Clover Moore, the Lord Mayor of Australia’s premier city, has been getting a lot of press lately. As the independent Member for the state seat of Bligh, Moore built a good reputation among inner-city residents for fighting for their interests. While she usually wasn’t able to influence outcomes, she was always able to say “I stood up for you.”

Now, wearing two hats, things are different. The Sydney Morning Herald ran a detailed piece on how her shortcomings are quickly becoming apparent over the weekend.

The picture which emerges is of a person who isn’t a good leader. The skills she had as the lonely MP fighting Macquarie Street or Town Hall don’t serve her well as Lord Mayor. The fact that she has been able to unite the Liberals, Greens and Labor Councillors in opposition to her after only 18 months in office tells a very negative story of her leadership abilities.

Moore is seen as egocentric, always wanting to be in the limelight with even councillors on her own team constantly sidelined. She cops flak for taking credit for the initiatives of others.

There are many examples of this – like Labor’s push to establish a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer and a successful Greens motion to limit the use of plastic bags in the City.

Moore even takes credit for the work councillors on her team do. Marcelle Hoff fought for years to save the Water Police site in Pyrmont from developers for public space. But now it is Moore who is trumpeted as the saviour of the site although she did no work in this campaign.

After Moore was able to unite Labor, Greens and Liberals last week, she was in danger of losing control of Council committees and her own power. Suddenly Moore used a procedural rule to seize the chair of all seven Council committees. After being criticised for wanting two jobs, Member of Parliament and mayor, she now has ten.

Is that good for accountability?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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