Saturday 24 September 2011

Disloyal Deputy Cr Cochrane stops shadow sparring and finally comes clean

Cairns Regional Council Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane announces bid to run for Mayor

Daniel Strudwick
Saturday, September 24, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane has confirmed the worst-kept secret in local politics, announcing she will run for mayor at the next Cairns Regional Council election.

The announcement, made only two days after Cr Cochrane failed to halt progress on the Cairns Entertainment Precinct, has sparked a war of words between already divided factions of the council.

Mayor Val Schier said the Deputy Mayor had been "conniving since day one" for a tilt at the top job. And fellow councillor Di Forsyth gatecrashed Cr Cochrane’s press conference yesterday to call for her resignation.

Cr Cochrane said "the time felt right" to end months of speculation about her mayoral candidacy and insisted she wanted to bring "balance" to the way money is spent in the region. She won’t reveal her campaign platforms until closer to the March 31 election, but said Cairns shouldn’t "put all the eggs in one basket", referring to the Cairns Entertainment Precinct.

"Certainly, the emphasis has been on cultural facilities this term," Cr Cochrane said.
"I think that council has veered in one direction and I think that we need to get a bit more balanced in our expenditure across the board."

Cr Forsyth showed up at the announcement on the Esplanade yesterday and told reporters that Cr Cochrane should stand down because her mayoral campaign would be a disruption to council decision-making over the next six months. "I think if you’re a sitting councillor, and certainly hostile towards the current Mayor, you ought to not be there," Cr Forsyth said. "I think it’s actually going to be disruptive and I think she will cause a lot more friction on council than there needs to be."

Cr Cochrane wouldn’t comment when asked to rate Mayor Val Schier’s term in power, but the Mayor showed less restraint when she was asked about her deputy’s performance.
The Mayor said it would be "disastrous for Cairns" if Cr Cochrane was elected. "Do they want Margaret Cochrane to take them back to being a small town without world class facilities?" Cr Schier said.

Cr Cochrane said, although she was a conservative thinker, she wouldn’t be seeking endorsement from a political party, but was in talks with potential candidates to run on her ticket.

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