Former Weekend Sunrise star and sports presenter Basil Zempilas has been elected the Lord Mayor of the City of Perth.
Zempilas took home the win after receiving 1,855 votes, or 29.4 per cent of the vote, ahead of former journalist Di Baine, who had 1,571 votes.
It marks the first time in two years that voters have elected members of the council after it was suspended in March 2018.
A government inquiry was launched at the time and found ‘greed, incompetence and mismanagement’ was practiced by a number of councillors.
Mr Zempilas called the latest election a brand new beginning for the City of Perth.
‘This is a great opportunity for everyone, and it’s a great opportunity for the City of Perth to have the fresh start that it has so desperately been looking for,’ he said.
Former Weekend Sunrise star and sports presenter Basil Zempilas (pictured, with Sam Armytage) has been elected the Lord Mayor of the City of Perth
Zempilas (pictured, with his wife Amy) took home the win after securing 29.4 per cent of the vote on Saturday night
‘Everything we do from this point on is for the ratepayers and for the residents of the City of Perth. That’s who we are here for and that’s who we are here to serve.
‘We now have the leadership and the elected council that the City of Perth has been missing for the last three years.’
Zempilas is a well known media personality in the city.
He currently presents the sports segment on Seven News Perth, writes as a columnist for the ‘West Australian’ and leads Channel Seven’s AFL and Olympics commentary.
He also co-hosts the 6PR Breakfast Show with Steve Mills, though will step down from his role at the end of this year.
Zempilas will be sworn into his new role as mayor along with the new councillors on Monday afternoon.
It will mark the first time in two years that the city has been led by a council voted in by the residents.
Council was suspended in March 2018 and taken over by commissioners as a government inquiry was launched.
It found ‘systemic failings’ in the ‘poorly governed and dysfunctional council’.
A number of councillors were found to have manipulated election processes, used their positions of power for personal interests and failed to properly declare conflicts of interest.
Mr Zempilas (pictured, on the campaign trail) promised a ‘fresh start’ and based his campaign on improving homelessness, reinstating funding for Aboriginal outreach programs and providing free parking for on-duty police
Though his campaign trail hit a snag after he wrote in a column piece in August that he would ‘forcibly’ remove homeless people from the city centre ‘if that’s what it takes’
‘The culture of the city has been characterised by self-interest, complacency, lack of accountability, lack of transparency and a lack of effective leadership,’ Inquirer Tony Power said.
Mr Zempilas promised a ‘fresh start’ and based his campaign on improving homelessness, reinstating funding for Aboriginal outreach programs and providing free parking for on-duty police.
His campaign trail hit a snag after he wrote in a column piece in August that he would ‘forcibly’ remove homeless people from the city centre ‘if that’s what it takes’.
‘I make no apologies for this, the homeless need to be moved out of the Hay and Murray Street malls and the surrounding areas,’ he wrote.
‘Forcibly, if that’s what it takes. I’m sick of being told by people who don’t live and work in the city like I do that it’s not that bad — actually, it’s worse.
‘The look, the smell, the language, the fights — it’s disgusting. A blight on our city.’