Some startling developments yesterday in The Australian’s chief literary critic Geordie Williamson’s bid for a seat on the Blue Mountains City Council.
Amusingly, Williamson is running for the Greens, which The Oz, you’ll recall, wants to see “destroyed at the ballot box”. While the national broadsheet has failed to pick up the scent, the local Blue Mountains Gazette has been like a dog with a bone.
Yesterday, the Fairfax-owned paper reported that Williamson — perhaps displaying a smidgeon of the eastern bloc tendencies unfairly attributed by The Oz to NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon — had called for a democratic vote in Ward 2 to be abandoned and councillors, including himself, appointed after only three parties (Labor, Liberal and The Greens) nominated for the three available positions.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Each party contesting the poll runs a ticket with multiple candidates, but the feisty book worm argued that since no second candidate had ever been elected, the other candidates should withdraw and ratepayers submit to a Politburo-style fingering to save cash.
“It wasn’t as if anything undemocratic was going to result from this, it was an acknowledgement of the state of affairs that was already in place,” Williamson reckoned.
The retrograde plan was angrily slapped down by retiring Labor councillor Alison McLaren, who was “amazed” that the Greens, “the party that markets itself as the so-called defenders of democracy”, would take such a dubious step. Williamson, she says, is “politically naive”.
The Ward 2 elections will now take place as planned, alongside those for Wards 1, 3 and 4, on September 8.