THE Joondalup mayoral election looms as a battle between old foes. Times editor Justin Bianchini looks at the three candidates that pundits could be forgiven for labelling the frontrunners.
The former Liberal police minister and Hillarys MLA turned independent at the last State election has chosen to lock horns with fellow mayoral candidate and former colleague Albert Jacob.
Mr Jacob is backed by fellow Liberal and local party organiser Moore MHR Ian Goodenough. Both are supporters of the Globalheart Christian church in Joondalup, which Mr Johnson has criticised, particularly after his Liberal ally Simon Ehrenfeld had his endorsement for the seat of Hillarys overturned by the party’s State council prior to this year’s WA election.
It didn’t go unnoticed by Mr Johnson’s detractors when Mr Ehrenfeld’s name was associated with several Joondalup councillor candidates lobbying at once on the day nominations closed.
If he doesn’t win, Mr Johnson, an ex-mayor of the former City of Wanneroo, would therefore likely want to see Russell Poliwka get the mayoral job.
The Joondalup Business Association veteran and first-term Joondalup councillor has long clashed with outgoing mayor Troy Pickard. There’s no love lost between the two men.
Mr Poliwka was perhaps prepared not to run a fifth time for mayor if Mr Pickard opted not to re-stand. In fact, Joondalup’s longest serving mayor decided not to run but got Mr Poliwka’s ire up when he was pictured on the front page of this newspaper endorsing Mr Jacob.
Mr Poliwka knows he’s up against a strongly funded Goodenough-Jacob campaign. For his part, he has again put together a show of support around his candidacy, with several councillor candidates with links to the JBA.
And feeding on Mr Pickard’s misstep and the subsequent council backflip over the use of Craigie’s Warrandyte Park for National Premier Leagues WA team Joondalup United, Mr Poliwka (who also voted against the proposed performing arts centre) has been advertising himself as the ratepayers’ mayor.
The former Joondalup councillor graduated into State politics and then into the Colin Barnett Cabinet, becoming the environment minister.
He was swept aside as Ocean Reef MLA in the Labor election landslide and will forever have to answer to criticism that he and Mr Barnett defended the Liberal Government’s decision to bulldoze bushland for the Roe 8 highway extension so close to the State election.
Mr Jacob, who declined an invitation to a Joondalup Business Association Q&A with mayoral candidates, has been endorsed by outgoing mayor Troy Pickard, along with others endorsed by the mayor, including some against incumbent councillors.
He was in a photograph with Mr Pickard for this paper’s front-page story a few months ago about the mayor endorsing him. Seated in chairs across a table from each other in a cafe in Joondalup, the story could quite easily have been headlined Game of Thrones.
Albert Jacob has the edge: polling analyst
The Times asked WA election analyst William Bowe how he saw the chances of the two former Liberal ministers Rob Johnson and Albert Jacob.
Phillip Ruddock, 74-year-old former minister in the Howard government, was recently elected mayor of Hornsby in Sydney. Perhaps that bodes well for Liberals on the rebound – including rather old ones.
But unless he faced a particularly strong challenger (aside from Rob Johnson), I would presume Albert Jacob was very well placed. He should draw support from Liberal loyalists, whereas the anti-Liberal vote will split among numerous other candidates.
Rob Johnson does have a following locally, but I would be surprised if it amounted to as much as what Jacob is able to draw as the natural candidate for Liberal voters.
William Bowe writes the popular blog The Poll Bludger
Full list of Joondalup mayoral candidates:
Rob Johnson, Russell Poliwka, Gary Morris, Nasir Shah, Brogan Murphy, Albert Jacob, Graeme Stickland
and Chris Morrison.
– To find out more about the candidates in the Joondalup and Wanneroo local government elections,