Political lesson for young Liverpool mayor

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Macedonian dancers performing at the Christian Orthodox interfaith lunch put on by Liverpool Council in July.

Just when things were going so well for Liverpool…

And they were: there are more cranes in the Liverpool CBD than almost anywhere comparable in the whole country.

Plans have been unveiled to make the Macquarie Mall even better and to link the CBD with the Georges River with cycle and pathways.

The Badgerys Creek airport is taking off, adding to Liverpool’s attraction as a business destination.

The stench of Oasis has been replaced by the fresh air of optimism and leading at the front has been our energetic young mayor Ned Mannoun.

He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s politics and it has to be said that he and the council have done an excellent job during the past three years.

But somehow it looks to me Ned Mannoun got a case of the Tony Abbotts.

Just like the prime minister, the Liverpool mayor forgot that without the support of his colleagues on council his power is illusory.

If he thought a little about the previous administration he would have remembered how the mayor can have little or no power without the support of a majority of councillors.

This was the case with Mayor Wendy Waller between 2008 and 2012 and he was there as a councillor.

Mayor Mannoun enjoyed majority support from the Liberal Party councillors until very recently.

Some of his supporters started questioning one or two of his decisions but they still voted the right way at meetings. But you could tell their hearts weren’t in it.

So the complaints started about issues such as how many people the mayor had hired in his office and how much it was costing ratepayers and the plans to privatise the management of council’s workforce.

“How many advisers does Ned need’’ was a phrase you heard a lot from councillors in the past few weeks.

And then along came “porkgate’’ when it was found out pork would not be on the menu of a council interfaith lunch for the Christian religions.

The council had held two such lunches for members of the Muslim faith during Ramadan, so it was thought it would be fair to have one for the Christian faiths.

Liberal councillor Peter Ristevski (second from left) who is of Macedonian background, at the interfaith lunch with some of the guests.
Liberal councillor Peter Ristevski (second from left) who is of Macedonian background, at the interfaith lunch with some of the guests and the mayor, Ned Mannoun, right.

Pork was eventually put on the menu of the Christian interfaith lunch, but a new controversy arose over heavy handed security measures on the day, apparently because there had been a “credible threat’’ on social media.

Then there was an attempt to stop a councillor from having homeless people sitting at his table at last week’s mayoral ball, and there was outrage at the demolition of the music shell in Bigge Park and plans to do the same to the adjacent Liverpool Bowling Club.

Constant union protests was the backdrop to all this.

But one particular episode not only riled the mayor’s critics but also cost ratepayers dearly: The three giant signs on the site of the Carnes Hill community centre which originally cost $8,000 to make and install.

They had to be pulled down and redone after a complaint was lodged with the CEO Carl Wulff about the wording and the picture of Mayor Mannoun on them.

So another $13,000 was spent, bringing the total cost of three signs to tell people the $30 million centre was coming to $21,000.

That’s a lot of ratepayers money – $21,000 – for signs, which is common practice, sure, but maybe in this day and age a notice should be put on council’s website to save the money.

And certainly in this country it is common practice to stay away from including pictures of politicians in public signs.

But more importantly, the spending of ratepayers’ money should always be done in a prudent and responsible manner.

Every cent should be accounted for and every spending decision should be made after a thorough approach.

So, in the end, just like Tony Abbott, Ned Mannoun had to eat humble pie at the council meeting on Tuesday night.

And just like Tony Abbott, the mayor’s colleagues did him a favour when they reminded him that without their support he has no power at all.


5 thoughts on “Political lesson for young Liverpool mayor”

  1. Reminds me of time when the State Minister For Roads and Transport Laurie Brereton was dubbed as the “Minister for Signs”. He had a penchant for placing his name on any new road works within the State, a useful familiarisation tool extremely useful when standing for re-elections!

  2. On the issue of Interfaith Dinners, I don’t support any of them, despite the tag “Multicultural” they tend to be contentious rather than harmonious. They are not part of the three R”s that is; “Rates for Roads and Rubbish”, the primary reason Councils were set up in the early 1900’s. Since then numerous responsibilities have been placed on Councils, many based on politically motivated ideals, often benefitting a minority of residents but paid for by all ratepayers. State and Federal Governments continue to “cost shift” their responsibilities onto Local Government without adequate compensation, examples are; Social Services, Welfare, catering for the homeless, Childcare and the list goes on, all are the primary responsibility of State and Federal Governments and paid for by taxes, yet “ratepayers” are forced to contribute multiple times for those services.

    • I think you’re right on there Councillor Harle. Perhaps the author of ” pork gate ” could rally those good people up and use the money on a trip around the LGA and helping ALL our homeless and disadvantaged for that day, to show real compassion and understanding for those that need it in a way they can truly appreciate it, perhaps warm clothes raincoat, healthy food they can keep with them for a while, then tell someone like Salvation Army where they are and see if they can get them on the road to recovery , these are the right groups , this is what churches of all faiths probably all do at the moment in their own way , perhaps the interfaith lunch should have been a lunch for all the homeless people of Liverpool then it could be something to be proud of, certainly not this.

  3. It is obvious the Mayor has a penchant for introducing “Mayoral Minutes”. These should be of an extraordinary or urgent nature, not last minute ideas often “hi-jacked” from non-aligned Councillors’ existing “Notice Of Motions” (NOMs) which need to be presented to Council one week prior to the Council Meeting. It is a blatant politically motivated opportunistic grab of another person’s efforts and then has the audacity to claim them as his own! That has occurred for several NOM’s, relisted as “Mayoral Minutes” it is a regular practice, and people wonder why there is a Councillor rebellion, and in his own party ranks?

  4. Eric, you know normally I like to see you have fun, and you certainly seem to be here with young Ned, and if it were as balanced as all those cranes were sitting out in the skyline I’d probably sit back and have a laugh with you , but I don’t see anywhere where you bring the desperate for relevance bearded councillor into line about his big porky of saying the Greek Orthodox were at his do ? He knows they weren’t there, you know they weren’t there and I bet Liverpool’s own version of Jaquie Lambie knows they weren’t there , but anyway let’s put that one aside for now.
    I won’t agree that the best thing for those disadvantaged people is to bring them to a ball , all dressed up and polished to become political pawns , for me that was the low point, not the highlight. Is plucking a handful of homeless people from a park of all the homeless people around Liverpool really a good thing in your view ? What happens now did they get jobs ? A house ? perhaps some clothes they could actually use ?
    That is the real sad part and I’m really disappointed that they were used the way they were , so no Eric it was shame on them so maybe time for a vino and the missing other half of the story .


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