Council Elections

2023 Watson Ward By-election

Kate Roper has been elected as the new Watson Ward Councillor for the Mornington Peninsula Shire.

She will be sworn in as a councillor at the Ordinary Council Meeting to be held on 4 April 2023 and will then begin her official duties.

Kate Roper was previously a councillor for Cerberus Ward from 2016 to 2020.

The Watson Ward extraordinary vacancy occurred due to the resignation of former councillor Paul Mercurio after he was elected as the Member for Hastings at the 2022 Victorian election. 

Notice of result - published 28 March 2023

For further information on the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council by-election, visit the VEC website: Watson Ward By-election | Victorian Electoral Commission 

  Previous notices

2023 Watson Ward By-election - Call for candidates

Call for candidates for upcoming Mornington Peninsula Shire Council by-election

Nominations to stand as a candidate for the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Watson Ward by-election open on Thursday 9 February.

Nomination forms must be lodged in person, together with the $250 nomination fee, with the election manager during business hours. The election office will operate on weekdays from Thursday 9 February to Friday 17 March at:

  • 21 High Street, Hastings.

Nominations close at 12 noon on Tuesday 14 February. Late nominations cannot be accepted.

Prospective candidates can call the election manager from Wednesday 8 February on 1300 202 885 to make a nomination appointment. They can also pre-fill their nomination form online using the VEC’s Candidate Helper at

Candidate information kits containing nomination forms and other electoral information will be available on request by contacting the election manager.

Further information on nominating as a candidate is available at

2023 extraordinary vacancies

The Victorian Electoral Commission has been advised the Mornington Peninsula Shire has two extraordinary vacancies

Watson Ward

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) declared Councillor Paul Mercurio the elected Member of Parliament for the seat of Hastings on Friday 9 December 2022.

Media release: Victorian election result

As a result, Cr Mercurio resigned from Council and the VEC were advised the Mornington Peninsula Shire had an extraordinary vacancy.

The By-election for a new Watson ward councillor will take place on 18 March 2023. Visit the VEC website for information for residents/candidates of the Watson Ward.

VEC media release: Mornington Peninsula Shire Council by-election set

Download: By-election-timeline-18-March-2023.pdf(PDF, 292KB)


Watson Ward By-election Candidates

Candidates announced for Mornington Peninsula Shire Council postal by-election

A total of 6 candidates have nominated in the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Watson Ward by-election. The candidates, in ballot paper order, are:

  • BORZECKI, Stefan
  • STEPHENS, Michael
  • CLARKE, Rob
  • LOOIS, Ben
  • BEVERIDGE, Susie
  • ROPER, Kate

Further information provided by the candidates about their background and qualifications:

Candidate Statements(PDF, 236KB)

Questionnaire and Answers(PDF, 581KB)

For further information on the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council by-election, visit the VEC website: Watson Ward By-election | Victorian Electoral Commission


Information for Candidates

Information for Candidates

Electoral Signage Guidelines

Signage on the Mornington Peninsula must comply with:

- The Mornington Peninsula Community Amenity Local Law 2022
- The Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme
- The Environment Protection Act 1970

The following guidelines provide for the placement of all signage within the Mornington Peninsula Shire: Electoral-Signage-Guidelines.pdf(PDF, 322KB)

Candidate Information Request Register

All requests for information by Watson Ward By-election Candidates will be added to this Register to ensure equity of information for all candidates.

The Register will be updated regularly by the Council's Governance team.

Any enquiries regarding the Candidate Information Request Register can be directed to Council’s Governance team at

Information Request Register(PDF, 203KB)

Election Campaign Donation Returns

Local government election candidates are required by law to provide a record of whether they did or didn’t receive any donations or gifts, including in-kind support, for their election campaign.

The Local Government Inspectorate is the integrity agency for local government in Victoria and investigates alleged breaches of the Local Government Act 2020, including electoral offences. The Inspectorate monitors the submission of Campaign Donation Returns by candidates in council elections and may prosecute any candidate who fails to comply with the Act.

Under the Act, all candidates in Victorian council elections must submit a return within 40 days of election day.

Candidates for the 2023 Watson Ward By-election must complete and submit their forms to the Chief Executive Officer at or by post to
Mr John Baker, Chief Executive Officer
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
Private Bag 1000

If you were a candidate in 2023 Watson Ward By-election you must submit a return. The form, and FAQ guide, can be downloaded below.

If you were not elected and/or you received no donations, you still must submit a return.

On the form, you must include:
all monetary donations over the value of $500
all donations of in-kind support over the value of $500
all donations of services over the value of $500
all donations from the same person or body, if the combined value of the donations you received from that person or body is over $500

If you received no gifts, you must indicate this in the Details of Gifts’ section by writing ‘No disclosable gifts’ or words to that effect in the table provided. All fields must be filled out and the declaration signed by the candidate.

Failure to submit a Campaign Donation Return, or providing false or misleading information on a Campaign Donation Return, can result in prosecution and fines of more than $9900 (as of 1 July 2020). 

In accordance with section 307(2) of the Local Government Act 2020  the Chief Executive Officer must ensure that a summary of each election campaign donation return is made available on the Council's Internet site until the close of the roll for the next general election in 2024.

View a summary of the 2023 Candidates  Election Campaign Donation Returns(PDF, 210KB).

2023 Election Campaign Donation Return Form(PDF, 403KB)

Campaign donation return FAQ



Voting in the Watson Ward By-election

Voting in the Watson Ward by-election

Check the mail for your ballot pack Ballot packs containing voting material will be mailed to enrolled voters from Tuesday 28 February 2023. This is a postal election only. If you do not receive your ballot pack by Wednesday 8 March 2023, call 1300 202 885 during office hours to arrange a replacement.

How to vote correctly

You must complete your ballot paper correctly for your vote to count. Put the number 1 in the box next to the candidate you most want to see elected, then number ALL the other boxes in order of your choice. You must number EVERY BOX and only use each number once.

How to return your completed ballot paper

Follow the instructions on your ballot paper to complete your vote. To return your completed ballot paper, put it in the ballot paper envelope then use the reply-paid envelope provided or hand-deliver it during office hours to: 21 High Street, Hastings. Office hours are 9am to 5pm, with extended hours on Thursday 16 March (9am to 8pm) and Friday 17 March (9am to 6pm). Voting closes at 6pm on Friday 17 March.

Voting is compulsory

Voting is compulsory for all voters who were on the State roll at 4pm on Friday 20 January 2023. You may be fined if you do not vote — this includes homeowners and tenants.

You are encouraged to vote, but you will not be fined if you don't vote, if:

  • you live outside this local council area
  • you are enrolled directly with the Council to be on the voters' roll for this election.

Your completed ballot pack must be in the mail or hand-delivered by 6pm Friday 17 March 2023. Local mail clearance times vary. Ballot packs must be mailed before final clearance times in the last week of voting. Don't risk a fine.

For further information on the Watson Ward or to view the Watson Ward Map, see: Watson Ward