Littler baby Jesus

A BITE-sized Christmas Nativity play will return this year after Perth’s newly elected councillors overturned a decision of the city’s former commissioners.

Back in August commissioners resisted Christian lobbying and voted not to go ahead with the $330,000 two-night nativity because of its lack of draw power. 

It also squeezes the crowd into Supreme Court Gardens, and commissioners decided a five-night Christmas concert at Forrest Place would help spread people out in case Covid kicks off again (it’d also bring people closer to shops).

At the November 24 council meeting new lord mayor Basil Zempilas put up an urgent business motion calling for the reinstatement of the nativity.

He said he didn’t agree with the commissioners’ decision. 

“Christmas in the city. The Christmas Nativity. They go together. It’s not difficult. I’d like to see it reinstated,” he said. 

Some details were still fuzzy (including exact cost) when councillors voted, and the city’s community manager Anne Banks-McAllister told them it would be impossible to deliver a full scale event given the timeframe and budget. The procurement process for the similarly-scaled Christmas concert events, a legal requirement when local governments spend significant amounts of cash, took them nine weeks.

Councillor Viktor Koh asked the lord mayor: “Do you believe in miracles?”

Mr Zempilas replied: “I believe in us opening our minds, opening our hearts, and giving everything our very best shot. And if there is a way to make it happen, a way that is possible for us to make it happen in 2020, then I think we should go for it.”

Council endorsed his motion and after some quick toil by city staff over the last week it was announced on Tuesday that a small one-night event will be held on December 13 in Forrest Place. 

by DAVID BELL

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