the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Bunurong Land Council and Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Groups may be well-meaning in their suggestions, there is no special treatment, or negotiation of division names outside the public submissions," Mr McSweeney wrote.

"In this regard, with no viable alternative, I feel that Monash should be adopted for the division. I hope the committee will resist the urge to react to loud, orchestrated, but still minority, positions."

Other names proposed included Aboriginal political activist and community leader, William Cooper, and South Gippsland-born Olympic and world champion rower, Drew Ginn.

The AEC's Augmented Electoral Commission held inquiries into the objections and comments on objections at Winchelsea and Melbourne last week.

The commission will meet later this month to determine electoral divisions and their names with a further objection period, if required, later this month or next. Its final report is due to be tabled after July 13, 2018.

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