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August 18, 2022

Former SA union boss running for Adelaide City Council

“The takeover of the council by a dominant faction “Team Adelaide” has sent our beautiful city backwards,” says the campaign website for the self-appointed independent, local and progressive candidate.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Cartoon: Ross Bateup

Long-time union leader Janet Giles has announced her intention to run for area councillor in the upcoming Adelaide City Council general elections.

The retired trade union official and former school teacher unveiled her campaign website – titled – this week, saying online she had become “increasingly concerned” about the council’s “wrong direction” and that the organisation was “not acting in the interests of residents, small businesses and the community”.

“A number of people have asked me to run for Area Councillor to help ensure the council listens to the voice of the people who live in the city rather than just developers and big business,” the website states.

“The takeover of the council by a dominant faction ‘Team Adelaide’ has sent our beautiful city backwards.”

Giles – who has lived in the southwest pocket of the CBD for 10 years – was SA Unions’ secretary from 2002-2013 and Australian Education Union President from 1992—2002.

From 2014—2017 she was the Australian Services Union’s director of campaigns and organising, before taking on a role as organisation team leader with the Public Service Association until mid-2021.

Giles told CityMag her website was “pretty comprehensive” in terms of policy priorities, but was running for the position because “being a resident of the City of Adelaide I feel the current council does not properly represent the people who live in the city.”

Janet Giles. This picture:


Giles’ campaign website takes aim at “unpopular” and “unimaginative” Adelaide City Council-approved city infrastructure projects.

This includes the $400 million Central Market Arcade redevelopment and the $250 million Eighty Eight O’Connell development. Giles’ website also pans the 16-storey apartment block planned for the rear of the Kings Head Hotel.

These projects had been “supported by ratepayers (sic) money” and “shrouded in secrecy”, Giles says.


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“The lack of a comprehensive future plan for our city has created insecurity for residents who can’t be sure their light and views will not be shadowed by large new developments,” she says.

“We’ve seen the reduction of funding for community programs and the selling off of community assets including social and low-cost housing.”

Giles’ policy platform states she is supportive of a consultative, transparent and “accountable” council, which would operate on the principles of “good governance”.

The City South Association and Anti-Poverty Network SA member would also advocate as a voice of residents and small businesses, action on climate change, and protection of the Adelaide Park Lands.

Addressing homelessness, affordable housing and “reasonable rent” was also on the cards, as well as a safer city for pedestrians and those commuting by bike and public transport.

Safeguarding the city’s “heritage and history” while maintaining a “strong partnership” with the traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains, the Kaurna people, was also a priority.

“I am proudly independent, local and progressive,” her website states.

Giles joins candidates Phil Martin, Keiran Snape, Henry Davis and Sean Cullen-Macaskill as publicly announced contenders for the upcoming city council elections, along with Lord Mayoral candidate Rex Patrick.

Adelaide City Council nominations open 23 August and close on 6 September, with the scrutiny and count slated for 12 November.

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