Tuesday 10 January 2012

Cairns Mayor Val Schier to run solo | Smart politics or dumb move?

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier to stand for re-election as a one-woman team

Daniel Strudwick
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Underdog: Cairns Mayor Val Schier will stand for re-election without a team.

MAYOR Val Schier will contest the next council election alone, saying she won't assemble a team of candidates because voters want a "passionate independent" in the top job.

Her decision comes as rival contenders prepare to unveil their teams, with the Unity group to announce its  line-up next week and Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane also recruiting candidates for her Cairns mayoral bid. But Cr Schier, who rated herself as the underdog in the mayoral race, said she was not daunted by the teams forming in other camps ahead of the March 31 election, insisting voters wanted party politics kept out of the council chamber. "Local government is not like it used to be – we have a new Act, bigger councils, the whole idea is that we have more professional and skilled councillors," she said. "Given the names I’ve already heard in those two other teams, it’ll be a bit like herding cats – there are people with big egos and perhaps more enthusiasm than skill."

Although Cr Schier was elected with the help of her Cairns First team at the 2008 poll, she says she does not want to "babysit aspiring candidates" this time around. "It means I’ll be able to focus on vision and policy and ideas and leadership," she said. "I would certainly think I’m the underdog, but I’ve got runs on the board and shown leadership with a very diverse and disparate group of councillors."

Other independent candidates in the upcoming election agree with the mayor that political allegiances and factions are on the nose with voters, who are demanding greater openness and transparency from elected officials. "I’m not going in with any rash promises – I’m going in to represent the people 110 per cent," Division 8 candidate Barry Neall said yesterday. "There are too many political parties and ideas in the council already and it’s meant to be for the people."

Independent mayoral candidate Ian Thomas said: "Since I put on Facebook that I was running as an independent and wouldn’t be involved with a political party, I’ve had a tremendous response from people."

Organisers behind the reassembled Unity team will announce a full complement of candidates next Tuesday, recruiting former Northern Territory ministerial officer Graham Lucas as campaign manager.

Mr Lucas wouldn’t reveal the group’s candidates yesterday, but speculation is mounting that Bob Manning or former Cairns mayor Kevin Byrne will make Unity’s tilt for the mayoralty.

Cr Cochrane, who announced in September her intention to run for mayor, is meeting potential candidates this week before revealing her team "in the near future"

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  1. Among other things, good civic leadership should be about bringing people together and working collaboratively with those of different views. When you make remarks like "babysit aspiring candidates" and "there are people with big egos and perhaps more enthusiasm than skill" this does not support the kind collegiate approach that this city so badly needs. Is this the independence we want?

  2. I think Val's comment about 'not being there to babysit' was less than fortunate and if she could do a double take she would retract that comment. I suppose she is trying to paint an image of herself with her sleves rolled up...no time to waste mayor. Not sure though whether it was smart politics based on the complaints I have receive. The complaintants could not believe that having said that she then expects those same candidates to hand out her how to vote cards.

  3. Of course, if the truth be known, she just couldn't get anyone to run with her.
    You know like it's the "kiss of death" being associated with Val Schier.
    No one wants to have to defend her policies and blatant lies.
    Come to think of it Ross - will you be placing posters on the roadside and distributing photos of her at the booths?
    I bet you will Parisi, I bet you will.


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