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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Four Leaf Clover Overlooked at Town Hall

The control wielded by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and her bloc of independents at City of Sydney Council has been weakened overnight with the deposal of her deputy, John McInerney, to be replaced by Labor councillor Verity Firth.

Moore, who as the long-serving Independent Member for Bligh in NSW Parliament was a tireless campaigner for greater transparency and public deliberation in policymaking, has sparked controversy during her 18 month tenure as mayor for pulling in the opposite direction and, according to many, running scared from big business interests; most recently refusing to ban work on building sites on public holidays, despite similar bans in surrounding councils. Such was apparently the reason behind Greens councillor Chris Harris's decision to withdraw his support from Moore's bloc, forcing a spill of the Deputy Mayor position.

Moore was elected following the backlash from Labor's notorious and disastrous amalgamation of Sydney and South Sydney Councils, and Harris is amongst those who has criticised her for retaining her seat in parliament and the mayorship. What about the future? An imminent redistribution of Bligh will tailor the electorate to Moore's demographic, shedding the increasingly affluent areas such as Pyrmont that are becoming less sympathetic to her - it will be interesting to see whether she considers it worthwhile holding on to both roles. If she doesn't, there's a good possibility that Labor could win Town Hall - finally.

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