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Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

Ballina’s lead mayoral candidate determined to ‘keep politics out of the council’ despite past links to The Nationals

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Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader. Photo David Lowe.

The lead candidate for Ballina Mayor has objected to suggestions she could be influenced by party politics.

Independent incumbent Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader looked very likely on Tuesday morning to become Ballina’s next mayor, having received more than 38% of first preference votes counted.

There were still around seven thousand ballots to be counted in the shire, technically giving three of the other four candidates a chance at catching up to or taking over Cr Cadwallader’s position.

But if current percentages stayed the same, voter preferences would need to be taken into account.

Cr Cadwallader likely to win Ballina Mayor on preferences

Former Greens-turned independent Cr Jeff Johnson was running second in the mayoral race at slightly less than 25% of first preferences and would likely be hoping to get preferences from those who voted for Labor candidate Keith Williams.

Cr Williams had just over 15% of first preferences.

But Cr Cadwallader had suggested on her how-to-vote cards that people preference Cr Eoin Johnston second and given he had achieved more than 13% of first preferences, the only woman running for Ballina Mayor looked almost certain to end up with more than 50% of the vote.

The only plausible disruption would be if voters declined to preference or if the way they preferenced was out of step with Cr Cadwallader’s suggestions.

Party? What party? Conservative council candidates determined to keep party politics off the agenda

Most political parties publicly endorsed local government candidates in NSW, including the Liberals, Labor, The Greens and The Animal Justice Party, although The Sydney Morning Herald reported several Liberals who failed to win party endorsement and so ran as independents.

But The Nationals refused to openly endorse any local government candidates, leaving many to simply describe themselves as conservative and to add that party politics had no place in local government.

Cr Alan Hunter in the Byron Shire was an example.

Readers of The Echo have become increasingly impatient with council candidates who have past or present links to political parties but are either slow to disclose them, or insist they have no bearing on their status as independents.

Former Nationals member looks forward to working with regional Greens and Labor elected reps

Last week The Echo ran an article speculating on whether an era of true non-partisanship in the Ballina Shire would be over, given past links of the top two mayoral candidates to political parties.

Cr Cadwallader was a former Nationals member, having served as Chair of The Nationals’ Women’s Council and running in a pre-selection for the party’s Ballina state parliamentary seat candidate in 2014.

But Cr Cadwallader objected to the suggestion she could be anything but independent.

‘As the frontrunner in the counting, I wanted to emphasise as I did throughout the campaign that my aim as mayor would be to continue the tradition of keeping politics out of the council and putting locals first,’ Cr Cadwallader wrote to The Echo.

‘I am not a member of any political party, neither are any members of my team in contention for election and we received no support from the Nationals or any other party,’ Cr Cadwallader wrote.

‘We’ve received great encouragement and best wishes from people on all sides of politics.’

Cr Cadwallader said she especially looked forward to working with [The Greens] state Member for Ballina Tamara Smith, [Country Labor] federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliott and [The Nationals] federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan.

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  1. Good on her, with luck the next mayor of Ballina. I don’t mind what political party she may, or may not be aligned with, as long as it’s not the watermelon Greens – I know she is not

  2. This from a candidate who had an antivax flat earth looney on her preference ticket, had enough campaign money to put on television ads, which no other candidate could afford, and half hourly ads on paradise fm radio saying other candidates wanted you to drink toilet water and politicised the water discussion with rouse water. Good luck with that! Fake independent, just own up.

  3. I’d love it if she could also whole heartedly promise she has no commercial affiliations either. I always worry when I see real estate people on council teams. Not sure of Sharon’s team but our new Lismore mayor has at least one team member affiliated with LJ Hooker.
    I’m not quite sure I believe the lady’s protestations at this point. I read a new term (to me( recently – ‘pretendependents’ … I think they’re a bit like a political version of new covid variants.

  4. The definition off Politics is: “The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.”
    So politics is not the physical of whether you are a member or not a member or have paid-up your membership of a party. Or have a membership card that you entitles you to belong to a certain political party.
    It is not that. It is the debate, the emotion, the mentality, the attitude, the experience, the mind-set, the subjective thinking of a person or group.
    It is what Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson argued and write about and against each other in “The City and the Bush” Both looking at the City and the Bush and both telling a different story
    Up the Country, Henry Lawson:
    I am back from up the country — very sorry that I went —
    Seeking for the Southern poets’ land whereon to pitch my tent;
    I have lost a lot of idols, which were broken on the track,
    Burnt a lot of fancy verses, and I’m glad that I am back.

  5. Good luck trying to work with Tamara Smith on anything. She doesn’t even show up to meetings with her own supporters or constituents. Too busy eating poke bowls in Byron cafes.

    • Sarah,
      That’s really an un-necessary & bitchy thing to say. Tamara Smith MP is our state member for Ballina & is now serving her second term, which means she was endorsed by electors in the 2019 for doing things well.

  6. “Past” links to the Nationals is she serious?, present links, and actual help from the Nationals is how she and her purple disguised “Independent”/Nationals team got elected. We are now going to see Ballina council politicised like never before, there will certainly be payback to the Nationals at our expense.

  7. Having attended many Council.meetings since 2016 I have witnessed 2 consistently ego driven Councillors who are clearly legends in their own minds.Anyone who attended the Breahfast with the Mayoral candidates at the RSL witnessed the eminent pair at loggerheads about the Dunnon Dam options and one is Chairman of Rous and the other his Deputy chairperson. Williams imploded and called her out as lying. The Sharon Cabwallader Party leader and Mayor elect proceeded to use the breakfast as an advertising opportunity.
    I asked 1 question about Mayor und we standing and support for holistic enterprise risk assessment and management
    Only Jeff Johnson responded and showed he understood it and supported it. And this HERA process will become Ballina Councils new profess in 2022 with training for Councillors already booked with Prof Jim Joy.
    Let’s see how Sharon implements a process that removes her power and forces real decisions impartially but professionally
    I will be there Sharon and others and you will be held accountable under LGA legislation to get it right m
    John Bout

  8. Stop whinging you lot and get behind Sharon.She’s proved herself a genuine and popular councillor over many years.I’ve heard her apply commonsense rationale and guts on several issues and know she is a worthy Ballina mayor when elected.If you blokes shape up and give her the support she deserves Ballina Shire citizens will be in good hands for the next few years

  9. It would be nice if you people could stop your gloomy whinging. I have heard Sharon speak with enthusiasm, commonsense and pleasing rationale on many occasions.If a subject requires research she will be there and definitely voting in the best interests of shire residents. Back off and support this long time councillor and worthy mayor. I hope.

  10. Well said Nev. she certainly seems to have sucked you in, but her “Independent” team was very good at deception, that may cost them in the future.

  11. Sharon Cadwallader is a conscientious long-serving councillor. However, it’s a mistake for *anyone* to think that being involved with local government can be non-political. It’d be like saying cars don’t contribute to traffic jams! She’s probably trying to make people forget she was a National! There’s at least one other National in her team. And I have to say I was not at all impressed with the pro-Dunnon Dam push & talk of poo water – pathetic scaremongering.
    I just hope the new councillors will get on with working to make Ballina Shire a better place & that includes preserving the natural environment and controlling the developers .


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