Our newly elected Deputy Lord Mayor
City of Sydney Council met on Monday February 29 and elected Greens Councillor Irene Doutney the city’s new Deputy Lord Mayor. The election took place following the death in January of serving Deputy Lord Mayor Robyn Kemmis, a highly respected councillor affiliated with Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s Independents.
A “memorandum of understanding” between Ms Moore and Ms Doutney was forged in late January. An article published by Central Sydney magazine on January 27 made clear Ms Moore’s endorsement of Ms Doutney who will support budgetary measures but remain free to withhold support regarding any issue on which the two disagree.
A Greens’ reference group supported Ms Doutney’s nomination. “I don’t like power, I’m not a power seeker, I find it very challenging but I’m just hoping I’ll have the strength to stand up to both my colleagues and the Lord Mayor and her party,” Ms Doutney said.
Ms Doutney has been a consistent and passionate advocate for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. She wants to further the work of the council’s homelessness unit, and look at initiatives such as employing homeless people for some council duties.
Our February issue featured an article by Ms Doutney on preserving the city’s tree canopy which is under threat from light rail work and redevelopment. “[The Lord Mayor and I] have had big disagreements over things in the past and I don’t anticipate that will end, there’ll be things I won’t be happy with … I’m going to stand my ground on those.”
On the day following her election Ms Doutney said: “I was honoured to be elected as Deputy Lord Mayor … Thanks to everyone for your support – it means a lot. I’m looking forward to the coming challenges and to continuing my work with activists and residents across the community.”
The previous Thursday Ms Doutney witnessed the apology to the ’78ers at the NSW Parliament. She said: “It is an important step in recognising those who were at the forefront of the LGBTIQ rights movement and the injustices they suffered.”
As a ’78er and campaigner for acknowledgement of discrimination and mistreatment, she was very pleased by the decision of the NSW Police, prior to the Parade on March 5, to also issue a formal apology.