BY GEORGIA CLARK
The amalgamation of Sydney metropolitan councils may have been a game-changer for the Inner West Council, but this hasn’t deterred a number of familiar faces from making a comeback to contest the upcoming September 9 elections for the Marrickville ward.
While a number of councillors were axed and boundaries redrawn, a handful of candidates vying for one of three positions in the ward previously held seats on the former Ashfield, Marrickville and Leichhardt councils, respectively.
Regardless, several newcomers will be battling for positions on the new council, including first time contender and independent Victoria Pye, one of the youngest participants in the election.
Ben Raue, election analyst at The Tally Room, said the area, which covers Marrickville, St Peters, Sydenham and Tempe, is likely to be won by old-timers who previously held seats in the original Marrickville Council.
“Labor and the Greens will definitely win a seat each,” he said. “Labor has the potential to win a second seat in one of their best parts of the council.”
After decades of domination in the electorate, Labor is tipped to regain its stronghold in Marrickville, one of the most pro-Labor wards in the inner-west area, in which it ceded a share of tis power to Greens and independents in 2004 when they won a number of seats.
According to Mr Raue, Labor and the Greens will form opposing majorities in the new council, with the balance of seats set to determine the power dynamics within council.
But Mr Raue added we might also see newcomers win seats.
“Victoria Pye is an unknown factor but has the backing of [City of Sydney Lord Mayor] Clover Moore, ” he said. “She may attract the votes of left-wing voters who prefer to vote for independents. It’s very unlikely, though, that the Liberal Party will win a seat.”
Independent candidate, Vic Macri, disagrees that Labor and the Greens will be the successors of the September elections.
According to Mr Macri, the odds are stacked in favour of the independents, as people feel increasingly alienated by the agenda of political parties and want a more community-centric candidate.
“I feel compelled to ensure that the council doesn’t lose its unique Marrickville identity, which is an inclusive, respectful and resilient community of social and cultural diversity.”
“Vic Macri has a high profile as a former mayor in the area and is in a good position to pick up the votes of local conservative voters,” said Mr Raue. “I don’t think voters for political parties will care very much about the identity of the candidate, but there are small groups who have personal relationships with a particular councillor who will vote for them.
“I think Victor Macri relies a lot on personal networks as well as the general brand of being an ‘independent’ and his chances are stronger because of his long council career.”
Issues likely to decide or divide voters include: abolishing parking meters in the ward; urban tree planting; access to childcare; cleaning up the Cooks River; and implementing a new community hub library.
Former Labor Mayor Sam Iskandar is also vying for a position, as is George Andrade, Liberal, who also previously ran for election, and Greens candidate Colin Hesse, who served between 2004-2008.
With just weeks left until the election, battlelines appear likely to be drawn between conservative independents and Liberals, hotly contesting the remaining seats of the Inner West Council not forecast to swing to Labor and the Greens.