City councillor re-joins Liberal Party, weighs up preselection bid

Henry Davis, the outspoken city councillor who has led a public fight to keep a prayer at the start of council meetings, says he is re-joining the Liberal Party and mulling a federal preselection bid.

Oct 12, 2023, updated Oct 12, 2023
Councillor Henry Davis. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Councillor Henry Davis. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

“I’ve had a number of donors and members in the party suggest that I run for a state or federal seat,” Davis told InDaily.

“I live in the Mayo electorate. It’s something that I am considering.”

Davis, a tax lawyer, was elected councillor for the City of Adelaide’s South Ward in November 2022.

His councillor page as of late this morning described him as a “local South Ward resident”, although he says he moved from Hurtle Square to Aldgate six months ago.

Asked whether he could still represent the interest of South Ward residents while living in the Adelaide Hills, Davis said: “Yes 100 per cent”, adding that two out of the three businesses he owns are in the southern part of the CBD.

Davis said he cancelled his Liberal Party membership in March 2022 – the day after the Marshall Government lost the 2022 state election – but has continued to donate to the party and has now re-joined.

“I want to take a more active role in the party going forward,” he said.

“I live in Aldgate and I believe I can contribute to strengthening the party’s presence in the Hills.

“I left the party because I felt that I needed to be bipartisan in a role outside of council. I now believe I can rejoin the party and manage any perceived conflicts with my other roles.”

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During his time in Town Hall, Davis has been the face of a public row with Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith about keeping a prayer at the start of council meetings – a fight that has seen him issue legal threats and be temporarily expelled from the council chamber in front a group of Australian Christian Lobby protestors.

The issue culminated with the council deciding in September to add a “multi-faith” prayer at the start of council meetings on top of an already agreed upon non-denominational pledge.

Davis ruled out running for the state seat of Heysen, currently held by Liberal frontbencher Josh Teague, saying he was only considering the federal electorate of Mayo.

The former blue-ribbon seat has been held by Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie since 2016.

Sharkie was re-elected last year with a 7.1 percent swing in her favour, securing 62.26 percent of the two-candidate preferred vote to defeat Liberal candidate Allison Bluck.

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