Wyndham’s new council is independent and diverse
Wyndham’s new-look council will have an independent majority, seven new faces, a few return-winners and three women.
Among the winners, Labor councillor, a millionaire property and education entrepreneur, Intaj Khan said he was excited to have secured a second term in office. “I fought back hard to keep the post. It was one of the hardest battles I ever fought,” Khan said, of the hotly-contested race that included a state-record of 41 candidates. ” I stayed focused and defeated a vicious campaign against what I stand for. I stand for business and growth, jobs and prosperity”, Khan told The Indian Sun after winning the elections. Khan estimated he spent approximately $100,00 on his campaign. But his main supporting candidate in the campaign for his ward, Joh Bauch, failed to win a seat on the council.
The council saw a low turnout, with just 66 per cent of residents in Cr Khan’s ward casting their vote. The statewide turnout for council elections averaged about 73 per cent.
Independent Tony Hooper secured a place in Harrison ward after receiving the highest primary vote, while former two-time mayor Kim McAliney made a return after being ousted in the 2012 election, and is joined by fellow independent and Williams Landing resident Aaron An.
In Chaffey ward, incumbent councillors Gautam Gupta, Marie Brittan and Michele Wharrie failed to win re-election, while fellow incumbent John Gibbons was re-elected for the seventh time. “The results may not be the best for me, but I believe the mix of Councillors elected are very interesting and I am sure are a good choice for our city,” said Gupta. A prominent member of the Filipino community in Wyndham Walter Villagonzalo has also made it into the council for the first time making the new council more diverse than ever before.
In Iramoo, Heather Marcus and Peter Maynard were re-elected for their fourth and second terms respectively after polling highly in first preferences, while Wyndham resident Mia Shaw made the cut following her first-ever election campaign.
There was a jump in the number of female councillors elected, with 38 per cent of those who won office—or 243 councillors—women. It was a four per cent increase from the last council elections in 2012.