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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Mayoral candidates show their colours

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Chris Dobney

The starter’s gun has sounded and the 2012 council election race is off and running.

In three of the four shires covered by Echonetdaily, a simultaneous race is being run for mayor, and in two of these the incumbent is retiring.

Byron Shire has six candidates for the role, with the all-important top of the card being claimed by independent candidate Jack Sugarman. He will be followed on the ballot paper by homeless advocate Morgan, sitting councillors Diane Woods, Basil Cameron (Sustainable Futures), Simon Richardson (The Greens) and another first-timer, Sol Ibrahim.

If voters continue with their current patterns, Richardson would be the logical successor to retiring mayor (and now Greens MLC) Jan Barham. Other likely contenders are current deputy mayor Basil Cameron and business-minded independent Diane Woods, both of whom are also heading up groups of candidates.

In Ballina, where long-term mayor Phil Silver is calling it a day, the field is wide open. Sitting councillor Sharon Cadwallader is top of the ticket and is generally seen as a centrist candidate with views falling between the Greens and the more pro-development councillors.

She is followed by The Greens’ Jeff Johnson, who has begun with a strong campaign against the council’s commercial activities that the Greens say have been bleeding the council’s coffers dry.

Keith Williams is not sitting on the current council and is involved with Ballina-based Australian Seabird Rescue. The mayoral voting card in that shire will also include the youngest sitting councillor, Ben Smith, plus David Wright and Sue Meehan.

In Lismore City, popular sitting mayor Jenny Dowell is not going anywhere but she has been well and truly beaten to the top of the ballot paper.

Local broadcaster Neil Marks has nabbed that spot, followed by Graham Meineke.

Liberal businessman Gianpiero Battista is next, with the only new face on the ticket, Nimbin’s Greg Bennet, drawing the short straw at the bottom of the list.

Earlier in the week it appeared that Greens candidate Vanessa Ekins was going to put up her hand for the role, but her lack of appearance on the final ballot paper shores up Dowell’s chances of another term.

Tweed Shire Council does not hold direct elections for the position of mayor.

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  1. For whom does Chris Dobney vote? Apparently the Green Party – given his statement that Simon Richardson would be the “logical successor”.

    Begs the question: Is it “logical” to vote for a person/Councillor who permitted Council staff to squander a fortune on reports, meetings and bogus “legal advice” regarding the ‘vanpacker’ and other issues; and then made a fool of himself by voting in favour of Council inventing a “new definition” of camping – when Courts of Law may only apply the dictionary definition in relation to charging a human being with an Offence?

    Or would it be more “logical” to vote for this Candidate (Morgan) who – obviously – being better educated than Simon Richardson in relation to politics and law would not have wasted a cent of ratepayer funds on such a ridiculous farce. (No question mark because the question is rhetorical).

    The current deputy Mayor, Basil Cameron is a co-offender to the folly of Simon Richardson; both have demonstrated total ignorance of the Australian political and legal system; as too, a total inability to prioritize expenditure – squandering ratepayer funds that should have been used to repair roads and clean toilets (among numerous other things).

    Likewise, Diane Woods, has permitted Council to squander funds – not exactly “business minded”. The implication that this Candidate for Mayor is not “business minded” is inaccurate; and, whilst not being privy to the business qualifications of Ms Wood, I will state with confidence that the business and accounting skills of this Candidate would prove to be more than adequate.

    The attempt to degrade the public profile of this Candidate for Mayor, thus sabotage the political process, with the inaccurate single alleged “true colour” – “homeless advocate Morgan”, rather than a more accurate description, business minded, well-educated (including in politics and law) human rights advocate Morgan (Independent), could constitute an Offence under electoral guidelines.

    I will assume that Simon Richardson was not a party to your Offence. Despite the fact that Simon has demonstrated that he lacks the necessary education to hold the Office of Mayor – he is a ‘nice guy’ whom I am certain would not deliberately insult one nor stoop so low in order to get elected.

    You have effectively – and incorrectly implied that this Candidate for Mayor is a single issue Candidate and the single issue is “homelessness”; and that this Candidate is not “business minded” with inference – not qualified to conduct business. For your information, and for the information of the readers whom you have attempted to politically persuade via your inaccurate description of this Candidate, my “true colours” include the entire spectrum of Byron Shire – “rainbow country”.

    Whilst you have a right to express your inaccurate perceptions of this Candidate, you do not have a legal right to falsely state, or imply, that your narrow inaccurate perception of this Candidate stands for election wholly on the issue of “homelessness” within Byron Shire. I am an Independent Candidate for Mayor who intends to address every issue confronting the citizens of Byron Shire – with the assistance and participation of Councillors, Council staff and the citizens of Byron Shire.


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