By KIERAN FINNANE
Last updated 27 August 2019, 7.45am
Council missed the opportunity for showing its commitment towards greater participation of women with tonight’s vote for Deputy Mayor.
The choice was between Cr Matt Paterson, who has been in the position for 12 months, and Cr Marli Banks. The secret ballot resulted in a draw (Councillor Jacinta Price was absent from the meeting).
The outcome was then decided by a name being drawn from a hat. Luck was not with Cr Banks. Gracious in defeat, she immediately crossed the chamber to shake the successful Cr Paterson’s hand.
Cr Banks had appealed to her colleagues to share the position around. It offers an opportunity to broaden one’s experience and to strengthen leadership skills, she said, and a vote for her would encourage other women to take up roles in local government.
Apart from gender and the experience of it, objectively there is not much between the two: both are first-termers on council, youngish, energetic, articulate, with pleasant demeanours, in business, and parents of young children, an important demographic for council. There is a difference in voting patterns though and that reflects a real difference in views: Cr Paterson tends to vote with the conservative bloc on council, led by the mayor, while Cr Banks tends to vote with the progressive bloc.
In the vote for Deputy Mayor for the coming 12 months, four of the eight councillors present, settled for the conservative, the incumbent man.
Election for positions of chair of the executive committees followed. Cr Jimmy Cocking was elected unopposed to the chair of the Corporate and Community Services Committee. The chairs for Finance and Technical Services Committees were contested.
Cr Banks was nominated for Finance as was Cr Glen Auricht.
A show of hands showed a split along predictable lines: Crs Eli Melky, Cocking, and Catherine Satour for Banks; Crs Paterson, Jamie de Brenni and Mayor Damien Ryan for Auricht. Both nominees of course voted for themselves.
Again the names went into a hat; luck was with Cr Auricht.
The split repeated for Technical Services, with Crs Melky and de Brenni nominated.
The draw this time favoured Cr Melky.
No prizes for guessing which way the split went in the Deputy Mayor vote.
RELATED READING (from 2016):
Diversity loses in ballot for Deputy Mayor
Cr Banks misses out on Deputy Mayor, Cr Paterson returned
By KIERAN FINNANE