TATE: I DO NOT KNOW WHEN I’LL BE BACK

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - LEA EMERY

DONNA Gates is run­ning the Gold Coast “in­def­i­nitely’’ while Mayor Tom Tate un­der­goes treat­ment for bowel cancer.

Cr Tate yes­ter­day handed the Deputy Mayor greater re­spon­si­bil­ity, el­e­vat­ing her to the role of Act­ing Mayor.

“Donna Gates is go­ing to be the act­ing mayor as of (to­day) un­til fur­ther no­tice,” Cr Tate told coun­cil­lors at yes­ter­day’s full coun­cil meet­ing.

“I don’t know how long I am go­ing to be away.”

The han­dover of may­oral chains came af­ter Cr Tate re­vealed on Mon­day he was di­ag­nosed with bowel cancer.

He will un­dergo surgery to­day to re­move po­ten­tially can­cer­ous tis­sue.

Last month Cr Tate un­der­went surgery to re­move polyps from his colon, which have since been found to be can­cer­ous.

Cr Tate was vis­i­bly emo­tional when he fronted the me­dia af­ter the meet­ing.

He wiped an eye vig­or­ously be­fore bravely turn­ing to the cam­eras with a wide smile.

“What are we talk­ing about?” he said to re­porters.

Asked about his health, Cr Tate said in a bro­ken voice: “I’m ner­vous.’’

Cr Tate said he wanted to “take some time” with wife Ruth fol­low­ing his surgery, which was why he left his re­turn open-ended.

“Surgery is in­tru­sive,” he said.

“My com­ment re­flects on Donna’s ca­pa­bil­ity.

“My at­ti­tude is the city is in good hands and there is no ur­gency. While Donna is Act­ing Mayor the city won’t have missed a beat.”

It has been a hor­ror year for Cr Tate per­son­ally, with his wife Ruth suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack at Sin­ga­pore air­port in July.

Cr Tate said he was un­sure of the ef­fect the cancer scare would have on his po­lit­i­cal fu­ture, with an elec­tion in 2020.

“It’s re­ally go­ing to be up to how Ruth is. My at­ti­tude is that we are a team. If Ruth is happy we will keep go­ing.” he said.

“If she has had enough of that, then I’ll have had enough.”

Cr Gates was Act­ing Mayor last month while Cr Tate was in Malaysia for Com­mon­wealth Games Ba­ton Re­lay cel­e­bra­tions.

How­ever the long-time coun­cil­lor rarely steps into the may­oral robes, with Cr Tate keep­ing a tight hold on the of­fice even while over­seas.

Cr Tate’s over­seas trade mis­sions are also or­gan­ised around full coun­cil meet­ings to en­sure he is in the city to chair them.

Cr Tate said yes­ter­day he was usu­ally go­ing at full speed but now had to slow down “a lit­tle bit”.

“How can you con­tain your pas­sion for the city when you love it so much?” he said.

The Mayor would be main­tain­ing a close watch, say­ing he would have his tablet with him.

Cr Gates, who ap­peared up­set at times yes­ter­day but was also able to en­joy a smile and some lev­ity with other coun­cil­lors, said the news came as a “huge shock”.

“The thoughts of all the coun­cil­lors are ob­vi­ously with him and we wish him well to­day and pray for the best out­come,” she said.

“(It’s) a huge shock and he was sim­ply hav­ing a full health test at the re­quest of his wife be­cause of her re­cent health is­sues.”

Cr Tate will un­dergo surgery to­day to re­move the next layer of cells, which will be tested for cancer. It was not clear yet whether chemo­ther­apy or ra­di­a­tion treat­ment was needed.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.

Act­ing Mayor Donna Gates.

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