LIAM CARTER has pulled out of the race for the South Ward by-election in Fremantle, but denies any deals were cut to avoid splitting the vote with incumbent Andrew Sullivan.
The young South Fremantle resident has recently taken up an office bearer’s role on a Greens election campaign committee, but replied “no, no, God no” when asked if the position was linked to his decision not to contest the election. Mr Carter says he’d previously worked on the committee at the last state election.
Mr Carter came in second to Cr Sullivan by 57 votes in October’s election and says his team achieved their goal—reminding young people in Fremantle that they can have an impact on local politics.
“There definitely wasn’t a deal or anything of that nature,” Mr Carter says.
“I considered my position and considered the future, the coming few rounds of council, and the current political landscape and I made that decision based on my own analysis.
“For me, where I’m currently at in my life, I’m okay to let this particular opportunity slide.”
Mr Carter and Cr Sullivan both draw votes from the left wing, with the latter also having previously been an active Greens member who stood for the state seat of Fremantle in 2013.
As the Herald interviewed Mr Carter at Ootong and Lincoln cafe, local sustainability guru Sharni Graham leaned over from her neighbouring table: “Worried about splitting the vote,” she quizzed him.
“Obviously that’s a factor in the decision,” he says.
“You have to be aware of the political landscape and I think that it is really important that we keep a progressive person in.”
Cr Sullivan has been an important council ally of Brad Pettitt, but Mr Carter says that apart from getting updates to predict the make-up of his council, the mayor hadn’t pressured him to stand aside.
Cr Sullivan told the Herald he was planning to submit his renomination form yesterday (Friday, February 2): “Brad indicated that he valued my opinion on council and hoped that I would find the enthusiasm to run again.”
“I like Liam as a human being; obviously I don’t like him running against me,” but says he put no pressure on the youngster to pull out.
Cr Sullivan says having first-past-the-post in council election is “disappointing”, because it can lead to vote splitting between good candidates.
“I suspect we will see him run for council sometime in the future,” Cr Sullivan predicted.
Mr Carter is “stoked” for the future of Fremantle.
“When we look at what makes Fremantle the place that we all love to live in, you only have to look at examples like One Day – bloody brilliant, like our environmental policies, like being a refugee welcome zone, and like being a nuclear free zone and the work Brad just did with the Peace Boat,” he says.
“You only have to look at all these examples to know that having a progressive council is what makes Freo so good, essentially that and the input of the amazing community members, so for me, I’d like to see Fremantle remain an entirely progressive council and I’d also like people to consider the impact that new voices and particularly young voices can have on politics in Fremantle.
“Not to sound like Malcolm Turnbull, but there’s never been a more exciting time to live in Fremantle.”
Nominations close on Wednesday at 4pm.
by ALICE ANGELONI