Over the course of these six meetings we have had 122 votes. Of these, 74 were unanimous, where all the councillors agreed to a proposed motion.
That leaves us with 48 contested votes.
Of those 48 contested votes the Liberal councillors have voted together as a bloc every single time. That’s a perfect 100%.
Meanwhile, Labor councillors disagreed with each other on 8 of those 48 votes. That’s 16% of the time and about average for an independent council – as you can see in this earlier story.
That statistic suggests the Labor councillors are not voting along party political lines but behaving very much like independents, as they promised in the lead-up to the election. We have even seen mother and daughter-in-law, Cindy Cagney and Ashleigh Cagney, vote against each other on four occasions.
But where does the other independent, Cr Rob Mills, sit in terms of his vote?
It is a tale of two very distinct parts.
During the first meeting following the election - which included the mayoral election and then voting for committee members - Cr Mills voted with the Liberal bloc 21 times and voted with the other councillors for committee positions 10 times.
He still handed majority control of the council to the Liberals and gave them plum committee positions, as I noted in this report, but it appeared at this first meeting that every now and then he would go out on his own.
It’s important to recognise, whether by accident or intention, by handing power to the Liberals Cr Mills ensured that his vote alone became the single pivotal casting vote for this council. This is what we clearly saw during the committee elections.
But when we come to the second part of his voting patterns it seems to be a power he chooses not to exercise.
Aside from that first committee selection meeting, Cr Mills has since voted every single time with the Liberal bloc.
And he does it silently, without explanation.
Admittedly I missed the meeting of November 22, as I was interstate, but to this point I have yet to hear Cr Mills speak on a single motion.
Council records also show he is the only councillor who has not yet moved or even seconded a single motion in the Chamber, choosing to vote along with the Liberal bloc on all occasions without comment.
It is worth remembering that the Liberals only received 32% of the total vote at the last election and most of that came from a strong above-the-line party vote in North Ward.
The great majority of Camden residents (43%) voted for an independent candidate.
Cr Mills has never made a public statement about why he handed the Liberals a majority with his vote other than what he told me immediately after the mayoral election.
The fact is, he now holds the balance of power and could, if he chose to, control the future direction of this council.
It will be interesting to see if he continues to vote with the Liberals in the coming year and whether he will have the confidence to take a more active role in future Council debates.
Until then, residents can only make judgments about his independence based on his current voting record, which on current form suggests a silent but dependable vote for Camden Council’s Liberal bloc.