A young blond professional environmental activist who has never had a real job is set to become the City of Melbourne’s accidental 104th Lord Mayor running a budget of $557 million.
Arron Wood, 42, assumed Melbourne’s top job yesterday when Lord Mayor Robert Doyle AC was forced to take “gardening leave” when serious allegations – including sexual harassment, indecent assault and misconduct – were levelled against him.
The allegations will be thoroughly investigated by Dr Ian Freckleton QC. Wood as Doyle’s loyal deputy becomes Acting Lord Mayor in Doyle’s absence.
Doyle told Twitter he was “shocked” by the allegations and would take a month’s leave to clear his name but astute observers believe this is the end his 34-year political career.
If Doyle, who was first elected Lord Mayor in 2008, is forced to resign, then Wood – the little-known furry tree-hugger – will be confirmed as Melbourne’s 104th Lord Mayor.
Wood, whose only claim to fame before his election last year as Doyle’s deputy dog, was to graduate from Al Gore’s disastrous Climate Change Leadership Program which seeks to run Melbourne’s CBD businesses on the equivalent of mung beans.
Doyle made Wood is running mate at the last city council election to win the younger yoof vote because he rightly saw constantly expanding Die Grünen Ghetto as the main threat to his third four year term in Melbourne’s top job.
Indeed, Doyle defeated Dr Adam Bandt, the Greens’ Federal MHR for Melbourne for the top job in 2008. The Greens’ Federal Leader Senator Richard Di Natale and State MLA for Melbourne Ellen Sandell have also tilted at the Melbourne City Council windmill.
Wood’s ascension to the Lord Mayor’s big office in Swanston Street means the Green machine has now vertically integrated its political stranglehold over Australia’s fastest growing city.
Although he describes himself as a “sustainable business expert” and the “Billabong Boy” in his autobiography, Melbourne’s new Lord Mayor is unlikely to survive for too long on his own in the glare of the big city headlights.
Terence Maher is a former editor of The Melbourne Times.
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