TV and radio personality Basil Zempilas declared his candidacy for next lord mayor of the City of Perth on 11 July.
Following the announcement, former Weekend Sunrise star faces ‘conflict of interest’ claims, with concerns he would likely use his media platform to promote his campaign. However, the TV host revealed that he plans to ‘play by the rules’ denying those claims.
The AFL commentator said:
‘It would be an unfair advantage if I continually used it as a platform for my election, but that is not what I’m going to do.’
‘Like everybody else is entitled to continue to work in their chosen professions if they stand for office, I think as long as I play fair and play by the rules, and the rules we set for ourselves, then in my mind it’s okay.’
The 48-year-old Zempilas announced his run for the WA capital’s top office via his Instagram page on 11 July, where he said:
“I want to bring my leadership, energy, work ethic, independence and ideas to our city. And I’m hugely motivated to change the conversation around Perth – enough of the negative, let’s celebrate all the good things about Perth and unlock it’s enormous potential.”
He even urged people to share their ideas with him and asked about the changes they would like to see in Perth.
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I’M IN… It’s with great excitement and enthusiasm I announce – with the immense support of my family @amyzempilas, I am putting my hand up to be the @cityofperth’s next Lord Mayor. I want to bring my leadership, energy, work ethic, independence and ideas to our city. And I’m hugely motivated to change the conversation around Perth – enough of the negative, let’s celebrate all the good things about Perth and unlock it’s enormous potential. Most importantly, as well as asking for your support – I want your ideas… What would you like to see in Perth? What are some of the great things we can do?
In February this year, Zempilas used his breakfast radio slot to express his interest in Perth local government and said the delayed mayoral election, set to be held in October, had opened the door to him running for the Perth office. He said:
“I’ve always said I know I have the passion but I haven’t been sure I have the time. I’m still not certain I do — and I’ve only had the briefest of conversations with my employers — but the extra delay of fresh elections does now open the door.”
He further continued:
“If the election were prior to the Tokyo Olympics — I’m doing opening and closing ceremony and calling the swimming for Seven — I was no chance. But with the election likely to be late October at the earliest, the door has opened.”
Even Zempilas becomes lord mayor, he intends to continue working on a morning radio show on 6PR, as a sports anchor on Seven and a column in The West Australian. He also plans to continue hosting Channel Seven’s AFL and Olympics commentary.
In March 2018, Zempilas replaced Andrew O’Keefe as a co-host of Weekend Sunrise, working as a regular host till September 2019 and then appearing as a fill-in presenter.
The TV host has been happily married to his wife Amy Graham, since 2009. They celebrated their nuptials in Greece. The duo shares two daughters and a son.