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Kay, Butler tipped for election

NEW blood is lining up for a chance to take a seat around the City of Perth council horseshoe next May.

Two of those named as new contenders, entertainer Max Kay and former City of Subiaco councillor Robert Butler, appear to have the support of a number of councillors, including deputy Lord Mayor Judy McEvoy, Bert Tudori, and Michael Sutherland.

While a number of other issues envelop the council, and most of the jostling is not expected before next March, councillors already have a view who they would like to have joining them in seven months’ time.

Five members are up for re-election, including Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass, and councillors Janet Davidson, Jennifer MacGill, Lisa Scaffidi and Tess Stroud.

Dr Nattrass confirmed he was up for re-election, but said there were too many pressing city issues for him to be concerned with next May at this stage.

He said he was unaware of the official intentions of Mr Kay and Mr Butler but said he had known both for 20 years.

Mrs MacGill also said it was too early for her to make a decision, but Mrs Davidson, who has been a councillor for more than five years, is keen to run again. Indeed, she beat Mr Butler to keep her seat in 1999.

She said she had more to contribute, and the energy, and might even give some thought to running for Lord Mayor. Her aspirations aside, she said she welcomed new contenders.

“We’ve had 10 people run for four positions before,” Mrs Davidson said.

Mrs Scaffidi who joined council after a 2000 by-election forced by the death of councillor Noel Semmens, is up for re-election and keen to run again – nominating security and cultural issues as her main interests.

She said strategic planning and the policy behind council decisions were also her passions.

“I am a strong believer in community communication, and don’t like to make blind decisions,” Mrs Scaffidi said.

As with Mrs Davidson, Mrs Scaffidi wants as many people as possible to run, to add age and professional diversity to the mix.

Mrs Stroud, who said she had not formally decided on whether to continue her council career, “but would probably stand”, supports the proposed bids by both Mr Kay and Mr Butler.

Councillor Vincent Tan said he would also welcome a diverse list of potential runners.

Although he did not wish to comment on any potential candidates, Mr Tan said he would like to see people with professional backgrounds, business management experience, and moral authority run for council.

Mr Sutherland, however, was happy to endorse both Mr Butler and Mr Kay.

He said Mr Butler had strong links with business people, was an experienced councillor and was keen on international relations while Mr Kay was an enthusiastic and well-known and respected local identity.

Mr Butler confirmed he had been approached to run.

“I’m leaving my options open at the moment, but if the support’s there, I’ll see,” he said.

Mr Kay, who unsuccessfully ran against Alannah MacTiernan for election to the North Ward of the former Perth City Council some years ago said he was considering running for election “very, very seriously”.

Mr Tudori said he had approached Mr Kay – who will be on tour and at the Regal for a Christmas season between now and the elections – four or five months back.

“It’s not an easy decision to make,” he said.

“You have to give it your full commitment, for the campaign and after the election.”

Mr Kay said one motivation for running for council was the desire to give something back and to say thank you to the people of Perth.

However, he said people knew him as an entertainer and he would need to do some campaigning to see if he had a chance before nominations next February.

Mr Kay said he would like to ensure the new rail line would be sunk, otherwise the chance may be lost forever to connect Northbridge with the city.

His other concerns include making Perth safer, finding some compromise for the four or five distinct groups living and operating in Northbridge and possibly having some input into the Perth Theatre Trust.

Former councillor Laurance Goodman, who lost to Vincent Tan at the 2001 election, remains passionate about council issues, but has not made a decision to stand for election this time around.

Mr Goodman had been one of the few remaining inaugural members of the new City of Perth that first sat around the new council’s horseshoe in 1995.

Of that group only Dr Nattrass, Mr Tudori, Mrs Stroud and Mr Sutherland remain.

He said people continued to approach him on issues – for which he still kept numerous files – and to suggest that he run again.

He said others named as new contenders had profiles sufficient to make them attractive running mates for others currently on council.

His main hope for the forthcoming election was that local business would claim its right to vote.

In previous council elections residents have played a much bigger role in deciding the final results than the business community, yet businesses pay the bulk of the City of Perth’s rates.

Indeed, the amount of space within the city’s boundaries occupied by business far outweighs that occupied by residents.

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