The veil is lifted and the gloves come off | Cochrane to stand for Mayor.
The gloves are off. Mayor Val Schier's Deputy and chief pretender Cr. Margaret Cochrane has finally come out of the closet and announced her candidature for the Cairns' Mayoralty. In what was less than a surprise announcement Cr Cochrane held a press conference today to make the announcement.
This to some extent explains her opposition to the Entertainment Precinct on Wednesday's meeting after indicating privately to various Councillors that she would be voting with the Mayor on the issue. Sources within Council have suggested that the act bordered on treachery and deceit.
Politically, Cr Cochrance for the last 3 years has been a thorn in the side of the current Mayor with the result of destabilizing the administration. Cr Cochrane has wherever possible gone out of her way to undermine the authority of the current Mayor.
Questioned during the press conference what had caused her to nominate so far ahead of the Council election which is not due untill March 2012, Cr Cochrane stated that the Cairns Regional Council had directed the majority of Council funds to Culture and Lifestyle instead of extra funding and grants to sporting groups. It is interesting to note that Cochrane is Chairperson of the Council's Spots, Arts, Culture and Community Services Committee. From her complaints it seems she have failed her Committee's charter and guidelines.
A fact that cannot be denied and I am sure will be highlighted by Mayor Val Schier, during the Council election campaign is that as Deputy Mayor, Cr Cochrane was instrumental in formulating the last 3 Council budgets and indeed voted at each of the budget meetings to adopt the Budget in its entirety.
Meanwhile, grassroots councillor, Cr. Diane Forsyth has called on Cr Cochrane to resign from Council because of the disruption that she has been responsible for and what is anticipated as she jostles for the limelight.
It has become obvious to Council commentators that from day one of the surprise election of Val Schier in March 2008, that the 'Gang of Five' also known as the 'old guard' has checked the Mayor almost in every move and with the ulterior motive of creating political disharmony and embarrassment.
This scenario has created a dysfunctional Council where party politics has become par for the course. Throughout the turmoil Cr Schier has remained dignified and has always put the interest of the citizens of Cairns first and has refrained from playing politics.
It is early days in the campaign but the political ground is fertile for the Mayor to focus her re election campaign on the simple message in asking the citizens of Cairns to give her a 'fair go'.