Rosa Hillam wants to take the politics out of the Coorong council
After quitting the Greens, the two-time federal candidate has set her sights on the Coorong's mayoralty in 2022.
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If you’ve been to a Coorong council meeting lately, you’ve probably struck up a conversation with her.
Rosa Hillam has followed the council closely over the past few years, even as she invested more of her energy in two federal election campaigns.
Now, having quit the political party she represented at three elections, the Meningie artist and environmental campaigner is ready to focus exclusively on the district where she has spent the past 20 years.
She’s running for mayor.
“I think it’s time for a change,” she said.
“I think some fresh eyes and fresh ideas would be good.”
Her greatest hope was that she could get rid of the factions and bitter division that had developed in the Coorong district since 2018.
“Local government should be objective,” she said.
“It should have individual members that can debate issues and get the best outcome in a very positive and objective way, not have an us-and-them mentality.
“This idea of having a group in opposition to another group just doesn’t sit well with me.
“Councillors … should all be free-thinking people who should argue for the best outcome for the whole district.”
If elected, she would touch base with each councillor before meetings to ask if they had any concerns; and would encourage them to stick around afterwards and sort out any conflicts, rather than letting them fester.
She hoped that the respectful relationships she had developed with state and federal MPs would serve the district well, too, since networking and advocacy were important parts of a mayor’s job.
Ms Hillam has held all sorts of roles since her childhood in New South Wales: lobbyist, artist, dairy farmer, jillaroo, fruit picker, advertising salesperson and bartender.
She has become intricately involved with community groups as diverse as the Coorong Environmental Trust, suicide prevention network Coorong Conversations Matter and the Murraylands Migrant Resource Centre.
She also stood for the Greens at two federal and one state election, though she said she had enjoyed becoming “apolitical” again after quitting the party recently.
She planned to run a relatively low-profile mayoral campaign, she said, knowing she might be overshadowed by the current and former mayors on the ballot paper.
“I don’t know if people will vote for me,” she said.
“I won’t do a lot of the campaigning others will do.
“But when I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it.
“I just want to make things better.”
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How to vote in the council elections
Coorong residents and registered voters should receive their ballot papers between October 14 and 20, and will be due to return them by November 10.
Votes will be counted and a winner declared on November 12.
More information: www.ecsa.sa.gov.au.
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