Vying for your vote

John Schurink.

In ballot paper order, here are the candidates asking for your vote at the Saturday 24 November State Election.



Joshua James Norman



John Schurink


John is the Sassafras-Ferny Creek CFA Brigade captain and CFA District 13 chair, deputy director of Aviation Operations in the Australian Air Force Cadets, and ambulance program manager for community health organisation Chevra Hatzolah.

He’s a qualified MICA paramedic and has been a CFA volunteer for more than 30 years, receiving the National Medal for Service with two clasps for his service to the community and the National Emergency Medal for his service during the Black Saturday Bushfires.


Jordan Crook


Jordan is running because of “the lack of leadership from both sides of government to take on and deal with” the loss of nature and biodiversity “and the climate emergency we now live in that is increasing fire risk, prolonging drought and is warming our planet”.

He wants to declare a climate emergency “and get on with dealing with it”, transition out of native forest logging, tackle weeds and fund a support line for injured wildlife.


James Merlino


James grew up in Kilsyth and is now raising three children in the Yarra Ranges with wife Meagan.

He worked as a brickie’s labourer while studying arts (political science) at Melbourne University and completed his honours year in 1995.

Before entering Parliament James was a National Industrial Officer for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Union, and was a Yarra Ranges Councillor.


Liz Hicks


Liz was raised in Silvan on a working farm and returned to the Yarra Ranges after a brief period living in urban Melbourne.

She recently finished a masters in German and European Law in Berlin and is about to start a PhD in Australian and comparative public law.

Liz also has experience with “the issues affecting young people in the electorate: infrequent and unreliable public transport, job insecurity and precarious work, and limited access to health and mental health services”.




Amy Gregorovich


Amy is passionate about the environment and building sustainable communities.

She said the Gembrook population was increasing quickly and “housing and public transport must grow to accommodate us all”.

Amy is studying at university and commutes several days a week to study.


Michael Galea


Michael said growing up in the hills and working with its community groups sparked a passion in him to get active and work for real change in the region. “I’m running for State Parliament because I want to make our growing area a stronger place with the services and infrastructure we so desperately need.”


Brad Battin


Brad was raised in Harkaway and Berwick, joined Victoria Police in 2001 and served at Dandenong Police Station, where he worked with schools to develop Operation Newstart South East to reconnect young people with education, training or employment.

He received the Silk Millar Scholarship to study a graduate diploma in adolescent health and welfare at University of Melbourne.

Brad operated a Bakers Delight bakery for three years.




Brodie Everist


Brodie is a musician and, since graduating university, he’s been teaching and playing music across Melbourne.

He’s seen how invigorating education can be to young people, and how it helps them reach their potential.

He wants more transparency and consultation when it comes to planning and development.


Bridget Vallence


Bridget is head of retail, marketing and communications procurement Asia Pacific for Goodyear Dunlop Tyres and previously held management roles at Ford Motor Company.

She and her husband have two sons and live in Wandin, where they’re involved with the junior footy and cricket clubs.

Bridget holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Melbourne and was an inaugural Fellow of the Melbourne School of Government Pathway to Politics Program for Women in 2016.


Gail Ritchie


Gail is a Silvan mum who grew up in Gembrook and attended Monbulk College before going on to study social work and secondary teaching at Monash University.

She worked in the welfare field for 30 years and in teaching on and off.

Gail would continue to advocate for positive education outcomes in the region.




Sally Brennan


Sally was born in Yarra Junction and raised in Gladysdale, and has worked in community education for most of her life.

She became Upper Yarra Community House CEO in 1992, now Cire Services, gained tertiary qualifications in community development and education, including a Master of Education from Monash University.

Sally is now on the Adult Community and Further Education board and Adult Learning Australia, and is the Warburton and Yarra Junction Community Banks deputy chair.


Michelle Dunscombe


Michelle is passionate about strengthening the community, and has studied and worked in community engagement and development at a local, national and global scale.

As an independent candidate, she is not bound by party politics and can work with all sides of politics in the best interests of the Eildon communities.


Ken Deacon


Ken has lived and worked in the Rubicon Valley for more than 40 years, and his work as a teacher allowed him to share his love of forests with the community.

It eventually led him to a career conducting horseback tours through the forests.

As a farmer, he’s seeing first-hand the ways the environment is changing, and is in favour of establishing the Great Forest National Park and a restorative program.


Cindy McLeish


Cindy grew up on a farm running cattle and sheep in Yea and continues to farm in the district on land that has belonged to her family for generations.

She completed a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma of education at Melbourne University, completed a Graduate Diploma in counselling and registered as a psychologist, and in 2001 completed an MBA from Melbourne Business School.

Cindy was a senior consultant for a leading consultancy firm, was the Women’s Golf Victoria CEO, and worked as a secondary school maths and science teacher.