Old feud reignites


Wanneroo Weekender - - Front Page - Mark Don­ald­son

IT’S on be­tween Rob John­son and Al­bert Ja­cob in the race for Mayor of Joon­dalup.

For­mer Hil­larys MLA Mr John­son has an­nounced his can­di­dacy as he looks to pre­vent his for­mer Lib­eral Party col­league Mr Ja­cob from win­ning the chair.

Mr John­son, a Kal­la­roo res­i­dent, said he would not mind see­ing ri­val can­di­date Rus­sell Poli­wka claim vic­tory be­cause he did not con­sider Mr Ja­cob the right man for the job.

Mr John­son’s op­po­si­tion to Mr Ja­cob stems back to their time in State Gov­ern­ment when Mr Ja­cob was Ocean Reef MLA.

Mr John­son of­ten crit­i­cised Mr Ja­cob’s af­fil­i­a­tion with Glob­al­heart Church and the in­flu­ence he per­ceived Glob­al­heart had in lo­cal pol­i­tics through Mr Ja­cob and other church as­so­ciates, such as for­mer Joon­dalup MLA Jan Nor­berger and Moore MHR Ian Good­e­nough.

He said his cam­paign for mayor would fol­low a sim­i­lar line.

“My be­lief is that there would be an un­healthy in­flu­ence from a re­li­gious sect in the north­ern sub­urbs on what­ever hap­pens in coun­cil,” he said.

Mr Ja­cob has in­di­cated in past me­dia in­ter­views that his role in the church did not in­flu­ence his role as a politi­cian, par­tic­u­larly in re­spect to fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions.

“My in­volve­ment in the church is as a com­mu­nity-based mem­ber­ship and I do not have any direct pe­cu­niary in­ter­ests in my church,” he was quoted as say­ing in Jan­uary.

In a 2011 in­ter­view with a church mag­a­zine, he said: “I am elected to be the rep­re­sen­ta­tive voice of ev­ery­one in my con­stituency, not just the Chris­tians”.

Joon­dalup-based Glob­al­heart, a Pen­te­costal church, de­nies any as­so­ci­a­tion with pol­i­tics.

Mr John­son said his cam­paign would also fo­cus on the sub­urbs, ac­cus­ing cur­rent Mayor Troy Pickard of pay­ing too much at­ten­tion to the Joon­dalup city cen­tre.

Mr John­son claimed res­i­dents, par­tic­u­larly se­niors, were un­happy in the sub­urbs “where no money has been spent for years and years”.

“I’m op­posed to van­ity projects like the $100 mil­lion per­form­ing arts cen­tre – we can’t af­ford that at the mo­ment,” he said.

“We need to get back to ba­sics and look af­ter the peo­ple in the sub­urbs, I don’t be­lieve the coun­cil has been do­ing that enough.

He used the ten­sion sur­round­ing var­i­ous pro­pos­als to find a new home for Joon­dalup United Foot­ball Club as an ex­am­ple of when he con­sid­ered the coun­cil had not lis­tened to its res­i­dents.

The coun­cil was met with strong op­po­si­tion with its pro­pos­als to house the club at For­rest Park in Pad­bury, War­randyte Park in Craigie and Bel­don Park.

“I’ve got noth­ing against the club and I’ve al­ways said they should find an area where it’s not go­ing to af­fect lo­cal res­i­dents and be op­posed by lo­cal res­i­dents,” Mr John­son said.

It would be a re­turn to Mr John­son’s po­lit­i­cal roots in lo­cal gov­ern­ment if he was to win the elec­tion.

He was mayor of Lon­don bor­ough Sut­ton be­fore mov­ing to Perth and be­com­ing Mayor of Wan­neroo.

He be­came a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure to­wards the end of his two decades-plus in State Par­lia­ment.

Mr John­son was sacked as Emer­gency Ser­vices Min­is­ter in 2011 af­ter what crit­ics deemed a lack of re­sponse in the wake of the hills bush­fires. The fol­low­ing year then-Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett sacked him as Po­lice Min­is­ter.

Mr John­son said he had con­sid­ered run­ning for mayor for about two months be­fore mak­ing the an­nounce­ment this week.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey d473064

Rob John­son at Hil­larys Boat Har­bour.

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