By DI BARTOK
THE decision has been made – Bob Dwyer, Lord Mayor of Parramatta, will not contest the upcoming local government election in December.
“It is time to go, as I have other things to focus on, my family and my health,” Cr Dwyer told the Parramatta Times in an emotional interview.
But, also, the ugliness of local politics, and the behaviour of some councillors at meetings, has become too much.
A Supreme Court tussle between some councillors (not Cr Dwyer) and the Liberal Party State executive ended with the Party being able to nominate candidates rather than local branches.
“The Party then gave us barely 24 hours to nominate if we wanted to run. Well, for me, with a council meeting, media interviews and other lord mayoral duties, I didn’t have the time to get together what was required for nomination,” Cr Dwyer said.
“So I thought, what’s the use, God is telling me something here. Up until that point, I was still weighing up whether to run or not. My only option would be to run as an independent, and do I really want to do that?”
In his early 70s and with a recent battle with melanoma, Cr Dwyer thought it was time to call it a day.
He is likely to remain lord mayor until the council election on December 5, although the lord mayoral term ends on October 5.
“The current council will have to decide whether to have a new lord mayor for those remaining weeks before the election, but I’m happy to put myself forward if that is what is wanted,” he said.
“Someone may put their hand up for the position as a way of raising their profile for the election, who knows?”
No doubt he enjoyed it
There is no doubt Bob Dwyer has enjoyed his two years as lord mayor of Sydney’s second CBD, watching it bloom under his watch.
“I’m immensely proud of Parramatta Square and what it took for council to achieve that, with all the buildings we needed to acquire,” Cr Dwyer said.
“I have seen the start of the new pool, the light rail, Powerhouse and Metro West. Exciting times ahead. With all the media focus on Parramatta, I believe I have raised the profile of the lord mayor. I’ve certainly learned a lot. I was a novice in media matters before becoming lord mayor.”
The Dundas Valley-bred lord mayor came from humble beginnings but has built up expertise in the business world through banking and his own businesses migration business.
Cr Dwyer did not set out to be lord mayor when he was first elected to council in the then-Caroline Chisholm Ward as an Independent in 1995.
Losing the 1999 election, he returned to council in 2012, as a Liberal councillor, having had a brief time with the Labor Party before 2005.
The Winston Hills resident clearly is now tired of political games and looks forward to seeing some good independents run for council, especially women
“I have tried to get some Liberal women to run for council as the Party has not had women front-runner candidates before,” he said.
“There are some choice women who could be interested, but I’m not sure they have had time to nominate.”
Cr Dwyer said that now that the CBD was going full-speed ahead, it was time to focus on the suburbs – the reason he wanted to represent his community in the first place.
“It’s the parks, sporting fields and community halls that people care about, he said.
Image: Parramatta Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer in Parramatta Library.