Angela Vithoulkas, who is running against Clover Moore in the City of Sydney council elections. Photo: Peter Rae
Nicole Whitton's bag may have read "Keep Calm and Carry On", but appearances can be deceiving. The Broadway resident travelled to Sydney's Town Hall today to express her anger and call for change.
She joined about 50 protesters at the "No More Clover" rally organised by the Consumers and Taxpayers Association (CATA) ahead of next month's local government elections.
Although best known for its vehement anti-carbon tax stance, CATA's rally was calling for Sydney's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, to be deposed on September 8.
"I'm angry at her," Ms Whitton said. "I've got no time for her any more. I think she's an absolute monster."
Ms Whitton said she throwing her support behind Living Sydney's Angela Vithoulkas. So much so that she said she was volunteering to man a polling booth for the lord mayoral candidate.
"She's young, she's vibrant and she wants to help everybody," she said.
Living Sydney, which has done a preference deal with Labor, denies any link with CATA.
The CATA founder, Jacques Laxale, said he was not offended when the call came through yesterday asking him to remove CATA's endorsement for Ms Vithoulkas from a web notice advertising the rally.
"I was spoken to and said basically that they're not associated with us," he said, citing CATA's anti-carbon tax position as the likely cause.
Mr Laxale said he had spoken to the Living Sydney chairman, Barry Goldman, and director, Katherine Goldman, about the rally weeks ago - and had also made contact with liberal candidate, Edward Mandla - but said he had never spoken to Ms Vithoulkas, who he still thought was best for the top job.
"This person has got a lot of credentials. Even though they don't want to know us, that doesn't bother me," he said.
Ms Vithoulkas remained the favourite choice for mayor among the crowd, many of whom said they had travelled from outside the electorate to attend the rally, which was addressed by broadcaster, Alan Jones.
Jones said he did not endorse any of the candidates, but praised independent, Dixie Coulton, and drew the crowd's attention to his interview with Ms Vithoulkas hours earlier.
"The lady I interviewed this morning, Angela – I can't even pronounce her last name, Voulkolis, or whatever her name is – was very impressive but she made one point," he said. "She said for 20 years they've been promising to put a lift at Redfern Station."
Ms Vithoulkas is campaigning to install a lift at the station, even though the City of Sydney does not have the power to do so.
Jones said the level of community anger at Cr Moore was not reflected by the size of today's crowd, who he thanked for coming.
"I'm always of the view that if even two people turn up, it's worthwhile," he said.
But he said the suggestion that it might have been a missed opportunity for Ms Vithoulkas was a "fair comment".
"I think wherever there's a forum about the thing that you're interested in, I think you ought to in politics take advantage of that forum," he said.
Jones said he did not know why Ms Vithoulkas had decided not to attend. "I think most probably there's a level of inexperience there perhaps and they panicked a bit and thought 'hello, I'm going to be identified with all of this, things are going to be said about me'."