Personal reasons behind Haese’s surprise exit
A SERVING city councillor will today bid to become Adelaide’s first female Lord Mayor in almost two decades.
Sandy Verschoor is a former chief executive of the Adelaide Festival and the Fringe Festival and has also held key roles with WOMADelaide and the Festival of Ideas. She will nominate for Town Hall’s top job after making a decision late last week.
If successful at the November local government elections, she would become just FROM PAGE 1
His dramatic announcement, made with the full support of his wife of eight years Genevieve, also 52, throws open the race for Town Hall before nominations close tomorrow.
Insisting he was not “quitting”, he will continue in his role until the local poll on November 9 before “taking a break” and reassessing his options.
Not ruling out a return to public life but declining a short term move into state or federal politics, he said it was the first time “in 30 years where I have made a decision for myself”.
Having been favourite to win at the November local government elections, the former Rundle Mall chief last night backed his deputy Sandy Verschoor, aged in her 50s, to become the first female Town Hall leader in 18 years. Lawyer and former councillor Mark Hamilton, 66, is also running.
Mr Haese, widely respected by both major political parties, declined to elaborate on his reasons except to say some relatives were unwell and in need of his full attention and care.
“I have very recently made the decision to not recontest the Lord Mayoralty for personal and family reasons,” he said. “Having led … Adelaide’s first-ever gender balanced council, it has been an honour and privilege to serve the com- the third female Lord Mayor of Adelaide, and first since Dr Jane Lomax-Smith in 2000.
Other candidates to put Sandy Verschoor Deputy Lord Mayor, well known in arts circles will have the support of Martin Haese. Mark Hamilton A former Deputy Lord Mayor and councillor, was the first to announce his candidacy earlier this year. Steven Kelly The dance studio owner says he has an interest in providing designated free parking areas and addressing public safety. Who else may run... There is speculation two-time Labor candidate Jo Chapley has considered a bid. Failed 2014 candidate and Parklands crusader Kelly Henderson has received a reprieve from a bankruptcy order the council is seeking against her to be able to nominate again. munity. I sincerely thank the ratepayers for supporting my community leadership.” He added: “I have the deepest admiration for my wife Genevieve, who has done an extraordinary job as Lady Mayoress. I am confident that I have left … Adelaide considerably stronger than I found it and I will remain focused on performing my duties until November 2018.
“The demands on the Lord Mayor are intense and my … decision is based upon my desire to put my family first. Adelaide has the opportunity to become a truly international city and I hope to play a role to assist with that in future years.”
Outlining his legacy last night, Mr Haese wished the new council “every success”.
He said he had helped deliver “many transformational projects” including a pioneering internet and Wi-Fi project, a carbon neutral emission policy and the $34 million purchase of the controversial Le Cornu site. He also introduced better quality public services.
Mr Haese, a founder of retail chain YouthWorks, thanked the “many people for supporting me”, including councillors and staff as well as former Premier Jay Weatherill and current leader Steven Marshall.
Political and industry sources say he enjoyed respect from both parties, various levels of the public service as well as in business and community.
Council sources also said he had overseen the youngest elected body in history that was largely free of infighting.
He became Adelaide’s 63rd Lord Mayor in 2014 after beating Stephen Yarwood by just 218 votes, in the second-narrowest victory in recent council history.
THANKFUL: Genevieve and Martin Haese in his office at Adelaide Town Hall yesterday.
LEADER: Sandy Verschoor.