Blackie tipped for another tilt

Wednesday, 23rd May, 2012

By Andrew Robertson

Former Broken Hill mayor and State MP Peter Black is expected to announce tomorrow that he will run for mayor on a non-Labor ticket in the September Council elections.

Speculation that the 68-year-old Mr Black will attempt to once again become mayor of his adopted home strengthened earlier this year amid concern from some councillors about Council’s financial standing.

The former high school science teacher has been awaiting confirmation from ALP head office in Sydney that he will not face reprisals if he runs against a local Labor ticket.

The BDT understands Mr Black now has that exemption, which means he can contest the local government elections on a non-Labor ticket without fear of being expelled from the party with which he has enjoyed, and provided, so much success.

In January this year Mr Black, who was a Labor mayor for 19 years until 1999 when he became the State MP for Murray-Darling, said any suggestion that he would run for Council as a non-Labor member was “absurd”.

Mr Black yesterday declined to comment but at least one member of his proposed new team, Councillor Tom Kennedy, believes Mr Black will confirm his intention to stand for mayor tomorrow.

“He will more than likely run,” said Cr Kennedy, who is expected to join Mr Black’s ticket along with fellow councillors Bob Algate and Dave Gallagher.

Both Cr Kennedy and Cr Algate have criticised the direction Council is taking, particularly in relation to its financial position, and have suggested Mr Black was the one person capable of reigning in Council’s spending.

Yesterday Cr Kennedy said a number of people had already approached members of the proposed team wanting to be included on the ticket.

“We’ve actually had a lot of people contact us ...” he said.

He said the team wanted a ticket with a broad mix of people, both men and women, who were capable of representing the entire community.

“We don’t just want to accept anyone ...”

Cr Kennedy, who still harbors a desire to be mayor of the city one day, said he was willing to hold off.

“I still have ambitions to be mayor but sometimes you have to put those ambitions aside for the city,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Labor ticket that will take on Mr Black and his team will be led by Councillor Darriea Turley who yesterday confirmed she had nominated for pre-selection.

“At this stage I’m definitely standing for Council and I think I will stand for mayor,” Cr Turley said.

ALP branch vice president Graeme “Shorty” Reville, who also confirmed he would be standing, said Labor so far had a ticket of four, though he declined to reveal the identity of the other two members.

He said the city’s two other Labor councillors, Marion Browne and Neville Gasmier, had not sought pre-selection.

“We can confirm the Labor Party does have a team,” Mr Reville said.

For the first time a ballot will not be held to decide the positions on the Labor ticket; instead those standing will decide their positions.