THE four-wheel drive she arrived in bears a sticker declaring Kyoto a recipe for "farmers’ ruin", but Liz Innes yesterday had climate-changing hugs for her September 8 opponents, including a NSW Green.
On the steps of the Chambers, the cow-girl booted, RM Williams-belted ERA councillor was celebrating with two other victorious rookies the thaw of the shire’s freeze on females.
With Greens Gabi Harding and independent Danielle Brice, they have taken the shire from zero to three female councillors in a girl-power campaign first sparked by a concerned but candidate-less ALP.
Pledging to at least listen, if not always agree, the three say they’re looking forward to a new start for the shire, with a desire for more women on council only part of their motivation for running.
Mrs Brice, who led a community campaign for a safe cycle and footpath on South Head Road after the death of her youngest son Chris, got the numbers after her running mate Lindsay Brown was declared mayor.
“I am really excited,” she said.
“My motivation is to keep serving my community. Now, at a local government level, I can step up and be a voice for the community.
“I am ecstatic to have three women on council. I know us ladies are going to work as a team.”
With only a handful of votes between Ms Innes and Mr Brown, ERA supporters found $10,000 for an 11th-hour, ultimately unsuccessful, mayoral recount, but she joins three other ERA members in the new administration’s largest bloc.
Ms Innes said she was humbled by voters’ support.
“It was astounding. The hard work now begins. I am keen to get into the job and turn this shire around.”
She said her primary motivation was ERA’s platform.
“I was much more clear on the agendas that we all went in as a team to achieve, so being a women was not foremost in my mind,” she said.
“However my mother (Robyn Innes) was a councillor, so I grew up with a strong female role model.”
Ms Harding ran first on the Greens ticket and said both gender and merit mattered.
“There should be more women, and, yes, we are here finally, but it also needs to be merit-based and I think our constituency has voted on merit,” she said.
Ms Innes agreed the contentious E3 zoning in the LEP “was a big thing” for her rural support base, but that did not necessarily put her at odds with the Greens.
“The key is finding common ground and working from there," she said. "I will, though, passionately represent those people that put me in, but (E3) was not the only issue. I am on the rural lands strategy committee and there are some exciting things we can work on.”
The three agree on food security.
“The Greens have a lot in common with farming,” Ms Harding, a horticulturalist and show produce judge, said.
“We all want the same outcomes: food security, tenure of land and how that land is managed so that security will be sustained.”
Mrs Brice, who with husband Nick managed Trunketabella Gardens and Nursery, said community food gardens played a vital role.
Ms Innes said food security “was a fundamental cornerstone for the agricultural community”.
“We have some golden opportunities here.”
However, will politics see their good will fall in a heap? Maybe, but the trio was off for coffee anyway.
“I think we come with genuine good will,” Mrs Brice said.
Both other women supported Mayor Brown’s decision to delay Tuesday’s scheduled first meeting so Mrs Brice can give evidence at the inquest into her eldest son Nick’s death in an abseiling accident.