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On September 13 when councils across the state face the voters, ratepayers and businesses in the City of Sydney will have a choice of two prominent women for the powerful role of Lord Mayor

BY PAM WALKER
Two grand ladies of the NSW Parliament are squaring off for political ascendance, this time in Town Hall.

While Meredith Burgmann donned the influential robes of President of the NSW upper House, Clover Moore sat in the lower house as the independent MP for Bligh, now the state seat of Sydney.

Burgmann left state parliament last year and is now challenging Cr Moore for the lord mayoralty in September.

The two women have only two challengers so far: Greens councillor Chris Harris and Liberal councillor Shayne Mallard.

Cr Mallard said he hopes to get three Liberal councillors into the next council. He says he is fighting a ‘gaggle of lefties’, including Clover Moore.

Cr Harris is also hopeful of bringing at least one more Green into the council. He is concerned that Cr Moore’s new party of independents has closed off the prospect of electing any ‘genuine’ independents to the council.

Cr Harris and Cr Mallard are both critical of what they regard as Cr Moore’s use of council resources to campaign ‘ a tendency that Cr Mallard says creates a ‘very uneven playing field’.

Labor councillor Tony Pooley, the former South Sydney mayor who had won preselection to head the Labor ticket, pulled out last month, clearing the way for Ms Burgmann.

There have been plenty of rumours on why Cr Pooley stepped down, among them claims that Labor was polling so badly, he did not want to remain in the council as the possibly sole Labor councillor.

Others suggest that perhaps it was a ploy to preselect Burgmann and get her past the Labor right who would not have backed her. Under this scenario, Cr Pooley’s pulling out of the race was a ‘punch in the eye’ for Frank Sartor, former lord mayor and now NSW Planning Minister.

Meanwhile Cr Moore says she deserves another four years and people should vote for her team to allow them to finish what they started.

The coming political battle will bring back echoes of the last local government election when a backlash against Labor for amalgamating the City of Sydney and the former South Sydney Council swept Cr Moore to power.

It remains to be seen whether the anger against Labor has abated enough to make this a real contest.