This month the Melbourne City Council will be one year into its four-year term. CBD News gives councillors a report card on their performance to date.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
Staked his lord mayoralty on tackling rough sleeping and succeeding with the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) redevelopment.
Started the year with a clumsy attempt to modify a local law to tackle rough sleeping which provoked universal outrage. Set aside 28 days for public consultation in February. Proposal has only just resurfaced, with Cr Doyle managing to save face with support from police and state government.
Also doing better now on QVM. Has all but one councillor on-side and, more crucially, has the support of Premier Andrews. Should achieve this.
If he can stay healthy, should have a successful term.
Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood
An ascending star. Thriving in the role and growing in confidence. Would be a different story if Team Doyle did not command a majority in the chamber, as he’s not prone to subtle persuasion or diplomacy. Critics say he’s too stretched with a young family and a business to put in the required time. Should be well positioned to make a call on potential future political roles by the end of the term.
Cr Susan Riley
The former deputy was a late inclusion, being called out of (forced) retirement by VCAT president Justice Greg Garde at the conclusion of the (former councillor) Brook Wandin saga. Working hard as usual representing the council at functions (one of the few!). More independent in thought this time around. Loving the opportunity to extend her career.
Cr Kevin Louey
Another long-term player, Cr Louey continues to quietly work in the shadows for constituents. Not to be underestimated.
Cr Nicholas Reece
Getting the hang of it. Has come a long way since being thrown in the deep end as chair of planning. Skilled at getting by at a highest level, but not putting in the required time to truly master the portfolio. Still to reveal why he bothered becoming a councillor.
Cr Tessa Sullivan
Yet to make a contribution – unless you count the $50,000 she donated to Team Doyle at the beginning. This number jumps to $130,000 if you join the dots between Cr Sullivan and her Linlithgow Rd, Toorak neighbour Ting Li, who stumped up $80,000 for the campaign.
Postscript: CBD News accepts that former councillor Sullivan does not know Ting Li.
Cr Philip Le Liu
Another newcomer finding his way, Cr Le Liu is making slow but steady progress. Naturally cautious, he is not yet comfortable in the spotlight. As the former Liberal candidate for Melbourne, at least he is upfront about his motivation.
Cr Nicholas Francis Gilley
An accidental councillor, he’s a fast learner. Wears his heart on his sleeve and will make plenty of friends when articulating the injustice of any number of social causes. Seems determined to stay above the detail and trust the officers implicitly. Along for the ride.
Cr Rohan Leppert
The brightest and hardest working. Disciplined and focused, Cr Leppert continues to impress. The master of detail advances his Greens manifesto by sheer weight of intellect. Principled, rather than populist, Cr Leppert often finds himself explaining unpopular planning decisions to angry residents. Here for the long haul.
Cr Cathy Oke
A three-term veteran, Cr Oke maintains her cheerfulness and never misses an opportunity to advocate for the environment. Steady and reliable.
Cr Jackie Watts
Cr Watts often finds herself in the “naughty corner”. Bereft of allies, she tries hard but has limited capacity to be effective. Makes it look hard.