Clover Moore's ambitious ticket for City of Sydney elections via the SMH
Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore has given her strongest indication yet she is looking to anoint a successor, unveiling a ticket of high profile candidates to contest the council elections in September.
Prominent doctor Kerryn Phelps and architect Philip Thalis headline a ticket of unusually prominent candidates to contest the council elections as part of Cr Moore's team of independents.
Clover Moore: Why I'm standing for mayor again
Independent Clover Moore says she would use a fourth term as Lord Mayor of Sydney to work with state and federal government on climate change.
The Lord Mayor, who has held the city's keys for 12 years - through six prime ministers, six premiers, and eight planning ministers - said she had thought "very carefully" before deciding to run for a fourth term.
"I had to think about whether I would run again and if I did run again I wanted a team with the future in mind," Cr Moore said, who faces a potentially tough fight for Town Hall because of state government changes to increase the power of the business vote. "I might not do this until I'm carried out."
But she would not definitively say whether her hand-picked ticket was a deliberate bid to formulate a succession plan, with a view to handing over the reins in four years time.
"Well it could be," she said. "I'm sure there are a number of future Lord Mayors amongst this ticket."
While the ticket's order is yet to be confirmed, it includes a number of recognisable faces.
Among them is Dr Phelps, a former Australian Medical Association president who has built a profile around gay rights advocacy and public health issues.
The Council of the City of Sydney independant candidates, pictured with Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Left to right: Jess Scully, Catherine Lezer, Philip Thalis, Clover Moore, Kerryn Phelps, Robert Kok and Jess Miller. Photo: James Brickwood
Though she has been headhunted by a range of parties over the years, Dr Phelps said she did not "fit into any political party pigeon hole" and decided to join Cr Moore's independent ticket because of their "shared, strongly-aligned values".
"Regardless of which political power is in place in state or federal politics, there needs to be an independent person from the community at city level," she said.
Also running on Cr Moore's ticket is Mr Thalis, an architect, who won the original design competition for the Barangaroo precinct redevelopment in 2006 but who has since become a trenchant critic of the management of the precinct.
Mr Thalis has also worked on numerous public projects across the city with his architectural firm Hill Thalis Architecture, including at Pyrmont's Pirrama Park.
Describing the development of Darling Habour as "textbook failure" and "test case of what's wrong with planning in Sydney", he supports the City's push to reclaim the management of key sites that have been hived off to the state government, namely the Rocks, Darling Harbour, and sections of Ultimo and land near Central Station.
"It's a very important conversation," he said. "On merit, they should give them back tomorrow."
Mr Thalis said rapacious development had placed the city at a "tipping point" where urban growth projects such as the Bays Precinct renewal and the development of the Central to Eveleigh corridor could have an "enormous negative effect on the city" if managed poorly.
Notably, five of the seven candidates on Moore's ticket are women. Jess Scully, a former magazine editor who has since established herself within Sydney's creative scene as TedX curator and director of Vivid Ideas, will campaign alongside businesswoman and strata-expert Catherine Lezer, and Jess Miller, a sustainable-living advocate.
Robert Kok, a current councillor, is the only candidate with runs on the board in local government.
In 2012, Cr Moore claimed more than 50 per cent of first preference votes, while five of her team secured places on the council. But the impact of the business voting changes is yet to be determined.
Liberal Christine Forster is expected to be Cr Moore's strongest opposition for mayor.