The Liberals will field the “greatest number of female candidates” of any party at this year’s council elections, despite Labor claims it failed to support a sitting female councillor.
But the party’s main line-up remains an all male affair, with men taking the number one spot on all four tickets.
The party has selected 40-year-old Glenbrook resident Anita Watson to run in second position on the Ward 4 ticket, while Alex McDonald will run second on Mayor Daniel Myles’ ticket in Ward 3.
Announcing the line-up for his ticket this week, Ward 4 Liberal candidate Brendan Christie welcomed the news.
“The announcement of our teams in Wards 3 and 4 now gives our party the greatest number of female candidates out of any political party for the upcoming election, with further announcements expected in the coming weeks,” Mr Christie said in a statement.
The announcement came following concerns by outgoing Ward 3 Labor councillor Alison McLaren that just one woman could be sitting at the council table post-September 8, as only one female candidate had been officially announced.
Clr McLaren put forward a notice of motion at yesterday (Tuesday’s) Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) meeting, urging the council to consider implementing strategies encouraging more women to run for election to local government over the next four years.
She also took a swipe at the Liberal Party for not supporting sitting councillor Fiona Creed, who withdrew her pre-selection nomination after the numbers appeared to be stacking up in Mr Christie’s favour.
Mr Christie in turn criticised the ALP by saying that “unlike other political parties, our female candidates were selected on their merits and did not rely on any special weighting or quota system to get selected”.
Mr Christie’s running mate Mrs Watson is a mother-of-two and Lapstone Out of School Hours co-ordinator who also runs a successful online skin care business.
Mrs Watson said her priorities included boosting local business and gaining better facilities for young people.
“With my husband and I both operating small retail businesses in the local area we understand business is doing it tough and believe council should be doing more to help,” she said in a statement.
“Another priority for me will be addressing the lack of recreational programs for youth during school holidays. Many working parents are concerned about the lack of positive activities for local youth during the day. If elected one of my priorities will be to address this issue.”
Third on Mr Christie’s ticket is business analyst and father-of-one Geoff Hacker.
“I am honoured to have successful business people such as Mrs Watson and Mr Hacker running alongside me on the Liberal ticket for the upcoming council elections,” Mr Christie said.
“I believe their experience in business will ensure we can deliver better outcomes for the community.”