Will­cox deals with ‘neme­sis’

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sharon Small­wood

AN­DREW Will­cox has an ele­phant in the room when it comes to se­cur­ing votes in Air­lie Beach.

His name is Mike Brunker.

Cr Will­cox, who wants to rise from deputy mayor to mayor in the next term of Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, will be va­cat­ing his Divi­sion 6 seat to do so.

And for­mer mayor Mike Brunker is stand­ing in his stead.

For many at­tend­ing a busi­ness lunch hosted by Cr Will­cox in Air­lie Beach last week, this sent shiv­ers down spines.

Fish D’Vine co-owner Kevin Collins, whose venue hosted the lunch, was first to brave the topic, say­ing Mr Brunker was “all over so­cial me­dia, happy to stick it to Air­lie Beach”.

“How are you go­ing to deal with that?” he asked.

“He’s also say­ing he’s go­ing to have his hand up your back – that you’re go­ing to kiss the baby and he’s go­ing to run the show – so how do you cope with that?”

“That’s a great ques­tion,” Cr Will­cox replied.

“It’s my neme­sis ac­tu­ally. I hear about it all the time.”

Cr Will­cox said con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, “I have very lit­tle to do with Mike Brunker”.

“I’ve been to his place once and I ac­tu­ally went there that once be­cause I was asked by peo­ple to tell him not to run,” he said.

Cr Will­cox noted if elected to Divi­sion 6, Mr Brunker would only be one vote.

“(But) I know that’s the ele­phant in the room and I re­ally want to ad­dress it,” he said.

“I’m my own man... and I’m here to run on my mer­its, on what I’m about and what I’m do­ing (and) I think it would be a gross in­jus­tice for me to get cru­ci­fied be­cause some­one else from my town… is per­ceived to have done some­thing wrong down here.

“I think there’s been too much look­ing back... I think we need to move for­ward and if he gets in and I get in I will cer­tainly be telling him to move for­ward. The whis­tle needs to be blown.”

Cr Will­cox also said he didn’t be­lieve there was any truth to ru­mours about a plan to re-in­state for­mer Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil CEO John Fin­lay.

And he was firm on find­ing a way to end the northsouth di­vide, say­ing, “I don’t want to de-amal­ga­mate, be­cause I be­lieve the more straws you’ve got in the milk, the more milk you can drink”.

FRANK TALK­ING: An­drew Will­cox ad­dress­ing the "ele­phant in the room" at a busi­ness lunch last week.

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