"HEY, Jeff, who ended up as Campbelltown mayor?"
"You're kidding me! How did that happen?"
"A deal with the Liberals".
"You mean a deal with Labor."
"Nup . . . the Liberals."
That's the basic transcript of the same conversation I had two dozen times last week as locals, scratching their heads, rang up trying to work out the election of our new mayor.
It shows how truly mysterious local politics can get.
Sue Dobson won fame, of course, in the late 1980s as a leftie, working with unions and environmentalists to stop Liberal councillors, and a Liberal state government, building houses on a koala colony.
I know a little bit about Sue's political views at the time because I was standing with her in the koala protest lines. And if anyone had told me, back then, that Sue would one day be part of a power-sharing deal with the Liberals, I would have been gobsmacked.
But that's politics, I guess.
Sue told us this week the deal with the Liberals will help her better tackle the Liberals. To me, that sounds a bit like going to the beach to avoid sun and sand — I guess time will tell.
Just as ironically, I wonder how many Liberal backers knew that their vote would result in a Mayor Sue Dobson?
(You could write a book about it, but it'd be put in the fiction section of the library.)
Going by the grins I'm told dominated the faces of Liberal councillors at the last meeting, it's a nice result for them.
Maybe the important factor really at play here was not who became mayor — but who didn't become mayor.
Labor's Anoulack Chanthiviong has been viewed as a successful, even popular, mayor in many quarters.
So much so, it is widely rumoured Anoulack could be asked to stand against Liberal MP Bryan Doyle at the next state election. If that's the case, the deal with Sue to keep him out of the mayorship, with its high public profile, was a stroke of genius by the Libs.
The other irony is that the most successful independent in the election — by a country mile — was Fred Borg. Yet he will now watch on as other councillors (who scraped in with a fraction of his vote) share around the mayorship.
No one can claim Sue hasn't made her presence felt.