Per­sonal rea­sons be­hind Haese’s sur­prise exit

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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.

Pic­ture: DEAN MARTIN/AAP

THANK­FUL: Genevieve and Martin Haese in his of­fice at Ade­laide Town Hall yes­ter­day.

LEADER: Sandy Ver­schoor.

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