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Defiant Labor councillors re-elect Liberal Hawkesbury mayor

Sep 13, 2023

Labor councillors have defied the wishes of their party to hand Hawkesbury City Council Liberal Mayor Sarah McMahon another year in the job.

The move has infuriated members of the community who are perplexed as to why Labor chose to hand power to their political rival and now want to know what deal has been struck.

Cr McMahon beat challenger Cr Nathan Zamprogno by seven votes to five, winning with the votes of our Liberal Councillors Conolly, Veiglm, Reardon and herself as well as Australian Labor Party Councillors Barry Calvert and Amanda Kotlash as well as conservative independent Cr Les Sheather.

Labor appeared to have the numbers to win the vote had Deputy Mayor Calvert nominated to stand. Cr McMahon has been the Liberal Party’s pick for the federal seat of Macquarie however she has lost twice to rival, Labor’s  Susan Templeman at the last two elections. It is unclear whether she will have another tilt at Liberal Party pre-selection for the seat, a contest expected to be held before the end of the year.   

“The true believers are horrified. We don’t understand how Barry and Amanda can keep voting for the Liberals in council against the party’s wishes. It certainly raises a lot of questions,” a Labor Party member, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Hawkesbury Post.

Members of the community also took to social media to express their disgust at the Labor Councillors with some calling for them to be expelled from the Labor Party.

“They must now be expelled from the Labor Party. Nothing less,” Colin Hawkins said.

“As McMahon is Susan Templeman’s direct political rival, voting for her is a kick in the teeth for Susan,” Jenny Lloyd said.

“Unbelievably sickening! Labour (sic) voting for the Liberal developers partner, what the heck is going on, why? tell us why Barry and Amanda. Shame on you both,” Debra Cotter said.

“Rats in the ranks!,” Mike Xavey said.

“This is BEYOND outgrageous!!” Kate Isbister said.

Crs Calvert and Kotlash didn’t shy of the controversy, proudly posing for pictures with the re-elected mayor.

On August 28, the Windsor branch of the Australian Labor Party voted overwhelmingly to recommend its Crs Calvert and Kotlash, withhold any support for Cr McMahon at the mayoral election.

ALP members in the Hawkesbury are becoming increasingly angered at the highly unusual support by the Labor councilors for the four strong Liberal Party block of councillors, that also includes Crs Patrick Conolly, Paul Veigel and Jill Reardon. 

The deal between the Liberal and Labor councillors will see Cr Calvert keep his job as deputy mayor, which pays him an extra $10,000 on top of his $26,000. Cr Nathan Zamprogno who was recently kicked out of the Liberal Party following a complaint by Cr McMahon, was also defeated for the position of Deputy Mayor 7-5 as part of the Liberal/Labor deal.

Crs Calvert and Kotlash appeared defiant amidst the controversy. After the meeting they posed proudly for a photograph with the new mayor and Liberal councillors and Cr Les Sheather who voted for her.

Cr McMahon will hold office until the next council elections on September 14, 2024, due to the one year delay in the last council elections.

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