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Cairns Mayor

Cairns Mayor position in the balance in Cliffhanger Election!

Champion of the Underdog » Cairns » Cairns politics » Cairns Mayor position in the balance in Cliffhanger Election!

Cairns Mayor Election

On the 22 November 2023, the new leader of the Cairns Unity Team, Terry James became Cairns Regional Council’s first ‘Unelected Mayor’. He was installed by Unity Councillors in a Political Numbers Game. This continued the stronghold Unity Inc have held over Council for the last 12 years.

Cairns Mayor Vote

Following the ‘well timed’ and highly orchestrated resignation of Mayor Manning, the Unity team decided to appoint one of their own to the top job. The following motion was put and carried:

Consequently, Terry James will remain the Mayor of Cairns until the local government elections to be held on 16 March 2024. On this day the people of Cairns will democratically elect a Mayor who will serve for the following four years. 

Deputy Cairns Mayor Appointed

Cr. James ‘appointment’ left a vacancy for ‘Deputy Mayor’. Consequently, Unity Councillors voted in unison to appoint their own Cr. Brett Moller to this position.

Cairns Regional Council Division 4

Terry James appointment to the position of Mayor created a vacancy in Division 4. Paramedic and Earlville resident Jeremy Neal was the Cairns Unity candidate for Division 4.

In a blatant political move, Unity Members voted to have him ‘appointed’ as the Councillor for Division 4 at the January Cairns Council meeting.

Cairns Mayor Salary

The salary for the Mayor is $183,143 per year. This is the base salary (excluding any car allowance, etc). In Queensland Mayors are elected for a 4 year term.

Cairns Council Elections 2024

All existing positions will hold until the next Queensland local government elections, which are due to be held on 16 March 2024.

There are a number of candidates for the positions of Cairns Mayor, including Dennis Walls from the Community First Team, Amy Eden from Team Eden, Terry James from the Conservative Cairns Unity team and Independent Paul Taylor. We look at these candidates below.

Cairns Councillors: Amy Eden
Cairns Councillor Amy Eden to run for Mayor

Cairns Mayor Candidates

There are a number of candidates actively running for the position of Cairns Mayor.

Amy Eden for Cairns Mayor (Team Eden)

Amy Eden is running for Mayor with her “Team Eden”. Indeed this exciting new team is actively campaigning. If successful, Cr. Eden would then become Cairns second female Mayor of Cairns.

Team Eden has been light on policy, other than her desire to ‘double Cairns growth rate’. How this would be done remains a mystery. Why you would want to do it (in the midst of a housing crises) is just as mysterious.

Dennis Walls for Cairns Mayor (Community First)

Dennis Walls
Denis Walls

Denis Walls has lived in Cairns for 33 years and is a former education manager and university teacher. He is married to Stella and they have two adult sons. Dennis leads the Community First Team.

He is an active community member with extensive political, social and environmental experience. He has also been privileged to serve our local community through roles including former President of Edge Hill Scouts, soccer coach, President of Cairns Community Radio, a newspaper columnist and radio broadcaster, Spokesperson for Save Trinity Inlet and the Cairns Wetlands Park, President of CAFNEC, Spokesperson for Save Taylor Point and the Jack Barnes Boardwalk.

Denis says, “For too long we have been let down by councillors more interested in secrecy, conflicts of interest and short-term planning, increasingly out of touch with the needs of everyday Cairns residents.”

Denis Walls is the Progressive voter’s obvious choice for Mayor. We believe this should secure him 16 – 18 % of the primary vote in an increasingly conservative electorate.

John Kelly (Common Sense)

John Kelly is running for Mayor of Cairns as the leader of the “Common Sense Team”. The retired grader operator is regularly seen out on the campaign trail around Cairns. So far no Divisional candidates have been announced by Mr. Kelly.

There are no problems John believes cannot cannot be fixed with a chainsaw and a D8 bulldozer. John should get around 2 – 4 % of the vote.

Paul Taylor (Independent)

Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

Former Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Paul Taylor has announced he will run for Cairns Mayor in 2024, as an Independent.

Not regarded as a ‘serious candidate’ early on, Paul has come home strongly and some believe he may even win! We think Paul will get around 30 % of the primary vote.

Terry James Cairns

Cairns Councillors: Terry James
Cairns Councillors: Terry James

Following the resignation of Bob Manning, the position of mayor needed to be filled.

At the Ordinary Meeting on Wednesday 22 November 2023, a majority of Councillors (5-4) voted to elect Cr Terry James as the city’s 35th Mayor. Mayor James will be in the position until the local government elections in March 2024.

Terry should also get approximately 35 % of the primary vote.

Cairns Mayor Party

Cr. James is running to become the Mayor of Cairns at the 2024 elections. He will lead the Conservative Cairns Unity team. This team has strong links with the Liberal National Party (LNP), from which it draws considerable support.

Cairns Mayor Election

The Mayor for the next four years will be elected at the polls to be held on 16 March 2024.

Cairns Councillors

In the lead up to the March 2024 local government elections, we look at serving Cairns Councillors and other candidates. After all, there is a big field of candidates and Cairns Councillors, who, if successful, will be working with the newly elected Cairns Mayor.

One Councillor is elected for each of the nine divisions that constitute Cairns Regional Council. However, the Mayor will be elected by the vote of the whole Cairns region.

Cairns Post

The Cairns Post has a long tradition of supporting the Unity Team and this has been widely recognised as a significant factor in local election outcomes.

Cairns Regional Council

The following map shows the nine electoral divisions that make up the Cairns Regional Council area.

cairns regional council division maps
Cairns Regional Council Division Maps

Mayors of Cairns

Cairns Regional Council has had the following Mayors:

Val Schier: April 2008 – 28 April 2012
Bob Manning: 28 April 2012 – 17 November 2023
Terry James: 22 November 2023 – present (unelected)

Cairns Unity

The Cairns Unity team is an incorporated body that runs a group of candidates for election in Cairns local government elections. It is a Conservative group led by diminutive Mayor Terry James.

Cairns Division 2

Rob Pyne made the hard decision not to recentest Division 2. The response has been a record number of candidates coming forward in the hope of representing this division, a result Pyne says, “is great for democracy”.

Other Relevant Material

Cairns Politics

Authorised by: Rob Pyne, 183 Draper Street, Cairns.


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