Tweed Shire Council Mayor Katie Milne with Deputy Gary Bagnall, both chosen by lot. The poople behind them were among those protesting out the front of the council chamber.
Tweed Shire Council Mayor Katie Milne with Deputy Gary Bagnall, both chosen by lot. The poople behind them were among those protesting out the front of the council chamber. Alina Rylko

Lucky dip decides Tweed’s council leaders

THURSDAY night's deciding of the mayor and deputy mayor by 'lot' was not the only drama surrounding the event.

The night's proceedings began with a protest out the front of Murwillumbah's council chambers. The council's security was placed on alert as 30 people chanted with banners calling for Cr Gary Bagnall to remain mayor.

Then both the new mayor and deputy mayor's names had to be drawn out of a bucket as the votes were tied three-all. Cr Milne's luck held up over Cr Warren Polglase, while Cr Phil Youngblutt lost to ex-mayor Gary Bagnall.

Cr Milne is the shire's first Greens mayor, and just the second woman in Tweed's history to hold the top office.

She was nominated by Cr Gary Bagnall and Cr Barry Longland in what was believed to be a compromise, after Cr Longland refused to back former mayor, Cr Bagnall, for another year in office.

One of Cr Milne's first acts as mayor was to declare a non-pecuniary interest in a matter pertaining to the Cobaki mega-residential development planned by Leda.

That's because Cr Milne is in the midst of defamation action against billionaire Leda owner Bob Ell, after he successfully sued her.

Conservative Cr Polglase and his backers Cr Carolyn Byrne and Cr Youngblutt looked stunned at their poor luck, while the audience - many of the protesters who had been supporting Cr Bagnall - erupted in applause after each of the lot winners was announced.

On Friday, Cr Polglase said he was not disappointed by his loss, because he'd "been mayor twice before".

Cr Milne told the media it was a "just" result as progressives were the majority on the council. She was "honoured" to be council's first Greens mayor.

"I'll do my utmost for the community. I'm always open to any questions of any form. The door is open to everyone. I hope that there's a healing across the whole shire. I intend to be a conciliatory mayor."

The Greens revelled in Cr Milne's win. North Coast Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker said the Richmond now had two green mayors. The other being Byron Shire's Simon Richardson. "(Cr Milne) will work tirelessly to better our shire in everyone's interests, not just the big end of town that want to exploit Tweed at any cost," she said.



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