Tomorrow is Local Government election time across New South Wales. I'm voting in the Central Ward of the Marrickville LGA. As in past federal and state elections since I commenced this blog in 2004, I am laying my voting intentions out quite clearly on these pages.
I will be casting my first preference vote for the Greens ticket led by Max Phillips. My second preference will go to the "independent" ticket led by Joseph Capogreco.
A brief background follows, after which I give my assessment of each ticket on the Central Ward ballot.
Marrickville Council is divided into four wards of three councillors each. The current party breakdown is Greens 5, Labor 4, independents 3. This is the first occasion in modern times that the Labor Party has not had control of Marrickville Council. Prior to the last election in March 2004, they changed the ward structure from three wards of four councillors each to the present configuration, thinking that they could return two Labor councillors from each ward. The move backfired.
There is no direct election for mayor in Marrickville, the position being chosen by election of councillors every twelve months (although the past two council terms were four and a half years each, so as to move the council election cycle to the year after the state election cycle). The loss of control of the council by Labor in 2004 brought an end to the 12 year reign of Barry Cotter (ironically, the first and only Mayor of Marrickville to come from the Labor left-wing). Independent Morris Hanna was elected mayor in March 2004. Sam Byrne became Marrickville's first Greens mayor in September 2005.
In September 2006, Hanna was re-elected mayor over Byrne after the ballot was tied at 6-6 and a draw was made from a hat.
In September 2007, a 6-6 tie was again broken by a draw of lots, independent Dimitrios Thanos (backed by the Greens) victorious over Morris Hanna (backed by the Labor Party).
In both 2006 and 2007, Peter Olive of the Greens had been declared Deputy Mayor following a 6-6 deadlock. (Sam Byrne was deputy mayor in 2004-05, and Dimi Thanos in 2005-06).
The incumbent councillors in Central Ward are Saeed Khan (The Greens), Sam Iskandar (Labor) and Victor Macri (independent). Khan is not seeking re-election, though he appears at number three on the Greens' ticket to make up the numbers.
In addition to Khan, Sam Byrne and Colin Hesse from the Greens are not seeking re-election, while Iskandar is the only Labor councillor standing at this election. Cotter was bestowed with the title of "Emeritus Mayor" at last month's council meeting, the last prior to this election.
Next up: My assessment of the Central Ward candidates, and briefly of the other wards.