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Contest for the inner city: the all-female Lord Mayoral candidates competing for City of Sydney Council

Lord Mayor of City of Sydney Clover Moore has held the position since 2004. An all-female line up of candidates are contesting the Lord Mayoralty this election, December 4. Photo: Flickr.


In contrast to four other Sydney councils in City Hub’s catchment area, Randwick City Council, Waverley Council, Woollahra Council, and Inner West Council, City of Sydney Council has no wards, and a popularly elected Mayor.

The Lord Mayor of City of Sydney Council leads decision making at council meetings and hosts civic and ceremonial events.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore has held the position since 2004. She is the first popularly elected woman and longest serving leader of the City of Sydney.

This election on December 4, five female candidates have stepped up to usurp her.

Angela Vithoulkas

Small Business Party Angela Vithoulkas. Photo: Facebook.

Angela Vithoulkas of the Small Business Party is one of two incumbent (currently holding office) councillors in the running for the top job.

Vithoulkas said she was not planning to run again after serving nine years on council until the Clover Moore Independent Team announced that they would have a super 8 majority.

“I did not want to see the city lose even the small amount of diversity it has and there would be nobody left to represent small business in any way.”

Her plan to re-imagine local government includes capping Lord Mayoral terms to a maximum of three years and establishing public “questions without notice” sessions to support an open and transparent local democracy.

Labor Linda Scott. Photo: City of Sydney

Linda Scott

Incumbent Labor councillor Linda Scott is bidding for Lord Mayor. She formerly served as Deputy Mayor, and as the President of the Australian Local Government Association, was the first woman to be elected as President of Local Government NSW and as Deputy Chair of CareSuper, an industry superannuation fund.

Linda and Labor are committed to accelerated action on climate change, a bold Jobs Plan to kickstart Sydney from COVID and more liveable green spaces and council services.

Scott did not respond to queries in time for publication.

Shauna Jarrett

Sydney lawyer and governance consultant Shauna Jarrett is the Liberal candidate for Lord Mayor. Jarrett is a first-time political candidate but is married to politician Greg Pearce, who sat in the NSW Legislative Council from 2000 to 2017.

Liberal Shauna Jarrett. Photo: lsj

Jarrett told City Hub her agenda is “about enabling people to just get on with what they want to do, develop their properties, develop their communities, without a big bureaucracy saying we don’t want you to do that.

“It’s about a lot more transparency around the decisions that are made by the council, and it’s about people being able to live in the City of Sydney without being told what’s best for them.”

Yvonne Weldon

Yvonne Weldon is a Wiradjuri woman and the first Independent Indigenous Australian to run for Lord Mayor. If elected, she will be the first Independent Indigenous Australian councillor in the City of Sydney’s 179-year history.

Independent/UNITE Yvonne Weldon. Photo: Twitter.

Weldon told City Hub she hopes to recognise and celebrate diversity, make city living more affordable, power a genuinely green recovery “we will aggressively reduce the council’s reliance on gas,” create a safe place for women and girls, support small businesses and entrepreneurs, and reignite culture.

“I might be running for Lord Mayor, but I don’t see myself as a politician.

“Sydney gave me the opportunity to succeed. I’m running to give all Sydneysiders the same opportunities that our city gave me,” she said.

Sylvie Ellsmore

Greens Sylvie Ellsmore. Photo: Greens on council.

The Greens Lord Mayor candidate Sylvie Ellsmore told City Hub people think there are already Greens on City of Sydney council, but there are no Greens currently on council.

“People also tell us that since there haven’t been Greens on council the last five years, they feel that the council is less grassroots. It’s less connected to community. It’s more of a big inaccessible bureaucracy.”

The Greens are running on an agenda of a city for everyone, climate and environmental justice and a grassroots council.

Residents, businesses and property owners vote for City of Sydney councillors and the Lord Mayor. The Deputy Lord Mayor is elected by councillors.

Moore’s Independent team currently holds five out of ten seats on council: Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully, Robert Kok, Jess Miller, Professor Philip Thalis and the Lord Mayor. All are running again, as well as five new candidates for Team Clover, giving Moore the most candidates of any other Lord Mayor candidate or party, and enough to fill every seat on council.

Other Lord Mayoral candidates have between five and eight candidates.

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