It was a mayoral charity ball like no other…
Inside, one councillor –Peter Ristevski – filled his table with homeless men from Liverpool, having paid for their snazzy clothes, a scrub and their tickets.
The hierarchy made it clear they were not happy with Cr Ristevski’s guests but he stuck to his guns and got his way last Saturday night.
Outside, meanwhile, the council union put on a protest with a difference.
They also fundraised at the same time for the two nominated mayoral ball charities – Share Care and Liverpool Hospital trauma centre.
The bucket was passed around as slogans were chanted and $500 will be going the way of each of the two nominated charities.
United Services Union organised the protest as part of its rolling campaign against council plans to outsource management of its workforce.
Back inside the Liverpool Catholic Club where the ball was being held, 400 guests enjoyed a night of entertainment that raised $90,000 through sponsorship, ticket sales and a silent auction on the night.
This was $10,000 short of the $100,000 target but still a pretty good result.
The union has since issued a media release saying a lack of consultation had left local employees with no choice but to take their issues directly to the mayor, including the transition to external management by private company Propel Partnerships, fears that the cleaning section is set to be outsourced, and attempts to bring in external contractors to manage outdoor staff.
USU general secretary Graeme Kelly said staff and community members were being left with no choice but to protest in response to a refusal by council to properly consult with workers, ratepayers and the community about a range of major issues.
“During the protest, we made clear that our demonstration was not an attack on either Share Care or the Liverpool Hospital, and that their service to the community is of an exceptional standard,” Mr Kelly said.
“That was why our members, as well as the community protestors present, were so keen to make a donation of $500 to each organisation.
“Unfortunately, Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun and CEO Carl Wulff continue to attack community services and hard working council employees, leaving us with no choice but to highlight our concerns with public protests.”