Lord, we need a leader

NIC HAYES is the founder of Media Stable, an online directory of media experts. Well versed in the PR world, in this week’s SPEAKER’S CORNER he argues that if we can’t have our old Lisa Scaffidi back, we need a new lord mayor. 

RECENTLY, in WA, we hear the name of the lord mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle and the lord mayor of the Gold Coast, Tom Tate more often than we hear the name of our own lord mayor of Perth, Lisa Scaffidi.

We all know the troubles that our lord mayor has found herself in the last two years but despite the issues, West Australians deserve their number one promoter of our capital city and ambassador of the state back.

During her heyday, Lisa was more popular than the premier of the state, and she was internationally recognised as the lord mayor of Perth.

Her ability to put Perth and WA on the map was second to no other lord mayor in Australia.

Intelligent, beautiful and an incredible energy and passion to promote all things WA.

• Nic Hayes

Prior to the allegations of undisclosed gifts of travel and accommodation, in this town lord mayor Scaffidi was worth her weight in gold.

It was near impossible to find an event, the launch of new infrastructure, or celebration of WA without seeing Lisa in promo mode.

Television adored her, radio welcomed every word and print media were there at the drop of a hat.

Now though, when Lisa is involved in events, like the launch of innovative new hotel Peppers on Wellington Street late last year, they turn into a roadshow of past issues that have plagued the Lord Mayor for almost two years.

Negative clouds

She brings negative clouds everywhere she goes.

The childish rants that Lisa has had with prominent media in this state don’t help her cause.

Sure, media might be borderline harassing the lord mayor but her response has been poor form: commenting on a senior Nine reporter’s breath and refusing to go on a radio program, only to go on that station’s primary competitor and speak openly about which media she is refusing to speak with.

It really does set her up for more media attention and scrutiny.

The Australia Day tragedy when two people were killed when a plane nose-dived into the Swan River was an opportunity for the lord mayor to show true leadership in the aftermath of such a public disaster.

The lord mayor demonstrated strong leadership and it was a reminder that Lisa Scaffidi was once an effective communicator for the city.

This we haven’t seen in a long time.

But it was only momentary.

Today we have no promoter, no celebration of all the good things that Perth and WA have to offer.

Fortress mentality

They have a fortress mentality at the City of Perth — they do very little media and avoid questions.

We don’t just need our lord mayor back, we deserve a leader who will carry us through the good and tough times.

If it can’t be Lisa then this city and its people need a new lord mayor who will give their everything for the city.

I have no doubt Lisa still loves Perth, but her personal circumstances now make it too difficult for her to use the mediums she used perfectly all those years ago.

The media was once her best friend; now she would step over hot coals to avoid them.

Recently Mark McGowan declared that if elected he would look to sack the entire Perth council.

While this was said in the middle of a state election campaign and might merely be politics in play, I am not sure there would be a lot of resistance from the public if this was to happen.

At least it will give the city a chance to reset and get a lord mayor that is an asset and not a liability.

At this point I think most West Australians would take a Robert Doyle or Tom Tate any day of the week over our current lord mayor.

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