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Former MP Cleary runs for Melbourne mayor

AAP logoAAP 7/09/2016

A call to arms from anxious Queen Victoria Market stallholders and concerns about where Melbourne's money is going has former federal MP and Victorian sporting personality Phil Cleary back on the campaign trail.

The 63-year-old from Brunswick wants to become Melbourne's next lord mayor.

Mr Cleary was approached by several stallholders concerned about their future after the council agreed to redevelop the site.

"I understood their pain, and thought what (current mayor) Robert Doyle was proposing unbelievably destructive and expensive," he told AAP.

"Within a blink of an eye they were asking me to run for lord mayor."

He launched his campaign outside the market on Thursday.

Mr Cleary became the first independent MP to take the safe Labor seat of Wills in 1992, formerly held by former prime minister Bob Hawke.

He remained in politics until 1996, when the Labor Party won the seat back.

Mr Cleary thinks it might give him an edge against Mr Doyle, who was a former Liberal Party leader in Victoria.

"Robert Doyle is a product of the Liberal Party machinery, I'm not a product of any machinery," he said.

Having voted on four federal budgets while he was an MP, Mr Cleary hopes to revisit the way money is invested by the council.

"A lot of the investment is going into shoebox towers that are uninhabited," he said.

Housing for the homeless in Melbourne is a priority for Mr Cleary, who hopes to address the issue by hosting a forum to understand the "systemic problems" hindering lasting solutions.

He believes smart investment in renewable energy would contribute to lower costs for ratepayers and he is campaigning to have the MCG converted to an "iconic renewable energy centre".

People's view of the current leadership was waning, he said.

"It's time for him (Mr Doyle) to go ... He's had two terms, I don't see the point of anyone going beyond two terms."

Council elections will be held in October.

Comment was being sought from Mr Doyle.

The lord mayor is avoiding a war of words with Mr Cleary.

"I don't intend to comment on other candidates," Mr Doyle told AAP on Thursday.

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