Monday, 20 February 2012

Councillor Lesina steps down from Cairns Regional Council

Cairns Regional Councillor for division 4, Councillor Kirsten Lesina, served her last day on Friday.

"I officially resigned as a Councillor over the weekend," Kirsten Lesina said today. "It has been great working with Rob Pyne, Mayor Val Schier, Councillor Diane Forsyth and Julia Leu over the past four years."

"I am now in for the fight of my life to win the seat of Cairns."

Lesina has formally stepped down as a Cairns Regional Councillor and relinquished her Council duties to campaign for the State seat of Cairns for Labor. She has asked the Mayor to look after the division until the April 28th election.

Councillor Diane Forsyth wished her all the best on her departure. "It has been a pleasure working with Kirsten, I will miss her valuable contribution on Council," Forsyth said. "She will make a brilliant local Member for Cairns."

Councillor Lesina, or just Kirsten Lesina, as her Facebook page now reads, is the youngest-ever to be elected in Cairns local body politics at the age of 21 in 2008, beating the record held by former Mulgrave Shire Ross Parisi.

Criticism was lobbied at Ms Lesina for not resigning her duties as a paid city councillor at the time of the State election announcement in January, as she had already commenced active election campaigning, whilst continuing her duties as a councillor. Her campaign website admitted the dual role: "Kirsten Lesina is the Labor Candidate for the State seat of Cairns and is also currently the Councillor for Division Four on the Cairns Regional Council... and needs your help to become the State Member for Cairns.''

Opposition politicians also suggested her drive for the State seat of Cairns before completing one term as a councillor, displayed contempt and a ''desire to be a career politician.''

Mayor Val Schier praised her election in 2008, saying at the time it was one of the highlights of the election of her Cairns 1st team.

Lesina's preselection for the seat of Cairns as the Labor candidate in May last year, was a divisive move within the Party's right faction, to keep the popular union, sporting and community advocate, Richie Bates, off the ticket.

Bates is a strong and vocal advocate against Labor's privitisation of State assets, that included parts of Queensland Rail. Although he won the local preselection ballot - 31 votes to Lesina's 27, Labor's electoral college system allowed for additional votes from factions and representatives not in the local area and tipped more votes to support Lesina from the Party's right. Kirsten Lesina was also backed by sitting Cairns MP Desley Boyle and Premier Anna Bligh, who also intervened to support the selection.

The quietly-spoken Lesina, a fourth generation Cairns resident, graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from James Cook University in 2008. Whilst on Council, she has focused on youth issues so younger citizens can engage in Local Government. Lesina spear-headed Cairns YEA!, the Council’s youth advisory group.

She also promoted better animal management and saw the establishment of the regions first fully-fenced dog park at De Jarlais Street in Earlville.

Labor supporter and friend of Lesina, David Anthony, says there's no need for a chance in the State Government.

"Who needs a change of government when you have a progressive Labor Government that continually rejuvenates and modernises to keep in touch and maintain relevance in a changing world," David Anthony said. "That's why the ALP is the most successful political party in the world and one of the highest achieving. Kirsten Lesina is more than just the face of modern Labor, she represents its future as well."

Last week Lesina asked her Facebook audience, whom she has decided to keep confidential, for suggestions for a campaign song. Here were the top suggestions...
  • Let's Stick Together by Bryan Ferry
  • We shall overcome
  • Takin' care of business
  • I want to go home
  • Take a Chance on Me by ABBA
  • Your The Voice by John Farnham
  • Catch my Fall by Billy Idol
Ross Parisi suggested ‎'Eye of the Tiger'. "I knew someone would suggest that. It's been done too often sorry," Kirsten Lesina responded.

Labor stalwart Wendy Davie recommended 'How much is that Doggy in the Window?' I'd say around $84 billion, give or take.

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Steve Brech