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Candidates who could tip the balance of power

When Clover Moore became Lord Mayor in 2004, her above-the-line vote was so substantial that four other independents - Phillip Black, Marcelle Hoff, John McInerney and Robyn Kemmis - were also swept into office reports Mick Roberts in City News of 31st August 2008.

Of the remaining five seats on council, three went to Labor, one to the Liberals and another to the Greens. With her casting vote as Lord Mayor, the Clover Moore bloc has maintained an outright majority at Town Hall ever since. But with Cr Kemmis announcing her retirement earlier this year, speculation has turned to whether Lord Mayor Moore can maintain the majority that has meant the Lord Mayor can bypass the other parties. Of the remaining nine councillors elected in 2004, none of the three Labor councillors is seeking re-election, although the lone Green Chris Harris and Liberal Shayne Mallard are both standing again. Some election observers believe the six incumbents will succeed in their bids for re-election. Who wins the remaining four seats will decide who holds the balance of power for the next four years. If Labor maintains its three seats, relative newcomers Linda Scott (who stood for State Parliament against Clover Moore in 2004) and Belinda Comninos will sit on council. Running on the Labor ticket at number three, 28-year-old Comninos moved from Western Australia to Sydney in 2003. She has a university degree in Australian modern history and has been a Labor Party member for 10 years. If the Greens succeed in picking up a second seat, Irene Doutney, a 60-year-old part-time staffer for Greens MLC Sylvia Hale, will assume office. Born in Kings Cross and brought up in Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, this one-time Clover Moore supporter has witnessed big changes in the inner city. "At a local level, I think one of the major issues will be homophobia and anti-social behaviour in our entertainment precincts," she said. "Although I really believe the problems associated with alcohol in the city are nowhere near as bad as they used to be," she added. "I've seen the Cross during the 1960s, when it was a no-go zone, where bashings and gang fighting were the norm." If the Liberals win a second seat, local businessman Edward Mandla, who also failed in a bid to topple State MP Moore two years ago, will join Shayne Mallard at Town Hall. For Clover Moore's team to maintain control of Town Hall, Di Tornai will need to pick up Robyn Kemmis' seat. Unknown to most city voters, the Victoria Park resident is number five on the Clover Moore Independent ticket. A consultant to strata corporations, the political clearskin has identified Green Square as an important area. "When my husband and I were looking to move into the inner city in 2002 we were attracted by the possibilities that existed in the creation of an entirely new hub at Green Square," she told The City News. Di Tornai declined to answer a series of questions from community, business groups and readers of this paper, which were circulated to all candidates (see page 7). Yet whether or not she wins office and gives the Clover Moore Independents outright control over all council decisions will have less to do with her own profile and more to do with the Lord Mayor's ability to attract a majority of above-the-line voters on September 13.

Source: City News