6PR’s Basil Zempilas elected Lord Mayor of Perth

Former Editor & Content Director

6PR’s Breakfast co-host in Perth, Basil Zempilas, has a new role – Lord Mayor of the Western Australian capital.

Zempilas mounted a mayoral campaign while maintaining his role at Nine Radio’s 6PR and as a commentator and personality on Channel 7.

Zempilas said on radio this morning that he was “confident of a very strong showing” when it came to Saturday’s vote.

“I wasn’t 100% that I was going to win,” he added. “I thought I could win, but I was also equally prepared for not being first. I thought I would finish in the top three for sure. I was very hopeful that it would be top two, and I thought I was an excellent chance to win without being a guarantee.”

Zempilas attracted controversy last year for penning an opinion piece in Seven West Media’s The West Australian taking aim at homeless people.

“Clean it up,” he wrote. “I make no apologies for this, the homeless need to be moved out of the Hay and Murray Street malls and the surrounding areas. Forcibly, if that’s what it takes. I’m sick of being told by people who don’t live and work in the city like I do that it’s not that bad – actually, it’s worse.

“The look, the smell, the language, the fights – it’s disgusting. A blight on our city and the single biggest impediment to progress and rejuvenation.”

Zempilas said his detractors were “no big deal” noting on radio this morning that “we live in a democracy – that’s how it works”.

“Not everybody has to agree with me,” he said on 6PR this morning with co-host Steve Mills. “I hope that most people admire me, or at least acknowledge that I believe in what I believe in, and I get on and go for it. And that’s what this is about. It was about having the convictions of thinking what I realised was important to the people of the City of Perth and going for it.”

6PR’s parent company Nine Radio had already decided Zempilas could not continue in his radio role if he became Lord Mayor of Perth.

And ahead of Saturday’s election, it was revealed Zempilas would be departing 6PR regardless of the result, as his other employer, Seven West Media, didn’t want him working for rival media networks.

He will finish up on 6PR at the end of the year.

Zempilas said he would miss radio “very much”.

He did, however, dismiss concerns that his media platform and profile gave him the upper hand.

“If people think I had an advantage because I work for Channel 7 or for 6PR, then so be it. That’s an advantage that I got for working my backside off for 30 years, and it’s not my job to apologise for having a long career with a media organisation,” he said on radio today.

Zempilas also thanked his supporters.

“It’s a great honour to have been chosen by the ratepayers and residents of the City of Perth to be their next Lord Mayor,” he said on social media.

“It’s a responsibility I take very seriously – and on behalf of myself and the new councillors, all eight of whom I’ve spoken with today – my promise to you is we will not let you down.”

According to the ABC, Zempilas received 1,855 votes, which amounted to 29.44%. His rival, former journalist Di Bain, had 1,571, or 24.94%. Voter turnout was 41%.

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