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McMahon Expected to be Challenged in Mayor’s Vote Tonight

Sep 12, 2023

The 12 Hawkesbury City Councillors meet tonight to vote in a new mayor for the remainder of the council’s term, which concludes in September 2024. 

Incumbent mayor Sarah McMahon, who has only been in the position for 13 months, will face at least one challenger in Nathan Zamprogno who she succeeded having suspended last week from the New South Wales Liberal Party for three years.

A former Liberal representative, Cr Zamprogno won strong endorsement from voters at the 2021 elections as an independent. Since then, he has often diverged from four strong Liberal block, leading to Cr McMahon’s frustration, which eventually saw her begin an internal Party campaign against him.

Unknown is whether one of the Labor councillors will also stand for the position. They are Deputy Mayor Barry Calvert (a former mayor) or Cr Amanda Kotlash, who unsuccessfully challenged Liberal Robyn Preston for the State seat of Hawkesbury in this year’s election. If they did, they would appear to have the numbers to beat Cr McMahon. Only one other – non-Liberal – councillor, former One Nation candidate for the Federal seat of Macquarie Les Sheather, certain to vote for her.

Cr Barry Calvert would likely have the numbers to win however he may vote for the Liberal mayor.

The Hawkesbury City Council has been unusual in recent years, with two Labor councillors backing the four person liberal bloc to form a majority together, with Cr Sheather. So concerned are local Australian Labor Party members that they voted overwhelmingly to recommend their councillors did not vote for a Liberal candidate in tonight’s meeting.

Cr McMahon, whose partner Matthew Bennett is a prominent local property developer, became mayor in September last year when her predecessor councilllor Patrick Conolly stepped down from the post last year because of a traumatic home invasion. Cr Conolly remains on council. 

Since Cr McMahon took charge, HCC has been forced to take out an unprecedented loan of $35. 2 million to cover a bungled sewerage repair job, helping to force council rate up by 14% this financial year. The council has been riven by division under the Liberals but most especially since Cr McMahon took control. She has used her position to try and silence critics and has attempted to weaponise the legal system to censor the media, including this publication. 

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting at 6pm, Tuesday September.

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