EXCLUSIVE: Rob Johnson in race for Joondalup Mayor

Rob Johnson. Picture: Martin Kennealey.
Rob Johnson. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

IT’S on between Rob Johnson and Albert Jacob in the race for Mayor of Joondalup.

Former Hillarys MLA Mr Johnson has announced his candidacy as he looks to prevent his former Liberal Party colleague Mr Jacob from winning the chair.

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Mr Johnson, a Kallaroo resident, said he would not mind seeing rival candidate Russell Poliwka claim victory because he did not consider Mr Jacob the right man for the job.

Mr Johnson’s opposition to Mr Jacob stems back to their time in State Government when Mr Jacob was Ocean Reef MLA.

Mr Johnson often criticised Mr Jacob’s affiliation with Globalheart Church and the influence he perceived Globalheart had in local politics through Mr Jacob and other church associates, such as former Joondalup MLA Jan Norberger and Moore MHR Ian Goodenough.

He said his campaign for mayor would follow a similar line.

“My belief is that there would be an unhealthy influence from a religious sect in the northern suburbs on whatever happens in council,” he said.

Mr Jacob has indicated in past media interviews that his role in the church did not influence his role as a politician, particularly in respect to financial decisions.

“My involvement in the church is as a community-based membership and I do not have any direct pecuniary interests in my church,” he was quoted as saying in January.

In a 2011 interview with a church magazine, he said: “I am elected to be the representative voice of everyone in my constituency, not just the Christians”.

Joondalup-based Globalheart, a Pentecostal church, denies any association with politics.

Mr Johnson said his campaign would also focus on the suburbs, accusing current Mayor Troy Pickard of paying too much attention to the Joondalup city centre.

He claimed residents, particularly seniors, were unhappy in the suburbs “where no money has been spent for years and years”.

“I’m opposed to vanity projects like the $100 million performing arts centre – we can’t afford that at the moment,” he said.

“We need to get back to basics and look after the people in the suburbs, I don’t believe the council has been doing that enough.

He used the tension surrounding the proposals to find a new home for Joondalup United Football Club as an example of when he considered the council had not listened to its residents.

The council was met with strong opposition with its proposals to house the club at Forrest Park in Padbury, Warrandyte Park in Craigie and Beldon Park.

“I’ve got nothing against the club and I’ve always said they should find an area where it’s not going to affect local residents and be opposed by local residents,” Mr Johnson said.

It would be a return to Mr Johnson’s political roots in local government if he was to win the election.

He was mayor of London borough Sutton before moving to Perth and becoming Mayor of Wanneroo.

He became a controversial figure towards the end of his two decades-plus in State Parliament.

Mr Johnson was sacked as Emergency Services Minister in 2011 after what critics deemed a lack of response in the wake of the hills bushfires. The following year then-Premier Colin Barnett sacked him as Police Minister.

He said he had considered running for mayor for about two months before making the announcement today.

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