MAYORS AP­PAR­ENT

But could a mys­tery run­ner spoil the party?

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL WE­STON

WHO will be the next mayor of the Gold Coast? Po­lit­i­cal hope­fuls are se­cretly po­si­tion­ing them­selves now, and Mayor Tom Tate will play a key role.

An ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner close to the Mayor says: “Part of Tom’s third term will be about suc­ces­sion. Po­lit­i­cal his­tory is dot­ted with er­rors of suc­ces­sion. If Tom wants to pro­tect his legacy he must shep­herd one of his se­nior coun­cil­lors through.”

En­ter Cameron Cald­well and Her­mann Vorster.

“Cameron may be con­sid­ered the favourite but you can’t rule Her­mann out. He has the chops – the po­lit­i­cal skills, tem­per­a­ment, tal­ent and per­son­al­ity,” the cam­paigner says.

Both coun­cil­lors were re­cently ap­pointed act­ing mayor. If Cr Tate or Deputy Mayor Donna Gates is ab­sent, they rep­re­sent the city.

Ask around out­side of coun­cil to those close to the Mayor, and Cr Cald­well will get the nod.

“Tom will bail out (af­ter the third term) and hand it over to Cald­well,” one of this city’s smartest po­lit­i­cal strate­gists says.

“Her­mann is af­ter Ray Stevens’ seat (in Mer­maid Beach) and he will put his hand up when he re­tires. But there is an­other high-pro­file politi­cian who might run (for mayor).”

Who is this per­son? The source made a prom­ise not to tell and keeps it.

In­side coun­cil, the view is con­sis­tent. Cr Cald­well and Cr Tate are close.

The city’s pow­er­ful plan­ning chair is re­garded in this term as the Mayor’s strong­est ally. The old brigade who stood by him, Paul Tay­lor and Gary Bail­don, are re­tired.

A coun­cil in­sider says: “Cameron is favoured by the Mayor above Her­mann. The chal­lenge for Cameron is whether he will have huge sup­port from the other coun­cil­lors. That can make a dif­fer­ence in the ac­tual campaign.”

How can that be? “Tom got the sup­port he did in the re­cent campaign be­cause 10 of the 14 coun­cil­lors were ei­ther not op­posed to him or they sup­ported him,” the coun­cil in­sider says.

At the pre-polling booths and on elec­tion day, it means the sit­ting mayor does not have to con­tend with the area coun­cil­lor and their team hand­ing out how-to-vote cards for his ri­vals.

Think about it from Cr Cald­well’s po­si­tion. Does he gain such a huge vot­ing ad­van­tage by hav­ing the sup­port of Cr Tate?

He is pop­u­lar in his own di­vi­sion in the city’s north. Will Cr Tate’s sup­port help him in ar­eas like Palm Beach where his plan­ning com­mit­tee is on the nose for ap­prov­ing high-rises?

Then there are the now ex­pe­ri­enced coun­cil­lors he ar­rived with at the Evan­dale cham­bers. Mudgeer­aba’s Glenn Tozer is clearly in op­po­si­tion to Cr Tate. He was one of the few sit­ting coun­cil­lors given the green light in the pre-poll sur­vey by the ACE com­mu­nity group.

He­lensvale’s Wil­liam Owen-Jones, chair of the res­ur­rected gov­er­nance com­mit­tee, is re­spected for his fi­nan­cial knowl­edge and abil­ity to bring to­gether fac­tions in coun­cil­lor ranks.

Nei­ther coun­cil­lor has ever talked up may­oral as­pi­ra­tions. But if Cr Cald­well can put his hand up, do you think they might say: “Well, I’ve got as good cre­den­tials, why not me?”

Let’s not for­get Deputy Mayor Donna Gates, who gained rave re­views among col­leagues for her strong per­for­mance in the Bul­letin fo­rums in the count­down to the poll.

So imag­ine we are in the fu­ture. In 2024, you are (again) eat­ing at your tav­ern or lo­cal restau­rant with friends. The dis­cus­sion turns to Cr Cald­well run­ning for mayor.

There’s talk about other coun­cil­lors run­ning, just like Susie Dou­glas, Peter Young and Ed­die Sar­roff tried un­suc­cess­fully to do in 2012.

The 2024 race could end up in a cor­ner pileup just be­fore the fin­ish, like at the Win­ter Olympics when Aus­tralian ice skater Steven Brad­bury stole gold.

So who is this mys­tery high-pro­file politi­cian con­sid­er­ing a run for the city’s top job? He or she could be our Brad­bury. Hope they’re good.

Pic­ture: GLENN HAMPSON

Will the may­oralty hat fit ei­ther of Cr Cameron Cald­well or Cr Her­mann Vorster?

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