Port Stephens MP Kate Washington has congratulated mayor-elect Ryan Palmer on his poll win despite her party’s mixed results.
University student and retained fire fighter Giacomo Arnott polled strongly for Labor in the west ward cementing his place on the council.
Mayoral candidate Des Maslen did not poll as well as hoped on 12.87 per cent of first preference votes for mayor. And he trails Sarah Smith and Steve Tucker for a place on central ward, fourth to Chris Doohan on primary votes.
“Ryan’s done really well, I think it’s really good that we’ve got someone in the role now that represents the community and has come into the role on a platform of transparency and good governance,” she said.
“It’s terrific that we’ve got Giacomo up in the west ward, when we were the only party that was prepared to wear its colours openly.
“It’s the first time that Labor has run a ticket in the Port Stephens Council elections and we’ll build on that in years to come.”
Ms Washington wouldn’t be drawn on those Facebook posts and what harm they might have done to Mr Maslen’s chances.
“The result is what it is,” she said.
“There’s been some very successful smear campaigns and I genuinely hope that this new council puts all that dirtiness and nastiness behind them.
“There are councillors who have been returned to their positions who are going to have to rethink how they operate – the community doesn’t have the stomach for it anymore.”
Ms Washington heads into two weeks of sitting in parliament but expressed an eagerness to meet with Mr Palmer soon.
“Ryan and I have already worked together through Nelson Bay NOW and the business chamber,” she said.
“I look forward to when we can catch up and continue that working relationship. I wish all the councillors well and I’m confident that Port Stephens has put a lot behind us and put the community on a positive foot moving forward.”
She was also enthused about Mr Arnott stepping up to the challenge.
“With his role on council, he’s young and he will be a real asset,” she said.
“He will be a great advocate for our youth and not only Raymond Terrace but the entire west ward – he’s got the community’s best interests at hear.”