There was a lot of early speculation about Surrey Hills resident Christine Forster becoming the Liberal Party’s Lord Mayoral candidate, however aspiring weightlifting champion Edward Mandla overcame her star power to claim the number 1 spot.
Mr Mandla ran for the State seat of Sydney in 2007, taking 21.6% of first preferences, which is about half of Clover’s haul.
Mandla will replace Shayne Mallard, who is leaving council to run for the State seat of Sydney, vacated by Clover Moore due to recent legislation.
He told the South Sydney Herald (page 4) that he has spent more than 10 years making voluntary contributions to the broader community, with a special emphasis on improving computer literacy for school children, broadband internet access to households and work-life balance within the information technology sector.
The Liberal party have been rolling out the brass in this campaign, with support being lent by the Federal Member for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull, who is popular with inner Sydney voters. The Federal opposition leader Tony Abbot was pounding the pavement in support of his sister, Ms Forster.
Labor’s no.2 candidate, Damian Spruce, positioned Mr Mandla as a member of the “hard right” in an op-ed in New Matilda, accusing the Liberals of “running a classic Thatcherite campaign: cut rates, cut back services, and pull (they hope) the votes of the increasingly wealthy and gentrified areas of the City of Sydney.”
The Liberals are promising a 10% rate cut to businesses and residents that Mr Mandla said will be funded by cutting back on Clover Moore’s “nutty policies”. In a last minute interview with the SMH, former Lord Mayor Lucy Tunbull threw her weight behind this campaign, giving a little insight as to how this particular phrase was concocted:
[Ms Turnbull] joined the former Liberal-aligned independent councillor Kathryn Greiner in saying the Liberal ticket’s use of the word ”nutty” in criticising Cr Moore’s policies during the campaign was fair. ”It would be crossing the line saying ‘witchy’ schemes, that would be going on the wrong side of the line, but nutty is a gender-neutral [term],” said Ms Turnbull, drawing a distinction from recent media attacks on women in politics, including Cr Moore.
Without cutting services or staff, a 10% rate cut would take $650 million out of the Council’s 10-year budget, leaving the City $435 million in the red, according to the Council’s chief executive, Monica Barone.
Mr Mandla is also targeting jobs, wishing to make significant cuts to the council’s 1,700 full time staff and will cut capital spending by $250 million.
According to Ms Forster, the City’s Trigeneration network would be ditched under a Liberal council because it was “not council’s core business”.
Investment in the City’s bike paths would be “investigated immediately” according to Mr Mandla, because “we have bike paths to nowhere, cyclists get to the end and they don’t know where to go.”
The Liberals have promised, in their glossy printed material, to bring in 15 minutes free parking for local shopping areas as a means to revive business. With the transport slogan: ‘We like bikes, we love walking but we don’t hate cars’, they will ensure each apartment gets at least 1 car space in all new developments.
“People should not be made to feel bad or shameful about owning cars,” Mr Mandla said.
Christine Forster was number 2 on the Liberals ticket, part of an emerging pattern of gay and lesbian candidates preselected by the Liberal party to run in the inner city. Adrian Bartels ran for the State seat of Sydney in 2011, Shayne Mallard ran for the same seat in the 2012 by-election and Sean O’Connor was preselected to run against Labor’s Tanya Plibersek in next year’s Federal election. All are openly gay candidates.
Sean O’Conner was third on the Liberal’s council ticket.