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McMahon Promise Not To Run for Seat of Macquarie, Secured Mayor’s Job

Sep 22, 2023

Hawkesbury Liberal Mayor Sarah McMahon has promised Labor Councillors that she will not make a third bid for the Federal seat of Macquarie, as part of the deal to secure their votes that ensured her re-election as mayor last week.

The news of Cr McMahon’s promise was included in a lengthy letter to the local ALP branch by CR Amanda Kotlash littered with untruths, attacks on a fellow councillor and the media and a claim that she had brought in the police due to “death threats” being yelled in the council chamber. 

Cr McMahon secured a second year in the mayor’s job winning a tight 7-5 vote against independent Cr Nathan Zamprogno. Last month she successfully had Cr Zamprogno suspended for three years from the Liberal Party for a range of reasons centred on the fact that he voted differently from the Liberal bloc on a range of  issues including property development.

“I considered playing any part in putting Nathan Zamprogno in the role of Mayor would be acting against the best interest of the community and going against both my oath as a Councillor and as a member of the Labor party, ” Cr Kotlash wrote. “ In light of this and given that Sarah McMahon has stated that she has no intention of standing against Susan at the next Federal election, I felt I had no choice but to vote the way I did.”

Cr McMahon has not responded to a request for comment on her promise. A copy of the letter has been obtained by the Hawkesbury Post. The letter is an attempt by Cr Kotlash to justify her decision to vote for Cr McMahon’s successful attempt to be re-elected mayor in mid term mayoral election, yet it failed to address the issue of why she, or fellow Labor Councillor Barry Calvert failed to stand in a winnable bid for mayor.

This was, despite a resolution passed by the local Labor branch that recommended Crs Calvert and Kotlash, withhold any support for Cr McMahon at the mayoral election.

Hawkesbury Labor supporters pictured on Councillor Amanda Kotlash’s Facebook page.

Cr Kotlash noted in her letter that such resolutions were only advisory and not binding. But what she failed to address at all, was why neither Labor councillor stood for mayor.

Cr Zamprogni has said that his block would have swung behind a Labor candidate to defeat McMahon, an offer that was made to Cr Calvert ahead of the meeting. Had the offer been accepted there would now be a Labor mayor.

Cr McMahon was beaten in the past two Federal elections by Australian Labor Party incumbent Susan Templeman. In the last election Templeman turned the country’s most marginal seat into a comfortable Labor seat with a swing of 7%, well above the state and national average.

Nominations for the Liberal candidacy are expected to open soon as Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has made it clear he would like all Federal candidates to be selected by November. This is because the Albanese Labor government now holds a trigger for double dissolution, which would see both houses of parliament dissolved and every seat in the Senate up for grabs.

There has been scant interest in the seat from Liberals, or back room factional deals, with Cr McMahon being the only candidate for preselection each time she has stood.

In the letter, Cr Kotlash described the Hawkesbury Post as, “gutter press” that published “lies” and “misinformation”. Yet when she was contacted by this publication she said “no comment” and hung up. She has also failed to provide details of her accusations. She has consistently refused to answer questions about why no Labor candidate stood for mayor – when it was the clear wish of members. Cr Calvert has also refused to answer the same question.

The local Labor branch will meet Monday September 25.

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