Bill Pickering, probably the worst, most unsuitable councillor to wear the City of Ryde’s red bathrobes, was on the weekend given the boot by Liberal Party preselectors… at long last.
And before the NSW Liberal Party executive could ban him for accusing Premier Gladys Berejiklian of fraud – as reported in the Ryde’s Weekly Times – the unpopular, self-serving, conflicted lobbyist jumped ship and – according to party sources – resigned from Liberals on Tuesday (8th August 2017).
Only 11 – of Pickering’s cronies – out of 53 local preselectors at the Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club supported the bid to extend his scandal-ridden tenure at Ryde.
Apparently, he stormed out of the meeting, outraged that his sense of entitlement had been challenged.
No one cried.
Except for his fellow Ryde councillor Jane Stott, the beneficiary of Pickering’s widely-publicised paramedic stretcher performance at a polling booth in Putney during 2015 by-election.
Unfortunately, those who have witnessed her subservience to Pickering at council meetings, have also noticed that when she uses mascara, she does so with a little too much enthusiasm.
Mix Stott’s tears of devastation and the fact the pair are thorougly unelectable, while the Colonel is averse to engaging with constituents thanks to his counter-democratic approach to transparency and accountability, and you’re left with one stinking political puddle of sludge.
Roy Maggio, who doesn’t mind mixing with people and in particular locals, wasn’t as upset as Pickering and Stott after also being dumped in what was a factional coup.
Now running as an independent, Maggio has always been considered capable of attracting voters but has been damaged by public perception of his links to Pickering.
But the decision of the moderate faction to dump him at the preselection is a puzzling one – with the Libs at the ugly phase of the electoral cycle, they may have a harder time than they expect especially if Maggio snubs them – as he should on preferences.
It’s understood both Pickering and Stott will still be running as independents too – wow, that pair again, on council? No way, Jose.
And the big question is: Will Pickering be able to get some publicity from Northern District Times editor Colin Kerr now that he’s unlikely to be able to misuse council’s advertising contract?
The NSW Liberal Party shouldn’t expect to wash its hands of Pickering and the associated risks he brings to the table. NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts has validated Pickering’s creation of a new housing industry organisation that appears to involve all sorts of conflicts of interest.
And as the clock ticks down on Pickering’s mayoralty by miscarriage, he seems determined to misuse his council role – as he’s done before – to promote his new six-figure-salary generating conflict of interest as the CEO of the new body.
Meanwhile, Pickering’s bromance with NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts ensures the NSW Government is only a pen-stroke away from its next corruption scandal.