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  • Outspoken councillor likely to pull the pin on Unity team membership

    Councillor Richie Bates is set to quit Mayor Bob Manning's Unity team, finally delivering an official end to what has been a tumultuous coupling with the conservative council team.

    The expected exit will exacerbate the already fractured leadership dynamics in Cairns between the Mayor, Cr Bates, other councillors and sections of the business community following the axing of funding to Advance Cairns.

    With no love lost between the Mayor and Federal MPs Warren Entsch and Bob Katter, particularly over the Advance Cairns issue, the city's future direction increasingly appears muddy and disjointed.

    Further complicating the divisive scene is the arrival of new Labor Member for Cairns Michael Healy, who enters the scene as an ally of Cr Bates, the campaign manager for Mr Healy's successful win in the recent state election.

    "It's no secret I haven't seen eye-to-eye with the Mayor and several Unity councillors on some key issues," Cr Bates told TropicNow.

    "I'm weighing up what I'll do in regards to Unity and I'm keeping my options in terms of future opportunities. I'm not ruling anything in or out at this early stage."

    Buoyed by Labor's strong local showing at the recent state election and eyeing off future political opportunities, Cr Bates told TropicNow he was keeping all options open in terms of his future political career.

    That includes speculation Cr Bates will make a run for Federal politics in the seat of Leichhardt or take on Cr Manning for Mayor at the next local government elections due in 2020.