Chamber-time in Leichhardt Council was interesting on Tuesday night.
I’ve already written about the ALP-Greens deal and Cr Byrne. But the speeches, tone and behaviours on the night were, well, entertaining if intellectually depressing.
First, we had continual rank politicking in every speech from the Greens. The opening address from Councillor 11%, aside from a moving personal revelation, was what you’d expect to find in your letterbox before an election.
With the delightful claim that the Green performance was good despite losing a swing of 11%. Ahh, spin, thy name is a losing politician. Even Cr Byrne pumped up Labor’s performance, though it was dismal and relied on a great performance from the man himself in Rozelle Ward to get a good overall vote. Both leftists ignored Vera-Ann Hannaford’s groundbreaking win in Annandale and the swing to the Liberals.
The Mayoral vote was fun to watch. It was a joy to see Cr Byrne panic and scramble to lodge a nomination when he realised the Liberals weren’t nominating to oppose Cr 11%. But it paled into insignificance next to the fallen face of our outgoing Mayor when four Liberal hands were raised in unison to deliver the Mayoral chain to the Inner West’s own version of Mark Latham.
As Cr Byrne mentioned later, the arrogance and entitlement of the Greens was their own undoing. No surprise there.
But frankly, I don’t see how Cr Byrne ever got to the point of possibly not being the Mayor. The Greens were never going to deal with the Liberals; and if the Liberals dealt with the Greens I’d personally egg their cars every day for the next four years.
The ALP had all the cards and it was only their silly posturing over dealing with the Liberals that created the risk of them not having the Mayoralty.
It would be nice for Cr Byrne to acknowledge that the Liberals – those hideous Tories he wouldn’t talk to – delivered him the Mayoralty. But that wouldn’t fit the grand, if fictitious, Labor narrative, would it?
Deputy Mayoral Pfaffing
Each party bloc put up a candidate: 4-4-4 the result. A draw to eliminate one: bye-bye Green Daniel Kogoy. A vote.
Four Liberals for Vera-Ann Hannaford. Four Labor for Linda Kelly. Three Greens for Linda Kelly. One vote for petulance from Green Michele McKenzie (abstention).
All votes exactly as expected and in keeping with known character.
Then we had the speeches. Oh dear.
Cr Byrne spoke well until he channelled Peter Sellers’ role of Fred Kite from I’m Alright Jack, a union satire from 1950s UK.
Cr Kogoy made the mistake of talking so much that he revealed both his intellect and character. A speech of cheap shots and a world view from straight from Ted Wheelwright and Frank Stilwell.
Cr Emsley showed himself to be something of an entertainer and reasonably thoughtful in the process. One can only hope he maintains the standard.
Cr Kelly revealed the sort of 1970s vulval-partisanship expected from someone with her background.
Overall there was an assumption from both Greens Party and Labor that they were grassroots and everyone else wasn’t. Conveniently overlooking the mass of Liberal volunteers at every streetstall – always outnumbering the Greens and Labor – and that if there was one party that could come out smiling after the election, it was the Libs.
Of the others only Michele McKenzie’s contribution is worthy of note. Above all else it was a rejection of local issues and a reassertion of the need to fight the State government at every turn. Oddly enough, a sentiment supported by Cr 11% in her negotiations with Labor, and by Cr Byrne on the night. She expressed her views in her standard agitated and somewhat scattered style. Some things never change.