A prominent Byron Greens member has broken the party’s silence over the selection, election and subsequent defection of prominent real estate agent Rose Wanchap on Byron Shire Council.
Tom Tabart, a former Byron shire councillor and Byron Greens convenor, has written to Echonetdaily to finally apologise and hopefully put to bed the sorry saga that has plagued the party and the council for four years, resulting in a massive lurch to the right against voters’ intentions.
Mr Tabart has confirmed he will be nominating for the Greens 2016 council ticket but says he and all other nominees will face a tougher grilling than Ms Wanchap got in 2012.
According to the new process, any nominee for council will firstly have to get three other Greens members to approve their nomination, then front election committee to be questioned.
The committee than will have right to accept or refuse any nomination.
This will be followed by a ballot of the membership to determine positions on the ticket.
‘This will ensure anyone the least bit sus gets a good grilling,’ Mr Tabart told Echonetdaily.
‘Rose went through the whole meet the candidates and basically didn’t say a word on any of the things that she was going to vote against us on,’ he added.
In his letter to the editor, published today, Mr Tabart said, ‘In 2012 the Greens and I made a huge mistake in endorsing Rose, we were very wrong and sincerely regret our lack of foresight and the subsequent damage caused.
‘In leaving the Greens and joining the pro-development faction early in the current term of Council, Rose Wanchap destroyed the political model voted for in 2012 by the Byron electors and enabled decisions contrary to their clearly expressed values.
‘There’s been no shortage of people making it patently clear to Rose that through her actions she has betrayed her local community. She still appears to think she’s done nothing ethically wrong and we have found to our cost that “the lady’s not for turning”.’
Asked whether he thought it was appropriate for a real estate agent to be selected by the party, given its strong stance against developer donations, Mr Tabart said, ‘she seemed like a very alternative sort of real estate agent.’
Cr Wanchap, along with Greens Cr Duncan Dey and mayor Simon Richardson, were in council session at time of writing and could not be contacted for comment.