Recounts in the Inner West Leichhardt-Gulgadya and Marrickville-Midjuburi wards have been requested following results released by the NSW Electoral Commission that showed a Labor majority on the new term of Inner West Council.
After all Labor frontrunners comfortably secured seats in each of the five council wards, the electing of Jessica D’Arienzo (Ashfield-Djarrawunang), Zoi Tsardoulias (Marrickville-Midjuburi) and Timothy Stephens (Leichhardt-Gulgadya) placed Labor with a majority in the 15-seat council, which all but assured Darcy Byrne’s return to the mayoralty after being voted out by fellow councillors in September.
Recounts in Leichhardt-Gulgadya and Marrickville-Midjuburi have been requested following tight battles for the third seat in each ward, with respective incumbent councillors Vittoria Raciti and Victor Macri each trailing Stephens and Tsardoulias by small margins, as it is believed the distribution of preferences and a reviewal of informal votes could swing the results.
A change in results coming from a recount would greatly impact the makeup of the new council chamber, as any new developments in Leichhardt or Marrickville will strip Labor of its majority and complicate Byrne’s return to the mayoralty. In September, Crs Raciti (who was a Liberal representative last council term) and Macri (Independent) abstained in the second round of voting after both had helped Byrne retain his posting in 2019.
A swing against Labor may also affect the preparation of a de-amalgamation business case for the Minister for Local Government, following 62.5 per cent of voters choosing to return the Inner West Council to the former Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils. While inner west Labor candidates pledged to work in the public interest, concerns about the cost and practicality of a de-amalgamation led the bloc to vote against creating the poll and may impact the prioritisation of a business case in the council chamber.
Making the Mayoralty
Contesting Byrne for the mayoralty will be the Greens’ Kobi Shetty, a first-time councillor who along with Byrne will be representing the Balmain-Baludarri ward in council. The Greens have campaigned for de-amalgamation throughout their election campaigning and have pledged to make the results of the poll a key area of action in the coming term.
The mayoralty will be decided when the new councillors meet on December 29.
Update: The recount for the Marrickville-Midjuburi ward has been denied by the NSW Electoral Commission, and the three elected councillors will remain Mat Howard (Labor), Justine Langford (Greens) and Zoi Tsardoulias (Labor). In Leichhardt-Gulgadya, the three elected councillors also remained Marghanita da Cruz (Greens), Philippa Scott (Labor) and Timothy Stephens (Labor).