Both bids would have effectively forbidden a number of councillors from returning to office, including Liberal councillor and real estate agent Mazhar Hadid, and Liberal councillor Gus Balloot, who told the council meeting he held a real estate agent’s licence but had never practised as one.
Liberal councillor Tony Hadchiti told the meeting he held a real estate agent’s licence but didn’t plan to contest the upcoming council elections, which have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Mannoun, who is still registered as a real estate agent but does not hold a licence, told the Herald he had retired from politics.
He did not contest 2016 council elections after his office was raided by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in an investigation that was dropped the following year. Mr Mannoun was never charged with any offence.
He then took up a job with real estate giant CBRE, which he has since left for an advisory position in the property industry.
When contacted by the Herald, Cr Ayyad said it was widely known that the Liberal Party had been wrestling with the issue of whether to allow real estate agents and developers to sit on councils for many years.
She said her motion spoke for itself and, if it affected her husband, “then so be it”.
“While I am unable to speak about internal party matters, I have a feeling the party will continue the debate when things return to normal,” she said.
Both Crs Ayyad and Hegarty withdrew the motions, with Cr Ayyad telling the Herald it was because “we felt that we needed to focus all our attention on our ratepayers in this new coronavirus climate”.
“It was a good decision and we can revisit the issue once we have dealt with more pressing problems,” she said.
The NSW opposition introduced a bill earlier this year to ban property developers and real estate agents from becoming councillors, its second such attempt after the government voted down a similar bill in the upper house in 2017.
The Liberal Party’s state executive voted down a motion to ban developers on council in February.
Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock recently warned against labelling all property developers as “evil” and suggested it should fall upon political parties to vet their candidates appropriately during the preselection process.
Angus Thompson is an Urban Affairs reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.