Cole takes chains

A BIG turnout for a small extraordinary election saw Vincent councillor Emma Cole elected mayor with 78 per cent of the vote.

Rival Malcolm Boyd upped his total from his 2015 mayoral run, scoring about 21 per cent.

Jonathan Hallett was the clear frontrunner among the six people running for the vacant South Ward spot, amassing nearly 30 per cent of the vote, with nearest rival Mai Nguyen (endorsed by outgoing mayor John Carey) getting just under 25 per cent.

It was a pretty decent turnout by local election standards (admittedly a low bar), with 6212 people casting a vote in the mayoral race (out of 23,315 total electors).

• Vincent’s new mayor Emma Cole. File photo

• Vincent’s new mayor Emma Cole. File photo

Vote of confidence

That’s a smidgen more proportion-wise than the high-profile mayoral election in 2015, when 5706 people voted (out of 21,546 electors at the time).

Ms Cole says she sees the strong win “as a vote of confidence in Vincent’s direction that we’ve been taking in recent years.”

“It’s a really positive direction: we’ve had a strong reform agenda which I want to continue, we’re not afraid to challenge the status quo in local government, and we’ve seen the need for change such as the complete overhaul of planning policy, and we’ve got our new CEO who’s driving reform of the customer service process.

“It’s also really interesting to see Jonathan Hallett was elected: he had that really positive agenda and worked hard in terms of his campaigning.

Positive campaign

“He ran a positive campaign that really resonated with the community.”

While some new election candidates focus on criticising the incumbent regime, Mr Hallett said he liked the reforms at Vincent and wanted to keep the change happening.

A recent Paul Murray opinion piece in the West Australian described Vincent as being run by a “dominant Labor faction,” but Ms Cole is now the only Labor party member on council.

Since the council’s inception every mayor has been a Labor party member (Jack Marks, John Hyde, Nick Catania, Alannah MacTiernan, and Mr Carey) but all those had been involved in state or federal politics, and Ms Cole says she has no interest in carving out a political career.

by DAVID BELL

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